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Note that this column has been posted ahead for your planning purposes. The events discussed are for the weekend of Sept. 8-9. The Aug. 30 column, about walks on the weekend of Sept. 1-2, appears separately.

The weekend of the big volksmarch in Heidelberg is Sept. 8-9. This is the last volksmarch for the Heidelberg International Wandering Club. Instead of being sad, we think you should come and help celebrate the club’s 38 years of outstanding volksmarches. One of Bob’s first European volksmarches was the 1996 Heidelberg event and he was fascinated with the beauty of the Heidelberg scenery; the friendly walkers and the party atmosphere in the start hall.Since our return to Europe, we have tried to attend the Heidelberg walk every year to recapture these magical moments. Look for us in the start hall or on the trail.Here are the walk details.The start and finish of the event will be at the International Gesamtschule behind Nachrichten Kaserne. Since the school is in a busy residential area, we usually park at the Kaserne and follow the signs to the start. You need military ID to get on the Kaserne. Start times are between 7 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday and 7 a.m. and 1 p.m. Sunday. The 5-km route will stay below the hills and will be flat and stroller friendly. The 11-km trail will also be stroller-friendly but hilly. The 22-km trail will take you past Heidelberg Castle. Take your camera! Make sure its batteries are fully charged and you’ve got plenty of space on your memory cards or plenty of film.

We like to remind you of one of our favorite tips: buy your food tickets before you walk when, hopefully, the line for these tickets will be shorter. Then, after the walk, you can go directly to the food line. If you’re walking with a friend, have them get in the drinks line. If there is a third person in your group, have them go grab some seats for those in line. In the past, we have been able to smell the delicious aroma from the grills as we approached the finish. We were glad we already had out tickets so we could skip that line.The HIWC always comes up with an excellent mug for a prize and this year is no exception. The prize is a beautiful, glass beer mug with a multi-colored picture of scenes from around Heidelberg. There is a special “Auf Wiedersehen” message on the mug commemorating the club’s last event.We’ll be looking for the blue shirts and smiling faces of the Stuttgart German-American Wandering Club, which is sending a busload of walkers. There will be a lot of maroon shirts and jackets from the Ramstein Roadrunners, too. Whether on the trail, or in the start hall, don’t hesitate to go up to these folks and say, “Hi!” Of course, Heidelberg club members will be on hand to make sure the walk is progressing smoothly. They will be wearing their club shirt or a volunteer shirt. They will gladly answer any questions you might have.For a little friendly competition, the club will award Commander Cup trophies to the military activities with the most participants. So make sure you bring your unit, along with your guidon and come participate in genuine German style. If you volunteered to work — thanks! If you can’t stay and work, you can still help by donating baked goods for the club to sell. For any last-minute questions, contact Rob Floyd at 06227-841226 or 0172-6239338.• If the weekend of Sept. 8-9 finds you in Austria, the Wandersportfreunde Maria Brettfall has planned a weekend full of activities in the town Strass im Zillertal. The club will offer four routes, including one to the Pilgrimage Church of Maria Brettfall. There is a fifth route if you count the permanent volksmarch.Bike enthusiasts, there will be “out and back” bike trails! Peddle to Kaltenbach and back for the 30K, to Zell am Ziller and back for the 46K, or finally, to Mayrhofen and back for the 64K. You can cut these routes in half by stopping at any of these three towns and taking the train back to the start hall. This gives you a choice of six bike distances. Complete one of these walking or bike events and your reward will be a clock with a sunflower on it. On Friday and Saturday evenings there will be music concerts in town, and Sunday there will be live music in the start hall. So whether you walk, bike or listen to music, you have plenty of options in Strasse.• Also on Sept. 8-9, the Eifel region will be busy with walks. The towns of Irrel, Germany, and Echternach, Luxembourg, will host the First Europiade. Just six kilometers apart, these towns will have several walks, a bike event and swim event between Friday night and Sunday. This is a beautiful area, so we are sure there will be plenty of people there. On the other side of the Eifel, Sunday’s walk in Wittlich is fairly close to walkers in the Bitburg/Spangdahlem area. These events are for IVV credit only.E-mail volksmarch information to two.walkers@yahoo.com. Mail brochures to Bob and Lorraine Huffaker, CMR 460, Box 278, APO, AE, 09752.


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