People from the Palatinate have never been accused of being quiet. You usually hear them from afar – and inside the lodge of Deidesheim’s local mountain Eckkopf, quiet is nowhere to be found. They come from the Palatinate region, from the Netherlands, from France and America – even from foreign lands just across the Rhine – the vacationing folks who climb some 500 meters to reach the mountain top at weekends. Up here, it’s not just about a bratwurst and “Woi”, as wine is referred to in this region, but also a spectacular view …
You eagerly emerge from the forest and approach the lodge –– having already overcome more than you might have thought possible: the altitude difference of 516 meters often turns out to be more than what you expected down in Deidesheim. But then you reach the top and enter the lodge, and they are all here: the sworn community of Eckkopf enthusiasts huddled together at the foot of the lookout tower, a steel construction from 1975 and the proud successor of two wooden towers. Without fail, the climbers intone an ode to Palatinate wine, the “Palzwei” song, the ninepins club of Iggelheim perform a rousing rendition of the “Lewwerworscht” song, a tribute to the Palatinate speciality liverwurst, while the boys of the scat society make an announcement: “Schnawwel zu, sonz fliecht dir was nei!” (“Close your mouth, before something flies in!”)
Honestly, where else can you still find this: people coming together to sing merrily and simply enjoy life in peace. This is how Beethoven must have meant it, or at least something very similar to this. Elsewhere in Germany, practices like these have almost died out. Here in the Palatinate region, no one thinks they are preserving a cultural practice; they see it as the unfiltered expression of joie de vivre. The atmosphere here inside the Eckkopf lodge is folksy rather than national. It is characterised by direct democracy like it once was at the Hambach Festival. Of course, everyone here is on a first-name basis. No matter if they come alone or with someone else, hiking or biking – hikers of all kinds love to climb up here. No one stays alone for long anyway – philosophising misanthropes avoid this place of spontaneous fraternisation. Or they are converted.
On the tables, you see “Dubbeglas” next to “Dubbeglas”, the typical regional wine glasses, and the Palatinate rule of three: “Grieweworscht” (black pudding), “Lewwerworscht” (liverwurst), “Schwartemagen” (head cheese). Today, steak is even on the menu. It is the KCD’s turn, the carnival society of Deidesheim. How come? Well, the Eckkopf lodge has been run on voluntary basis at the weekends for more than fourty years. Groups such as the young wine-growers’ society “Jungwinzer Niederkirchen”, the sports club “TSG Deidesheim”, the “Marlachfohlen” (the “foals from Marlach”), the “Marlachfrösche” (the “frogs from Marlach”), the local fire brigade, the folk dance and traditional costumes group, the football society “Schoppekicker”, the scout group, the handball team and whoever else wants to participate take their turns in this merry madness.