Search 62305 Camino Questions

A donation to the forum removes ads for you, and supports Ivar in his work running it


Advertisement

Via Imperii Stettin to Berlin in 7 days: stage breakdown (with a tent)

Time of past OR future Camino
Camino del Norte, 2019
Via Regia, 2021
Just came back from this Camino and I'm pumped! This Road has not received a lot of attention on this forum (just a few stray mentions!), so I thought I'll follow in the footsteps of @SYates, who has described the Ecumenical Camino (Oekumenischer Pilgerweg) in the past. Her take was so useful (and also, such a darn good read!) when I was walking that Pilgerweg last year I decided to do something similar for the Via Imperii. I hope it will inspire others to try this beautiful walk.

It's not going to be the live updates that she did (well, I can't really compete with her anyway), but I'll try and describe each stage while it is still fresh in my memory.

If you're thinking of doing this trail or simply looking to walk elsewhere than in Spain, have a read! If you have done this trail, please comment--your input is so appreciated. I remember when I was walking the Oekumenischer Pilgerweg, I was literally lapping up every suggestion I could find on this forum and elsewhere! If you're just looking for some Camino inspiration and thrills, I probably have plenty to spare!

A lot of the information on German Caminos exists in German only (which is a great reason to learn this quirky language!). But I always wonder if it doesn't close the doors for some non-German pilgrims who would love to explore other walking opportunities in Europe. I for one am totally smitten with this Camino, and I'll definitely be going back! Hopefully, the next time I won't be walking alone!

In this post, I'll just give an overview of the trail (with some useful links), and all through the coming week (ish) I'll be posting the daily stage breakdowns. I was also recording audio notes in real time but I'm planning to publish these elsewhere (I'll include a link later). In general, recording yourself is such a great idea! If writing on the trail isn't your thing (for instance, I needed some time away from the screen), recording your experiences is a fun way to etch things into memory.

Some preliminary observations: At just over 200 km, this route qualifies as a short Camino fix (about a week's worth of walking). It takes you first south along the river Oder (which marks the Polish-German border) and then west through the surrounding lake land to the heart of the German capital. It lets you explore many lesser-known cultural gems, like the ruins of an ancient church in Pargowo, slowly claimed by nettles and ivy; the skeletons of churches in Gartz, bombed during WWII; the remnants of a fortification wall and a beautifully preserved Franciscan abbey in Angermünde; the breathtaking abbey at Chorin, and many, many more (see the coming breakdown). I bet you haven't heard about any of these! Germany has this curious way of incorporating the past into the present. It doesn't try and hide the damage the past has done to the monuments, it lets the ruins speak for themselves. But it also introduces new elements, as if saying, Life goes on. There's a sense of continuity in that. Taking it in really makes you wonder.

Terrain/environment: A mix of flat and hilly. You are walking along rivers, streams, and lakes, so there's plenty of variation (plenty of mosquitos, as well!). A few gorgeous forest canyons and spectacular rolling meadows. You're also passing through the Lower Oder National Park, the only national park in Germany that's all riverside forests (Auenlandschaft). I'd say easily about 60% of this route is in the woods. This is great news for your feet and eyes. However, if you're spooked by walking in the woods alone (there are very few pilgrims on the trail), that's also something to consider. It's mostly thick woods, too, with minimal maintenance, so the vibe is quite wild. I kept thinking about the Enchanted Forest (Hörselberge) in Thüringen, which in the days of old was believed to be the home of the gods. You can easily feel that primeval fear of the woods when walking this trail. The asphalt is there, but apart from the cities, there's almost always a soft shoulder to walk on. Overall, your feet will be happy. Bring a swimsuit/trunks so you can use the lakes' full potential, too.

Accommodation: The Brandenburger St. James Society gives a list of available accommodation on their site here (Stettin-Berlin stretch starts on page 9). It basically works the traditional way: you call ahead and ask if they can hold a place for you. Unfortunately, some of them can be quite pricey and others are spaced out in a bit of a chaotic way. There's two ways you can go about it: either splurge on inns (plenty of them in the towns on the way) or take a tent and stay at campsites. German campgrounds are generally a great bargain (I didn't pay more than 15 EUR anywhere), and since you're going through a lake land, there are so many you can basically take your pick. I went with the second option and I highly recommend it. You really get to enjoy the landscape so much more than when you stay in the cities, and if you have the strength left (I didn't), there's all kinds of summer sports, SUPs, kayaking, the works. Taking the tent also allows you to be more flexible with the route planning.

Food: This is a big struggle for me on German Caminos (as per the two that I've done). At one campsite, I actually talked to a guy who was cycling along the Oder and he flat out asked me, "So what do you do for the food when you're on the road? I find it so hard!" I felt so validated, haha. If you check out my last year's entry about the Oekumenischer Pilgerweg, this was one of my main gripes. This time, I was much better prepared, though: I took two emergency army meals (they weigh nothing) and a tiny vertical stove (it can boil water so I knew that in a pinch, I could at least make couscous). If you're unsure about the stove (granted, the idea sounded completely outlandish to me until I was routinely finding myself strapped for food during last year's German Camino), I'd say pack at least one dish you can use to cook with (aluminum is the lightest), and the cutlery. Some places have hot plates but no utensils or kettles, some have utensils but no cutlery, it's a real catch-22 situation that's not very fun when you're hungry.

Stamps: I got my pilgrim passport at St. James Cathedral in Stettin, but alas, no place offered any stamps :(

Waymarking and maps: Waymarking gets quite good from Gartz on. No waymarking whatsoever on the Polish side, which is about 20 km. The St. James Society offers you a GPS route (it's on All Trails, too), but I'd say get an old-fashioned map if you can, just in case. Unfortunately, the one listed on the site is out of print. You might still get it on Amazon. This blog by Benedict Eckelt (unfortunately in German) also does a great job of documenting the places you pass through visually.

Loneliness: You will probably be alone on the trail. When I was doing the Oekumenischer Pilgerweg, this threw me off. Now I was prepared and really liked it. It's definitely not the same experience as walking in Spain but a great experience nonetheless: very grounding, very soothing.

That's all in terms of introduction! Let me know if I forgot anything, and I'll touch base tomorrow! Ultreia!
 
Last edited:
Original artwork based on your pilgrimage or other travel photos.
Camino Way Markers
Original Camino Way markers made in bronze. Two models, one from Castilla & Leon and the other from Galicia.

Madrood

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Serrana/VdlP or Geneva+
Thanks for write up, I was reading about this route a few weeks ago. Do you plan to continue to Leipzig?
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino del Norte, 2019
Via Regia, 2021
Good to know there's interest in this route!

As for your question, for now no, I don't. It was meant to be a short Camino fix. I have to do some research but from what I could gather so far the Berlin-Leipzig stretch is quite flat. The Via Regia already was way too flat for me (I'd say about 60% of it was flat farmland, and a lot of asphalt, too). That's why the Via Imperii was such a pleasant surprise landscape-wise. For the future, I'm leaning more towards one of the Elisabethspfade or the Via Baltica.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino del Norte, 2019
Via Regia, 2021
Via Imperii Day 1: Stettin

Day 1 and we're already faced with the conundrum of how to slice the initial stages. We're talking of 36 km from St. James Cathedral in Stettin to Gartz in Germany, and obviously, there's the question of getting to Stettin and finding the right accommodation. I lucked out because I had some friends in Stettin who I hadn't seen in a long time, so I spent the day with them and took a bus into the city center the following day. However, there are a few more interesting options that you can do, and I'm actually looking forward to trying some of them in the future.

