Small City, Big Dream: Germany Mannheim
Mannheim has its sorrow in the old days, as it was a war-torn area during these time. In 1622 the Thirty Years’ War and 1689 the Nine Years’ War, the city was partly destroyed, but what hit Mannheim the most was the Second World War, during which the city was bombarded so harshly that the whole city was destroyed. Maybe because it was reconstructed so many times, in the end, the organizer simply name the streets within Mannheim city with only alphabets and numbers such as A2, B7, and so on. For people living in the city of Mannheim, it is common to encounter errors when inputting address for package sending, stating the address is too short. I once got a comment from the border control of Hamburg, stating my address is very comical. Other interesting fact to know about Mannheim includes that it is the city where Carl Benz made his first three-wheel Motorwagen. After that, his wife, Bertha Benz, made the first long trip with that Wagen to Pforzheim.
Actually aside from the city center, Mannheim is not that small when we count the countryside. One such place is Vogelstangsee(photo 1–2), which is reachable with Tram 7. It is a place with a very big lake and is suitable for sunbathing and picnicking. Another very interesting activity to join in Mannheim is rolling the dragon-boat at Sandhofen(photo3), which is reachable with Tram3. The city even has its own team. However, if we are only looking at the city center of Mannheim, then it is very small. From one side to the farthest end, one can walk to reach it within 30 minutes. Three main tourist attractions worth mentioning are University of Mannheim (a university in the castle), Wasserturm (water tower), and Luisenpark. Luisenpark is a big park with lots of interesting animal species in it, but what makes it different is its huge Chinese Tea House. It is so Chinese that when my flatmate posted a story and wrote he is in China, many friends of his actually believed him.
In addition, two main rivers flow through Mannheim, which are Neckar(photo 1–2) and Rhein(photo3). I personally love them both. But if I were to use one sentence to point out the difference between those two rivers, I would say Neckar is not suitable for people who enjoy quiet, as many will go and barbecue during summer times; while Rhein although longer, is located in the fancy district of Mannheim, thus less hustle and bustle.
In the city center, aside from the main train station (Hauptbahnhof)(photo2), there are two places people mostly stop by for a transfer, namely, Paradeplatz(photo1) and Marktplaz(photo3). Paradeplatz is a place for parades and people mostly gather there to demonstrate or cheer for their beloved Mannheim ice-hockey team Adler. Marktplatz is a place for all kinds of markets, mostly on weekends. A little bit like farmer’s market in North America, but it sells more than just food.
Lastly, I want to share my favorite hidden gems of the city. First is the free area of Luisenpark which can be reached by Googling “Sportplatz Unterer Luisenpark.”(photo1) Second, it is Reißinsel(photo2), which can be reached by passing through the main train station to Lindenhof, then walk along the Rhein river and pass by Waldpark(photo3). Reißinsel is a nature conservation area with a camping site very near the Rhein river. The view there is magnificent and totally worth a visit. Last one is Neckarufer(photo4), which is the river bank of Neckar river. One has to walk below Collini Fußgängerbrücken which is a passenger bridge to get close to the river bank. In the afternoon, wild green parrots can be spotted in this area. Be sure to pay attention to our fowl friends.