Germany by rail. Destination #4 - Mannheim
After Karlsruhe we headed north once again. While we were planning our trip, at first we thought about going to Heidelburg. But then Franz, who had been there this time of year in the past, advised against it.
"Why?" I asked.
"It's wall-to-wall tourists in the summer," he said. "And anyway, you'll see so many quaint, historical places on this trip which look just like Heidelburg, you won't be missing anything."
So we decided instead to visit Mannheim alone and skip Heidelburg. As the trip progressed, I gradually realized just how right he was. I would soon become so overwhelmed with quaint cities and towns that I almost became bored of them.
(Read: Windows Live Local doesn't have bird's-eye coverage of Heidelburg)
Location of photos
1. After departing Karlsruhe, we arrived in Mannheim less than an hour later. There was a nice skyscraper next to the railroad.
2. First thing, as in Karlsruhe, was to visit the castle.
3. And then wander around downtown. It was quite modern compared even to Karlsruhe.
4. However it did have some nice old parts, including this lovely cathedral which was being restored.
5. A central plaza with a fountain seemed very "European." Our hotel was near here, and we dropped our things there and rented another car.
6. Nearby, a neighborhood with not one, but two, chruches.
7. More of the same.
8. And still more. We had a late lunch at the cafe on the plaza.
9. And toured some more older neighborhoods.
10. More of the same.
11. And some not-so-old parts.
12. Mannheim is a VERY industrial city, as you'll see from these pictures. It was heaven!
14. And some more nice neighborhoods with little churches. It was almost a shame knowing how few Germans went to church these days, seeing that they had some many nice ones. It was as if they were all going to waste!
15. Some people get to see industrial beauty right outside their balcony!
16. Some more industrial-commercial.
18. We ate an early dinner in a restaurant here. Instead of drinking and staying up late we decided to just watch some TV in the hotel and hit the sack early.
19. The next morning, just for the heck of it, went to the north of the city to see what was there. Not very much. At least the streetcar goes to these apartments!
20. There was also an oil refinery in Mannheim.
21. And a grain elevator.
22. More Schrebergarten next to some farms.
23. And the port.
24. Across the river from Mannheim was another city called Ludwigshafen. This is the downtown.
25. And this was south of downtown.
26. Even farther south of downtown.
27. This was an Alcoa aluminum plant. I love it! And we're not even getting started with industrial beauty - the best is yet to come!
28. Just to the west of the Alcoa plant was a nice little neighborhood. Or maybe it was its own town, I dunno.
29. And to the north, another, newer neighborhood. I liked the way you could find a residential highrise popping up just about anywhere in a German city.
30. Some highrises by a lake and along the freeway.
31. But typically they kept highrises out of the quaint town centers. We had lunch here.
32. We saw more highrises. The heat wave had cooled down (thank God!) so the lake and the swimming pool here didn't seem so enticing.
33. Another newer residential area. Look close and you can see some more solar panels on the roofs.
34. And other quaint village. We stopped for a beer here.
Now . . .
35. THIS IS IT!! Yes everyone, this was just wonderful! In Ludwigshafen there was a truely massive BASF facility. It took me 10 full-image shots just to traverse the facility north-to-south. And I didn't even get it all going east-to-west. For all you industrial architecture junkies, these shots are heaven!
36. Northwest of the BASF facility was a large Modernist-era housing complex. I suppose a lot of the BASF employees live here.
37. And in stark contrast, north of that was a quaint little town.
38. We got on the freeway to drive east, and passed an Ikea.
39. Then turning south onto another freeway, we stopped at this mall. Once again I felt like I was back in America!
40. West of the mall was another Modernist housing development. It appeared to be showing its age.
41. But to the south was another little neighborhood which looked just fine.
42. Even near the center of the metropolitan area you often find fields, well-tended by farmers. Note the location of this on the map.
43. Nearby was another neighborhood with a mix of old and new.
44. To the south, along the river were some more nice places.
45. And to the south were more fields abutting the city.
46. Even the busines parks sometimes abutted fields. It's amazing the results you can get when you have a densely-populated nation. Space was at a premium here, and it showed!
47. We veered back toward the town center. It was nearing dinner time.
48. But we decided to head south, looking for something we hadn't seen before, and ran across this new development right in the middle of the city.
49. Our luck turned sour going even further south
50. So we headed west
51. But went a bit too far west. At least the lake was nice. But there was no where to eat!
52. We then headed back north to go downtown, we *knew* there would be some good places to eat there!
53. When - luck of all luck - we passed by a giant John Deere factory! Beautiful! There happened to be a sandwich place across from the factory, so we decided to eat there.
54. The next morning we headed out again. I told Hans and Franz I wanted to pass by the John Deere factory again. They were getting a bit tired of my obsession but humored me anyway. On the way there we passed some government buildings.
55. I'll skip another picture of the factory, but after we went even farther south we encountered this beauty! A power plant with a HUGE pile of coal stood alongside the river. Immediately to its left was yet another (older) power plant with another pile of coal alongside it. I didn't take a picture of both, figuring this would suffice.
56. South of the power plant was the port.
57. And across from the port was a little neighborhood. Even the working-class neighborhoods seemed reasonably nice and well-maintained. At least most of them.
58. We had brunch in this little neighborhood here.
59. Then drove through the countryside.
60. We passed by what appeared to be some little vacation spot.
61. Then after a drive through some more fields, we headed south to check out another quaint little outlying town.
62. Along the freeway going back north we passed through more fields.
63. And encountered yet another little village, with fields directly abutting the town.
64. We hit the freeway again - at this point we were sort-of driving aimlessly.
65. We passed this in Ludwigshafen. We were wondering if there was anything truely interesting in the center of this town. Not particularly.
66. So we decided to head back east to Mannheim proper. At the edge of town we saw more Schrebergarten.
67. And encountered another typical neighborhood. But after an argument we decided to head back west over the river once again.
68. Once we got to the far western parts of the metro, we passed by, once again, a great example of dense development directly abutting farmer's fields. Urban growth boundary advocates take note!
69. And directly south of the BASF plant was this great, dense area. This was probably the most interesting part of Ludwigshafen (except, of course, for the BASF plant ;)).
70. It was getting late and we had to eat. We went north again and ate at a restaurant in a nice little neighborhood we had passed through before. I give you this big-scale shot of this neighborhood so that you've got a nice wallpaper for your computer.
Well, we ended up spending more time here than we thought we would, but it was worth it!. The next morning it was on to Heilbronn!
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