Getting to Stettin is easy. It's a port city so obviously, it is also a major transport hub. It can be reached by train, by bus (Flixbus from Berlin, for example), or by plane. The city itself is a mix of industrial and old. There's plenty of leafy parks, spacious alley-like streets, and beautifully preserved tenement buildings. There's the young waterfront with buskers, cafes, and the gigantic structures the locals call dźwigozaury, craneosaurs (they have come to be regarded as the city's symbol). The open container rule does not apply to this area at night :) The city's also cleft with many canals, which makes for an interesting landscape. You can see much of it from the observation deck at St. James Cathedral (56 m high, 3,75 EUR) in the heart of the city. You'll be going to the Cathedral anyway to get the pilgrim passport and the initial stamp (to be bought from the Cathedral's office just behind the main building). If you're lucky, you might catch the St. James Fair (this year it was 21-24 July) in Cathedral square.

Walking to Ustowo/Kurów (6-8 km): This is the stage Benedict Eckelt suggests on his site (after getting to Stettin and doing some sightseeing, he walked to Ustowo and stayed at one of the local inns, Villa Arcadia). This is a good idea if you want to make a dent in the hefty 30+ km that await you the next day. Bear in mind you're following the main road out of the city and this is not the nicest area of town (you basically follow Kolumba street from the train station and go south). Lots of abandoned buildings and factories, but fortunately a soft walking shoulder is available almost at all times.

Staying in Stettin for the day: If you would like to soak in the atmosphere of the city a bit more, the Marina Camping looks interesting and you can take the bus to the center the following day. This would be my option outside of booking the traditional ho(s)tel (which doesn't make much sense if you're carrying a tent).

Staying in Bukowa Woods (Puszcza Bukowa) south of Stettin: I had to abandon this option this time but it will probably be my first choice when I do this trail again. This is a really fascinating area with plenty of trails and lakes. The most famous is the Emerald Lake (Jezioro Szmaragdowe), but if you're a history buff, you'll appreciate the old cement tunnel used by the abandoned cement factory Stern, the mysterious bunker near the Emerald Lake (allegedly used by local NSDAP party members during WWII), massive concrete overpasses that used to be a training ground for explosive technicians (!!!), and so much more. This area is accessible by regional train (station Szczecin Podjuchy is your best bet probably) but also by bus. If I were to stay in the area, I'd try the scout facility near Lake Binowskie. But I'm sure there's plenty of other options. If you're fired up but feeling intimidated by the info in Polish, shoot me a message and we'll figure something out. ETA: The downside of this option is, depending on where you stay in Bukowa, you probably will have to have an early start the next day to walk to the train stop and get to the city center. From the scout facility it's about 10 km walk. You can recover that mileage, though, by taking a regional train straight to Szczecin Kołbaskowo and save yourself the industrial walk out of Szczecin.

That's it for now! Hopefully you're feeling inspired. This forum has given me so many ideas for great adventures I'd love to give something back :) Tomorrow I'll be taking you to Mescherin from Stettin. Stay tuned.

I'm also posting voice messages I recorded on the road on my blog which you're welcome to access here. There's less technical information and more of the emotional/physical rollercoaster of the trail life. Meanwhile, ultreia!
 
Last edited:

Marc S.

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Since 2012: CF, CdN, CP, Salvador, Aragones, Via Regia, Elisabethpfad, Jakobsweg NRW, Jakibspaad.
Thank you so much for your this detailed reports ! I remember your previous struggles with German food, so it is good to read you were better prepared this time.:)

I am actually planning to walk the Imperii from Berlin - Leipzig next month (but now you make me start doubting about starting from Stettin...)
 
Pocket guide that pack a punch
1.4 oz (40g) pocket guides with gems of wisdom to ponder during and after your Camino
Create your own ad
€2,-/day will present your project to thousands of visitors each day. All interested in the Camino de Santiago.
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino del Norte, 2019
Via Regia, 2021
Thank you so much for your this detailed reports ! I remember your previous struggles with German food, so it is good to read you were better prepared this time.:)

I am actually planning to walk the Imperii from Berlin - Leipzig next month (but now you make me start doubting about starting from Stettin...)
You're so welcome! This stretch is definitely a strong contender! It really comes down to what you're in the mood for. I heard Berlin--Leipzig is meseta-flat. The terrain is much more diverse on the Stettin--Berlin stretch.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino del Norte, 2019
Via Regia, 2021
Via Imperii Day 2: Stettin to Mescherin (ca. 31+ km)

This stage is a good example of the diversity you encounter on this trail. Unfortunately, all the way to the Polish-German border (20+ km) there is no waymarking at all, so you'll need to rely on the map/GPS. You spot the first seashell almost as soon as you enter Germany. However, the signs are still a bit erratic all the way to Schwedt (next day). Only there do they start to appear more consistently.

On day 2, you go through the rundown outskirts of Stettin where you simply follow the main road out of town and pass through a few villages fed by the main transport artery (6-8 km). Then you veer down a leafy alley towards the houses situated lower by the water and you more or less follow the Oder all the way to Kołbaskowo (Kolbitzow), where there is a tiny marina with benches and barbecue areas. If you want a bite to eat on the way, this is probably your best best. Plenty of locals here on the weekend just enjoying the weather and spending time with friends. After that, you walk through a nature reserve and some beautiful rolling meadows all the way to Moczyły (Schillersdorf). On a small hill, you encounter the ruins of a tiny old church, almost completely claimed by a tangle of nettles and ivy (and guarded by a friendly black cat).

After a short walk in the fields, you enter the woods and you stay there for quite some time. Definitely bring insect repellent because you're walking next to the river at all times. At one point, there's a picturesque picnic area with a wooden table almost right on the water, enclosed by the rushes. You can find another picnic area just before the town of Pargowo, fields with windmills to one side and corn fields to the other, and then another bigger one on the way out of town. The border crossing is not far from there, in the fields. It's basically a metal fence you have to open and close behind you to keep the wild boar out. More picnic tables at the crossing.

An interesting find just as you enter the Mescherin Gemeinde is an ancient burial heap (tumulus) dating to year 1000 B.C. (!)

At this point, you need to decide where you want to sleep. There is a pension Pommernstube in Gartz situated right on the riverfront, but the prices are quite steep (starting at 45 EUR/night). This is the only option given in the albergue breakdown offered by the St. James society (page 9). Walking to Gartz will take your mileage to about 36 km.

I decided to keep slightly off the main trail to Camping am Oderstrom in Mescherin, about 5 km before Gartz (though I still had to reach the campsite, so not quite sure if I shaved as many kilometers off the day's grand total). I can honestly say this was one of the nicest campsites I have ever visited in my entire life and the best on this trail for sure. It's sitting right on the riverbank, the rushes are rustling you to sleep, the tent meadow is luxuriously grassy, and it's huge--hard to imagine this place ever running out of space for tents. Not only that, the restaurant on the premises is quite famous for its food from what I could gather. As I was sitting by the table, hikers and locals kept coming in from the area especially to have dinner there. The place was jam-packed. The kitchen closes at 7 p.m. but on that day, they had to close half an hour earlier because of how busy they were. This campsite is a well-kept secret, and also a real steal at 10 EUR a night for a small tent. I could easily imagine staying there for just a few days, for example going to Stettin for a day and driving/walking to Mescherin for the weekend to camp out, enjoying the water sports, doing some local hiking, etc. (If you drive, definitely call ahead to check if they have space for your car. This is where your own two feet really trump any other means of transportation: you can park yourself pretty much anywhere).

