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With Christmas rapidly approaching, we have noticed that the number of volksmarches has dropped dramatically. That leaves more time for visiting Christmas markets.

Bob and some friends visiting from the States hit the Aachen Weihnachtsmarkt the day it opened. The smell of Reibekuchen (potato pancakes), wurst and Glühwein was heavenly. The crowd was small, so we really enjoyed walking around and actually seeing the items for sale at the many booths.

Sunday, the walk at Alt-Hürth, Germany, starts next to the Christmas market at the Pfarrheim on Lindenstrasse. With a Christmas market and a volksmarch so close to each other, parking might be a challenge, so try to get there as early as possible. The walk starts at 11 a.m.; the routes are six and 10 kilometers. Make sure you finish the walk by the 5 p.m. finishing time. Then you can go back for more shopping.

Saturday and Sunday, Ebernhahn, Germany, is having its Krippenwanderung. This town has a walk every December, but only does the route with the nativity scenes every three years. The regular volksmarch, which features five-, 10- and 20-kilometer routes, will start at 8 a.m. Then the 5k Krippenstrecke starts between 2 and 6 p.m. The prize is a nativity scene. Last year, we did the regular walk and then headed to the Christmas market in Montabaur.

There are a couple more walks with Christmas-themed prizes that might interest you. The prize for walking in Windach, Germany, is a set of three small Christmas angels. At Hüttigweiler, Germany, you can get a ceramic plate with a Santa Claus theme. Plates from previous walks are available in limited quantities.

For the Eifel region, walkers who can’t be tempted by a Christmas market or who just want to stay closer to home, there is a walk Sunday in Landscheid, near Bitburg and Spangdahlem, Germany. Start at the Eifellandhalle between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. and finish by 5 p.m. This walk is for IVV credit only.

Saturday evening, there is a walk in the Montmartre district of Paris. You can start the 10k route between 3 and 7 p.m. at the Gymnase Leon Biancotto, Porte de Clichy. You must finish before 11:30 p.m.

Wednesday is an Italian holiday, so there will be a few midweek walks. The prize for the first 500 walkers at San Giorgio delle Pertiche is a Santa suit, so arrive early. You will also want to arrive early for good parking for the walk at Colle di Pinzano al Tagliamento; it’s a very small town. • • •

Good luck to the Kaiserslautern Sunny Coyotes as they head to Valkenburg, Netherlands, on Saturday for shopping in the Christmas caves.

Speaking of the Sunny Coyotes, they will head to the historic Bastogne walk Dec 11. This walk commemorates the 66th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge. Distances include six, 12, 20 and 30 kilometers. While not an official IVV-sponsored walk, it is not to be missed. Sign up directly with Norm Raynal from the Coyotes via e-mail at normraynal@yahoo.com.

While the Sunny Coyotes are going to Bastogne for the day, we will be there for the whole weekend. Saturday morning, we’ll be at the start for the walk bright and early. We want to participate in the ceremonies along the route, and plan to leave promptly at 8 a.m. After the walk, we’ll be visiting the stores in Bastogne and watching the traditional nut-throwing ceremony at city hall. Look for us at Bastogne.

Thanks for sending in envelopes of volksmarch brochures in date order to William Castro and Maureen McHugh-Castro; Richard and Donna Glenn; John, Mary and Tess Laub; Tim and Luchi Lynch; “Pat” and Cheryl Patterson; and Wayne Henry, and Rick Sciascia.

E-mail volksmarch information to two.walkers@yahoo.com. Mail brochures to Bob and Lorraine Huffaker, CMR 460, Box 278, APO, AE, 09752.

For more information and a listing of this weekend’s walks, go to

stripes.com/go/volksmarch

Bob and Lorraine Huffaker

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