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This post is about a 19km walk from Heldra to Hülfensberg. I wake up in a beautiful old guest house and get lost trying to find a monastery.

I had decided to stay the night in a guesthouse that seemed relatively affordable. Little did I know it was an absolute fucking gem.

the house

A few decades earlier, a local doctor with a love for old buildings had bought the ruins of a farm house. It was from the 1600s, and parts of it had collapsed or were on the verge of collapsing. So the doctor had painstakingly renovated the whole thing and turned it into a guesthouse with an attached restaurant.

And then he had filled it with antiques.

I was the only guest in the morning, and so the caretaker gave me a little tour of the premises. It reminded me of the Flanderhof Mansion in Romania, just without the strange tower.

the plan

It was an easy walk at first. It was windy and rainy, but for some reason I didn’t struggle with it a lot. I – once again – crossed the former inner German border, following a quiet road to the town of Wanfried. Then I left the road and followed a bicycle path along the river Werra.

The day before I had written an email to a Franciscan monastery on top of the Hülfensberg, a mountain that was close by, asking if I could spend the night.

“Just be there before seven in the evening”, the monks had replied.

Sure, I thought, I can do that.


A few hours later I was struggling up a forest path, pulling the Caboose through mud and foliage, with tiny snow flakes landing on my jacket. I was lost, and darkness was falling.

Suddenly I didn’t feel so sure anymore that I would reach the monastery before seven.

And then I did a thing that used to be almost impossible for me: I turned around. I gave up on the forest path that I was on, and I walked back down until I got to a fork in the road. And then I took a different way. I don’t know why this used to be such a difficult thing for me to do. Maybe I needed The Longest Way to learn how to turn around?

enter Tristram

I reached the monastery at 18:55. Darkness had fallen hours earlier, and I could see the silhouettes of trees and grave stones against the night sky. There was a massive church with light shining out of the windows. Snow flakes were falling through the light.

It looked like a cut scene from Diablo.


the walk from Heldra to Hülfensberg.:

  • benjamin k.

    I have to apolgizse about my assumption you’d be home safely by the time you posted the frankfurt-post.
    The blog has caught up, and here you are, battling the incredible early and brutal onset of winter, with another 200 km or so to go. That’s one thing, the Longest Way taught me: never be too sure about other peoples plans and actions.


    • Christoph Rehage Post author

      Benjamin, absolutely no need to apologize at all. It makes me very happy to see that you are out here with me in spirit. 🙂


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