Volksmarch column for Oct. 22-27
October 20, 2010
The annual Bastogne (Belgium) Historical Walk is still several weeks away, but it is time to start thinking about attending.
The walk will be on Saturday, Dec. 11, but there will be various activities starting the evening of Dec. 9 and running through Dec. 12 (Friday through Sunday). Even though this is not an IVV-sanctioned walk, it is such an exciting weekend of walking and activities honoring those who fought there that we always make sure we tell folks about it.
This year, the registration process has changed. For the first time since the walk began 33 years ago, 3rd Army veteran Maurice Spirandeau and his dedicated nucleus of volunteers will not be coordinating the walk. Instead, the city of Bastogne will handle all registrations.
We registered through the USAG Benelux-Chievres Web page, www.usagbenelux.eur.army.mil, and found it an easy process. Payment for the walk can be made 3-8 p.m. Friday or 7-9:30 a.m. Saturday before the walk.
This year’s walk goes through the Wardin sector of the perimeter with routes of six, 12, 20 or 30 kilometers. It starts at 8 a.m. at the sports center.
We have heard from the Kaiserslautern Sunny Coyotes that the club is planning a bus trip to Bastogne for the walk. If you would like to join them, contact Norm Raynal at email@example.com or Esther Evans at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The Sunny Coyotes are planning a bus trip to the Christmas market in the caves at Valkenburg aan de Geul, Netherlands, on Dec. 4. For this trip, contact either Helen at email@example.com or Leonard, by telephone, at 06337-8732.
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We have been looking for a walk in Belgium so that we could visit the brewery in Bellevaux. This Saturday, the town of Bellevaux is having another walk, so we’ll try to participate and visit the brewery. The town of Montenau is nearby, so we might try two walks and a brewery in one day.
Another one of our favorite walks is in Gulpen, Netherlands, this Sunday. The walking club De Veldlopers from Gulpen is hosting its 48th Castle and Monument Walk. You can start the five- and 10-kilometer routes between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m., the 15k and 20k routes between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m., and the 35k route between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. Expect plenty of hills in this area of the Netherlands. In fact, it is one of our standing jokes that “Gulpen” is the Dutch word for hills. The start hall is at the Ontmoetingscentrum de Timpaan.
Sunday you can walk in Böblingen, near Stuttgart, starting the six-, 10- and 20-kilometer distances between 7 a.m. and 1 p.m. The prize for completing the route is a stuffed dog doll. This walk has been designated a Stammtisch walk for the Stuttgart club; look for its blue flag at the start hall and introduce yourself to these avid walkers.
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The Bigonville, Luxembourg, and Longvilly, Belgium, “two-fer” walk we suggested recently turned out to be a very nice experience. It was still dark when we left for the drive to Bigonville, but that meant seeing a spectacular sunrise as we drove through the Ardennes. Both walks were fairly hilly, but the trails were dry and easy to navigate.
We were surprised that a good portion of the Longvilly walk took us into Luxembourg. In fact, the first control point was at a chateau on a dairy farm in Niederwampach. It was through this town that the Panzer Lehr Division passed on its way toward Bastogne in December 1944.
After the walk, we had a Belgian sausage and a Luxembourger beer. Then we drove to St. Michael’s Grotto just west of Longvilly and saw where many vehicles were destroyed when the Germans found a traffic jam and opened fire. Walking on this ground and seeing these places gives a unique perspective on World War II history.
Then it was time to head home. We got back in time to enjoy the last of a gorgeous afternoon around the house.
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It’s always nice to have a “Plan B” in case something goes wrong. We recently drove to a volksmarch only to find the start hall locked. (A parking spot only 30 yards from the front door should have been a strong sign something was wrong!) Luckily, we had the Limburg Wandelagenda with us and we were able to find another walk close by. Canceled walks don’t happen very often, but anything can happen.
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If you want to join the Heidelberg club on its trip to Würzburg and Volkach on Nov. 6, the last day to pay is Monday. Any questions? Contact Mike or Lori Culbert at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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“High fives” to the following who found the time to mail us fliers for upcoming walks: William Castro and Maureen McHugh-Castro; Richard and Donna Glenn; John and Evelyn Golembe; John, Mary and Tess Laub; Tim and Luchi Lynch; “Pat” and Cheryl Patterson; Lew Harrison; Nora Hernandez; Rick Sciascia; and Nancy Shawley.
E-mail volksmarch information to email@example.com. Mail brochures to Bob and Lorraine Huffaker, CMR 460, Box 278, APO, AE, 09752.