Volksmarch column for Nov. 11
Stars and Stripes November 9, 2010
Happy Veterans Day! There are two walks today in Belgium that will take you through the beautiful and historic Ardennes region. Bob will set out early to attend the Moulin du Ruy event. Its 12- and 21-kilometer trails will take walkers past the December ’44 Museum in the town of La Gleize. Outside sits a German King Tiger tank from World War II’s Battle of the Bulge.
Bob also wants to visit the church in La Gleize to see the Madonna of La Gleize statue. Carved out of wood sometime in the 1300s, this delicate statue somehow survived the fighting that nearly leveled the church and the rest of the town. Bob only recently learned of the statue when he read “The Monuments Men — Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves, and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History” by Robert Edsel. This book, and the story of the Madonna, has piqued Bob’s curiosity, so he hopes to combine a volksmarch with some WWII history and a little art history.
After the walk in Moulin du Ruy, Bob will try to drive over to Bütgenbach for the walk there. He’s hoping for good weather because there will be plenty of hills, and rain will make these trails difficult to navigate.
Other walks of interest this weekend include: Mutschelbach, Germany, which is a Stammtisch walk for the Stuttgart German American Wandering Club, and Saturday’s walk in Sitterswald, Germany, which is a torch walk. Start the five- or 10-kilometer routes between 4 and 7 p.m.
We hope you have cleared your morning Thanksgiving schedule to participate in Ramstein Roadrunners' Turkey Trot. Starting from the Mehrzweckhalle at Am Kiefernkopf 20, walk the five- and 10-kilometer trails between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m., finishing by 3 p.m. so the club members can quickly clean up the hall and then enjoy their Thanksgiving dinners in the afternoon.
The Roadrunners could use some volunteer help to make this a successful holiday walk. Whether it is helping set up, marking trails, staffing a control point or cleaning up afterward, your help will certainly be appreciated. Please contact the Roadrunners at Ramsteinroadrunners@yahoo.com if you can volunteer. If not, you can still help by bringing baked goods to donate for the club to sell. You don’t have to do the baking yourself; store-bought goodies are greatly appreciated.
• • • As we walked past a house on a recent volksmarch, we saw a small sign with the following saying: “I never worry when I get lost … I just change where I want to go.” We both think it is kind of cute. We’ll try to remember it the next time we get lost.
• • • A bit of rain did not dampen our spirits as we returned to Bellevaux, Belgium, a couple weeks ago to walk and visit the local brewery. The walk started at 2 p.m. and since we arrived a half-hour early, we thought we might have to wait a little. To our surprise, not only were they open for business, they had already sold more than 130 start cards.
Without delay, we strapped on our walking poles and hit the trail. Lorraine and I recently completed a course on Nordic walking and this was our first time out on our own as Nordic walkers. We probably should have chosen a flatter area, but we were anxious to use our poles and new walking technique. The damp, gray clouds muted the pretty autumn colors, but we still enjoyed the beauty of the area.
After the walk, we went to the local brewery Brasserie de Bellevaux. Some old farm buildings have been remodeled into the brewing building, a bar and gift shop. It was a busy day so we had a beer as we waited for our tour to begin. Tours are usually in French or Dutch, but Will, the owner, brew master and our tour guide, was kind enough to add English for our group. We ran into some other Americans during the tour that had also just completed the volksmarch, but unfortunately we failed to get their names.
Following the tour, we hoped to get a quick bite before we left, but the bar area was packed, so we visited the gift shop instead. In addition to some of their special beer, we bought some of our favorite Monschau mustard. By then it was getting dark, so we decided to start the trip home.
We really enjoyed the day in Bellevaux and look forward to the next event in the area.
• • • With only one month to go, the official countdown for the annual Bastogne Historical Walk has begun. It looks like another exciting weekend of walking, history and remembrance. The easiest way to register is at the U.S. Army Garrison Benelux website, www.usagbenelux.eur.army.mil.
• • • Grazie to the following people who sent fliers for this week’s column: Richard and Donna Glenn; John and Evelyn Golembe; John, Mary and Tess Laub; Tim and Luchi Lynch; “Pat” and Cheryl Patterson; Lew Harrison, Wayne Henry; and Rick Sciascia.