The Via Regia, the ecumenical pilgrimage route, leads us - how could it be otherwise - on the Jakobstrasse (James street) out of the city in a park, past the Zoological Garden to the Luppe and along the little river Luppe on a cycle path to the east.
Unfortunately, the Luppe has lost its natural streambed. But there is a revitalization project.
We follow the markings and decide from case to case between the bike path and the Way of St. James. Sometimes it becomes quite narrow and bumpy. Stinging nettles brush against our bare legs. Occasionally it goes through a forest. Who finds the mark (scallop shell) in the picture on the left?
Past the ruins of the Sixti Church, the path leads to the city of Merseburg.
The church of St. Sixti was founded in 1045 and became a collegiate church in 1327.
The new construction of the late Gothic hall church, begun in the 16th century, was not completed. Since the 30-year war St. Sixti is a ruin.
The Romanesque tower was converted into a water tower in 1888/89.
In the center of Merseburg, in the Gotthardstrasse.
Merseburg is a nice town with partially intact city center.
The castle with the imposing cathedral is located on a hill. The pilgrims walk up the stairs, we push our bikes on a steep sandy path quite strenuous up. (It would have been easier from the other side.) In a castle courtyard a brass concert takes place. I am drawn to the cathedral 'St. John and Laurence'.
Because of the 'Open Monument Day' there is a small snack stand in the cloister. We enjoy goulash soup with apple juice in the courtyard of the cloister.
We have a little trouble finding our way out of town, but eventually even that becomes clear. It goes to the stage destination in Freyburg.
Once again, the pilgrimage route runs along the bike path. It fits well that we are on the road by bike.
To get to Freyburg, we first climb the castle hill with Neuenburg Castle and look down on the town. A wine festival is taking place there right now.
Too bad, we have not visited the most beautiful castle in Saxony-Anhalt. For those interested here is a link to Neuenburg Castle
In Freyburg an der Unstrut we move into our pilgrim's quarters in the Fiedelak coach house (room on the second floor). It is a real suite! Hans sleeps in the double bed and I in the sleeping bag on the couch.
Here you can also see how the 'Via Regia' works. The ecumenical St. James' Association turns to the parishes. The parishes are looking for who can take pilgrims. The addresses are published in the pilgrim guide. The hostel parents are instructed. There are periodic meetings of the hostel parents.