But this does no justice at all to us Swabians, to say nothing of the pleasure-seeking Badeners. It may well be that our divorce rate, like our unemployment and crime rate, is the lowest in Germany. And it is also true that we don’t wear our heart on our sleeve and find public merriment tasteless. Nor does the Swabian like to be coerced into to a quick reply by a direct question. He prefers to intersperse a slow, well considered „ha noi“ and thus have time to consider, to weigh up the pros and cons of what is said. Brooding is part of life in the homeland of Schiller, Hölderlin, Hesse and Uhland.
But no one should think that we don’t know how to enjoy life. Why are the Swabian taverns in Berlin so well frequented? Because of the Trollinger wine in the glass mugs, the Rostbraten with Spätzle and the Maultaschen, of course. Take a look at the Guide Michelin and you will see that of the 196 star restaurants, 52 are in Baden-Württemberg. Harald Wohlfahrt, the three-star chef in TonbachStuben in Baiersbronn, has advance bookings of several months. That too is a kind of economic miracle.
Why do the Swabians like going to the theatre? The Staatstheater in Stuttgart, Germany’s largest three-genre theatre, regularly sports the proud title of „Opera House of the Year.“ And to the ballet, which is generally regarded as a „miracle,“ thanks initially to the great choreographer John Cranko and now to Marcia Haydée and Reid Anderson. And where else is there a stage like that of the Gasthof Linde in Melchingen, up on the Swabian Alb, where plays by Eduard Mörike, Peter Härtling and Franz-Xaver Kroetz are put on and where the Tübingen rhetoric professor Walter Jens is always in the front row? We go there because we are curious and covertly anarchistic. The fine arts, as opposed to Pietism, for which idleness was the mother of all vice, attract us Swabians greatly. And if these flights also have appropriate goals, we are proud, and for a moment we forget our fear of being regarded by the whole world, and especially by Munich, as provincial.