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Click here for this week’s European Volksmarch schedule.

Col. Willie E. Gaddis, commander of U.S. Garrison Heidelberg, invites walkers to participate in this year’s 32nd Annual Volksmarch on Saturday and Sunday.

The Heidelberg International Wandering Club offers one of the most beautiful and challenging courses in Germany. Whether you enjoy walking through the town and forest or running in the hills above Heidelberg, this Volksmarch has something for you. The HIWC always attends meticulously to every detail, so come out and participate in a great German tradition.

The start and finish of the march will be at the International Gesamtschule behind Nachrichten Kaserne (the U.S. Army hospital). The 11-, 22-, 30-, 42- and 50-kilometer trails will meander through the forests and fields throughout the hills above Heidelberg, passing by the Ehrenfriedhof Memorial. This is a monument honoring soldiers from the Heidelberg area who died during both world wars and offers a marvelous panorama of Heidelberg. The 22-, 30-, 42- and 50-kilometer trails will lead to the castle, while the 5k will be flat and stroller-friendly. The marathon and 50k trail will wander through the old part of Heidelberg and Ziegelhausen. The 30k and 50k trails, which are Saturday only, will also go up to the Köningstuhl.

There will be good food and traditional German music both days. This year’s award is a beer stein with an old scene of the Heidelberg Castle and bridge on the front. If you missed last year’s walk, you can get one of last year’s beer steins if you get there early enough.

And don’t forget about the Commander Cup trophies, which will be awarded to the military activities with the most participants. So gather your unit members and your guidons and head for Heidelberg. For more information about the cup or the walks, contact Rob Floyd at (+40) (0) 6227-841226 or (+40) (0) 172-6239338.

A tip from our previous walks in Heidelberg: Buy food and drink tickets before you head out on the trail. That way, when you get back to the start hall, you can go directly to the food line and avoid the ticket line. Rob told us that there is a lot of road construction in the Heidelberg area, so leave a little earlier than usual and allow extra time. We assure you the walk will be worth any extra time in the car.

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Next Saturday, Sept. 16, Norm Raynal will complete his seventh marathon Volksmarch of the summer in Ensheim, Germany, as he raises money for the Landstuhl Fisher Houses. From Kaiserslautern, Ensheim is less than 50 miles down the A-6 towards Saarbrücken. I (Bob) will be back in the U.S. that weekend, or I’d be there to see him finish and give him a big pat on the back. I challenge all readers to either see Norm at Ensheim next Saturday or visit his Web site and make a pledge to support his tireless efforts. Please visit www.sponsormywalk.info.

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This weeks’ contributors to this column: Tom, Petra and Maya Casarez, Manfred Dahl, Kim Darby, Bob Gambert, Lew Harrison, Wayne Henry, Ramona and Horst Kechelen, David Kuik, John and Renee Kulick, Tim Lynch, John and Patty Marsh, Dave Miller, Phillip and Janice Schneider, Nancy Shawley, Ed Whitworth.

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Miscellaneous notes about this week’s Volksmarch events:

• The walk in Hermalle-sous-Huy, Belguim, is only a few miles from the American Cemetery at Neuville-en-Condroz. Make sure you stop and pay your respects to the fallen Americans.

• A 20-centimeter candle is the souvenir at Strass im Zillertal, Austria, this weekend. For bike enthusiasts, they have “out-and-back” bike trails! Pedal to Kaltenbach and back for the 30-kilometer route, to Zell am Ziller and back for the 46k, or to Mayrhofen and back for the 64k. You also can stop in any of these three towns and take the train back to the start hall. This gives you a choice of six bike distances. You have plenty of options.

• The prize at the walk in Burglengenfeld, Germany, is a pair of Halloween cats with pumpkins that hold tea lights.

• At St. Julian, the prize is a dog piggybank complete with a lucky penny. Also available are B-medal beer steins for 3 euros.

• If you are in the Stuttgart area, you might want to warm up for the Heidelberg walk on Saturday or Sunday by attending the Friday evening walk in Schorndorf. You can start between 2 and 5:30 p.m. and finish by 9 p.m.

To wrap up, here’s our Italian Volksmarching update from Clark Soeldner:

• I have walked the Portogruaro event in the past and hopefully the trail will weave through the old city. The area along the river by the water-powered mill (Molina) was especially pretty.

• I have also walked in the Sarcedo area and have always enjoyed these walks.

Is this column useful to you? If so, please send an e-mail to travel@mail.estripes.osd.mil saying so. Please e-mail volksmarch schedule information for any country to two.walkers@yahoo.com. Mail brochures to: Bob and Lorraine Huffaker, CMR 460, Box 278, APO, AE, 09703-0278.

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