Volksmarch column, July 12, 2013
As you read this, we are on a cruise somewhere between St. Petersburg, Russia, and Copenhagen, Denmark. As much as we are looking forward to this vacation, we are going to hate to miss some of the walks this weekend.
One of our favorites is in Malmedy, Belgium, on Saturday and Sunday. We have done this walk several times and have never been disappointed. Located in the Ardennes, the routes will have you in the forests and hills of the area, and there are plenty of distances to pick from. Saturday you can walk six, 12, 20, 30 or 42 kilometers beginning as early at 6 a.m. Sunday’s distances are six, 12 and 20 kilometers, and you can start at 7 a.m. The start hall is at the Salle de la Fraternite (street address: Place de la Fraternite 2).
While you are in Malmedy, make sure to visit the museum and cafe at the Baugnez 44 Historical Center in the Malmedy suburb of Baugnez. The museum is adjacent to the field where American POWs were killed in 1944 in World War II’s infamous Malmedy Massacre and across the street from the memorial dedicated to their memory. For more information on the museum and cafe, visit baugnez44.be, which has an English link. We stopped there for lunch after visiting the La Gleize military flea market recently and had a very nice meal. By the way, the WWII museum in La Gleize has been renovated and is open under new management.
Also near Malmedy is a very nice brewery in the small town of Bellevaux. The brewery, which makes several varieties of Bellevaux beer, is located in an old stone farmhouse. There is a nice cafe with an outdoor patio and a gift shop. This is another of our favorite places to stop when we are in Malmedy.
If you prefer German beer, head to the Bierwanderung in Ilbeshausen, Germany. You will be able to work up a thirst on your own mini-triathlon. After you do the swim and bike events, you can walk the seven- or 10- kilometer trail, which will have five stops, each with a different beer to try. The beer walk, on Saturday only, is part of a weekend of walking, bike riding and swimming in Ilbeshausen. Saturday’s events start at 1 p.m., while Sunday’s start at 7 a.m., except for the swim, which begins at 10 a.m.
Other events this weekend include a walk convenient to the Kaiserslautern Military Community (KMC) in Drehenthalerhof, Germany, west of Sembach. The start hall is in the Bürgerhaus and opens at 7 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. You can start the shorter six- and 10-kilometer routes until 2 p.m. and the 20-km trail until 1 p.m. The hall closes at 6 p.m. A B-medal is the prize.
Still farther, but not too terribly far from the KMC, is the walk in Sohren. Located near Hahn airport, Sohren appears to be about the same distance from Wiesbaden, Spangdahlem and the KMC. Doors open at 6 a.m. on both days for this event, with trails of six, 10 and 20 kilometers. Any walk in the Hunsrück area is bound to be pretty.
If you like to walk in the Stuttgart area, head over to Hochdorf and join members of the Stuttgart German-American Wandering Club for their Stammtisch walk. Look for the club’s blue flag in the start hall and join them for the walk. The start window is between 6 a.m. and 1 p.m. Finish before 5 p.m. The prize is a B-medal.
Bob is a lover of military history, so the walk that caught his eye, after the Malmedy walk, is the one in Hestroff, France. The start is at a fort on the Maginot Line. Determined that French soldiers should never again be exposed to the horrors of trench warfare, the likes of which they saw in WWI, France built an elaborate system of fortresses as their defensive strategy. Unfortunately, these large, static defensive positions were easily bypassed and the French forces were quickly defeated in WWII.
This Sunday, you can visit one of these forts and walk along the Maginot Line in the Hestroff area. The start is at the Fort aux Fresques and the doors open to walkers at 7 a.m. This should be a very interesting walk for military history buffs. Since Bob is stuck on the cruise ship, drop him an email and let him know how the walk was.
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