Yes, to our ears, it is an unusual name but Worms is a city, in fact it claims to be the oldest town in Germany and the journey from Speyer (50,000) to Worms (80,000) is bisected by the 300,000 population twin-cities of Mannheim/Ludwigshafen.
That’s a lot of people in 48 kilometres but apart from lots of people enjoying a little Easter sun along the river levies we hardly encountered anyone due to the Easter Monday holiday. This was absolutely a bonus for us- no Monday commuters heading off to two of the biggest industrial enterprises in Germany.
Mannheim is the birthplace of Mercedes Benz, where the first car was developed and, apparently, Mrs. Benz took the first 100 km car ride in history! Ludwigshafen’s claim to fame is the colossal 10 square kilometre complex that is BASF, the world’s biggest chemical company… and believe me, 10 square kilometres of chemical research, manufacturing and exporting facilities is IMMENSE! The employees are given bicycles to get around the site and the cycle parking lots are also IMMENSE! Rather disconcertingly, the air around the complex smells like a blend of plastic, glue and rubber. Hmmm…
Luckily our ride began and ended in stretches through pretty forests, with spring flowers and blossoms starting to really colour the trees and, with more sun forecast tomorrow, it should be even more colourful along the Rhine in a few days.