We took some time getting ready at Patty's house in Stuttgart before we left, especially since it was our last morning with familiar American luxuries (a nice shower, laundry, English-speaking TV, etc.). We washed our clothes, took showers, and ate some breakfast, then left the US military base for the Stuttgart-Vaihingen train station.
We took the train a couple stops over to the Stuttgarter Fruhlingsfest, the largest spring festival in Germany. On the way over, the train was very crowded, with lots of teenagers drinking alcohol -- but we figured it was better that they drink and take the train than drink and drive.
We arrived at the fair, which was really just comparable to a county fair (like the Del Mar Fair) in the United States. There were lots of rides, games, and traditional food stalls. Also, many people attending the fair dressed in traditional German clothing; the girls all wore checkered or plaid dresses and lederhosen. We got some of the food (currywurst and chiliwurst) and a couple mugs of beer. We didn't have much time, so we had to eat them quickly and continue on our way.
We returned to the Stuttgart main train station, then took a train to Cologne, Germany, the next stop on our trip. We had arrived too early to meet our Airbnb host (Leon), so we had a little bit of time to kill. We went to the tourist information office near the train station and picked up a map of the city. We briefly looked at the nearby Cologne Cathedral, or Dom, which is Germany's most-visited landmark.
Next, we walked across one of the big bridges over the Rhine River in order to get a view of the city. As we walked across the bridge, we saw that the bridge fences were completely covered in padlocks, where couples write their names on the locks, attach them to the fence, and throw the key into the river.
By now, it was time to meet our host Leon, so we took the train to the closest train station and made our way to the apartment. We were a little skeptical of the place before we got there (Leon's communication was a little strange), but it ended up being pretty great. It was a studio apartment with a small kitchen. It appeared that Leon normally lived there (the apartment had his photos, DVDs, clothes), but stayed with his family or girlfriend whenever he rented it out. He had really perfected his Airbnb hosting, with lots of Airbnb trinkets (booklets, a guestbook, pens, keychain, etc.), some printed out maps, and bus and train schedules.
Since we weren't very close to the city center, we decided we would just spend the rest of the evening around the apartment. We found a nearby grocery store, where we were again amazed at the cheap price of grocery store food in Europe. We bought some meats, cheese, and bread for sandwiches, as well as some carrots and these mini chicken cordon bleus, all of which ended up being delicious. We ate our meal while watching various German TV programs (they always show this billiards game called "snooker"), then watched The Descent in German while following along with the plot on Wikipedia, before going to sleep.