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  • Karin Zeitvogel

Robin, schmobin. Culinary hikes are a sure sign of spring in Germany





Springtime in Germany means rain, a little more sun than in winter – and Germans getting outside to do things, many of which involve food and drink, and some of which ingeniously allow you to burn off calories as you ingest them.

 

Those are what's known as “culinary hikes,” and two of them – the Dubbeglas Wanderung in Wolfstein, near Kusel, and the Kulinarische Panoramawanderung – are coming up. Both are a short drive from Kaiserslautern and Ramstein.


First, the Dubbeglas Wanderung. It takes place May 4 and 5 and is named after a fairly sizeable glass with indentations that is traditionally used to drink wine in the Pfalz region. The indentations, called dubbe, ostensibly make the glass easier to hold, and judging by the drinking songs many Germans were intoning while they zig-zagged up and down the hills around Wolfstein last year, the system works. I didn't see a single broken glass on the 6.8-kms (4.2 miles) course.

 

Dubbeglas hikers can buy a small bag containing a ¼-liter dubbe glass, a map of the course, and tokens for two spritzers, in the Rathausplatz, nicknamed the Schorleplatz[1] for the weekend, or online. The bag costs 15 euros on the day, or 13.95 euros ahead of time (but you might be too late for that).

 

Alternatively, you can “borrow” a glass along the route against payment of a deposit, which is returned if the glass is.


Or, if you're a carpenter with a healthy imagination, you can do what this woman did and make your own portable bar, which doubles as a chair when you want to sit while you sip.


Food and drink every 500 meters

This year, there are nine stops along the route, meaning sustenance is never far.

 

The main square is packed with different food stands, including Flammkuchen (appropriately from the fire department), churros, crêpes, Transylvanian chimney cakes, and more.


The barbecue stand (#9, near the end or, if you go against traffic, one stop from the Rathausplatz) has a vegetarian option.

Last year, you could get a delicious flame-roasted salmon sandwich up the hill at the World War I memorial (stop #5), but that isn't listed this year. You might get lucky, though, and they might show up, but if not, there are burgers, dumplings, or, for the daring, something that translates as “red wine meat stew from bull’s balls” at stop #3.

 

All the stands offer wine, and at least one offers sparkling wine. Beer is available because, well, Germany.

 

The Culinary Panorama Hike takes place May 5th only.


Officially, it starts in Glan-Münchweiler, where a brass band will play as hikers set off in whatever direction they please. If you were to do all of the official routes, you'd hike the equivalent of 3/4 of a marathon. But you can choose any route, start where you want, and make your hike as short or long as you like.


Shortcuts are marked in red on the hike's map, and there are estimates of how long it will take you to walk between two points. If there are two times, the longer one means you'd be heading uphill.


The map's legend indicates which eating establishments are participating in this year's hike.Many of the stops are brick-and-mortar cafés, gelaterias and restaurants, but there were also a couple of stands last year. One – up the hill after Glan-Münchweiler – sold homemade cakes to raise money for a local daycare. A chocolate cupcake was 50 cents and very tasty.

 

The way-marked paths take you through nine villages near Ramstein. There’s no entry fee.

 

Last year, we started in Matzenbach, took the Glan-Blies bike path to Rehweiler where we stopped for cake and coffee at the Milchhäuschen, before moving on to Glan-Münchweiler. From there, we headed toward Reuschbach but turned left after the daycare stand and cut through the woods on one of the shortcuts to get back to the car. There, with seven miles in our legs, we experienced another German tradition: the spring downpour.


On a shortcut back to where the car was parked in the Kulinarische Panoramawanderung, May 2023. It was uphill briefly but then downhill through the woods. (All photos by K. Zeitvogel)

 

Note: There’s another culinary hike near the Kaiserslautern military community on May 25 and 26 in Herxheim, near Bad Dürkheim,

 


[1] A Schorle is juice or wine with bubbly water or soda.

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