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Apopular event each year in the Kaiserslautern, Germany, area is the volksmarch in Queidersbach.

Walkers can start the five- and 10-kilometer trails between 7 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday; if you want to go 20 kilometers, start before 1 p.m. All three routes can be started Sunday between 7 a.m. and 1 p.m. Only B medals are available while quantities last.

• Sunday’s volksmarch in Fellbach-Schmiden, Germany, is a Stammtisch walk for the Stuttgart German American Wandering Club, so look for the club’s blue banner at the start hall. You can start between 7 a.m. and 1 p.m. The prize is an umbrella.

• From Italy, Clark Soeldner tells us the routes at the walk in Monselice won’t take you past the castle, but it would be worth a visit after the walk.

• The start for the San Foca di San Quirino, Italy, walk is “Presso Azienda Vinicola Quinta della Luna in Via Nannavecchia 75.” He adds that the course is partially on the (hopefully dry) streambeds, and that the flier states it is forbidden to pick wildflowers along the route.

• Wednesday’s walk in Gulpen, Netherlands, is the first of the organizers’ “Midweekwandeltochten” for this year. Through November, they will host one Wednesday walk each month. We have been to a few of these walks, and they are well-organized.

Start times are between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. for the five-kilometer trail, between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. for the 10k route, and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. for the 15k walk.

If you live in the area, you need to do one of these popular walks. The dates are March 16, April 20, May 18, June 15, July 20, Aug. 17, Sept. 21, Oct. 19 and Nov. 16.

• The walk in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany, was a blast! Saturday, Feb. 26, was a perfect day for walking. It was, however, just one day in a weekend filled with fun, friendship and walking. We caught up with a few friends and fellow walkers, including Brad and Lynne Crandall, “Pat” and Cheryl Patterson, Rob and Cath Floyd, Dave Miller, John Laub, Jim and Patty Zoschenko, Mike and Lori Culbert and Fabrice Normand. We finally met Wayne Henry, who sends so many fliers from the Stuttgart area, and Clark Soeldner.

The fun started on Friday afternoon when we arrived. After checking in at our Gasthaus, we were off to do some shopping. First there was a quick stop at the tourist information office, where we confirmed some activities for Saturday. Then we headed to one of our favorite establishments, Käthe Wohlfahrt’s Christmas store. We bought mostly Easter decorations, but some Christmas items found their way into the basket as well.

Next, we headed to St. Jacob’s Church, where we re-revisited the awe-inspiring Holy Blood Altar, carved in wood by Tillman Riemenschneider in about 1500. As we were enjoying a pretzel from the little bakery across from the church, we got a call from Clark Soeldner saying he was almost in Rothenburg. We walked back to the Gasthaus where we met Clark and headed out to see more of the city. Dinner was at a nice restaurant on the market square. The schnitzels were excellent, the beer was cold and the conversation lively as we talked about volksmarching in Italy and our upcoming trip to Aviano.

Saturday morning, we had a leisurely breakfast and were ready to start walking by 8:30. The Heidelberg International Wandering Club bus had arrived, and the club flag was in the front row of tables in the start hall. After chatting with club members for a while, we hit the trail. The morning walk was nice. We heard some people had problems with signs and ended up walking more than they had planned, but at least the weather was beautiful.

When we got back to the start hall, we noticed the maroon flag of the Ramstein Road Runners and the blue flag of the Stuttgart German-American Wandering Club were flying proudly on tables next to the Heidelberg flag. It is the first time that we can recall all three of the big American clubs in Germany having adjacent tables at a walk. The only downside was that the tables were mostly empty because most people were out enjoying the walks and the great weather.

After a lunch of bratwurst and fries, we were back out for the Old City Walk. We were surprised that the route followed the morning trail out of town, but soon we were back along the ramparts and on the cobblestones of the old city. Having done this walk several times, we were pleased to see the trails included some new areas along with the city’s main attractions.

Following a very brief rest and dinner with Clark, we went to the market square for an evening tour of the city by the medieval Night Watchman (www.nightwatchman.de/index.php?&sprache=ENG). This was an English-language excursion that gave us insight to the city’s history and German life in the Middle Ages. Both funny and informative, this tour of the city was a great way to top off a busy day.

A leisurely breakfast Sunday preceded a trip to the nearby town of Creglingen, where we had a quick rendezvous with the Heidelberg club. They were preparing to walk the town’s permanent volksmarch. Clark joined them for the trek, but we decided to get a head start on the drive home. At least we know the location of the start hall and we’ll see if we can do the permanent trail the next time we’re in the area.

It was a great weekend. Volksmarching with old and new friends, good food, touring a historic walled city, learning more about German history and culture, and, of course, some good shopping made this a very special weekend for us. We can’t wait until next year!

• Finally, a great big "Dank u wel" to the following people who sent fliers: Richard and Donna Glenn; John, Mary and Tess Laub; Tim and Luchi Lynch; Rick and Wanda Sciascia; Bob Gambert; and the aforementioned Pattersons and Wayne Henry.

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