Wein + wanderung and other great German combos


German is fraught with long, complex compound words. This Saturday I learned one that brings together two of my favorite weekend activities: wine + hike = Weinwanderung. It’s exactly what it sounds like: A leisurely 5K hike through vineyards along the Rhein marked with wine stands along the way.


Summer arrived here overnight and the weather for the hike was hotter than anything James and I experienced in Germany so far. We brought a couple of water bottles and took the train with a small American crew along the Rhein to Rüdesheim. For twelve euros, we got a 0.1 liter tasting glass and a yellow passport-esque pass to be stamped at each of the ten wine stands en route in exchange for a tasting we chose from printed lists. The glass looked tiny, but after several tastings combined with the beautiful scenery and endless summer sunlight it was easy to lose track of time (including lunch time and dinner time). I woke up the next morning with sunburned shoulders, blistered feet, and a light headache – sure signs of a good weekend.


Today, on the last day of the weekend (Pentecost is a day off here), I’ve thought of a few more of my favorite German compound words:

Burgfest = castle + festival, like the one I went to yesterday that featured a great Queen cover band

Meersweinchen = sea + piggy = Guinea pig

Rathaus = advice + house = town hall

Aberglaube = however + belief = superstition

Granatapfel = garnet + apple = pomegranate

Krankenschwester = sick + sister = nurse (or for the male nurse, Krankenpfleger = sick + keeper/caregiver)


One thought on “Wein + wanderung and other great German combos

  1. Sounds like fun. You do remember, right? Rathaus and burgfest I never thought of as compound nouns. I think my favorite on your list is aberglaber.

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