Do you know which city attracts a lot of tourists? H-E-I-D-E-L-B-E-R-G ^^ But why is it that you see one Asian tourist group after another here?
A picturesque old town
Heidelberg is a city in the southwest of Germany and famous for its picturesque old town with the castle ruins. In addition, the oldest university of Germany is located here. It is therefore not surprising that a quarter of Heidelberg’s inhabitants are students. This combination of castle ruins and old town attracts quite a few visitors from all over the world. And I just happened to have my apprenticeship near Heidelberg, which is why I’ve been to the city several times ^^ So I just want to briefly tell you a bit about the city.
A relatively barrier-free city
As already mentioned, Heidelberg is an old town – so rather wobbly and bumpy for a wheelchair user, because there are simply too many cobblestones. But the city is nevertheless very accessible for wheelchairs! I was once told that it was because of all the clinics and facilities. Since I was in a “facility” myself at the time, I can only confirm that. The buses were wheelchair accessible with ramps and lifting platforms. And there was also a barrier-free swimming pool in the middle of the city or rather in the shopping centre “Darmstädter Hof” xD There is a large changing room and barrier-free access to the swimming pool.
Other tourists attractions
Besides the castle Heidelberg has of course more to offer ^^ Thus one can see at the Kornmarkt with the “Kornmarkt Madonna” also called “the Mother of God fountain” and take a pretty good photo, since the castle is directly in the background. Or take a closer look at the “Old Bridge” also known as Karl-Theodor-Bridge. The bridge shows the classical bridge building art in stone. On one side of the bridge there is even a bridge gate from the Middle Ages. It used to be part of the old town wall.
Many shops and restaurants are located in the main street. As long as you are in the main street, most of the entrances to the shops and restaurants will be barrier-free. It is only in the side streets that you have to expect older buildings and steps in front of the entrance door.
Since I get around most of the time in a manual wheelchair with my family or friends, it is quiet easy to ask random people for help. But even if I was travelling alone in an electric wheelchair, there were always super friendly people who helped me and could lift me up a step together.
By now I personally don’t mind asking passers-by. The worst thing that can happen is a “no” and then I just ask the next person. However, it is definitely easier to ask people for help if you are not sitting in a huge electric wheelchair. Therefore, I think about which wheelchair to use depending on the situation and place ^^
But if you want to be on the safe side, I can suggest the following website: http://heidelberg.huerdenlos.de/index.php?id=980
Here you can find descriptions of the accessibility of all possible places/objects in Heidelberg! Unfortunately, the site is only available in German, but even if you don’t understand German, the signs can help you…and google translate xD
Things I learned:
1) Heidelberg is a relatively wheelchair-friendly city
2) However, shops in the side streets of the old town are hardly accessible for wheelchair users, as they are located in older buildings with steps.