Volksmarch column for Jan. 6
January 5, 2011
We hope 2011 is off to a good start for you all. There has been an unusual amount of snow this year, so wherever you walk, allow extra travel time and be careful on the trails.
There are a few more walks to choose from this weekend than last. The biggest one is in Paris. Based on personal experience and feedback from others, we offer these bits of advice.
• If you don’t like crowds, stay away from this event. There were close to 17,000 participants last year!
• The lights of the city are pretty, but it gets pretty darn cold! Dress in layers and don’t be afraid to stop along the way to visit a store or cafe to warm up.
• If you drive, take plenty of cash for the toll roads. Lew Harrison suggests taking the train instead of driving.
• If you stay in a hotel, bring plenty of money; nothing is inexpensive in Paris.
• Bring extra batteries for your camera for all the pictures you’ll be taking. Make sure there is plenty of space on your camera’s memory card, too.
The start is at the Halle George Carpentier, 81 Boulevard Massena. The postal code is 75013. If you travel by metro, take line 7 to the Porte d’Ivry stop. By car, exit the Paris Périphérique at Porte d’Italie. We have always used the metro to get to the start, and based on the number of people that attend this walk, parking can be a challenge. Another downside to a large number of walkers is chaos at the control points. Just do your best with the crowds and get your start cards stamped.
Last year they added to their usual 14- and 20-kilometer routes a 13k trail that visits many of the bridges in Paris. You can start between 1 p.m. and 7 p.m., but make sure you are back to the start hall before they close at 1 a.m. Sunday.
In the past, the routes were marked with chalk arrows on the sidewalk. These can be easy to miss even in the best conditions. Add a little bit of snow, and you’re reduced to playing Follow the Leader. But, with so many people doing the walk, this is easy.
One of the unique aspects of this walk is that the 14-kilometer route does not take you back to the start hall. It ends at the Paris Hotel de Ville. If you want to get IVV credit, you have to go back to the start hall to get your books stamped. The good news is that there is a nearby metro station that will take you back to the start. We are not certain if the 13-km route ends back at the start hall, or if it, too, requires a metro ride. If you have done the bridge route, please let us know. We think this is a walk that all serious Volksmarchers need to do at least once while in Europe. For more information on this walk and other walks this club holds in the Paris area, visit: www.godillot-familial.com. • Doug LeVien told us how he really enjoyed the evening illumination walk in Namur, Belgium, last year. Sunday, they are having a regular, day-time walk in Namur. You can start between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. You must be finished by 5 p.m. The routes vary between seven and 30- kilometers and start at the arsenal on Boulevard Frère Orban. It has been a few years since we did this walk, but we remember it as a very nice one. • If you have not yet done a Fackelwanderung, or torch walk, then Saturday you might want to go to Oberrotweil, Germany, for their event. • “Thanks!” to the following devoted walkers who have stuffed our mail box again with fliers: William Castro and Maureen McHugh-Castro, Cath and Rob Floyd, Richard and Donna Glenn, John and Evelyn Golembe, Wayne Henry, Tim and Luchi Lynch, “Pat” and Cheryl Patterson and Rick Sciascia.
E-mail volksmarch information to firstname.lastname@example.org. Mail brochures to Bob and Lorraine Huffaker, CMR 460, Box 278, APO, AE, 09752.