It is the sixth day and still the sun laughs and welcomes us friendly with its warm rays. "Always follow the shell signs" is the motto today. Very pleasant that the Way of St. James leads on bike paths. Johannesberg, Bronnzell, Eichzell, Welkers are the names of the places we cycle through. In Welkers, there is a Gothic altar in the modern church. I would have liked to visit it, but unfortunately the church is closed. "There's too much theft," says a woman who's just passing by.
But years later in September 2015, I received an email from a bike pilgrim. She had read my report and sent me this photo of the altar.
(Photo Ellen Fehlow )
After Welkers, the Way of St. James becomes too steep and difficult for bicycles. So we take another route and ride along the little river Fulda upstream to Gersfeld. There we take a well-deserved break with apple strudel and coffee. After the long uphill ride, I'm looking forward to the downhill ride, but it turns out differently. First we find out that the most direct connection to our next stage destination Bischofsheim, the B279, is closed due to construction work. But that is no obstacle for cyclists! We still ask the construction workers and learn that the road is almost finished and should not be a problem for cyclists. What a wide wonderful bike path without traffic. Now and then a truck or construction vehicle. But it is still uphill to a pass "the Swedish Redoubt". We also cross the Way of St. James and are glad that we did not have to ride on this steep forest road. That would have been impossible! After the pass, it goes briskly downhill and in no time we are in Bischofsheim. There we have a short rest. I visit the church with the interesting freestanding Romanesque tower.
From Welkers via Gersfeld to Bischofsheim
The 26 meter high city tower, (Zentturm) is the landmark of Bischofsheim. The Catholic parish church of St. George is directly adjacent to the imposing tower from the 13th century. In front of the town tower is the Messnerhaus, where the Bischofsheim tourist information is located.
Strengthened and with freshly filled water supplies, we set off in the direction of Kreuzberg, the largest elevation on the Way of St. James in Germany. It is over 900 meters high. I tackle the first inclines with deliberation. Soon we see Bischofsheim from above and I take a photo. Hans rides ahead and I never catch up with him. Another cyclist without luggage overtakes me. I advance only very slowly. At some point I have to dismount and push until it is no longer quite so steep. After about an hour ride with short Schiebeetappen I see the parking lot. From here the drivers have to walk, it can't be far. There are many pedestrians on the way. Then I see the monastery and the beer tables where hundreds of happy Germans sit and pay homage to their favorite sport "beer drinking". Hans is also sitting there and awaits me. We drink a Radler. For the stein, you have to make a commitment. In the crowd of people, I look for the monastery gate. Behind it, it looks more like a hotel than a monastery. We get room keys, take care of our bikes in the courtyard behind the monastery, where the huge St. Bernard dogs are also at home. The luggage goes into the room. It is a simple but beautiful room. Only the cross reminds us of a monastery. From the monastery we tackle the short climb to the top of Kreuzberg. At the top is a huge transmission tower and the three crosses as part of a Way of the Cross. The promised tremendous view is somewhat limited and not so overwhelming due to cloudy weather. It also starts to drizzle a little. We walk back to the monastery and visit the church, where we also sing a little.
The first meters of altitude have been conquered. Bischofsheim lies in the background.
The Kreuzberg is with 928m the highest point on the German Way of St. James from Leipzig to Constance.
Hier wird Bier gebraut und auch getrunken.
St. James at the monastery Kreuzberg
A Way of the Cross leads from the monastery to the top of the mountain. The last stop are these three distinctive crosses.
The crosses on Kreuzberg (Mountain of the cross)
My room at Kreuzberg Monastery
In the church, the cross is the focal point. But St. Kilian is also venerated here. The Franconian apostle is credited with the first erection of a cross in 686.
The night meal is a disappointment, because most of the food is already sold out. So we have meatloaf with mashed potatoes and cabbage.
During the subsequent planning for the next day, Hans explains to me that he would rather continue on a signposted cycle path, preferably along a river, instead of the hilly Way of St James, and suggests that we cycle to the River Main in order to get to Würzburg. After all my preparation, however, I want to stick to the Way of St James, and so we part ways.