The Cross Chapel of Ottbergen

Christina/ June 18, 2024/ The daily grind

In the middle of the Hildesheimer Börde stands a pilgrimage site: the Cross Chapel in Ottbergen. Hildesheim is Catholic. A Way of the Cross, the so-called Linden Allee, leads the “pilgrims” along 14 stations that trace the Passion of Christ. Is it a preparation for the encounter with the Marian Grotto on the right? The construction of the chapel goes back to the vision of a shepherd who claimed to have seen a shining cross on the mountain. Around 1700, a wooden oratory was initially built, which was later transformed into stone. Whether one feels spiritually moved by the whole story is something everyone has to decide for themselves. However, the climb to the chapel is definitely a beautiful path that leads into the Vorholz. And here begins our hike today.

The Kreuzberg Hermitage
Oh dear, halfway to the chapel, we almost stray from the right path. I notice the sign for the “Kreuzberg Hermitage” with the Feldschlösschen Pilsener image. Besides beer, there is real athlete’s fare here: schnitzel in all varieties, burgers, and of course, curry & fries. But it doesn’t help; we are just at the beginning of our tour. We take a quick look at the Lourdes Grotto and then turn our attention to both the building and the magnificent view of the surroundings. The iron shackles on the wall catch my eye. They are certainly not ashtrays. Perhaps scenes from the film “King’s Land” are still haunting me and fueling my imagination. However, when we also discover the pyre-like collection of tree trunks just behind the chapel grounds, I start to have my doubts. Somehow, it’s a bit creepy here as well.

Protect the Hildesheimer Börde
As we penetrate further into the Vorholz, we come across a tree with a dangling rope. Surely, no one is playing Hangman here? This is a bit too much excitement; it’s time to turn to quieter paths. We head right to the Heidelbeerenhöhenweg and up the mountain of the same name, the highest point in the Vorholz. From the ridge, we slowly direct our steps toward Wendhausen. There is supposed to be a wellness garden to visit here. To be honest, our enthusiasm is limited. Maybe we are just a bit spoiled. We wait out a rain shower and then start the return journey. We pass a resting place. A stone admonishes us to protect the Hildesheimer Börde. Gladly. A glance back makes us pause for a moment. A considerable rain area is rolling towards us. We pick up the pace a bit and make it back to our starting point just in time.

Lichtenberg Castle Ruin
Back in the car, we think about where we can quench our thirst for coffee. Allegedly, there is a farm café in Ottbergen. When we take a second look at the internet entry, we discover that the last update was in 2017. So that’s a no-go. Then Burkhard remembers the café that stands above the Lichtenberg castle ruin. It’s worth a try. I check the internet and find an entry for the Peak Hotel & Event. The place still seems to be open. So off we go.

When we arrive at Burgbergstraße, I am surprised. A lot has changed since my last visit in 2021. The tower of the castle ruin now seems to be accessible and the hotel has been renovated. We step onto a really chic terrace with a view that stretches to Braunschweig. After the coffee break, we want to climb the keep. But no such luck. It is only open from 2 PM to 4 PM. Really annoying. But on the other hand, it’s a reason to come back again.

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