Germany: Mannheim – The hidden charm

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With a small amount of visits from tourists, Mannheim has been always in a shadow within travellers that roam Germany. This city basically gets shadowed by Heidelberg, a city which is well-known as a beautiful city of the region Baden-Württemberg. Most tourists or people passing by this region most likely visit the city next by, Heidelberg, rather than Mannheim. Mannheim is also a common stop for transit for most trains to other parts of Germany. However, would you ever wonder this city has more than just that? You should definitely consider it once again because you might just fall in love with city at one point.

As people say: “You cry two times when you are in Mannheim – once you come and once you leave”. Basically what it means is you would be very disappointed being here because the city does not look pretty but when you are here for awhile you wouldn’t feel like to leave this place anymore. In fact, it really makes sense. At first glance, Mannheim has nothing to be called beautiful. For some people having travelled in Germany, the city could be just like any other German city. Surprisingly, once you get out of the inner ring of the city centre, there the charm comes and it would just be better and better as you have never expected.

What is special about Mannheim?

Whenever you visit a city, you are more likely to visit the city centre, which in Mannheim it is called the square (Quadrat). Apparently, it would not be the one certain spot that impresses you. From a personal point of view, the inner ring of Mannheim is not a pretty place. However, it carries a long history. The street/block naming system is divided upon alphabet from A – U plus numbers (J is not in included since the letter did not exist in the German alphabet in the old time). It is believed that the New York’s street system is based on Mannheim’s but there is no written proof. Talking about the ‘not-so-pretty city centre’, you are going to be surprised seeing Mannheim showing its charm at the outer ring.  It is a big difference between these two parts of the city.

Mannheim has a variety of cultures but somehow they manage to live friendly and peacefully with each other (ironically saying). Most people has the first impression on German people is ‘they are very unfriendly’. You can find the ‘not-so-German-like’ in this city. You might be amazed how friendly the people here are and being quite international, they won’t refuse to help you because of the limited English. Shocking huh?

The water tower (Wasserturm)

DSC_0309It is located at the Friedrichsplatz which could be considered the most beautiful square of Mannheim. With a large space, it lures all the attraction of visitors. The fountain is not spectacular but beautiful by its own and brings a touch of freshness besides all the green surrounded. If you are lucky enough to be there on a sunny day, you will feel all the charm with full of colours that this place offers.

The area is quite overwhelmed compared to the city centre. Walking further along Agustustaanlage street, you will find great architecture and nice areas to hang out.

Luisenpark

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If you stay in Mannheim for more than a day, pay a visit to Luisenpark. The concept of the park is very interesting, including multiple playgrounds, animal farm, Chinese garden and several attractions based on different parts of the park. The whole park is huge and perfect for an afternoon hang. If you have children, they are gonna love this place. Every part of Luisenpark has its own theme and always brings the fascination.

Cross over Kurpfalzbrücke

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Gotta be honest, the city centre of Mannheim does not have the beauty that most people would expect but  the outer ring would probably wow you by its unexpected charm. It is a short walking distance from the Markt to the other side of Neckar via Kurpfalzbrücke. You will see the difference right at the moment you step on this side of the city. Lange Rötterstrasse is the street that offers you all the finest – coffee hang and chic café.

Other tips:

  1. If you are foreign, don’t hesitate to ask for help. People in Mannheim a super friendly and they don’t mind offering their help, even if they don’t speak so much of English
  2. Mannheim is nice for a one day city trip because the city is really small and does not have so many special attractions
  3. Sunday is a bad to visit the city because everything is closed, including restaurants.
  4. Turkish food seems to be the finest in Mannheim

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Hitchhike Journall #3: From the hidden city Mannheim to the fairy tale city Heidelberg

Spending 3 days in Mannheim and somehow I did not have the feeling that I was travelling. Probably the comfort zone I got from seeing people I know made me feel more at home and I was still in Germany. In Mannheim, I stayed over my best friend’s house and he also gave me a tour around the city. The weather was absolutely pleasant during my stay and couldn’t ask for more. During my stay, I also got involved in a charity event organised by the Leo Club Mannheim by being the photographer for the event.

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CLICK HERE TO READ ABOUT MANNHEIM

I left Mannheim on 12 July. I was picked up by H – who I have known for almost a year now. He kindly offered me a ride to Heidelberg and a place to stay. It is not a big distance to Heidelberg from Mannheim. However, how amazing that these 2 cities are so close to each other but so different from each other. Mannheim is considered an ugly city, and shadowed by the charming well-known Heidelberg. Somehow true! My eyes were wide open the moment I reached the city. The scenery was almost comparable to those described in fairy tales.

It was a great idea to spend my birthday day in this beautiful place. The first thing I did was climbing to that famous castle – Schloss Heidelberg. The castle itself is not that special but the view from the highest point is priceless. I looked over the other side of Neckar, all houses seemed to be swallowed by the giant green monster. Standing there I wished to play princess waiting for my charming prince.

Hitchhike Journal #2: Cologne – Mannheim

9 July 2016

Distance: 247km
Transportation: 3 cars
Duration: 5 hours


Waking up early this morning with full of excitement because I knew from today on, I would hit the road and will be there for the coming months. Having everything packed, I headed to a subway stop from where I could walk to the gas station. The gas station is at Am Verteilerkreis which is the gas station before the exit to the highway. As my destination was Mannheim, I looked for the direction to Bonn and Koblenz and that gas station was a perfect spot.

It was a tiring enough walking from the train stop to the gas station since I had quite a big backpack on, I knew that it wouldn’t be easy to get a ride right away. When I arrived at the gas station it was exciting at first. Everyone told me that it would be easier for girls. After 30 minutes, no luck for me. Moving around to get the best spot but everyone just smiled at me and gently said no. Another 30 minutes, there was a man kindly asked if I wanted to go to Mainz with him (which was halfway for me). I was happy enough to have an offer so I took the ride. After some chit chat, turned out, he had been standing at exactly the same spot that I did 20 years ago hitchhiking to Italy.

In Mainz, we missed the exit so he letted me out at one gas station that was a bit off the highway. The location was definitely the best for me so I needed to be on the high way at one point. Luckily for me, some young guys were on their road trip to Cologne and they were happy to help me get to the highway. We found a big gas station which is located on A3 Wiesbaden and I called it the paradise for hitchhikers. There, I met 3 hitchhikes – 2 Dutch girls were heading to Vienna and Thomas, a Canadian was trying to get to Stuttgart (which was on my direction) to see his girlfriend after 6 months apart. We split up after a a short conservation. Thomas, sadly, had been waiting for more than 3 hours at that station but with my sign to Mannheim, we got picked up by a woman just the moment we were in front of the gas station store. I arrived in Mannheim in the afternoon, safe and sound!