So this is it for today, a day full of adventures and gorgeous views! For all the asphalt roads I was on that day, very little actual asphalt walking as a soft shoulder was available almost at all times (if it disappeared on one side, it would emerge on the other).

Tomorrow I'll be taking you with me to Schwedt (35+ km) in sweltering 35C heat. The voice messages from the road can be heard on my blog here. As always, if you have any questions, let me know, even if it's some months/years from now! Ultreia!
 
Last edited:
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino del Norte, 2019
Via Regia, 2021
Via Imperii Day 3: Mescherin to Schwedt (ca. 35 km)

This is another long stage to the town of Schwedt (about 30 km from Gartz), even longer if you stay in Mescherin how I suggested. Unfortunately for me, the heat was punishing that day, at some points reaching 36C. Knowing the forecast, I made a point of breaking camp earlier. However, I still had to stop in Gartz to run a variety of errands, so in the end, the time advantage turned out to be meager.

The good news is, most of the day you’re walking through cool shadowy forests and meadows, with some farmland here and there. The only low point is the road out of Gartz, where you spend about 4 km walking on a stick-straight, pancake-flat farm road paved with blocks of cement. There are trees, but if you’re setting out in the morning, the sun is still too low for them to give you any shade but already strong enough to bother you. The highlight is the town of Gartz with St. Stephen's Church. Also, a curious overgrown canyon you encounter randomly on the trail in the middle of some farmland, about 5 km before Schwedt.

Way marking is haphazard (it gets noticeably more consistent from Schwedt on), so be sure to consult a map/GPS frequently. Exercise vigilance. I actually got lost in the woods at one point because I veered into a Waldweg (forest road) that soon became a impassable bush of fern, nettles, dead branches, and fallen trees. Weirdly, my GPS kept showing I was on the trail, so imagine my confusion (and stress). You go through a number of villages on this stretch, which means replenishing water is not a problem. Unfortunately, very little in terms of food (a few bygone restaurants that have taken to catering in the wake of the corona). I'd say stock up at Netto (a discount supermarket) on the way out of Gartz and plan to eat in Schwedt when you get there (read on, however...).

In Schwedt, you can either stay at the Altstadtquartier (listed on the albergue list, 45-50 EUR/night). Or, you can do as I did and go to Camping Stroamcamp that, again, sits right there on the riverbank. The place is spotlessly clean and super friendly. If the restaurant on the premises is closed (it was when I got there), there's a few more on the waterfront (the guy at the frontdesk suggests Wunderbar). Remember the Ruhetag (day of rest for the establishments that are open on Sunday) is usually Monday in Germany. ETA: The campsite also offers rooms if tents are not your thing (check out Wassertouristiches Zentrum Schwedt).

For me, this proved a terribly exhausting day. I got to the campsite after walking in punishing heat all day, incredibly hungry and sweaty to the point of leaving a wet spot on the form I was asked to fill out at check-in (some Camino realness for you haha). And right away I'm reminded it's a Ruhetag, so few places in town will be serving food. Then, I'm warned that there is a huge thunderstorm brewing, forecast to hit Schwedt with full force in about 40 minutes from then and last the entire night.

Anyways, hopefully your luck will be different! Tomorrow I'll be taking you to Stolpe/Stolzenhagen where we sleep on hay in a giant barn. And if you're itching to find out about how my day in Schwedt ended, check out the voice messages from the road I leave on my blog here. If you have any questions about the trail, shoot me a message or better yet, leave a comment for all interested pilgrims to benefit from. Ultreia!
 
Last edited:

Marc S.

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Since 2012: CF, CdN, CP, Salvador, Aragones, Via Regia, Elisabethpfad, Jakobsweg NRW, Jakibspaad.
Really helpfull posts. Although for now I stick to my plan to start from Berlin, this is defintely to remember for the future.

I checked the menu of the restaurant in Mescherin. No wonder it is so popular, as it has all the German classics on the menu. And Wunderbar has a menu only dedicated to schnitzels ! In addition to the soljanka, this camino must have been a culinary treat !
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino del Norte, 2019
Via Regia, 2021
Really helpfull posts. Although for now I stick to my plan to start from Berlin, this is defintely to remember for the future.

I checked the menu of the restaurant in Mescherin. No wonder it is so popular, as it has all the German classics on the menu. And Wunderbar has a menu only dedicated to schnitzels ! In addition to the soljanka, this camino must have been a culinary treat !
Haha it wasn't too bad in terms of food. I only had one food emergency because I got to the campsite and had to prepare for the storm instead of looking for a meal (I ate one of my two army meals). Two times, I had to buy and carry my own dinner early in the morning so I could eat when I got there (because there were no shops where I was sleeping). Other than that, no problems.

I'd love to hear about the Berlin--Leipzig stretch. I'm really fired up to walk more locally, you know? With everything that's happening in the world (and to the world) I wonder what it would be like to simply live locally and get everywhere by train/bus or on foot, just like in the old times. Anyways, guten Weg!
 
Create your own ad
€2,-/day will present your project to thousands of visitors each day. All interested in the Camino de Santiago.
Camino Socks
Browse the Camino Socks collection on the forum shop
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino del Norte, 2019
Via Regia, 2021
Via Imperii Day 4: Schwedt to Stolpe (Stolzenhagen): 22 (25) km

Another beautiful stage, full of charming surprises but complicated logistically. St. James Society suggests ending the day at Stolpe. But this is a somewhat sleepy village on the canal with literally one dairy shop (Milchbuben) that opens at the weekend only. I haven't been able to find any options for sleeping in town. Benedict Eckelt suggests going straight to Angermünde, where there is more accommodation options available though at rather un-pilgrim prices. This, however, would take the daily mileage to a solid 36-40 km (Benedict doesn't do the Via Imperii at one go, he just does the individual stages one by one). I opted for walking to Stolzenhagen, about 3-5 km away from Stolpe, where I find the very first pilgrim-shelter-like institution that's also an organic farm and a donkey riding school (!!). This is a great place (listed in the albergue list) that I totally recommend but it does lie quite a way off the trail.

Before you set out from Schwedt, I'd suggest buying dinner (there's a Lidl not too far from StroamCamp) if you're going to Stolpe/Stolzenhagen. Angermünde is a bigger city so no worries about that.

Waymarking is great through this stage. This is also the first day when I got stopped by people in the street trying to show me the way and wish me good luck on my journey. There's definitely much more awareness of pilgrim walking in this community.

In Schwedt, you walk on the riverfront and then follow a duckweed-covered sanitary canal out of the town. Then it's the usual mix of woods and meadows that is so characteristic of this trail. At one point, some 10 km out of Schwedt, near an abandoned factory, you come upon a huge bison reserve! Keep your eyes peeled! I haven't seen any bison, but I did see a family of deer that share the space as well. It was funny because I took them to be goats at first (they were kind of chilling together close to something that looked like a feeding trough) but on closer inspection, it became clear... well, that they were not goats :) This was one of the highlights of that day. But there was more: the gorgeous meadows, the lazy waters of the Oder canals, and the breathtaking panorama from the Stolpe tower. I wouldn't recommend rushing through Stolpe precisely because of that view, it really deserves to be contemplated. There is quite a climb to the Stolpe tower. This is a leftover fortress harking back to the 13th century and is open to the public (closed only on Tuesday).

