Although Bill and I have now lived in the Stuttgart area for almost five years, we never managed to visit the Bärenschlössle im Rotwildpark or Schloss Solitude until today. I wasn't actually planning to visit there this morning, but someone in a local Facebook group mentioned it and made it sound like a great place to see. And I have heard so much about Schloss Solitude from all of the photographers who do shoots there; they always made it sound like such a beautiful place. I didn't even know that one could walk to Schloss Solitude from the Rotwildpark until we saw a sign for it near the Bärenschlössle. I did not plan to walk almost six miles this afternoon, but I sure managed to do it and had a great time in the process.
My first clear shot of the water. It was full of huge carp, turtles, and ducks.
The Rotwildpark is a large park very near Vaihingen. There's a beautiful lake there and many walking and biking trails. I saw plenty of people with their dogs, although we left Zane and Arran at home. I even saw a couple of dogs taking a dip in the lake, although I'm not sure if that's verboten or not. Once we parked at one of the many parking lots-- free of charge, I might add-- we set off for the Bärenschlössle, where we planned to have lunch.
This is where we parked... These map signs are all over the area so you'll know where you are.
Lots of kids were playing on these wood sculptures, which were all over the park, especially near the Bear Castle.
The Bärenschlössle has a self-service restaurant where once can get sausages, pretzels, or a linsenteller. There was also a teenager selling ice cream from a small stand. I didn't actually go into the restaurant because it was full of people. Instead, I got us a table on the balcony overlooking the water and offering a great vantage point for people watching. A lot of people were at the park today, taking advantage of the relatively sunny and warm weather we had for most of the day.
This was lunch. It cost 18 euros for four very fresh wurst, two pretzels, sweet mustard, and two beers. It hit the spot for our big walk.
A bird bravely stopped by to say hello. This one was almost tame. It actually took me some time to get my camera and the bird hung around long enough for me to capture an image.
After lunch, I went to the ladies room and happened to arrive there at the same time as a bunch of local women. One of them said something to me in rapid fire German. I responded in embarrassed English "I'm American." She responded in perfect English that she thought I should go first! I was happy to oblige. And with that bit of business taken care of, we started walking along the main drag toward the castle.
As we walked along the paved main drag, I took note of the cookout and play facilities for kids. It looked like a number of people were taking advantage of the opportunity to picnic.
We stuck to the main road from the Bear Castle, but I noticed there were many more rustic looking trails. You could probably visit there several times and never do the same walk twice. To get to the castle, you have to cross a somewhat busy intersection after you go over a bridge. Then, you share a dirt path with many bikers and whatever animals have traipsed through and left pungent smelling calling cards. If you decide to walk to the castle from the Rotwildpark, I recommend watching where you step.
The walk to Schloss Solitude was about four kilometers. Here's Bill checking out the map before the driveway to Schloss Solitude.
This was my first time visiting Schloss Solitude, so I don't know if today was a typical weekend. We saw several wedding parties, including one that appeared to be from India. We also saw a cute little girl having her first communion pictures taken. There's a museum at the castle, though we didn't check it out. I was in too much of a hurry to process the beer I had at lunchtime. We stopped in the Der Kleine Cafe for cake and a weizen.
We were in luck!
Many people sat outside and caught some rays. Bill and I sat inside and I got a good look at the display case full of pastries. Bill and I both had Black Forest Cake. I think it may have been the best I've ever had.
This was delicious!
After our cake and beer break, we walked around the grounds and I took some photos. Like I said... lots to see today. Plenty of people were there enjoying the views, green grass, flowers, and majestic architecture. For some reason, I was reminded a little of Colonial Williamsburg, even though the castle looks nothing like what you'd see in Williamsburg. I grew up near there, though, and I definitely had a sense of deja vu at Schloss Solitude. Below are some shots I got this afternoon.
I seem to have caught one couple kissing.
One of many happy dogs we saw today.
Having grown up around horses and missing them terribly now, I had to take several shots of the horses at the castle.
A duck hauls ass in the water.
Lots of people were taking pictures of their kids on the bear sculptures.
It's not an outing if I don't take at least picture of graffiti or stickers.
I have to confess that my feet were hurting after that walk, mainly because I need new hiking shoes. But I do feel pretty good after walking almost six miles. Bill just told me he's feeling very relaxed after our energetic stroll in the woods. I would definitely recommend visiting this beautiful park in Stuttgart if the weather is good. We had a nice visit today. And you can't beat the price, either! Next time we visit, we'll have to actually tour the Schloss instead of just walking around it.