Hiking is very popular in Germany. Many people joined groups who travel all over the country, others participate in organized events and probably the majority prefers to walk in their own pace, either alone, with their family or friends.
Thuringia with its beautiful scenery formed by old towns, castles, rivers and the Thuringian Forest is a paradise for all kind of hikers.
Unlike the "Rennsteig" which is the best known hiking trail of this state, the "Pummpälzweg" was only opened in June 2002.
Certainly, you want to know what a "Pummpälz" is. Just have a close look at above picture of this little, long haired goblin. As punishment for all those who do not live in peace and harmony he jumps at night on their back and slaps their face.
So please for your own sake - behave yourself. Otherwise he goes after you!
The trail is 28 km (17.50 miles) long. The attraction of the "Pummpälzweg" is that you will not only enjoy great natural scenery, you also will be familiarized with old Thuringian legends which have been preserved by two German writers in the 19 th century - Ludwig Bechstein and Christian Ludwig Wucke. On 22 historical places along the trail the related legends can be read in German, English and a local dialect.
This gives you an opportunity to relax. Wooden seat benches and sometimes tables are provided at each place. Share them with other hikers and have a chat.
Please do not be disappointed if their English is not so great. In former East Germany, everybody had to learn Russian but not English.
Take pictures of the wooden sculptures which were carved by local artists and students!
I was given a brief tour in a "Pummpälweg Van" by Mr. Wolf, who seems to be one of the initiators of this great and unique trail. Because of my keen injury I did not want to take the risk of walking.
Please check also the German web site for detailed information about events. We are not able to keep our site up to date.
Some of the following pictures have been provided by Mr. Werner Wolf. Many thanks for that to him and his friendly crew. Mr. Wolf was also a great help by giving us advise and guidance what to show from beautiful Thuringia.
The "Pummpälzweg" starts or ends in Eisenach where you should visit the famous "Wartburg".
I believe the best way to enjoy hiking the "Pummpälzweg" is to select a section. To get a map is certainly a great help. Please use our contact information and ask how to get one.
The "Pummpälzweg" can easily be found. Signs are shown in many places. Just follow them.
Parking should be no problem and certain parts of the hiking path are used by agricultural vehicles and you are allowed to use them with you car. But please obey the traffic signs!
The famous "Wartburg" in Eisenach
Hiking the "Pummpälzweg" in Thuringia
It was during the week and not in high season when we explored parts of the trail. We did not see any hikers. Thuringia as well as other "new" of the unified Germany are obviously still a well kept secret.
What I liked was that the route allowed you to see the great countryside of Thuringia. Even when the Thuringian Forest is the best known attraction nature has to offer the sights in the country side can also be breathtaking. Don't forget your camera!
The condition of the hiking trail varies. Parts have a asphalt coating others are gravel road. That means existing field roads form the essential part. I considered this as an advantage when I used the car to show certain places to Elizabeth, my wife. Nobody complained, because nobody was there - except a lonely skater - to do so.
Elizabeth enjoyed reading the local legends in English and she did not complain about the quality of the translations.
The surrounding carvings are normally related to the old tales which have been brought to life again and displayed to the interested public.
Many legends and fairy tales found their way to Hollywood and became "Americanized".
I think it was a great idea to create such an unique hiking trail and to think about visitors from other countries. Museums should learn from this example.
As you can see in the German web sit of the "Pummpälzweg" many events took place or a planned for the future. We certainly would like to join a group of fun loving people. When we were part of a walking club in Bavaria it was never boring and language was not a barrier at all.
If you see a group of people using two walking canes, they are not handicapped seniors - they are "Nordic walkers". Elizabeth tried it and loved it. All muscles of your body are used when you do it properly, the pressure on your knees is reduced and you burn more fat.
Nordic Walking is very popular in Europe
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Children having fun
Watch the video "Thuringia, hiking the Pummpälzweg":
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