To get to the pilgrim shelter, you actually have to retrace your steps from the Stolpe tower and cross the canal one more time, then follow a picturesque bikeline with farmland on one side, the water on the other. There is quite a bit of breeze from the canal (you're walking at some height, too) but no shade, so it can get a bit monotonous/tiring for 3 km. I actually caught a ride from one of the farmers going into Stolzenhagen.

The pilgrim shelter is super simple, and it's so refreshing. You get everything that's necessary. I slept in a huge open barn in a cart full of hay, stacks of hay in my two corners, piles of firewood in the other two. Imagine the smell! You get a wash basin in the front yard and an eco-toilet next to the donkey stalls. There's electricity and light in the barn though you will want to have a flashlight just in case (you can ask the hostess if you don't have one). You can also cook something small in the kitchen and buy yourself a beer. In the morning, the hostess brings you a cup of piping hot coffee. There's literally nothing better.

Just a note, if you have food in your backpack, I'd advise you to store it in the kitchen for the night so mice don't get interested (I haven't heard anything at all during the night, but the barn is wide open, so it's possible some animal might be drawn to your food depending on what you carry). Be sure to put your backpack up on a table or a chair.

Anyways, this is it for today. The next day I was planning to go to Groß Ziethen (some 10 km from Angermünde) but unfortunately, I had to change my plans rather drastically. More on that later.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino del Norte, 2019
Via Regia, 2021
Via Imperii Day 5: Stolzenhagen (Stolpe) to Groß Ziethen (about 30+ km)

The town of Angermünde is the star of this stage, with its beautiful Franciscan abbey and extensive remnants of ancient fortification walls. The town has emerged largely unscathed from the war. The old square I liked less but to each their own. There's also a large lake to the north with a well-kept pedestrian area so if you're in the mood, you may as well end your journey here at roughly 20 km and enjoy all the city has to offer. If you stay in Angermünde, however, it's kind of tough to slice the next stages: either a very short day to Groß Ziethen/Serwest (both places have shelters) or a very long day to Eberswalde. The thing is, the abbey at Chorin is a must-see on this trail, so it makes no sense to rush through it at all.

Walking from Stolzenhagen does increase the mileage noticeably (4-5 km). Nothing in terms of food until Angermünde, although you do pass through some villages. One (I want to say Lynd?) has an interesting church that's half ancient stone, half cinder block, and according to the plaque, it's home to a variety of (in)animate species. A family of stork nestles on one of the towers. If you do not want to stay in Angermünde, there's a pilgrim shelter in Groß Ziethen (about 10+ km farther down the road), listed in the albergue breakdown available from St. James Society's site), but it seems there's little in terms of services around that area either. My suggestion would be to eat and stock up in Angermünde before continuing on.

!! TW: Harrassment/Assault !!

*
*
*
*

Unfortunately, I can't comment on the trail to Groß Ziethen because I had to deal with a nasty situation in Angermünde. Basically, a guy was following me around the city, and since there was only one tourist trail leading out of town (and this stretch was waymarked well), I was worried that it was way too easy to guess where the girl with a backpack would go. It really felt like I was being targeted. So, I trusted my instinct to flee and ended up taking a bus south to a campsite on Parsteiner Lake (there was no connection of any kind to Groß Ziethen, Serwest, or Chorin). The lake region is off the trail, but it's really gorgeous and peaceful. I wish I had more time or the peace of mind to explore it properly. There is a restaurant (a pizzeria) on the premises, as well as a more typical kebab/fast food place. In the morning, it's a 6 km walk on a bike lane to Chorin, where you can catch St. James trial again.

Anyways, it was obviously a stressful ending to my day, but here's to many happy returns for me and for whoever is reading these posts. Tomorrow I'll be taking you to the abbey at Chorin. It's worth doing the Via Imperii just to see this place.
 
Last edited:

Marc S.

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Since 2012: CF, CdN, CP, Salvador, Aragones, Via Regia, Elisabethpfad, Jakobsweg NRW, Jakibspaad.
Sorry to read about the creepy experience in Angermunde, but luckily it seems you did not let this spoil the rest of your journey.

Btw the pilgrim shelter in Stolzenhagen looks like a really nice place indeed (just checked their website). Staying in somehow unusual places (including actually also a place with hay beds) was also one of the things I really liked about the Via Regia
 

Kitsambler

Jakobsweg Junkie
Time of past OR future Camino
Le Puy 2010-11, Prague 2012, Nuremberg 2013, Einsiedeln 2015, Geneva 2017-19
I'm following your wonderful saga with interest and appreciation. The German pilgrim paths are a wonderful - and different - experience! So many are still under the impression the Camino is only in Spain; although more are beginning to discover the "upstream" sections in France. The German paths are well worth the walk.

While I didn't use a tent on my walk on the route across Bavaria, my experience with pricing at the local inns was only a little higher than in France (where daily demi-pension plus lunch supplies would run around EUR 50); maybe 5-10 Eur more/day. Certainly less expensive overall than Switzerland. And many camping-grounds offer tents or caravans for the night, if you don't carry a tent.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino del Norte, 2019
Via Regia, 2021
Via Imperii Day 6: Parsteiner Lake to Eberswalde (20+ km)

This is the day when you visit the abbey at Chorin, and I'd really advise you to not plan a whole lot of mileage for that day, however you choose to slice it. The abbey deserves to just be taken in, without rushing. If you're staying in Groß Ziethen, it's 6 km to Kloster Chorin (even fewer if you choose to stay in the shelter at Serwest. From Parsteiner Lake, it's about 10 km to the abbey altogether and 6 km till you catch the trail in the Chorin area.

The Parsteiner region is gorgeous. Unfortunately, the southern side is pretty much all taken up by different campgrounds, so access to the waterfront is restricted to campers only. That means I had to go on a bike lane parallel to the road and wasn't getting much of the lake view. However, on the way, I passed by a panoramic vantage point that was well worth the short steep climb. This is off the trail, though.

There's a museum at the abbey, although to be honest, the building itself is where it's at. The place is used as a venue for various cultural events, notably summer concerts (see Choriner Musiksommer). I just might plan my next trip to the area around one of the concert dates, I have a feeling the experience is thrilling. The abbey's story is touching--the place was abandoned and in disrepair for a few hundred years until one man was so impressed with the structure he was moved to do something about it. I'm not telling the full story on purpose so you'll still get a surprise when you visit. There's an extensive front yard with a nice cafe where you can just sit and take it all in (you do need to buy a pass for the museum to sit in the cafe.)

The road to Eberswalde (10+ km from Chorin Kloster) leads through a thick forest to the banks of the Oder-Havel canal. The town's name basically means "boar forest," so watch out! You go along the canal for a good long while before you enter the city limits, past a string of tiny informal forest beaches, full of sunlight and fir needles. Then finally you take a turn and go on a bridge to Eberswalde. I was planning to actually explore the historic Finow Canal that lies a bit off the trail. Unfortunately, the campsite I'd found, Triangle Tour Kroel, turned out to be undergoing some temporary renovation so I decided to stay in Eberswalde (there's camping at the Marina but it has a rather industrial feel).

