I spent my first weekend in Germany in the area around Heidelberg and Mannheim.
After spending the day walking around Frankfurt with random friends, I caught the train from Frankfurt to Heidelberg. After checking into my hotel, I went for a walk around the city while waiting for my friends to arrive from Munich.
The town of Heidelberg is incredibly pedestrian friendly. The core area is one long narrow street that runs from the centre of town through to the base of the ruins of the Heidelberg Castle. Once my friends arrived, we had dinner at a local pub.
The following morning we drove to Mannheim. Despite the rain, we spent a few hours walking around the town, ducking into churches, palaces, and markets. A particular highlight, was the amazing Jesuit church, while the outside is very dull, on the inside the detail and workmanship put into the building is amazing.
After lunch we drove to Schloss Schwetzingen. The castle complex is huge, and the story of its development very colourful. After a tour of the castle (entirely in German, I’m very thankful for the translation from my friends), we explored the extensive palace gardens.
Following on from this, we drove to the Hockenheimring where, by pure coincidence, there was a local club racing meeting. Being a car racing nut, this absolutely topped off my day. Finally, for dinner we went to an American diner in Heidelberg.
The following morning, we went to another small village, Weinheim. Once again, this town was filled with markets and after exploring the town we settled on some locally made cakes for lunch. In the afternoon, we explored Heidelberg Castle before I had to catch a train to the town hosting the conference I was attending.
Overall, the region around Heidelberg was an amazing place to visit and having local friends made the adventure even better.