We started the New Year with a good, healthy walk up the mountains of the Haardt. We chose our favorite path that leads from the famous Hambach Castle up to the Hohe Loog, 618 m altitude. A moderate inclining (coming from Southern Sweden, it was the highest up we walked in a long time :-) ) trail through the forest with several beautiful views down over the Rhine-valley with all the small villages and countless rows of vines. Walking distance: ca 1,5 hours.
Hambach Castle, the place where German democracy was born.
Once arriving at the top, you will typically go in to the Hohe-Loog-house to drink a nice, cool Riesling-Schorle (white wine mixed with bubbly mineral water) and eat a good, hearty, r-e-a-l Bratwurst or some other ri-i-ch Pfälzer food (Leberknödel, Saumagen, to name a few).
This is (by the way) one of the big cultural clashes we have experienced in our relationship. B-i-g eyes I got, when my wiking took me for the first walk through the Swedish forests, packing the matsäck (backpack with food and coffee/tea)! 'Can't we just stop by at some nice place along the way?' I would ask, smiling mildly. 'There are no restaurant-like-places on the way through the Swedish woods', he'd say, triumphantly (as in: we are the n-a-t-u-r-e lovers). I d-i-d hear what he said, still convinced, it cannot be that bad... To go to the forest without going to the 'Hütte' is almost unthinkable for the real Pfälzer! (I would dare state it is the whole meaning with hiking...) But, I have learned better now, and know, he was not kidding me. (There i-s nothing in the Swedish woods!)
However, I have come a long way: we never went in there, yesterday! (We'll regret!) (I am sure!) Feeling very satisfied with all food and wine we got during the holidays, we were not at all longing for any of it just then. (Hope, we are not getting sick?)
So, if you would like to do better than us and go have some wine while hiking through the Pfalz, here comes some example-routes for you, just click it.
The Haardt mountains protect the area and vineyards from too heavy weather and provides the micro climates for many of the sites. It is divided in different parts, with the most southern one going over into the most northern parts of the French Vosgeses.