Shopping in Germany is quite a different experience than shopping in Canada. In Canada, if you need to buy a sweater, shoelaces, and shampoo, you can usually count of getting what you need at the local mall. In Germany, malls are a bit of a rarity, so you’ll most likely have to visit a gamut of outdoor shops to get the items on your list. The larger shops are usually located in a pedestrian zone so at least traffic is not too much of an issue. Parking, on the other hand, can be tricky business…
Sometimes I do miss one-stop shopping (as evidenced by my recent 5 different grocery store shopping adventure to get the ingredients I needed). Other times, I do enjoy taking my time picking up the things I need at a leisurely pace and supporting smaller businesses off the beaten track.
However, when time is of the essence, it’s great to dash into a mall and come out a short time afterward with what you need. I get the sense that Stuttgarters are of the same opinion since the new Milaneo shopping mall in Stuttgart has been the talk of the town for the past few weeks.
The mall opened in early October 2014 after 2 years of construction. It boasts over 200 shops and offers everything from media retailers, restaurants, cafes, a grocery store, you name it. Based on my casual observances, Primark, the popular Irish clothing brand, seems to be the biggest attraction at this mall. I am basing this statement on the incredible number of brown paper Primark shopping bags people tote after going to Milaneo.
Out of curiosity, S and I went to visit Milaneo about a week after it opened. To say that it was packed would be the understatement of the year. There were so many people on all 3 floors of the mall that it was actually difficult to walk around. We abandoned any hope of peeking into Primark to see what all the fuss was about since it was packed to the gills with bargain hunters and my threshold for crowds is on the low side. On our way out of the mall, we did catch a glimpse of a ‘deck out your own frozen yoghurt with crazy toppings’ place called Gelati that I made a mental note to go back to.
I stopped by the mall yesterday after my German class to grab a quick bite to eat before my commute home. The Milaneo food court has lots of quick and tasty meal options, like fusion Thai-Indian curries and Mexican tacos. On my way out I spotted a Japanese restaurant called Tokyo that serves kaiten sushi (ie. sushi on a conveyor belt)! I fell in love with kaiten sushi when I tried it for the first time in Kyoto, Japan but unfortunately haven’t had the chance to indulge since then. I so wished I’d seen this restaurant before I bought my dinner. I will definitely be going to visit sometime in the near future. In fact, it was the first thing I told S when I walked through the front door.
Me (clutching my side and out of breath): Kaiten! Sushi! In…Stuttgart! Must….eat! Can…we….go….sometime?
S: What are you talking about? What is kaiten sushi? Are those leftovers you’re holding for me?
Me (handing leftovers to S): Sure…..fine. Sushi? Soon?
How to get there: If using public transportation to get to Milaneo, you can take the U-Bahn on lines U5, U6, U7, U12 or U15 to the Stadtbibliothek stop (1 stop north of the Hauptbahnhof (main train station)). For regular and holiday mall hours, please visit the Milaneo website.