Since the middle of the 15th century Stuttgart was the residence town of the Dukes of Wiirttemberg and at the same time the capital city. In 1806 it became the center of the Kingdom of Wiirttemberg. The year 1890 saw the foundation of the Technical University which developed later into the University of Stuttgart. In 1920 Stuttgart was temporarily the seat of the Government of the German Reich. It was this city, from which the most revolutionary invention of our time, the petrol-driven engine of Gottlieb Daimler, started on its triumphant road to success; where Schiller and Hegel lived and worked.
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On the walk down, the third mate told me that we would all be signing on in the afternoon and I should go up to the captain’s cabin at four o’clock, with my discharge blog, seaman’s card and passport. There were about a dozen people in the bar of the Valvata, including the chief mate, Sparks and the two senior cadets. The bar room was a large corner cabin, a fairly light place by ship standards due to having portholes on two sides. It was smoky and noisy, a small wood bar and four stools had been built in at one end and there were several armchairs and tables scattered about. Four men were playing cards around a green baize card table. Behind the bar was a fridge of beer, spirit optics fixed to the bulkhead, a sink, and a glass-fronted locker full of glasses. A variety of notices and posters were fixed to the bulkhead. Sitting at the end of the bar, smoking a pipe, was a fat man of about 50, with medal ribbons on his uniform and four gold stripes on his sleeves. He was the captain, the ‘Old Man’ as he was called by everyone -although not to his face. The Old Man was in discussion with another man of the same age, also with four gold stripes.