My St. James Way to Cologne

This time I made my way to the holy as libertarian Cologne! This time I made 146 km of my pilgrimage to Santiago (of already 790 km since Berlin). The stage led me from the Westphalian Sauerland highlands, over the so called Bergische Land into the Cologne Lowland crossing the River Rhine. On foot I became aware of the differences that still today are marked by the small territories of the Holy Roman Empire, divided into Kölsch beer drinkers, Schalke fans, agricultural, working and middle-class economies and of course incredulous, Catholic and Lutheran cultures. That’s the way my home state North Rhine-Westphalia is. However, in Grevenbrück near Lennestadt I started.

I went over the “Heidenstraße”, a way I took since Elspe! The “Pagans’ way” medieval trade route ran through the unspoiled hills of the Sauerland. From Grevenbrück I hiked first to Attendorn. The road still reminded me of the Hochsauerland, with its many Catholic shrines and chapels. In Attendorn, the St John Baptis parish welcomed me in the person of the extremely friendly pastor Neuser. He had “tricked” me with the promise of just a simple place to sleep, but my “bedstead” became a perfect geastroom in the baroque rectory. Despite summer vacations, the community life seemed very lively, as in Giershagen I had a community meeting. The pastor himself was a pilgrim in Spain. He confirmed, however, that not so many pilgrims had knocked on the streets in Attendorn over the years. Too bad they miss real hospitality, including morning coffee and local newspaper.

More in German: Meinerzhagen, Marienheide, Rösrath and then Cologne… further on the “Via Coloniensis” to Weilerswist and then back by train to Berlin.

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