Lightning a candle in the church
Not just a local custom for Mannheim, but for all catholic churches.There are nooks in the churches, dedicated to saints or to Mary. In front of their paintings there is a table with candles, at least one of which is usually burning. You pay a small amount, 50 cents or so and you light your own candle and say a prayer. Catholic people say the prayer to the specific saint. Since I'm not catholic, I don't know which saint is responsible for what, so I just pray. It's a very nice custom, something that children especially like to do.
The picture was taken inside the market church. Here the table looks like a dining table in someone's home. The same thing in the Jesuit church, for example, is much more elaborate.
Mannheim has two great parks
There are two parks in Mannheim, Luisenpark and Herzogenriedpark. They're great to spend a day in, especially when you come with your kids. Luisenpark is the larger of the two.There are boatrides in the summer, lots of birds and a small zoo. Both parks have lots of playgrounds - one in Luisenpark has a waterpump for really muddy playing in the summer - and large lawns that you can walk on - not usually allowed in Germany.
When my kids were small we used to pack a picnic lunch and spend the whole day there in summer.
The tropical house in Luisenpark has a butterfly house, where the most beautiful butterflies are flying around.
The Founding of Mannheim
This scene shows the laying of the foundation stone for the fortress of Mannheim in 1606
.Prince-Elector Frederic IV from Heidelberg is standing in the center, his son, who was nine years at the time, is putting a picture of his father to the foundation stone. Together with this picture they put some red and white wine in the hole, then the stone was covered with earth.
Industrial Age in Mannheim
In early 19th century the bike was invented in Mannheim by Karl Drais. People were laughing about him, ridiculing his idea. (They should have a look at the square in front of the university library now. On some days you can't see the cobble stones because of the many bikes.)
Later in this century the first train went on its way from Mannheim to Heidelberg, a new industrial port was established and at the end of the century Karl Benz came up with the idea of building the first car.The first long distance drive was done by his wife, without his knowledge. You can read about this trip on my Ladenburg page.
In the first picture you can see industry coming to Mannheim, in the second the opening ceremony of the harbour.
I went to Mannheim twice - once in 2006 to stop by at a Vietnamese friend's place for an afternoon, and the second time in 2008 when I visited yet another friend who works in Mannheim but lives in Heidelberg.
My first visit was overshadowed by continuous attempts of Mormons trying to convince us that we should join their religion, which was really annoying. Mormons in my hometown are a nice and friendly folk, but here they were getting really aggressive when we said that religion is not what we're in Mannheim for. Take it as a warning - according to my friend, they specifically focus on non-European looking people because those might be easier to convince. Apart from that, my friend and me walked through the grid-structured centre (which I found quite boring, to be honest (the centre, not the walk!)), and we had a refreshing drink at some bar.
My second visit, however, was completely different: No missionaries, better weather, great food in a restaurant, new shoes bought in Mannheim and other insights into the city. So my rather bad impression of 2006 turned to a quite good impression in 2008. Check out my tips for more!