Volksmarch column, Aug. 11
You can combine a walk with some WWII history this weekend. The event in Bellevaux, Belgium, is close to Battle of the Bulge museums in La Gleize, Poteau and Baugnez. The countryside is beautiful and the museums give an excellent portrayal of the fighting. If you are in the area, try to visit at least one of these great museums.
If you would like to visit a small brewery, the Brasserie de Bellevaux has a tasting room that is open 11 a.m.-6 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday. Sometimes the walking route will take you past it. This would make a good rest spot along the trail.
• From Italy, Clark Soeldner tells us, “The walk at Villanova della Grotte is one of my personal favorites, going through the mountains that surround the Alta val Torre. Arrive early if you would like to avoid a warm-up hike to the start.”
• On Aug. 20, the Stuttgart German-American Wandering Club is taking a bus to the walk in Jettingen, France. They also plan to stop in Basel, Switzerland. The cutoff for signing up is Aug. 15. Contact Larry Pettaway at firstname.lastname@example.org.
• The Stuttgart club hosted a remarkable volksmarch the last weekend in July. Bob drove down from the Netherlands and had a blast. On Friday evening, the start hall was a beehive of activity. Club president Ann, along with members Michelle, Bob and Wayne, were joined by many others to get things ready for the next morning.
Always ready to try the local cuisine, Bob had Maultaschen Friday evening at the hotel. These little meat pockets are also known as “God foolers.” When the Cistercian monks wanted to eat meat during their fast, they would hide it in noodle dough. Bob’s meal had these pockets of meat mixed into an omelet, and it was very good.
Things were rolling along Saturday morning when Bob returned to the start hall. The sandwich-making assembly line was a thing of beauty. The drinks were iced and the grills were firing up.
Anxious to get going on the walk, Bob headed out on the 13-km trail, which started through a residential area but was soon in the forests and parks. The second control point offered beautiful panoramic views of the city. Following a long downhill stretch that included a stop at the gnome village, there was a stop at the third control point, which was a winery. Bob enjoyed a glass of wine and a sandwich that had come from the morning assembly line. Soon he was heading back to the start hall.
After getting his books stamped and picking up his hat pin, Bob went out to help at control point number two. The crowds were gone when he arrived, so he enjoyed chatting with volunteers Eleanor and Justin and Elizabeth. Several families came through the control point with most of the kids collecting answers to the quiz questions posted along the route. Prizes were given to kids who got the correct answer.
Soon it was time to break down the control point for the night and return to the start hall. Bob chatted with several people. Bob Gambert brought some old volksmarch prizes and quite a few Stars and Stripes travel sections from the mid-1990s. It was fun going down memory lane.
The only regret was missing a chance to visit with the walkers from the Heidelberg International Wandering Club. But we’re planning to go to Heidelberg for the big event Sept. 24-25. Bob started the walk before they arrived and was at the control when they finished walking. Their bus had left by the time he returned to the start hall.
A common theme among the various conversations throughout the day was the amount of work required to put on a successful volksmarch and what people can do to support the sport. There were plenty of volunteers this day and everyone made a vital contribution. Those of us who have done a few volksmarches know how much we enjoy the sport. The benefits are many; learn about and experience a new culture; practice your language skills; see a new country one step at a time; try new foods and drinks and so on. It is vital that we all support the sport we love – volksmarching!
A heart-felt “grazie” to the loyal readers who send in the tons of flyers. This week they include: William Castro and Maureen McHugh-Castro, Michael and Michelle Connor, Cath and Rob Floyd, Bob Gambert, Richard and Donna Glenn, Wayne Henry, Tim and Luchi Lynch, “Pat” and Cheryl Patterson, Richie and Young Sook Reeder, Rick and Wanda Sciascia and Nancy Shawley.
E-mail volksmarch information to email@example.com. Mail brochures to Bob and Lorraine Huffaker, CMR 460, Box 278, APO, AE, 09752.