A Travellerspoint blog

April 2011

From "Mainhattan" to Neckar River Germany

Frankfurt, Mannheim, Heidelberg & Ladenburg

4 °C

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Traveling in end winter season around Europe was the obvious choice for me as a single traveler looking to save some Euro. Germany was a country that I've always hoped to visit after hearing stories of enchanting castles, arts and culture as well as the ultra high-tech German technology.

Even though Berlin is the capital of Germany, I have decided to fly to Frankfurt which is also called “Mainhattan”, mainly to visit a friend who is based at Mannheim. Frankfurt Flughafen or Frankfurt Airport is one of the biggest and busiest Airport in Europe. The signs could be rather confusing and the Airport has a few terminals and levels. I needed to catch a train to my friend’s place in Mannheim which is a 30 minutes train ride on the ICE train from the airport. Make sure you know where you are going because the Frankfurt Flughafen Station serves various train services such as Regional-Express (medium-distance semi-fast trains for regional services)Regionalbahn (basic local service, usually calling at all stations)S-Bahn (suburban rail transport offered mainly by Deutsche Bahn, sometimes by others)U-Bahn (underground). I landed in Terminal 2, to take the ICE train which is the Fernbahnhof, I needed to get to Terminal 1. Signages are all over the place and points to different directions. If you are confused, just ask around for directions. Germans are not naturally friendly or will greet you with a smile but they are exceptionally helpful. Even with their broken English, they would sometimes grab your arm to bring you along your way. I have met a nice German lady on my flight here from Malaysia, her name is Brigitta. Coincidentally she is on her way to Ulm, which will need to take a train change at Mannheim, so we went along together to catch the train.

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Mannheim is the second largest city in the Baden-Württemberg, mainly it’s a commercial city. The main attractions I found there was the Summer Palace which is partly used by the University of Mannheim and partly a museum. Museum entry costs 6 Euro and includes an Audio Guide in English. You can expect magnificent Michelangelo-like ceiling paintings and interior fittings of different era of the rulers. The main symbol is the water tower of Mannheim. My friend’s place is right in front of the stop at Marktplatz which on Tuesdays and Thursdays they’ll have the fresh market selling homegrown vegetables, food stuff and fresh flowers. I needed tickets to travel on busses, trams and trains. So we went to the Rnv office at Paradeplatz to buy a ticket. It costs 9.30 Euro for a 24 hours ticket that covers a wider area and I took a 40 minute tram ride to the city of Heidelberg, the third largest city in Baden-Württemberg .

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I could see interesting design of houses along the way and enjoyed the ride. I hopped off at Bizmarkplatz after getting some help from a local youngster who struggled to answer my question on how many more stations to my stop, it is not because he doesn’t know where it is, but he was trying to figure out the words to explain to me in English. I arrived at Bizmarkplatz and walk towards the old town it was a pretty long but scenic walk around 1.5km with lots of interesting shops, museum, churches along the way. Watch out for Kurpfalzisches Museum which contains many historical paintings and sculptures. The details are really amazing and the eyes looked as though they could talk. The entrance fee is only 3 Euro. Along the old town stood the University of Heidelberg as well as other old landmarks. Also as I continued towards smaller roads, I’ve found the Friedrich Ebert Museum (Free of charge) along the back lane near Heidelberg Marktplatz, it comes with a free audio guide too! My intended destination in Heidelberg was the Schloss castle upon the hill. At the foot hill is the Kornmarkt train station. With a Combi ticket at 5 Euro, you get a train ride and covers for the entrance fee to the castle. However, I have paid additional 4 Euro for the audio guide to make my tour more meaningful. It will tell you about the history of the castle, the kings and queens, designers, architects, sculptures and statues, etc. This castle was burnt when lightning struck and was never used again. Take a walk after the castle all the way to the garden to have a spectacular view point of the city & Neckar River or you could hop on the same train again uphill to have a higher viewing point of the city. I chose to descend to old town and walked towards Carl-Theodore Bridge. Do try to fit your head into the famous bridge monkey’s head for a nice photo shot. It is said that if you rub on the monkey, you will surely return to Heidelberg again, touch the mirror he holds for wealth.

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As you walk across the bridge, you’ll notice huge colourful mansions opposite and those belong to the rich owners whom will have the best view in Heidelberg. This city speaks of romance & medieval times which made me feel in love with it. I definitely would like to return to it some day.

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The next small town closer to Mannheim is Ladenburg. It is a lesser known suburb which is off the tourist grid on the map. I took a train from Mannheim to Friedrichfeld and then switch train to Ladenburg. It is a small town filled with colourful houses, parks, Mercedes Benz Museum (only opens on Saturdays), churches, marketplace and cemetery. People are very friendly too. It’s worth a visit away from the hustle and bustle of big cities if you have time to spare.

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I headed out to Frankfurt City for a day trip from Frankfurt Am Main Haupbahnhof to Romerberg/Romer, the central square of Frankfurt Am Main which was also the municipality of the city. There are numerous attractions nearby such as St. Nicholaus Church, St. Bartholomew Church and so forth. It’s nice to walk along the Main River. It’s a nice walk and many nice restaurants and shops to look at. Take a look at the railings of Eiserner Steg Bridge in Frankfurt, look out for love padlocks with couple’s names on it. Make sure you don’t miss the pork knuckles, pork legs and other wurst specialty in Germany. Kick in with a jug of German beer while you are at it too.
My next destination from Germany is taking an overnight bus ride from Mannheim to Prague. But that’s another adventure to tell in the next blog.

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Posted by jokermiss 01:43 Archived in Germany Tagged bridges culture river museum castle europe Comments (0)

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