On the Harzhorn Discovery Trail

Christina/ April 11, 2024/ The daily grind

As a fan of ancient Rome, visiting the Roman-Germanic battlefield of Harzhorn is a must. Essentially, I was just waiting for good weather. Last Saturday, it finally arrived. With sunny 25 degrees forecasted, there are no more excuses. The fact that the Harzhorn Discovery Trail can also be incorporated into a beautiful hike makes the whole experience even more attractive. In addition to the historical highlight, there’s a culinary one as well: dining in the evening at Fritz Willers in Bilderlahe with the first German asparagus of the year.

Ellierode, the forgotten village
We start our tour in the “forgotten” village of Ellierode. During World War II, the 50-house village was overlooked by American troops. It can happen. And yes, as we park our car there on late Saturday morning, there’s already a certain tranquility. No one is seen on the street, only the warning siren sounds at 12:00. With its spring-green meadows and grazing horses, Ellierode seems very idyllic.

Harzhorn on the move
At the edge of the village, we start climbing uphill. We enter the forest and after three-quarters of an hour, we reach the first excavation sites of the Roman-Germanic battlefield. Great, that means we’ve reached the informational path. Naturally, we did our “homework” before the visit. That’s when we came across “Harzhorn mobil”. In the mistaken belief that it was some kind of app or audio guide, Burkhard brought his AirPods along. Well, we quickly put those away. Here, it’s just about scanning QR codes. In my opinion, it’s not necessary. The descriptions on site are good and sufficient.

We would have liked to join a guided tour of the site. But unfortunately, these only take place on Sundays or on the third Saturday of the month. But that’s okay. We are fascinated by the place and the descriptions nonetheless. We can imagine quite well how the battles unfolded back then. Once again, I am fascinated by how well organized the Roman soldiers were. In the end, the Germans come off worse. At the end of the tour, we reach the information center. It’s closed too. However, a look through the window allows us to see a diorama of the battle. Additionally, beautiful Roman shields are on display. It’s probably a good thing that the place isn’t open. Who knows what temptations would have lured me in.

Through the fields to the Wöllersteine
From Harzhorn, we hike through the fields towards Wiershausen. The sun is really shining now. We take a short break on a bench. We dream of a cold beer in a forest café. Unfortunately, that’s not happening. Although we see a few trucks with beer advertising in the distance, there’s no sale. So, we cross the highway and hike uphill back into the forest. Our next destination is the quarry near Kalefeld. On a very narrow path – which later turns out to be the Kirchen & Kapellen circular route – we walk to the Kalefeld quarry and shortly after, reach the Wöllersteine. People are said to have lived here about seven thousand years ago. Be that as it may. In any case, there’s a beautiful avenue here, and the view from the monument to the fallen soldiers is magnificent.

The Weißenwasser Church with the farmers’ cemetery
We linger for a while at this wonderful place. We don’t yet realize that we’re on our way to another highlight: the Weißenwasser Church with the farmers’ cemetery. Not far from the Wöllersteine, we first come to an empty water treading basin. Suddenly, there it is before us: the Weißenwasser Church. The interplay between the church and the old gravestones from the 18th and 19th centuries particularly fascinates me. I immediately imagine a gloomy winter day. Fog rises in front of the memorial stones and zombies roam. Back to reality: The area is really beautiful and worth a visit.

From the farmers’ cemetery, we hike towards Sebexen. However, we bypass the village and climb one last time into the forest via a field path. On the other side, we come out near Ellierode and descend to our car.

Fritz Willers in Bilderlahe
A tip from my friend Susanne leads us to Bilderlahe. Not that I had ever heard of the place before. But this is where Fritz Willers is supposed to be. When we arrive, we see from the well-filled parking lot that the restaurant is quite popular. And lo and behold, we can’t get a table. There won’t be anything available until 7:30 PM. Well, what can we do? After seeing a sign saying there’s an asparagus menu, I have to come up with something. We decide to go for a drink in nearby Seesen and come back later.

In Seesen, however, it’s not so easy to find a café. It’s already 6 PM. My trusted ice cream parlor has just closed its doors. The café opposite has closed altogether. Well, only “La Dolce Vita” by Alfredo Occhipinti remains. Well, it doesn’t look cozy. But at least we can sit outside. However, the prices on the drinks menu give us another shock. 5 euros for a Baileys? That’s definitely a statement. We quench our thirst with two radlers and drive back to Bilderlahe. And here our hearts really open up. Both the selection of asparagus dishes and the prices are quite reasonable. I opt for the vegetarian option with baked asparagus, potatoes, and scrambled eggs, while Burkhard chooses the schnitzel option. We are extremely satisfied and well-fed. This is a great local tip and a successful farewell to an eventful day.

Share this Post