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Perfect weather, lots of sunshine, beautiful scenery, great food and wonderful conversation with walking friends all came together Sept. 24 at the Heidelberg volksmarch. We were among about 1,000 walkers who hit the trails that Saturday. Even more walked Sunday, for a two-day total of more than 2,200.

After an early-morning trip to Heidelberg’s old city for the flea market, we hit the start hall at about 10 a.m. After ordering two club T-shirts from the boutique, we dropped off a couple of cakes at the pastry area and then signed in for the walk. We bought a couple of extra mugs — beautiful, as usual — for gifts.

After visiting with Brad Crandall from the Ramstein Roadrunners, we chatted with Dave Miller and Rob and Cath Floyd. After buying our food coupons, we were out the door heading for the beautiful countryside.

At the first control point, we were pleased to see Mike and Sue Capp stamping cards and serving beverages. We could have spent hours talking with them, but the rest of the course was calling. We walked past gardens, vineyards, forests and some residential areas. We were pleased to see so many families out enjoying the walk.

Soon, we were back at the start hall, where the smell of grilling steaks and bratwurst was delightful. We sat at the table claimed by the Stuttgart German-American Walking Club and enjoyed talking with club members. We were impressed with the Cub Scouts who were collecting empty plates and cleaning tables.

All told, it was a great walking event. The only damper is that next year’s walk might be the last. We certainly hope the Heidelberg International Walking Club will find a way to keep this wonderful event going for many years. For great pictures of the walk, see Lorraine Buttner’s postings at http://foggyview.smugmug.com.

We wish the club a good time as they take a busload of volksmarchers to Kiel, Germany, and Fredericia, Denmark, for a series of walks this weekend.

• This weekend’s walk in Knittlingen, Germany, is a Stammtisch event for the Stuttgart German American Wandering Club, so look for their blue club flag at the start hall. Start the routes both days between 7 a.m. and 1 p.m.

• Halloween is just a couple of weeks away and the Stuttgart German-American Wandering Club is planning a bus trip to a Halloween-themed walk in Reichstett, France, on Oct. 29. This will be a day trip starting with wine tasting, followed by the walk in Reichstett. If you are interested, please contact Kathy at: clubpresident@sgawc.org as soon as possible.

• Also this weekend, the Ramstein Roadrunners will load a bus Saturday for the walk in Bischofsdhron. After the walk, they will go to the town of Zell an der Mosel for the annual wine fest.

• If you have never done a torch walk, you might consider going to Canach, Luxembourg, Saturday. The walk starts at 4 p.m. and closes at midnight. They will have torches for sale at the start and at the controls. Take a flashlight along, too, to be on the safe side.

• For a unique prize, a small, battery-operated, Black Forest clock is available at Berghaupten, Germany, this weekend. You also can choose from an assortment of B-medals from past walks, including a toy car, a porcelain clown and a polar bear doll. It’s never too early to start Christmas shopping.

• Don’t forget next week’s walk in Grafenwöhr, Germany. The start is at the Jugendheim on Kolpingstrasse, which is near the church. The 5-, 10- and 20-kilometer trails start both days at 7 a.m. The prize is a cute Teddy bear dressed in Lederhosen and wearing a Bavarian hat.

• The Stuttgart club is also planning a bus trip to Bastogne, Belgium, in December for the annual Bastogne Historical Walk. For more information, contact Melissa at: volunteers@sgawc.org.

Stuttgart’s club has a very nice Web page you might want to check out. See it at sgawc.org.

• If your travels find you back in the Washington, D.C., area later this month, you might want to check out the U.S. FreedomWalk Festival on Oct. 21-23. This is the 10th year for the event and it is sponsored by the Surgeon General’s Office, the American Volkssport Association and the International Marching League. Each of the three days will have different walks through the Arlington, Va., and Washington, D.C., areas. The start for each event is the Holiday Inn-Rosslyn at Key Bridge in Arlington. For more information, visit USFreedomwalk.org.

• Thanks a million to the folks who make this column possible by sending us fliers. This week’s contributors are: 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.

Another million thanks to the volunteers who worked so hard at the Heidelberg volksmarch. There was a lot of work to be done, and you all rolled up your sleeves and got it done! Good job!


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