Excursion report
Wernigerode & “the Harz Mountains”

The Hartz Hikers of the Welcome Center
The Harz Hikers of the Welcome Center (Photo: M. Kusche)

Our trip last weekend took us into the Harz Mountains to the small town of Wernigerode. Friday evening, we took the train from Dresden into the forest area around the “Brocken” (the highest mountain in Northern Germany) and arrived late in the evening in Wernigerode. After a good sleep at the Harz Hostel we were full of energy and ready to start our hike towards the summit of Brocken, which lies 1142 m above sea level, on Saturday morning.

We set off in the charming village Schierke and passed various forests, the rails of the traditional steam train and idyllic little bridges along our way. The weather was better than expected and only those got a little wet who decided to cool off their feet in the small stream crossing our trail. Close to the top, the trees got smaller and smaller and the clouds around us thickened until we found ourselves in a mystic atmosphere with a very limited range of vision to find the Brocken-Haus, our destination for lunch on the very top of the mountain.

We discovered the house in the mist and enjoyed German food while a rain shower passed by outside. We were able to rest our feet a bit longer and have some drinks while a guide told us everything he knew about that famous Brocken, its special weather conditions, legends about witches and the Walpurgis night as well as the mountain’s history and significance for the people living in the area. We then visited the little museum in the Brocken-Haus and when we stepped outside, luckily the rain had passed.

We went back to Wernigerode in an old steam train that goes all the way from the top of the Brocken to the little town we stayed in. Again we passed through forested areas and enjoyed the beautiful scenery. Part of the group just fell asleep and rested until it was time to exit the train and walk to an Italian restaurant with a funny waiter from Romania and lots of food for our hungry group.

After dinner the forecasted rain had arrived at Wernigerode. However, the bad weather could not stop us from taking a walk to the nearby castle where we walked around a bit and then headed to the hostel to spend a relaxing evening together (and watching the soccer match of the day!).

On Sunday the sun was shining again – perfect weather conditions for a guided tour through Wernigerode, a colourful, traditional little town with a charming city centre. Our guide was born in this city and had lots of stories to tell about this beautiful place. Around noon, we arrived at a restaurant where we had lunch. The plates were large and the food was good so we stayed in the restaurant for quite some time, talked about the weekend, and finally went back to our hostel (rushing a bit) to pick up our luggage and catch our train back to Dresden.

(Text: A. Täubert, Photos: A. Täubert, M. Kusche)

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