Originally we were going to go to Speyer on January 14th, but my husband suggested Mannheim because we could park in the lot for the PX, walk to the train, and take a a quick S-bahn. On the way over to the PX, we heard on the radio that there was a Stau (traffic jam) between Heidelberg and Speyer, so it was good we had changed plans. As we left post, we found out the gate would be closing at 8p that night, so we planned to leave Mannheim by 7pm to make sure we’d get back in time.
We walked to the train station the way we’d gone on our German Culture Class field trip. Once we arrived, my husband tried to get a ticket at the machine. While I could swear I’d seen him push the selection for two people both ways, the ticket printed out for one person one way. We asked the guy at the information desk to confirm that this was the case, and he showed us that the 24 hour plus ticket into Mannheim would be about 15 euro (the one way one person is about five euro).
I suggested we go to the ticket counter to see if we could exchange the ticket for what we were looking for. The man at the information desk told us to go to ticket counter eight. The man at that counter was very understanding as to what had happened and what we were looking for. He crossed out the wrong ticket and printed us a new one for the price difference without much fuss.
We made the train with a few minutes to spare. It was so crowded we had to stand up and hold the bar, but it was only about a ten minute ride, so it wasn’t bad. On the way, we heard, “Mannheim” over the speaker. My husband asked if we should get off. I told him I didn’t think the stop looked like the main station, so we should wait. It turned out to be good that we waited as it would have been a bit of a walk to the main train station from there. Before the next stop we heard, “Mannheim Hauptbahnhopf” and then “Manmheim Main Station”.
When we got off, I checked the schedule to make sure what time a train would leave in relation to when we wanted to go back. While I was looking at that, a lady started asking my husband questions. He told her he doesn’t speak German, so she started asking me, and I had to say roughly the same. The only thing I understood from her was “kein Problem” before she walked away. On the upside, if people approach us asking for help (which has happened a few times) we must not stick out as being outsiders, which is kind of nice.
We walked in the main area where there are signs for the city and stopped at the information desk to get a pocket map. Then we started wandering the city. The first major thing we saw was the Wasserturm (water tower), which is the city’s landmark. I took pictures in the front. Then we climbed the steps and I took some more.
We walked through the area seen in the above picture and then down the long sidewalk area that runs between the two streets. I liked a lot of the styles of the buildings which were somewhat similar in general but each had their own different flair. I didn’t take close pictures of them as I didn’t want to be the silly girl taking pictures of someone’s apartment building (although maybe I will some other time), but I did take a picture down the street looking back toward the water tower where you can also see some of the buildings.
Of course the water tower was just the beginning of our exploration of the city, and I’ll tell you about the rest of the things we saw the next time.