The pilgrim shelter is located in Johanniskirche, a church in the city center. It's very sparse in terms of amenities (no running water, no washbasin, an eco-toilet parked in the yard, no lock on the door) but the albergue parents are just the best people ever. I didn't give them much notice because of a mix-up with other accommodation, and they still acted so gracious and welcoming and warm. They are actually in the process of applying for funds so the church could be fixed up a little better. I'm in touch with them so I'll keep you posted. This is also the first shelter ever that has offered me pilgrim blessing. Many places on the Via Regia claim to do it but I've never received any. In the morning, the albergue mother, who lives next door, actually invited me in for breakfast. I really left refreshed.

One tip, if you're itching for a shower (the albergue mother offered me a shower at her place, but I didn't want to impose and kind of needed to wind down, too), google fitness studios in the area. I did that and went to Colosseum just up the street, where I showered (multiple times!) and relaxed in the sauna. This was really good for my aching muscles, too. The next day, I was just flying through the trail. Although I'm not sure if it was the albergue parents' kindness, the good night's sleep, the breakfast with the inspiring conversation, the sauna, or a combination of all of these.

Two days left! A great ride so far. The next day I went to Liepnitz Lake by Berlin (instead of Bernau).
 
Last edited:
Create your own ad
€2,-/day will present your project to thousands of visitors each day. All interested in the Camino de Santiago.
Peaceable Projects Inc.
Peaceable Projects Inc. is a U.S.-based non-profit group that brings the vast resources of the wide world together with the ongoing needs of the people who live, work, and travel on the Camino de Santiago pilgrim trail network in Spain.
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino del Norte, 2019
Via Regia, 2021
I'm following your wonderful saga with interest and appreciation. The German pilgrim paths are a wonderful - and different - experience! So many are still under the impression the Camino is only in Spain; although more are beginning to discover the "upstream" sections in France. The German paths are well worth the walk.

While I didn't use a tent on my walk on the route across Bavaria, my experience with pricing at the local inns was only a little higher than in France (where daily demi-pension plus lunch supplies would run around EUR 50); maybe 5-10 Eur more/day. Certainly less expensive overall than Switzerland. And many camping-grounds offer tents or caravans for the night, if you don't carry a tent.
You're so right, @Kitsambler! I loved walking in Spain, but the German walks are their own level of beauty. I hope they get (slightly) more popular. I do enjoy walking solo but I'll admit, it's not for everyone.

In terms of expenses, the Via Imperii proved quite economical the way I did it. I paid about 12 EUR per night, one square meal let's say almost every day or every other day, that would be 15 EUR on average, plus supermarket supplies as needed. I did carry oatmeal, snacks, and two emergency meals on me. I cooked couscous twice.

The tent is really a convenience and an investment that ends up saving you money in the long run. Apart from the possibility that you mention, of camping grounds offering tents or caravans, let me also add that I'm a big fan of renting equipment from a store. A lot of outdoors stores have that service. This way, if for example you're not sure if you're tent material, you can find out for a fraction of the price :)
 

Kitsambler

Jakobsweg Junkie
Time of past OR future Camino
Le Puy 2010-11, Prague 2012, Nuremberg 2013, Einsiedeln 2015, Geneva 2017-19
Via Imperii Day 5: Parsteiner Lake to Eberswalde (20+ km)

This is the day when you visit the abbey at Chorin, and I'd really advise you to not plan a whole lot of mileage for that day, however you choose to slice it. The abbey deserves to just be taken in, without rushing. If you're staying in Groß Ziethen, it's 6 km to Kloster Chorin (even fewer if you choose to stay in the shelter at Serwest. From Parsteiner Lake, it's about 10 km to the abbey altogether and 6 km till you catch the trail in the Chorin area...

There's a museum at the abbey, although to be honest, the building itself is where it's at. The place is used as a venue for various cultural events, notably summer concerts (see Choriner Musiksommer)...
Kloster Chorin was a royal foundation, hugely influential in the region and a premier example of German Brick Gothic architecture in the High Gothic style. Detailed article in German but with auto-translate https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kloster_Chorin
An excellent film here
(lovely music track, no commentary) shows many architectural details.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino del Norte, 2019
Via Regia, 2021
Kloster Chorin was a royal foundation, hugely influential in the region and a premier example of German Brick Gothic architecture in the High Gothic style. Detailed article in German but with auto-translate https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kloster_Chorin
An excellent film here
(lovely music track, no commentary) shows many architectural details.
Wow, @Kitsambler, thank you so much for the links and the video, this really helps get a feel for what the place might be like. Although the magnitude and atmosphere of the abbey is something you just have to experience in person <3
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino del Norte, 2019
Via Regia, 2021
Via Imperii Day 7: Eberswalde to Liepnitz Lake (25 km)

After the commotion of the previous two days, I was actually pretty happy this one turned out to be just a simple walking day, with everything working out (sort of) the way I wanted it to. On St. James' Society's website, this is the stage that ends in Bernau (15 km to Melchow and 18 more to Bernau, so another long day). However, I wasn't quite in the mood for entering yet another city. Also, this stage is a bit tricky to slice shelter-wise.

There's two pilgrim shelters in the Bernau area. One is in Melchow, 15 km from Eberswalde, in Sydower Fließ. The other is a private address in Lobetal, again more in the outskirts of Bernau than in it. I opted to get off the trail in Biesenthal (15 km) and basically continue straight (more or less) to Liepnitz Lake (about 10 km more). The lake is located in Nature Park Barnim and is a popular weekend destination for Berlin holidaymakers. A gorgeous area with forests all around it and a large island in the middle of it. Definitely a contender if you're unsure about staying in Bernau and want to relax outdoors before entering Berlin.

I stayed at Camping am Liepnitzsee, which was about half a kilometer away from the lake. It's a good long hike depending on which beach tickles your fancy. The campsite itself is very large, with a tent area that's literally parched by the sun, with very little shade. Watch out for ants at that place! I scanned the area for ants before setting up my tent and still woke up in the middle of the night to discover some of the stuff that I'd left outside completely crawling with them (!!). I felt kind of bad about my own carelessness but in the morning I discovered a line of ants in the campsite bathroom. They were apparently attracted by a big blob of toothpaste left by a sleepy camper. So I think they will attack just about anything! Fortunately, my oatmeal was packed in tight and survived intact. The restaurant on the premises is just your standard campsite restaurant, it's mostly stuff that's been frozen and microwaved. But it will do in a pinch. There are shops in the area but by the time you reach the campsite, they'll probably be too far away for your tired feet. The good news is, just as you're about to get off the trail in Biesenthal, there's a little local bistro in a strip mall to your right, and the food is very homey and satisfying. They have this local non-alcoholic beer that's just as good as the real thing, so you know... go nuts!

Anyways, I'm super happy to revisit this trail for you and with you. You can also listen to the voice messages I was recording live from the road on my blog here. Tomorrow, it's the last day of walking. But I have a feeling I'll be coming back. In the meantime, ultreia!
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino del Norte, 2019
Via Regia, 2021
Via Imperii Day 8: Liepnitz Lake to Berlin (35+ km)

A very long day of walking, but an incredibly satisfying experience overall.

