After eating our sumptuous lunch and a walk around the city of Kaiserslautern we went off to south of the town. With Deelow’s “reliable” GPS we took the road that leads to Humberg Hill. A mountain forest at the end of the Palatinate forest. We reached the Bertha von Suttner IGS School and caught up in a dead end which led to a hiking trail. When we looked at the GPS, we found out that the hike to the tower was still too far, so we decided to follow the direction given, to enter another road. Deelow made a U-turn and entered an unknown road. A “No Entry” sign was posted but we head on. As we enter, we knew something was not right, as the road became narrower and turned into a dirt road. We didn’t see any hikers or any vehicles but still we moved forward. We went uphill and downhill and reached a crossroad, the GPS was getting crazy because of the signal so we went right then right there a man in bicycle passed by us. Deelow tried calling his attention but he just ignored us.
So I decided to go to the other road and after running for awhile I decided this road was the wrong one. So I run uphill again and rejoined with my sister in the car. We moved left and right until finally we found the marker and according to the GPS the tower is just up the trail. There were two elderly women sitting by the picnic table and they were surprised to see us.
Fortunately they speak english and explained to us that vehicles are not allowed in the trails. So our first hunch was right the road is a hiking trail. To leave the park without going back to the long way they suggested that we have to take the trail on our left. We thanked them and made a turn and drove down the road. We passed by several rock markers and took our time to take photos of the beautiful view. Deelow had an appointment at 4pm so we have no time to park and hike back up the tower. we have decided that we will save it for another day. All the markers we passed through were written in German so we had no clue of what it says. We also saw couple of stones with carving of a coat or arms and numbers. We imagined the road we are driving was once the royal road that led to the castle where the tower is.
We have no idea what the tower is for, only that it must be the one of the remnants of an ancient castle that once stood on the Humberg Hill. It can also be the inspiration in the story of Rapunzel, the fairytale of a young woman with a long, golden hair trapped in a tower. The trail was indeed fast and we reached the main road much faster than before. Deelow took over driving and we went to her house for her appointment.
After seeing the house and calling some of the appointments, we still have plenty of time to explore the vicinity. It is me in the wheels now, I followed my intuition and drove around the highway and passed by Otterbach and back to the main town of Kaiserslautern. Remembering the way I head back to the Bertha von Suttner road but alas as we went near the park Deelow received a call so we went to our next house hunting.
After exploring the house, the park, the grocery the sun was still up and Deelow drove us back to Kaiserslautern and finally we passed by the Humberg Hill again and we found a small parking lot by the road and Deelow made a quick turn and we were at last on the foot of the hill to start our ascend to the tower. We parked by the Parkplazt Rothe Hohl and we were the only vehicle there. We took a picture by the stone fountain and we walked on.
The trail was very intersting because each landmark in the hill was depicted by a driving sign painted on a tree. In our case we followed the arrows with a symbol of a tower. We lost track of time as we admire the silence and beauty of this park. We came across a couple of fellow hikers and we stopped when we reach a small resting area. Where there a boulders around, picnic tables and a small stage. The markers became quite confusing so we went to the right and not so far we reached a three fork trail and with no symbols on the trees we went back to the resting area.
We saw a hiker walking back and forth a short but steep path and we asked him. He was very helpful. he told us everything, where to turn and how fast it is to get there. We thanked him and we went on our way. We did a couple of turns and uphill before we finally reached the area where the 2 women saw us. But to our dismay the symbol on the tree trunks were pointing to another direction, the direction where we drove the car before. We got confused and was going to ignore the marker when an old man came and we asked him.
We were happy that he knew where the tower was for he was going to the same place we were going to. So we head on and he told us what path to take and as we hike, he was not far behind us and when we reached a fork I turned my head around and he pointed where to go and finally we reached the Humberg Tower. I stopped and took a deep breath to admire “Rapunzel’s tower” as I call it. Took a couple of pictures and Deelow explored the site, besides us and the old man there were also hikers and bikers around the tower.
I took a picture of the front, sides and back of it, Deelow and I climbed the steps to the top. Deelow told me that Port Isabel lighthouse is still the scariest stairs, while this tower is similar to the Pensecola Lighthouse. Panting and catching our breaths when we reached the top we were awestruck to see the city of Kaiserslautern in the distance, with its high steeple churches and roofs. While on the back of the tower is the dense Palatinate Forest. After that we went down which was so much easier, and at the bottom of the tower where two stairs in the outside met is a history of the tower.
“On August 23rd 1896 dedicated citizens of Kaiserslautern founded the Humberg-Verein (Humberg Club) with the aim of organizing the construction and financing of an observation tower. The first general meeting was held on September 14th 1896, with Major Charles Motte elected as the club’s first chairman. Among the founding members were the manufacturer Pfaff, the owners of a printing press (Rohr), the commerce councilors Pfeiffer and Karcher and the malt producer Gelbert.
October 1898 saw the start of construction. The tower, which had already grown to ten meters, collapsed on May 3rd 1899, probably as a result of defective mortar. Following reconstruction, the tower was inaugurated on September 2nd 1900. In March 1909, the Humberg Club disbanded. During the Second World War, the tower served as a plane observation facility for a military intelligence unit. An octagonal sandstone building and a new spire were constructed after the war. In 1963, the Scout Association of St George installed a brass orientation panel on the observation deck. It was renovated and supplemented in 1995.
The Humberg Tower was built according to the plans of the architect Ludwig Ritter von Stempel. It is in monumental sandstone ashlar, typical for the Wilhelmine period, with Neo-Romanesque overtones. The octagonal base is 8.65 meters high; the outer staircase has 33 steps, whilst the spiral staircase inside the tower has 130. The observation platform is at a height of 28.16 meters above the ground. The total height of the tower is 35.77 meters. The tower stands on the Humberg hill (424.30 meters above sea level).”
I was a little disappointed that the tower was not the inspiration of Rapunzel because it was only built long after The Grimms Brothers but I will still call it Rapunzel’s tower. As the sun slowly sets in the horizon me and Deelow hurried back down the trail we came from following the same path but we got too comfortable for we ended up in a new trail. We were too far from the familiar one before we realize it and it was too far to go back. So following the GPS and our instinct we continued our journey downhill and we made it back to the car before sundown. It was Deelow’s biggest concern, the car.
After a day of adventuring we went to Mr. Lian’s Restaurant near the Military base and sat down at the veranda. Drank a beer while Deelow enjoy some mango juice and we ordered some of their Asian cuisine. Nightfall arrived and all I can say about the restaurant was it has its authentic Asian food from Thai, Japanese, Korean, Filipino and other dishes they captured the taste of it. The Chicken Curry was excellent, it was the perfect thing to do for someone who made a great adventure and to end another day. Deelow ordered a salad with bbq and she gave me a bite and it was good.
Dusk and darkness reached us in the veranda of the restaurant and more people came to enjoy some dinner. The exploration of Kaiserslautern and Humberg Tower was a success.
Here are the links for more information: