Two weekends ago, I had a case of cabin fever but not a lot of desire to plan a big trip. Instead, I decided to do something fun, local(ish), and informative: I visited the Reisemarkt Rhein-Neckar-Pfalz. The event is a travel fair where local and not-so-local tourist associations, travel vendors, and associations set up booths at the Maimarkt location in Mannheim (next to the SAP Arena).
It was an enjoyable and easy day trip. A friend and I took the train from Kaiserslautern to Mannheim, getting out at the Maimarkt stop just past the city's main station stop. We then walked 10 minutes (straight ahead) to the fair location. There is also a tram that will shuttle people back and forth but we didn't feel like waiting for it. Another option would be to drive and park in the lot across the street from the market; parking is one euro per hour after the first (free) hour.
We paid 6,50 euros a piece for the tickets and headed over to the exhibition hall. Inside, we wandered through the booths, picking up literature and dreaming of vacations to take. The majority of the booths were from tourist and travel associations, including those run by local governments. There were plenty of free informational fliers and maps. I would guess that about half of the travel destinations were within a couple of hours from Kaiserslautern. The other part included farther parts of Germany, Europe, and even some travel agencies selling trips all over the world.
|How about being transported to another country in the movie-showing geodesic dome?|
In addition, some booths were run by hotels and other businesses. Other businesses were selling goods, including a bicycle store, a winter clothing store, and some others. A motor home dealer parked one of his vehicles inside but it looked miniature in comparison to the luxury travel coach on the other side of the building!
There was an area for kids, with comfy seating, a slack line to try, and a table to make wooden houses for bugs (for a fee). Those who worked up a hunger could eat at a Schwarzwald (Black Forest) themed cafe or stop by some food carts for a light snack. There were various stage presentations; during our visit, we saw karate students performing and and then a travel agency highlighting some deals on tours.
|Presentation of travel deals|
|Ginormous Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte (Black Forest Cake) - this one was just for display|