To be honest, I wasn't even sure I would be doing this stretch. On the Via Regia, I came to hate entering the big cities. The waymarking was terrible, I would get lost all the time walking in and walking out, and very frequently, I would end up walking next to the main road, in the stench and smoke of the industrial suburbs. So, I just promised myself if the landscape is similar here on the Via Imperii, I would just take a bus or tram into the city, no apologies.

Well, if you're plagued by the same worries, let me put you at ease. This day was just a lovely surprise. From Liepnitz, it's about 10 km through the forest to Berlin Buch, which is also a great big forest, basically. From there, you walk through a string of parks until you reach the river Panke. There's just one short nasty stretch where you walk past a factory building that's falling apart and some filthy bushes full of leftover toilet paper, but that's not even half a kilometer. It's over before you know it. (Although I did get scared, like, Man, I felt safer in the woods in the middle of nowhere than here in the Berlin bush.)

The Panke is quite small, more like a rivulet than a big river, but it's one of the longest in Berlin. The trail takes you along the riverbed through several neighborhoods, and it's just so interesting the way the city changes as you're walking, from the quiet posh residences to graffiti-covered buildings where fat beats are blaring and teenagers are chilling on the banks taking selfies. St. James' trial merges here with a city trail called Pankeweg (Panketrail), so if you're in Berlin and in the mood for some walking, I'd totally recommend it. This trail itself is 26 km long, so a great idea for a dynamic weekend walk.

Basically, it's only the last kilometer or two that you leave the green parks and kind of dive into the hustle and bustle of Berlin Mitte (the trail ends officially at Brandenburger Gate.) I had some business to attend to in the area (among others, I wanted to visit only the best falafel stand in town, Dada Falafel). This is the heart of the city, so plenty to do here if you wish to commemorate the end of your trip in some other way.

As for accommodation, if you have a tent, don't forget Berlin has several great campsites. I'm actually thinking of always camping out in Berlin from now on, especially since my experiences with hostels have proven extremely disappointing in the past. That's the great thing about carrying a small tent with you--it's your ticket to independence. Just your own two feet and a tent. What more do you need, really?

On that note, we reach the end of the Via Imperii Stettin to Berlin. I'd love to hear your experiences and input regarding this stretch and to discuss your route ideas. So many ways to slice these stages! I'm all ears about how you would approach it. And obviously, if I can provide any kind of insight as you prepare for the walk, don't hesitate to reach out.

In the meantime, ultreia.
 
Last edited:
Camino Way Markers
Original Camino Way markers made in bronze. Two models, one from Castilla & Leon and the other from Galicia.
Create your own ad
€2,-/day will present your project to thousands of visitors each day. All interested in the Camino de Santiago.

Kitsambler

Jakobsweg Junkie
Time of past OR future Camino
Le Puy 2010-11, Prague 2012, Nuremberg 2013, Einsiedeln 2015, Geneva 2017-19
To be honest, I wasn't even sure I would be doing this stretch. On the Via Regia, I came to hate entering the big cities. The waymarking was terrible, I would get lost all the time walking in and walking out, and very frequently, I would end up walking next to the main road, in the stench and smoke of the industrial suburbs. So, I just promised myself if the landscape is similar here on the Via Imperii, I would just take a bus or tram into the city, no apologies.
I'm entirely with you on this one. My own experience with the major cities, both in southern Germany and in France, is that the suburbs/industrial zones are so extensive, so ugly, and so inhospitable to folks peeing in their shrubbery, that I take the suburban transit into city center with a clear conscience.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino del Norte, 2019
Via Regia, 2021
Informative and enjoyable read, thanks florrod. Mind if I ask what tent you used?
Thank you for reading! I used Fjord Nansen Tromvik I (one person tent). I know they say always scale up a person but I wanted something light and that was the lightest I could find for the price I could pay (1.6 kg). Overall, I'm happy. It's super simple to set up, very sturdy, very spacious, you can kind of sit up in it (I'm tall, so there's the "kind of"), and it does fit all of your stuff in (I've only used a 35+10L backpack with it, but I think a larger one would not be a problem either.) It's small, too, so I can imagine just putting it into my carry-on next time I'm in Berlin on a non-hiking visit :) I've only used it two seasons so I can't comment on the durability. So far so good.

The only grievance I have (and this may totally be related to my lack of experience) is the guy ropes on the rainfly. I don't love the plastic clip, for one thing. The other thing is, the way they're used (per FN website and photos) doesn't really make sense to me. Like, I feel that in really extreme weather I would have to have a few extra spikes to attach them independently of the bedroom, away from the tent, if that makes sense. I did get caught out in a bad storm in Schwedt with really intense wind and the tent made it through the night no problem, so that's positive. But I think I'll pay FN's store a visit and just ask them how to do it better, possibly buy extra spikes or whatever, maybe there's something I don't know.

Do you tent? To be honest, this is my first solo tent and when I was buying it, I wasn't really sure if I'm tent material. So if you have a recommendation, I'll be happy to hear it.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino del Norte, 2019
Via Regia, 2021
I'm entirely with you on this one. My own experience with the major cities, both in southern Germany and in France, is that the suburbs/industrial zones are so extensive, so ugly, and so inhospitable to folks peeing in their shrubbery, that I take the suburban transit into city center with a clear conscience.
You're so right. But I am torn sometimes, you know? I recently read on Christine Thuermer's blog (Christine is known as the most hiked woman in the world) that we have come to expect to walk in beautiful places and spectacular scenery. So then we get impatient walking through a boring or just plain ugly stage. But this is all part of the experience. I do think there's value sometimes in just powering through. Obviously, it's a balancing act because it's our time off and we want to enjoy it. But it's sometimes worth it, to stretch yourself a bit in this regard.

I remember on CdN I walked this industrial stage from Gijón, over 30 km in pure hell, and I really wish I was exaggerating. The day must have been pretty warm but the sun was immaterial. I remember it as almost completely dark. It was an apocalyptic landscape of factories and machinery with heaps of trash, scrap, and filth. Incredibly, there were still people living there, in the midst of this total desolation.

What comes up for me when I walk such stretches is mostly just anger. Yeah, I know, not exactly the emotion you want to feel on your holiday, but it is powerful, and it moves you to all kinds of conclusions and creative effort. I also think anger is the only youth tonic there is. The moment we stop getting angry and start taking things in stride, that moment we wake up old and mortal.

Anyways, not picking on you, just sharing the tension that I feel with such stretches. Thank you so much for the encouragement and input. Hope we meet on the trail someday.
 

Madrood

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Serrana/VdlP or Geneva+
Do you tent? To be honest, this is my first solo tent and when I was buying it, I wasn't really sure if I'm tent material. So if you have a recommendation, I'll be happy to hear it.
No but I'm thinking of getting one. I had someone tell me that it was better to bring just a tarp to save weight but it seems a bit exposed.
 
Camino Cups
Browse our selection of Camino Cups on the forum store
Camino Socks
Browse the Camino Socks collection on the forum shop
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino del Norte, 2019
Via Regia, 2021
No but I'm thinking of getting one. I had someone tell me that it was better to bring just a tarp to save weight but it seems a bit exposed.
Really a question of what your tolerance level is and what you want to do. It did cross my mind to buy just a tarp. I am a huge minimalist. But you end up not being as independent with "just a tarp". You have to watch the weather, the bugs, the night temperatures, the humidity (ex. down sleeping bags shouldn't get wet as a rule), the landscape you're propping your tarp on, and so forth. With a tent, you're carrying more weight but you're walking worry-free, which is huge for me. Then again, tarps are generally quite cheap and you can always find a use for them, so why not try. Especially if it's a shorter trip. You can correct a lot of your gear/backpack assumptions by going on shorter trips.
 

