Seckenheim is a suburb of Mannheim, whose water tower is called the baldhead. When you see the tower you know why, it really looks like a bald head. The tower was built in 1911 and was about to be demolished when the lift company Lochbühler bought it in 1978.
For its 100th birthday the tower was completely renovated and a lift museum was established in it. This museum is only open for special occasions, like heritage day, or for groups who phone ahead.
There is an old paternoster in it, to look at only, but we were shown how they work. The name is from the rosary, because like a rosary the paternoster forms a circle. I had thought the name is from the fact that people were so scared when they entered one that they started praying the Lord's prayer - pater noster.
Outside there is a modern lift which takes the visitors up the roof. We had a wonderful view from there.
I don't know if there is an entry fee, on heritage day it was free.
Blick ins Unsichtbare – glance into the unseen - that’s the title of an exhibition, which is hosted in the State Museum of Technique and Work. As the title says, it is an exhibition about the “microscopic” world, down to the proportions of nanometers. 1 nanometer is the 1.000.000.000 part of a meter, or, as they describe very pictoral on the museum HP: the diameter of a hazelnut compared to Earth diameter.
They show the world of microscopy from Leeuwenhoek’s first microscope he used end of 17th century (not the original, but a replica on display) to the most modern high performance microscopes of todays’ researchers.
There is a very nice and hands-on explanatiory section about optics, how lenses and prismas work, and a glance in the world of “nanomaterial”, i.e. some high-tech clothes (functional textiles), microchip technology, etc.
The highlight for me were the blow-up SEM (scanning electron microscopy, high resolution microscopy) pictures of all kind of nature elements, plants, ice, rocks, and animals, parasites.
Eye of Science, biologist Nicole Ottowa and photographer Oliver Meckes display around 40 fantastic pictures of their view of the micro world. They have a special technique to prepare the objects for photography, which is explained in a videosession (don’t miss to listen to this, it is fascinating!). These two have been awarded several times, also with the World Press Award.
See their website Eye of Science for more of their pictures and work.
This exhibition is running until January 7, 2007, so still half a year from now. If you are interested in these things, make sure you won’t miss it.
The museum is open Tuesday and Thursday 9-17, Wednesday 9-20, Saturday and Sunday 10-18.
Admission fee: 3 €
Speyer, with its 50,000 inhabitants, is an old Roman town close to Mannheim. It was made a free imperial city in 1294, and a number of imperial conferences met here. At the Conference of Speyer in 1529 the followers of Martin Luther presented their protest. The city passed to Bavaria in 1815 and became part of the state of Rhineland-Palatinate after World War II. The chief feature of Speyer is a Romanesque Cathedral.
The last ruling prince-elector of Mannheim, Carl Theodor, loved to go hunting.His hunting parties were famous.He had trees cut and trails built in the woods north of Mannheim, several of whom are still existing in the Käfertaler Wald - translated literally the wood in the beetles' valley.
There is a well-known spot in this wood, the Karlsstern, named after Carl Theodor. Several trails start here, there is a large playground, a deer-park, goats and even buffaloes are kept there and you can watch the wild boar safely behind a fence. (Quite often you can also see them when walking in the woods, actually I prefer a fence between me and them). A small bird park is close-by and in summer you can buy ice-cream or coffee from some kiosks.
The trails setting out from the Karlsstern are well marked, the shortest is about 1 km, the longest about 42 km. On the shorter traily you can always meet other walkers, but the 10 km, 20km or the 42 km trails take you deep inside the wood and not too many people take them.
The last time we walked there we came across one of the old borderstones put up by Carl Theodor. These stones didn't mark the border between towns, but they showed the boundaries of the hunting areas, telling people who was allowed to hunt there and who wasn't.
The stone in the picture is very withered and hard to read, the year on the bottom is 1789.
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.
For the Germany's Einstein 2005 Year in Mannheim there is a big extra exhibition about Einstein names "understanding Einstein" at the Landesmuseum for Technic and work. (see more about the Museum in my What to Do Section Mannheim). The exhibition about Einstein is running till April 2006! So dont miss it, if you stay in Mannheim!
Most of the food you will find in tourist areas are mainstream "Americanized" establishments. To avoid this, take a chance and go off the main roads...the heartiest....stick to your ribs style grub will be found this way. I remember finding a little Inn, well out of the busy section of the city, and I ordered the special for the night...beef stew. Low and behold they brought me a mini crock pot full of stew and a basket of bread....all for about 5 dollars. I couldn't belive it! I also couldn't finish it...but gave it my best shot. I would highly recommend being adventurous in Mannheim and wander as much as you can.
One thing I didn't expect in Mannheim. The great Luisenpark invites one to walk around in nature, enjoy a romantic boat trip, have nice food or play around.
Admission in summer:
Adult: EUR 4
Student: EUR 3
Children: EUR 2
Children under 6: free
Not far from the Planetarium there is an interesting museum called the Landesmuseum für Technik und Arbeit, which has numerous exhibits on how technological developments have changed the work situation of the population in this part of Germany over the past four hundred years, starting with the invention of the pendulum clock in the seventeenth century.
The printed explanations of the exhibits are in German only, but at the entrance you can get a free folder in English or French, entitled Living history or Vivre l'Histoire, which at least gives a brief overview of the exhibits on the various levels of the museum.
Address: Museumsstrasse 1 in Mannheim. Streetcar number 6, one stop past the Planetarium. Closed on Mondays.
The permanent exhibits are free on Wednesday afternoons, by the way.
If you have some time before the opera begins, you might want to go to the Mannheim Planetarium. If you know in advance when you are coming, you can reserve a ticket or tickets for a show of your choice at the Planetarium's website.
They have one to three shows per day (except Mondays), about 45 minutes each, using their new Zeiss sky projector that was just inaugurated in 2003. (The old one is on display in the lobby.)
Of course the narration is in German. The show I saw there the other day was called In the Depths of the Milky Way and was quite competently done. I don't think I learned anything terribly new, but after all I'm a paid-up member of The Planetary Society so I tend to be fairly well informed about such things.
The Planetarium is at Wilhelm-Varnholt-Allee 1 in Mannheim. Streetcar line number 6.
The Neckar is a river that starts in the Black Forest and flows north and northeast for 367 kilometers -- through Stuttgart and Heidelberg, among other places -- before joining up with the Rhine River here in Mannheim.
Near the Kurpfalz bridge is a ship, where you find a nice exposition about ships. This ship belongs also to the museum, it is an rather old one. The little museum and the ship belong to the Landesmuseum.
If you're hungry, you can also visit the restaurant on the ship.
Schwetzingen is just a few miles away from Mannheim and it is a totally different world!!!
Discover the beautiful palace, the huge gardens belonging to the palace and the cute town of Schwetzingen!
Enjoy the travellogue, that might give you an impression of this place!
A place my family enjoys is 'Buffalo Park.' That's the name we Americans call it--I don't know what the Germans call it. It's a large wooded area with many biking/walking/horse trails. We like to take our son to many of the large play areas throughout the circuit of trails. My favorite part is the warthog farm. They're just so ugly they're cute...