Sunday, September 19, 2004

Stuttgart, Germany—Day 232

I woke up this morning and headed to the Stuttgart Zoo, which is just a short metro ride away from my hotel. The tram here is fantastic—not only is it fast but there were a cappella singers not on the tram, but recorded on the tram’s announcement system so whenever we would get to a new stop, they would start singing its name. It was hilarious—I’ve never seen (or rather heard) anything like it.

I got to the zoo stop and got off and walked over to the zoo entrance where I bought my ticket. The zoo turned out to be huge and not only just a zoo but these botanical gardens as well, so I had to navigate through the gardens until I finally came upon the hippos.

There were two hippos in an outdoor enclosure which seemed to be a bit small for them. Both were circling around a bit—one more active than the other, and it seemed to be that they were expecting something—perhaps to be fed. One hippo (the female based on the male’s dung spreading behavior) got out of the water a few times to stand near the door to their indoor enclosure.

I took pictures of course and then headed inside where I found this huge thing of food waiting for them. Carrots, potatoes, hay, grass—it was like a hippo’s dream. It also seemd on display almost—you weren’t really sure if they were actually going to be fed it or if it was just for show for the visitors. I took pictures and also found posters on the wall with the hippos’ names, Rosi and Mike.

I headed back outside and Rosi and Mike were still moving around. It started to rain but I stood there and took pictures of them and eventually the rain let up. When it appeared that the hippos weren’t going to be fed anytime soon (based on keepers coming by and then leaving again) I decided that I had my pictures and found my way out of the zoo, stopping at the small kiosk selling all sorts of trinkets. I picked out this small dish with the zoo’s name on it, some postcards and then left.

I got to the tram station just a little too late—and missed it by a few seconds. I waited for the next tram, got on a few minutes later, greeted by the a cappella group again.

I got off at my stop and went back to my hotel where I spent the afternoon working on my hippo photos and blogs, and then finally went out and got dinner at a local pizza place down the road.

(c) 2004 Sarah Galbraith. All Rights Reserved.