For more than 20 years all I have seen or known of Mannheim has been as a stop on my train route to the airport in Frankfurt. A university city at the confluence of the Neckar and Rhine rivers, Mannheim is a large multi-cultural city with a long and rich history going back to the early 1600s. Mannheim University known as the Harvard of Germany has an excellent reputation and a campus to match, located in the heart of the city it is housed in the rather imposing baroque style Mannheim Palace, the second largest after Versailles.
We spent a lovely few hours on Sunday walking the city. We visited the Wasserturm (Water Tower) an iconic building in Mannheim, the beautiful Jesuit Church of St Ignatius and Francis Xavier, the Paradeplatz and strolled through the grid patterned streets of the old part of the city, to the Palace, most unusual. It is also a city of invention, Carl Benz drove the first motor car here, the bicycle and the tractor were all firsts of Mannheim.
The reason however we came to Mannheim in the first place was to attend the Fazination Modelbahn at the Maimarkt. An exhibition for model train enthusiasts, of which hubby counts himself as one. We met family and spent the day exploring the many displays and stands. I was in awe of the dedication and attention to detail that the exhibitors put into their passion projects. So many individual collectors, and clubs as well as heritage projects who protect and promote old rail lines and their associated engines and carriages, alongside commercial sellers, ready to help enthusiasts part with their money. Hours of entertainment for young and the young at heart.
I had hoped to have more time to get out and about especially as there are beautiful bike trails along the river but it just means we’ll have to come back again. And it may be sooner than we even planned as Mannheim this year is host to the Bundesgartenshau 2023. This National Garden Show is held every two years and runs from mid April to early October. It will feature flower shows, cultural exhibitions, leisure and sporting activities along with a 2km long cable car ride which will join the two sites within the city. Definitely worth a visit.
We have now moved 2 hours west to the historic town of Trier almost on the border with Luxembourg and we will be here until Friday. We are crossing our fingers for some better weather and a chance to get out and about and explore the city and surrounding countryside along the Mossel River.