Stuttgart is the home of the automobile. From the first automobile that ran on its own power, courtesy of Karl Benz, to the just-announced Audi R8 convertible supercar, southwest Germany has seen cars go from novelties to toys for the elite to near-necessities and everywhere in between. I justs didn’t realize how apparent this would be just from walking the streets.

The first thing that struck me about Stuttgart, once I arose from my death-like slumber that first night, was how nice the cars were. Back home in Missouri, I would frequently see sports cars taking weekend jaunts through the countryside by my house, the warm sun shining down on some middle-aged or elderly couple who had splurged on beautiful and overpowered transportation. In my first few days in Stuttgart, I saw more Porsches on the road than I had seen in my entire life. Audis and Mercedes litter the road, and Teslas pop up a few times a week.

It’s not just the cars on the road however, Stuttgart is just built on auto manufacturing. There is no other way to put it. Everyone seems at least to know someone who works in the industry, and company complexes make up their own suburbs. Even the football team, which recently made its way back into the first class (to much celebration), plays in the Mercedes-Benz Arena. It’s indeed quite curious to see such a major city so completely reliant on the improvement and production of one particular product and, in most cases, a high-end version of that product to boot.