At the morning prayer of the deaconesses we meet all the sisters. The superior sister is happy that there are pilgrims and asks if they could hear something about us. I go to the front and tell them that we have already been to Santiago, but that pilgrimage does not just stop then, but continues throughout life, also becomes a philosophy of life. We started in Leipzig because I am a devotee of Johann Sebastian Bach, I explain who we are, where we come from and where we intend to go. The sisters are very pleased. After the prayer, breakfast is ready for us. Another guest joins us, but otherwise we are alone.
Afterwards we say goodbye and set off again. Hans gets a new seat post while I wait for him at the Georgenkirche. When I was here in 2004, the church was scaffolded and freshly painted. Now it is already covered with graffiti again.
Along the Werra, the bike runs as if by itself. We keep a lookout for the old zone border, but cannot discover anything. We ride through a nature reserve and stop for lunch at a bird watching station.
This is how cycling is fun
Dankmarshausen on the Werra river. The mountain in the background is overburden from the mine
My destination is Vacha, the end of the ecumenical pilgrimage route. However, we approach Vacha from the other side, passing potash mines with their huge mountains of overburden. A few kilometers before Vacha we discover signs to the Rhönradweg and the Ulsterradweg. These bike paths would solve our problem of how to get from Vacha to Hühnfeld without having to use the busy B84, or the very hilly Pilgrims' Way. We decide to take the Ulsterradweg (Ulster cycle path).
The bike paths are not marked in our bike maps. Very soon it turns out that the Ulsterradweg leads on an abandoned railroad track. This is very pleasant, as we have to cross a chain of hills. The rails are gone, the path is tarred, the old railroad bridges are freshly painted with blue paint. The path goes gently uphill and we pass old railroad stations. The signs are still there. There is also a railroad crossing still - out of service - as well as old signals. In Buttlar an inn garden invites to a coffee stop. The Ulsterradweg brings us via Geisa, where we cross the Jakobsweg, to Tann. We ride into the small town and look for a place to stay in a hotel. In the center of the town stands the statue of the stern-looking Baron von Tann. Old houses and town gates give Tann a romantic appearance.
Near Geisa we cross the Way of St. James.
At the Eleven Apostles' House in Tann, the twelfth was lost during a rebuild.
Baron von Tann stands quite proudly on the pedestal and looks very, very sternly into the area.