The Yukon

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Portuguese, Jacobs Weg, Camino Frances, Tui to Fatima
Via Imperii Day 8: Liepnitz Lake to Berlin (35+ km)

A very long day of walking, but an incredibly satisfying experience overall.

To be honest, I wasn't even sure I would be doing this stretch. On the Via Regia, I came to hate entering the big cities. The waymarking was terrible, I would get lost all the time walking in and walking out, and very frequently, I would end up walking next to the main road, in the stench and smoke of the industrial suburbs. So, I just promised myself if the landscape is similar here on the Via Imperii, I would just take a bus or tram into the city, no apologies.

Well, if you're plagued by the same worries, let me put you at ease. This day was just a lovely surprise. From Liepnitz, it's about 10 km through the forest to Berlin Buch, which is also a great big forest, basically. From there, you walk through a string of parks until you reach the river Panke. There's just one short nasty stretch where you walk past a factory building that's falling apart and some filthy bushes full of leftover toilet paper, but that's not even half a kilometer. It's over before you know it. (Although I did get scared, like, Man, I felt safer in the woods in the middle of nowhere than here in the Berlin bush.)

The Panke is quite small, more like a rivulet than a big river, but it's one of the longest in Berlin. The trail takes you along the riverbed through several neighborhoods, and it's just so interesting the way the city changes as you're walking, from the quiet posh residences to graffiti-covered buildings where fat beats are blaring and teenagers are chilling on the banks taking selfies. St. James' trial merges here with a city trail called Pankeweg (Panketrail), so if you're in Berlin and in the mood for some walking, I'd totally recommend it. This trail itself is 26 km long, so a great idea for a dynamic weekend walk.

Basically, it's only the last kilometer or two that you leave the green parks and kind of dive into the hustle and bustle of Berlin Mitte (the trail ends officially at Brandenburger Gate.) I had some business to attend to in the area (among others, I wanted to visit only the best falafel stand in town, Dada Falafel). This is the heart of the city, so plenty to do here if you wish to commemorate the end of your trip in some other way.

As for accommodation, if you have a tent, don't forget Berlin has several great campsites. I'm actually thinking of always camping out in Berlin from now on, especially since my experiences with hostels have proven extremely disappointing in the past. That's the great thing about carrying a small tent with you--it's your ticket to independence. Just your own two feet and a tent. What more do you need, really?

On that note, we reach the end of the Via Imperii Stettin to Berlin. I'd love to hear your experiences and input regarding this stretch and to discuss your route ideas. So many ways to slice these stages! I'm all ears about how you would approach it. And obviously, if I can provide any kind of insight as you prepare for the walk, don't hesitate to reach out.

In the meantime, ultreia.
What an engaging story. Why? Because 7 years ago I planned to walked from Stettin to Hof on the Via Imperii during December/January. Living in the northwest corner of Canada where you can count on some -40C or F at this time of year, I enjoy walking in the moderate temperatures of Europe, which usually stay above freezing in the winter. Anyway, the lodging looked so sparse on the part of the trail between Stettin and Berlin that I decided to start in western Poland and come through Frankfurt an der Oder via the Jacobswege in Brandenburg to Berlin before continuing south. My route zigzagged back and forth in eastern Germany on various caminos (Okumenischer & Sachsischer) until I arrived a day's walk from Hof, 7 weeks and 900 km later. The idea was to practice my high school German in the eastern villages that received limited English learning before the wall came down in '89. Indeed, much of the rural population was elderly, so my German revived somewhat. The very rainy days were spent in the most interesting museums of Leipzig, Dresden, etc.
So to hear that you actually walked this route, albeit in summer, brought such a smile to my face. Thanks for all the info. As a non-tenter is later life, I'll probably not attempt your journey, especially in winter when I take my long walks. What's refreshing for me, who typically walks in the off season, is that folks like you also enjoy the rejuvenating, if not obscure, journeys of solitude through Europe.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino del Norte, 2019
Via Regia, 2021
What an engaging story. Why? Because 7 years ago I planned to walked from Stettin to Hof on the Via Imperii during December/January. Living in the northwest corner of Canada where you can count on some -40C or F at this time of year, I enjoy walking in the moderate temperatures of Europe, which usually stay above freezing in the winter. Anyway, the lodging looked so sparse on the part of the trail between Stettin and Berlin that I decided to start in western Poland and come through Frankfurt an der Oder via the Jacobswege in Brandenburg to Berlin before continuing south. My route zigzagged back and forth in eastern Germany on various caminos (Okumenischer & Sachsischer) until I arrived a day's walk from Hof, 7 weeks and 900 km later. The idea was to practice my high school German in the eastern villages that received limited English learning before the wall came down in '89. Indeed, much of the rural population was elderly, so my German revived somewhat. The very rainy days were spent in the most interesting museums of Leipzig, Dresden, etc.
So to hear that you actually walked this route, albeit in summer, brought such a smile to my face. Thanks for all the info. As a non-tenter is later life, I'll probably not attempt your journey, especially in winter when I take my long walks. What's refreshing for me, who typically walks in the off season, is that folks like you also enjoy the rejuvenating, if not obscure, journeys of solitude through Europe.
Thank you so much for sharing your story! You're right, walking through former DDR is a perfect opportunity to practice German, I'm enjoying that part very much myself.

This is so funny because last year, I was also put off doing the Brandenburger Jakobsweg because of the limited accommodation (and a rainy August that made me think twice about the tent.) So I went and did the Via Regia instead, from Goerlitz to Eisenach (sure enough, it rained 10 days out of 15.) I must say, though, I enjoyed the Via Imperii stretch so much more. But last year, it could have been my Spain-centered expectations doing one on me (this was my first German Camino after Spain.) In a few days, I'm actually going to revisit the Leipzig-Merseburg-Freiburg-Naumburg stretch of the Oekumenischer. Just for fun. A friend is going with me so we'll just take our time. So much history to explore there.

I need to check out the Sachsischer trail you mentioned. Next year, my goal is probably the Via Baltica (from Usedom to Bremen), but who knows. I really love the fact that I can get to Germany by train so I can pretty much decide on a moment's notice, now that I pack pretty much on autopilot. Anyways, Guten Weg to you, and here's to meeting on the trail someday.
 

The Yukon

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Portuguese, Jacobs Weg, Camino Frances, Tui to Fatima
Thank you so much for sharing your story! You're right, walking through former DDR is a perfect opportunity to practice German, I'm enjoying that part very much myself.

This is so funny because last year, I was also put off doing the Brandenburger Jakobsweg because of the limited accommodation (and a rainy August that made me think twice about the tent.) So I went and did the Via Regia instead, from Goerlitz to Eisenach (sure enough, it rained 10 days out of 15.) I must say, though, I enjoyed the Via Imperii stretch so much more. But last year, it could have been my Spain-centered expectations doing one on me (this was my first German Camino after Spain.) In a few days, I'm actually going to revisit the Leipzig-Merseburg-Freiburg-Naumburg stretch of the Oekumenischer. Just for fun. A friend is going with me so we'll just take our time. So much history to explore there.

