Camino Santiago in the Pfalz: The abbaye route from Worms to Metz
On reaching the cathedral in Worms, we once again came across a Way of St. James, which we naturally took a closer look at in the following days. Compared to many others, it is still a very young path, which was only announced and signposted throughout in 2011. It is a variant of the "Way of St. James Palatinate" with the name "Monastery Route Worms-Metz". And indeed, it passes a whole series of old, unfortunately mostly destroyed monasteries. The first one, which is right in Worms, however, still exists and is still inhabited by a number of brothers. Here we also found a pleasant, warm accommodation for one night with friendly hosts. Whoever wants to start the Way of St. James Palatinate, i.e. the monastery route authentically, can certainly ask here.
The Monastery Route Worms-Metz
Unfortunately, the way out of Worms is not too beautiful, as it leads mainly through heavily populated and, above all, very busy areas. But this cannot be avoided, because at this point we are still in the Rhine valley, which is not called the "2nd Ruhr area" for nothing. One simply cannot walk through one of the main industrial regions of Germany and expect to find untouched nature and a dreamlike idyll here. For this one has to say again that the creators of the Way of St. James have made the best out of the available material. Thus, the path leads mainly along the "Pfrimm", a small river which at least visually gives a feeling of nature. And with every step you take towards the west, it gets better. Better in the sense of calmer and more natural. But it also makes it much more hilly and therefore more strenuous.
We made our first stop in Monsheim.
The Camino de Santiago Pfalz from Monsheim to the monastery in Bolanden
From Monsheim we went on to Bolanden, where you can find the ruins of the second monastery on the Way of St. James. But for this, one has to leave the path a bit, because Bolanden is located a little north of the actual Way of St. James. But those who want to have the monastery route feeling perfectly and are therefore on the way in the summer can ask the local history association of Bolanden if they are not allowed to make a stopover in the old and renovated monastery church. It is an extremely rustic place to sleep, but the cultural association is very open to pilgrims and with a kind request you can get permission to stay directly in the church.
But since we arrived here in winter, we renounced the experience and got an invitation from the mayor of Bolanden.
Hiking in the PfalzIn the following course the path leads through a beautiful hilly country, which unfortunately suffers a little from the nearby motorway. But this is hardly avoidable in Germany. So you finally reach Otterberg, a small and very pretty medieval town on the slope of a mountain. As a place to stay overnight, the youth home of the YMCA, a seminar business with about 190 beds, is a good choice. Here, however, there is also an extra room for pilgrims, which is rented to pilgrims of St. James at particularly favorable conditions. Furthermore, the staff is very warm and friendly and is also available for fun and hiking anecdotes. If you want to cater for yourself in Otterberg, you will find the "Otterberger Döner & Pizza Haus" in the town center, a kebab stand which is highly recommended.
How worth seeing is Kaiserslautern?
From Otterberg the Jakobsweg (Way of St. James) leads along the river "Otterbach" to the village "Otterbach" and from there straight on to Landstuhl. However, we ourselves made a small detour to Kaiserslautern to have a look at the town a bit more. But we can't particularly recommend this, because Kaiserslautern is not necessarily what you would call a city worth seeing. There is a small oldtown and some churches, but that was it. Most of what was worth seeing here was destroyed in the world wars.We personally had hoped to compensate for this with a relaxing visit to the thermal baths. But unfortunately the "Monte Mare" in Kaiserslautern does not seem to be particularly recommendable. From what the locals have told us, it is said that it was built there quite unlovingly. But we ourselves cannot judge it, because unfortunately no one could be reached either by phone or e-mail and because we were rudely and unfriendly when we were contacted personally by the receptionists. So we decided not to include the Kaiserslautern Therme in our test series. All in all one can say: If you follow the Camino de Santiago of the Pfalz from Otterberg directly to Landstuhl, you will not miss anything!