1170 km to Gurs
In front of the main railroad station in Mannheim there is a sign which at first glance looks like a perfectly normal yellow road sign, such as you might find on any regional highway in Germany: "Gurs 1170 km".
But wait! These signs don't normally point to places over a thousand kilometers away. And who ever heard of a place called Gurs, anyhow?
Well, if you've ever been to Freiburg in Breisgau (or just looked at my tips about that city) you may recall that Freiburg has a similar sign with a different number: "Gurs 1027 km".
The explanation is that Gurs, a city in the southwest corner of France, was the site of a concentration camp that was used by the Nazi collaborators of the Vichy government to intern Jews and other people considered undesirable by the Nazis.
Jews from both Freiburg and Mannheim were rounded up by the Nazis and sent to Gurs in 1940. Almost all of them, including two thousand from Mannheim alone, were later deported to the east and murdered in the death camps at Auschwitz or Maidanek.
So these signs are a tribute to the murdered Jews and a reminder of how they were put to death.
- Historical Travel
Internationales Filmfest Mannheim Heidelberg
Each year in november the film festival of Mannheim Heidelberg takes place. The film are shown in several cinemas in Mannheim and as well in Heidelberg. The 55th film festival is from 16.- 25. november 2006 . Have a look at the home page for more infos and the programme.
Mannheim's grid-structured centre
Common for US cities, but highly unusual for Germany: Mannheim's centre is designed like a grid. Streets here use letter-number combinations instead of normal street names. This makes it pretty confusing for visitors (and perhaps also for postmen!), but one might get used to it when being in Mannheim for a longer time. The structures are already very old and survived all the damages of two world wars. They date back to the time when the castle was built.
There is a system behind the grid structure, but despite having heard the explanation twice, I'm not capable of explaining you. Best to find out yourself!
Picture taken from www.mannheim.de
The pacifier tree
In Luisenpark there is a tree which looks a bit like an early Christmas tree or a late Easter tree. Very colourful, but when you have a closer look you can see that there are lots of pacifiers hanging on it. When small children ( or their parents) are ready to give up on their pacifiers, they can go to the tree and hang it up there.
I don't know how many want to come back later and take it off again, though.
The tree is next to the entrance of the boat rides in Luisenpark.
- Family Travel
Mannemer Dreck - Mannheim's Dirt
In early 19th century Mannheim was a pretty dirty place. So the city authorities decided to change this and introduced a new law: From then on it was forbidden to simply throw the dirt
out into the streets. Anybody who did it had to pay a fine. Not everybody was happy with this new law and a baker wanted to voice his protest. He created a new cake, out of nuts, sugar and spices, covered it with dark chocolade and put it out on the street for display. The name of this cake was "Mannemer Dreck" - the Dirt of Mannheim.
This way he could put out "dirt" into the streets of Mannheim, and no one could say anything against it.
Mannemer Dreck is still a local specialty, a sort of mixture between gingerbread and small cake. Every bakery has their own special recipe.
- Family Travel
I don't know how to translate this name... In the first weekend of october, the Blumepeterfest takes place around the watertower, the landmark of Mannheim. It is an charity event. All you eat, drink, win, hear, ... are donations. The money which is earned is given to the poor people of Mannheim.
You may ask, who is that Blumepeter? Well, the story goes back to Peter Schaefer (1875-1940), a man of small stature. The story says, that he was not only little, but also stupid. To earn at least a little bit of money, he sold flowers in Mannheim. No, no, no, don't think of beautiful flowers, he had little , small, not beautiful flowers. But he always wanted to make jokes with the people. So they called him Bloomaul (??? english translation not possible, hahahaha). Now, each year (since 1970) a person from Mannheim gets the Bloomaul medal.
There is a monument of Blumepeter on a place in Mannheim, calles Kapuzinerplanken (O5 ,O6).
Krempelmarkt - fleamarket
There is a big fleamarket on "Neuer Messplatz" (Neckarstadt) almost in spring, summer time and autumn. (near Herzogenriedpark)
We have not been there for year, but for you, I even went there again today! :-)
For those of you, who like fleamarkets: we were told, that the fleamarket here is rather good, but not for the sellers, but for the shoppers. Just come and see.
Have a look at the dates on their website (only available in german). On the website, there is as well a map how to come there.
Something I have to say: If you wanna sell there, you have to pay a fee. These fees are for the costs on that place. If there is still some money, they distribute it to social projects. A great thing, in my eyes!!!
Pop im Hafen
SWR 3 is a radio programm which you hear especially in south west Germany. They plan a lot of events everywhere in the region. In 2005 they started a pop concert which was called "Pop im Hafen" (in the harbour). The pop star was the local Laith Al-Deen. This year, in 2006 they had Cosmo Klein, Silbermond and Reamon here. But there were too much people, in my opinion, because the concert was for free. We were lucky and the security let us enter where we wanted to enter. But it was very difficult to see the stage. But listening to the music was already great!
BTW: There is a pop academy in Mannheim. And the concerts take place in the harbour just in front of the pop academy.
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.
- Religious Travel
- Family Travel
streets in spring time
When you come to Mannheim from Heidelberg or A 656, you find yourself in Augustaanlage, a main 4 laned street, which leads stright to the centre. In the middle, there are nice trees and some grass and there are some sculptures as well. People from Mannheim call it Schrottmeile (sorry, I don't know in English). I really don't know, if I like it or not. But this spring, it is so beautiful, because there are lots of spring flowers there. I go there each day by bike, so I enjoy it day for day! :-)
Ice Hockey Die Adler Mannheims home team!
If you are interested in Ice Hockey you should visiti Die Adler Mannheim Games at the SAP-Arena! Ice hockey has a long tradition in Mannheim and also the Mannheim Home Club Die Adler (the eagels) are very popular and won a lot of time s the German Ice Hockey Leauge DEL.
There are 2 christmas markets in Mannheim in Advent.: one is around the water tower. This one is nice, but I prefer the other one on Kapuzinerplanken. There are more craftsmen. What I like most are the Santa Claus made of Chocolate. But you also get them in the chocolate shop, one of my favourite shops in Mannheim.
- Family Travel
When we first arrived, we felt...
When we first arrived, we felt that the German people were rude and cold people. As we've become friends with several Germans, we've learned that what we were seeing as rude and unfriendly was really just a difference in culture. We were used to casual smiles or a friendly nod from strangers as we went along our buisness in the US. Our German friends have told us that here, those things are reserved more for friends. When we smiled or said hi to a German stranger and received a blank stare in return, it wasn't rudeness. Often it was simply confusion--they were trying to remember if they knew us.
Now that we understand this part of the culture we can say that the German people in general have been quite warm and welcoming to us. (except when exiting/boarding trains and busses--they lose all sense of politeness!)
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