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Even Better than the Black Forest- Hiking the Palatine Mountains, Southern Germany

On the west side of the Rhine River valley is a forest known as the Palatine Mountain Forest. Although not nearly as famous as its close neighbour the Black Forest, it is larger and offer incredible hikes that are easily accessible from surrounding towns. The first week of our trip to Germany we spent in the town of Neustadt an der Weistraße staying with our friends Natalie and Jonas. The town is right on the edge of the forest, so, of course we planned some hikes.

Things had been far from warm since we arrived in Germany. Snow had fallen as we stepped off of our plane in Frankfurt and the temperatures had continued to fall. But we were only in southern Germany for a week and were determined to explore as much as we could. So, instead of hiding inside with a cup of hot tea like sane people, we bundled up and decided to head up a mountain in the frost.

The morning the hike was planned looked particularly cold. Although the clouds had lifted a bit, it was clear that this was a recent thing. The branches of trees and ivy leaved not only on the mountain but also in town were blanketed in a fur of frost. Although it looked incredibly beautiful and magical, my chronically cold self was dreading what I was sure I was in for. Regardless I put on my leggings, followed by the warmest pants I had with me, then the undershirt, merino wool shirt, thick cotton sweater, thick wool sweater, and a wind breaker, two pairs of socks inside thick hiking boots and headed out into the cold. I wasn’t the only one. Even Logan who is chronically overheating was layered up and ready to battle the conditions outside.