I’m definitely a small town girl, and there is no doubt about it. But don’t get me wrong, I also love the bright lights and big cities for their electric heartbeat. However, where I rest my head at the end of the day and spend most of my time is in tiny, little towns.
So naturally when we came to Germany we searched around until we found the small town of Magstadt. Like most growing suburban towns of Stuttgart, Magstadt continues to get a little bigger everyday with new construction, apartments and growth. However, Magstadt continues to be a quiet, farming town that is surrounded by large open fields of soybeans, corn, horses and orchards. This very old town keeps to its traditions and history.
Magstadt hosts annual spring, summer, harvest, Advent fests and a farmers market every Thursday morning. Coined as a mini Tour de France, Magstadt is also very famous for the big bike marathon held each year on the third Sunday of August (August 20, 2017). During this time, the little town is packed with many cyclists, Lycra, bike clips and helmets.
This small town also has many hiking and biking trails that lead to Heckangau Böblingen and Sindelfingen. If living here, it makes a bike commute very easy to the military post.
Not far from Magstadt is Renningen. I love this town! This is where we order our pizza, pick our strawberries, buy flour and eggs and shop on the economy. Only 5 km from my house, I frequently bike here with my basket in tow to shop during the summer.
Renningen is great for many shopping reasons, including conveniently low prices because of being situated on the outskirts of Stuttgart. In one day I can visit Aldi and Lidl grocery stores, DM pharmacy and my favorite place PicksRaus (similar to the Dollar store back in the U.S).
Renningen is not only a gem for shopping but also for its activities. Last summer we went to one of the biggest and most fun Medieval Fests we’ve been to in Europe. All involved were horses, swords, fire, enchanting music and beautiful costumes- not to mention the food. Mercy, I could’ve tried every food tent and rolled away happy.
We recently visited Renningen’s 37th Annual Martinus Kirche Krippe, a one-of-a-kind event that depicts scenes of Christmas in Germany. Each year an artist from the town creates a masterpiece artwork of a different scene. The exhibition is open daily from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. to the public for a donation only fee (for pictures) until February 7, 2017.
Another great little town is Leinfelden-Echterdingen (L-E). This town isn’t near Magstadt, but it was the location of our temporary house after landing in Deutschland. As most military families know, it is convenient to find a temporary location close to your duty station. While you are “car-less” and waiting for your driving license, you can rely on public transportation.
We still love and visit a few restaurants in the town we were blessed to call our temporary home for almost a month. Closer to Kelley Barracks and the airport, L-E has many conveniences such as the Metro and buses running often and its straight shot to downtown. Though a little bit busier than Magstadt, L-E still has awesome traditions and activities.
If you haven’t yet heard of October’s famous Kraut Fest in L-E, you’ve got to go! Most of us quickly learn there is a fest EVERY weekend in Germany from September to December, so you have to pick and choose wisely. Most of my weekends are committed to a fest somewhere, somehow. This year I WILL NOT miss this famous fest.
If you have young children, another great place in Echterdingen is the Donkey Mill or Eselsmühle. Here you will find donkeys, rabbits and peacocks as well as great food. I also had fun hiking near the farm on one of the plentiful trails with my friend Maureen, who lives in L-E.
I know some people are not keen on living in a small town for a few reasons. The stores close early and on every regional and state holiday, and often times there is only one gas station and are very few bakeries. Other than the New Year’s fireworks not stopping until January 4th, most of the time it’s quiet in German small towns.
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I grew up in a small town and lived on an even smaller backroad, which we called an “Eddy.” So I guess you can take the girl out of the country but not the country out of the girl. And here is another cliche: I am an 80s girl and love the singer John Cougar Mellenkamp. My heart is in a small town, and just like Mellenkamp’s song, “that’s good enough for me.” How about you, what’s your favorite small town?
Author’s Profile: Wendy Payne is a military spouse and lives with her family in Stuttgart, Germany. She is a freelance writer, blogger and photographer. She also enjoys gardening, hiking, yoga and sharing Europe with people.
Featured Image Photo Credit: © Wendy Payne