Manuel Andrack’s experience of the premium round-trip hiking trails
It was not long ago that I had a dream, a nightmare in fact. In this dream there were only 99 premium round-trip trails, it made me think of the 1980s song “99 Red Balloons” by Nena. How terrible! Another nightmare featured 110 beautiful round-trip trails, not good, either – it always reminds you of the emergency phone number in Germany. But then I awoke with a smile on my face, as I knew, oh how wonderful, there are indeed 111 premium round-trip trails. Not a dream, pure reality, but a hike of your dreams. But how do you go about explaining to someone who has never heard of such a thing what a premium round-trip trail is? It’s actually quite easy, here are the 11 paragraphs of the Basic Law of the premium round-trip trails:
1. Each premium round-trip trail is like a bow you tie around a gift. The advantage: Hikers have a comfortable journey to the starting point of each hiking tour, the hiking portal, either by car on well-signposted roads or by public transport. Then you can walk in a loop. You then find yourself back at the starting point and you can make your way back home again. Or stop off at an inn to treat yourself to a well-deserved beer.
2. All of the premium round-trip trails are located in the hiking region of Saarland-Hunsrück near the Saar-Hunsrück-Steig, Germany’s best long-distance hiking trail. Stretching from the Upper Moselle at the Franco-German-Luxembourg tripoint in the west to the World Cultural Heritage Site by the Middle Rhine in the east, from the Middle Moselle in the north to the river Nahe in the south, the Saar-Hünsrück region is a hiking region.
3. You cannot lose your bearings on any of the premium round-trip trails. What does that mean? It means you can leave your hiking map at home. You won’t need a compass or a GPS device either for that matter. When I have found my starting point at the hiking portal of the premium round-trip trail, the wonderful hiking experience can begin. By doing away with the need for maps and other aids, there is enough time left over to concentrate on the bare essentials when hiking: Looking, smelling, listening, enjoyment of the great outdoors. Some prefer a sporty hike with many elevations, others come with their children and are looking for a short route with lots of variety. Then there are those who wish to come by train, while others would like to stop off and dine at a Michelin-starred restaurant. As tastes are varied, the region of premium round-trip trails offers a potpourri to suit everyone.
4. Landscape experiences in a class of their own are guaranteed in the region with the premium round-trip trails. Sweeping hills, deeply carved valleys, stunning rocky backdrops, enchanted castles. The premium round-trip trails avoid tarmacked sections wherever possible. Most of the hike takes you along narrow, near-natural paths – each step is sheer bliss for your feet and for your soul.
5. It is easy to lose track in the face of 111 premium round-trip trails, but actually that’s not necessary. A total of 12 differentiation categories help the hiker to find the premium round-trip trail tailored exactly to meet his needs.
6. The premium round-trip trails are “nahe” (close-by) trails. Not only are many of the premium round-trip trails located near the river Nahe, but more importantly: The network of premium round-trip trails is so closely linked together in the Saar-Hunsrück region that it is never very far from one to the next and the one after that. If you stay the night in a hotel or guest house somewhere in the region with these premium round-trip trails, for instance, there are always many premium round-trip trails in the immediate vicinity. In other words, near the river Nahe and close to each other.
7. The premium round-trip trails are international routes. Although most of the hiking trails are located in Rhineland-Palatinate, several of these trails are on Ducal territory in Luxembourg. The region of premium round-trip trails is even so multilingual that there are 45 routes in Saarland. That is the embodiment of fraternity of peoples!
8. The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, as the saying goes. This also applies to the love of hiking. It is thus a matter of course that the premium round-trip routes offer ideal places to stop for a rest. But at some point, every backpack will have been emptied of food and drink. So if you are still hungry and thirsty, head to the catering establishments right by the premium round-trip routes and treat yourself to some culinary delights.
9. Caution! This is a warning notice! Hiking on the premium round-trip trails can be addictive! Many hikers wonder what to do when they have completed all 111 of the premium round-trip trails. The answer is simple – walk the 111 trails again – this time in the other direction. This will provide completely new insights, views and experiences along the route, honestly!
10. All of the premium routes are beautiful and meet high standards when it comes to quality, as otherwise they would not be premium trails. But just as in real life, one trail is beautiful, others are more beautiful and several are the most beautiful. And there is a whole host of these more beautiful and most beautiful trails in the Traumschleifen-Land. These descriptions can, by all means, be quantified. The German Hiking Institute awards points for each premium trail. For a trail to call itself a “premium trail”, it needs to score a minimum of 45 points. But it can’t claim to be a “Premium Round-trip Trail”! For a route needs a rating of at least 60 points to secure a place for itself in the orchestra of the premium round-trip trail concert.
11. The high quality of the premium round-trip trails has been on every hikers’ lips in Germany for some time now. These premium round-trip trails have won the award as “Hiking Trail of the Year” again and again at the official German hiking trail championships. The numbers speak for themselves: Over the past few years, five premium round-trip trails have achieved first place in these hiking Olympics, one premium round-trip trail was awarded second place, another third place. This means that there have been hardly any awards for “Hiking Trail of the Year” over the past few years without a premium round-trip trail being among the medal rankings. That speaks for itself!
This then completes the Basic Law of Premium Round-trip Trails with its 11 sections. So what are you waiting for? Fasten your hiking boots with a smart bow. The premium round-trip trails are calling! Have fun with the 111 trails for pure hiking enjoyment!
Your Manuel Andrack