Ride the Schwebebahn in Wuppertal, Germany
WHY I WENT
Acclimatizing. It was my first trip to Europe and I had an Indian friend staying there on the day of my arrival. I decided to spend the first day there with my friend to get a hang of all the newness around me.
WHY YOU SHOULD GO
To take a ride on the Schwebebahn, the hanging tram.
I was taken aback when my train from Frankfurt Flughafen started going backwards from Köln. Then I remembered the same thing happened in Visakhapatnam. But just to be sure I asked the gentleman sitting beside me if the train was still heading to Wuppertal.
I secretly heaved a sigh of relief when he said it was.
The Schwebebahn station is right next to the Wuppertal hauptbahnhof. You see the stairs going up on the left just as you leave the station. The beautiful hanging tram, which runs over the river Wupper (from which the town gets its name), feels like a large cable car as it gently sways while running. I had no idea that such a mode of transportation existed. It’s so super cool!
I have actually been to Wuppertal two times — at the beginning and the end of my five-week backpacking trip through western Europe in 2012. While on the first instance I stayed for a night, I stayed two nights the second time.
Nestled among hills in west Germany, this university town is not what you’d call touristy. There are pretty narrow backstreets which you can take up the little hills. I took a bus up to the university and walked down a picturesque stepped way to the centre. I saw a beautiful orange church with two pointy tops (it’s probably a well-known church in the area, but I never cared to find out its name because I’m not really a church person), ate some delicious doner kebab and schnapps (incredibly strong stuff).
There is a beautiful botanical garden where my very last afternoon in the town. It’s a great place to laze on the lawn and do nothing.
Another thing I found interesting about this town is the street lights. Near the Loher Brücke Schwebebahn station, there is a steep narrow street with no space for street light posts. So, what they have done is, hang the lights above the middle of the street. Pretty smart. Not too far away was an old ivy-covered house, the front light of which switched on as soon as you went nearby. I’ve seen that elsewhere since then. But that was the first time I’d seen such a thing and it was fun.
Visit Wuppertal to take a break from regular touristy destinations. It’s just another German town with a hanging tram.