I need to check out the Sachsischer trail you mentioned. Next year, my goal is probably the Via Baltica (from Usedom to Bremen), but who knows. I really love the fact that I can get to Germany by train so I can pretty much decide on a moment's notice, now that I pack pretty much on autopilot. Anyways, Guten Weg to you, and here's to meeting on the trail someday.
So cool! I loved that Via Regia walk on the Oekumenishcher from Goerlitz to Vacha with the Ampelmann crossing the bridge into West Germany, finally. I'd catch a train back into eastern Germany or western Poland and start another camino. I was working evenings at a Visitor Centre in Dawson City in summer, and I wanted to improve my German to speak to the many northern bound German, Swiss, and Austrian tourists coming our way on a direct flight from Frankfurt to the Yukon in summer.

Usedom to Bremen sounds great. Usedom, Vostok, Magdeburg sounds fun as well. So many journeys, so little time. Tschuss, my walking friend.

PS: I totally appreciated what you said about walking into Berlin - all the parks and forests. I walked in from the east, and it was a most interesting walk, given this immense city that I was entering. And you know, Berlin is one of favourite cities on earth (having first visited it before the wall came down). So when you spoke of walking south from Liepnitzsee on your last day, I have to confess that I took a bus that way the next day, kind of as a memorial to the Via Imperii that I would have liked to walk from Stettin, and like you, was impressed by what an aesthetic treat it was to walk via Jacobs Weg from the north into this large city to the Brandenburg Gate. Ultreia!
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino del Norte, 2019
Via Regia, 2021
So cool! I loved that Via Regia walk on the Oekumenishcher from Goerlitz to Vacha with the Ampelmann crossing the bridge into West Germany, finally. I'd catch a train back into eastern Germany or western Poland and start another camino. I was working evenings at a Visitor Centre in Dawson City in summer, and I wanted to improve my German to speak to the many northern bound German, Swiss, and Austrian tourists coming our way on a direct flight from Frankfurt to the Yukon in summer.

Usedom to Bremen sounds great. Usedom, Vostok, Magdeburg sounds fun as well. So many journeys, so little time. Tschuss, my walking friend.

PS: I totally appreciated what you said about walking into Berlin - all the parks and forests. I walked in from the east, and it was a most interesting walk, given this immense city that I was entering. And you know, Berlin is one of favourite cities on earth (having first visited it before the wall came down). So when you spoke of walking south from Liepnitzsee on your last day, I have to confess that I took a bus that way the next day, kind of as a memorial to the Via Imperii that I would have liked to walk from Stettin, and like you, was impressed by what an aesthetic treat it was to walk via Jacobs Weg from the north into this large city to the Brandenburg Gate. Ultreia!
Wow, thank you for sharing, again! I actually revisited parts of the Pankeweg walk this last weekend. To my surprise, it is not well-known at all, not even among some long-time Berliners or Berlin buffs. Easily accessible by public transport, too. At one point, the road overlaps with the Berlin Wall trail, which gave me the idea to do that trail in the fall. It is about 170 km walk, so not too short at all! I think when I start preparing for this one, I'll start a thread here about Berlin trails in general.

Also, I just came back from Saale-Unstrut where I walked parts of the Via Regia from Merseburg to Naumburg. It was even better than I remembered it. However, my walking companion was a bit shocked at the random opening hours of various eating establishments, and in a tourist region to boot. I know the government is trying to bill the region as the German Toscany, but it is almost eerie walking along the river after 8pm in total darkness, no winery open, no soul in sight. Of course, this is just comparison pain as we're both familiar with Southern cultures where 9-10pm is typically when the evening starts. Without that reference, I suppose you could frame the German timeframe as charming and quirky :)
 
Donation to the Forum
A donation to this forum helps it continue to exists and also removes all ads for you.
Peaceable Projects Inc.
Peaceable Projects Inc. is a U.S.-based non-profit group that brings the vast resources of the wide world together with the ongoing needs of the people who live, work, and travel on the Camino de Santiago pilgrim trail network in Spain.

hueppi

Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances May 2013
Via Imperii Day 8: Liepnitz Lake to Berlin (35+ km)

A very long day of walking, but an incredibly satisfying experience overall.

To be honest, I wasn't even sure I would be doing this stretch. On the Via Regia, I came to hate entering the big cities. The waymarking was terrible, I would get lost all the time walking in and walking out, and very frequently, I would end up walking next to the main road, in the stench and smoke of the industrial suburbs. So, I just promised myself if the landscape is similar here on the Via Imperii, I would just take a bus or tram into the city, no apologies.

Well, if you're plagued by the same worries, let me put you at ease. This day was just a lovely surprise. From Liepnitz, it's about 10 km through the forest to Berlin Buch, which is also a great big forest, basically. From there, you walk through a string of parks until you reach the river Panke. There's just one short nasty stretch where you walk past a factory building that's falling apart and some filthy bushes full of leftover toilet paper, but that's not even half a kilometer. It's over before you know it. (Although I did get scared, like, Man, I felt safer in the woods in the middle of nowhere than here in the Berlin bush.)

The Panke is quite small, more like a rivulet than a big river, but it's one of the longest in Berlin. The trail takes you along the riverbed through several neighborhoods, and it's just so interesting the way the city changes as you're walking, from the quiet posh residences to graffiti-covered buildings where fat beats are blaring and teenagers are chilling on the banks taking selfies. St. James' trial merges here with a city trail called Pankeweg (Panketrail), so if you're in Berlin and in the mood for some walking, I'd totally recommend it. This trail itself is 26 km long, so a great idea for a dynamic weekend walk.

Basically, it's only the last kilometer or two that you leave the green parks and kind of dive into the hustle and bustle of Berlin Mitte (the trail ends officially at Brandenburger Gate.) I had some business to attend to in the area (among others, I wanted to visit only the best falafel stand in town, Dada Falafel). This is the heart of the city, so plenty to do here if you wish to commemorate the end of your trip in some other way.

As for accommodation, if you have a tent, don't forget Berlin has several great campsites. I'm actually thinking of always camping out in Berlin from now on, especially since my experiences with hostels have proven extremely disappointing in the past. That's the great thing about carrying a small tent with you--it's your ticket to independence. Just your own two feet and a tent. What more do you need, really?

On that note, we reach the end of the Via Imperii Stettin to Berlin. I'd love to hear your experiences and input regarding this stretch and to discuss your route ideas. So many ways to slice these stages! I'm all ears about how you would approach it. And obviously, if I can provide any kind of insight as you prepare for the walk, don't hesitate to reach out.

In the meantime, ultreia.
The Via Imperil does not stopp in Berlin. I walked last year the stretch Berlin-Leipzig and liked it a lot. Especially passing Wittenberg with all its history of reformation/Martin Luther/Cranach
In Leipzig the Via Imperil joins Via Regia/Oekumenischer Pilgerweg. You can keep on walking - Ultreia!
 

Similar threads

Forum Rules

Forum Rules

Camino Updates on YouTube

Camino Conversations

Most downloaded Resources

This site is run by Ivar at

in Santiago de Compostela.
This site participates in the Amazon Affiliate program, designed to provide a means for Ivar to earn fees by linking to Amazon
Official Camino Passport (Credential) | 2022 Camino Guides
Top