About 9 ½ hours later we arrived smoothly in sunny 48-degree Stuttgart. My friend, another Ralph, met us inside the customs area at the luggage belt – how cool is that? We loaded my six bags and everyone else’s luggage into the bus company van and drove the windy downhill road into Stuttgart. This time we stayed at the Le Meridien because the Graf Zeppelin was sold out. Thankfully they switched me to a Jr. Suite so I could move around my room without having to climb over luggage.
After a shave and shower, one of our local logistics team, Miro, and I immediately took a cab over to Karlsplatz – to the legendary Saturday flea market. The main purpose is to buy the “valuable” prizes for the “James Bond” Photo Rally at Lake Como, Italy on Saturday, April 29th through Lugano, Switzerland and the ominous Verzasca Valley. My friend, Eugene from Russia was there – pron: Eevghenie. Loaded with beer mugs, Russian caps and other “valuable” items we met all the other early arrivals at the Kleinschmeckerei – a new steak place in Stuttgart. The dinner was superb and we got started with the local Lemberger wine. In bed by 19:30 – wow was sleep desperately needed.