Volksmarch column -- Nov. 4
Stars and Stripes November 3, 2010
This week’s “hot” walk is in Volkach, Germany, where organizers are offering a torch walk.
The Fackelwanderung, which starts Saturday between 4 and 6 p.m., is just a small part of a whole weekend’s worth of walking. The daytime walks start Saturday between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. for the six- and 11-kilometer trails, and up to 1 p.m. for the 20k route. Sunday, the start time is 7 a.m., and walkers can start the shorter two trails until 1 p.m. and the long route until 11 a.m.
Torches will be on sale for 2 euros, but take along a flashlight, too.
Volkach/Main is east of Würzburg and south of Schweinfurt. The start hall is at the Mainschleifen-Halle on Obervolkacher Strasse. Keep an eye out for the Heidelberg International Wandering Club members; there will be a busload of them there.
• • • Perhaps you might want to combine a volksmarch with some early Christmas shopping. At Mandel, Germany, the prize is a pair of decorative Christmas sticks to decorate your indoor plants. You can pick up a set of Nativity scene figures at the walk in Ursensollen, Germany.
• • • Did you clear your calendars for the Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot in Ramstein? It’s only three weeks away. Start making plans now to add a little German culture to your American holiday. There is nothing like a volksmarch and a bratwurst in the morning to get you ready for turkey and trimmings in the afternoon. You can start the five- or 10-kilometer trails between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. If you cannot break loose from other commitments to participate in the walk, at least try to drop off some baked goods at the start hall in the morning. Homemade goodies are always in big demand, but store-bought items will be greatly appreciated as well.
For more information about the Turkey Trot, volunteering, making a donation or attending the “pre-walk,” e-mail the Roadrunners at email@example.com.
• • • When we usually mention Clark Soeldner, it’s in reference to volksmarching in Italy, but he recently went on a whirlwind weekend to Scandinavia to volksmarch. Friday, he met friends in Oslo, Norway, to walk their permanent trail. Saturday, they were off to Goteborg, Sweden, to meet Swedish IVV President Viggo Oterhals, who led them on a walk. Sunday morning found them in Hirtshals, Denmark, but the kiosk that was the start of the walk had been vandalized and the walk box stolen, so they were unable to go on the walk. Still, they were able to get new country stamps for their Europa Cup books. Way to go, Clark! It sounds like you had quite a weekend.
Clark adds that this weekend’s walk in Castegnero, Italy, is “a great walk, especially if you like the hills.”
• • • Not offered as frequently as in past years, Fackelmarsches, or torch walks, are interesting walks that each volksmarcher should do at least once. Take the opportunity this winter to try a different type of volksmarching. Get out and attend a torch walk, and we bet you’ll add it to your list of favorite European volksmarching experiences.
And here’s your “mandatory annual safety training” for torch walks. We say that in a lighthearted manner because it seems as if there is always another “mandatory training” popping up for servicemember. But there are some real potential dangers, so please be careful out there.
• Dress warmly and in layers. Once the sun goes down, so will the temperature. You may feel cold at the beginning. However, once you begin walking you will warm up and might want to shed a layer of clothing.
• If you plan to buy and burn torches, take along a few paper plates with you. Cut a hole in the center of the plate and slide it over the torch handle — it will protect your hands and gloves from the dripping wax.
• If you have young children and prefer not to use the torch, carry a flashlight. It’s not uncommon to see walkers with flashlights. Take along a spare set of batteries.
• Be aware of not only your proximity to others’ torches but also to your own. If the wind should pick up and whip the flame around a bit, it’s possible to get too close to the flame and get burned.
• Leave Fido at home. Trails that are dark and crowded with people carrying lit torches are just no place for your dog; he will be a safety hazard.
• If the torch you purchased is made with a hollow core center, stuff the handle portion — not the whole torch — with a paper tissue or similar material. This will prevent a chimney effect and slow the rate at which the torch burns. This provides a bit more safety for you and those around you.
• • • Finally, thanks to the following for mailing us envelopes of volksmarching brochures all in date order: Richard and Donna Glenn; John and Evelyn Golembe; John, Mary and Tess Laub; Tim and Luchi Lynch; “Pat” and Cheryl Patterson; Wayne Henry; and Rick Sciascia.