Click here for this week’s European Volksmarch schedule.
Grab a pen, pencil, crayon, or whatever and mark your calendars! There are some great holiday walks coming up that you will not want to miss.
• Nov. 23: Ramstein Roadrunner’s Annual Turkey Trot. This morning walk will leave the afternoon and evening free for traditional Thanksgiving activities: eating turkey and watching football. The 5 and 10 km routes start between 7:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. but you’d better get there early if you want the nutcracker prize.
• Dec. 9: Metz, France. Evening illumination walk. This is a 10 km walk through the city of Metz when it is lit up for Christmas. The route took us through several city squares that had food and drink booths set up like Christmas markets. A gorgeous city to see in lights. The walk starts between 3 and 8:30 p.m. You must finish by 10:30 p.m.
• Dec. 16: Luxembourg City, Luxembourg. Another beautiful city decorated for Christmas. The routes are 6 or 10 km and you can start between noon and 6 p.m. When we walked here a few years ago, there was a light flurry of snow falling during the walk that added to the beauty of the city.
• Dec. 16: Bastogne, Belgium, Annual Historic Walk. This is not an IVV sponsored walk, so you won’t get your books marked, but it is a “don’t miss” event for history buffs. This year the routes go north of the city into the area defended by the “Band of Brothers” during the Battle of the Bulge. A word of warning: The terrain is open and the wind can howl, so dress for the worst weather; this walk has seen snow in the past. With the thousands of walkers and re-enactors, make your travel plans early. Just remember, the colder and nastier the weather, the more realistic for the history purists.
• Jan. 7: Paris, France. Another evening walk that allows you to see the “City of Lights” after dark with its Christmas lights. This is a huge event with thousands of walkers. The routes usually are 12 and 20 kilometers. In the past, the 12 km route has ended near the Hotel de Ville, and you had to take the subway back to the start hall to get your IVV books stamped. This is the only walk we have ever attended where one of the routes did not end at the start hall.
The good folks in Losheim am See, Germany, remind walkers that parking on Weiskircher Straße, the road to the Dr. Röder Halle (start hall), is strictly forbidden. If you park there, you might find a ticket on your car after your walk! Instead, park in the Carl-Dewes-Platz or the Eisenbahnhalle parking areas.
Here’s another tip from Jennifer West, who has attended this Volksmarch. “Walk this event if you’re in the vicinity or you’re ‘into’ trains. There is a train ‘museum’ here and several years ago this club incorporated an old-time steam train ride into their trail. I have to admit that I learned a valuable lesson while riding that steam train back to the start hall — no matter how beautiful the weather or how excited you are about the trip, never lean out the window when the engine is burning coal unless you want coal residue on your face and coal pieces in your hair!
“The club also offers 6-, 10- and 20-kilometer trails that start 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day. Trails must be finished both days by 6 p.m. There is no award. Even if there is nothing as noteworthy as a train ride, the club members are terrific and the area is. too. Don’t miss visiting Losheim am See this weekend.”
We also learned from Jennifer that the town of Mettlach, southwest of Losheim am See, is a great place for factory outlets. Most of the stores sell Villeroy & Boch tableware, and one store specializes in Christmas ornaments, dishes and the like. It is getting to be that time of year, so …
With the shorter days and colder weather upon us, more walking clubs will be offering just 5 and 10 kilometer trails. The number of control points also might decrease. While most clubs have two control points during the summer for a 10-kilometer course, many will provide only one during the fall and winter; I’ve attended a couple that had none at all. Keeping this in mind, it’s even more important to carry a small water bottle with you. In the colder climates, you, your family and even the family dog must still stay hydrated.
More clubs will be offering broth at control points instead of tea. If you’ve walked by it in years past, give the broth a try. It’s a great warm drink alternative and tastes terrific. I’ve never had a bad cup and I’ll gladly take this homemade soup over tea on a cold day.
It’s time to keep your eyes open for pea soup at the start halls. Before I (Bob) tried it, I thought it sounded kind of gross, but was I wrong! On a cold day, it sticks to your ribs and really warms you up. Now, if it’s cold and they don’t serve pea soup, I’m disappointed! Try it … you’ll like it!
Notes about this week’s events:
• Another Sunday-only event this weekend, the folks in Untergrombach, Germany, offer 5-, 10- and 20-kilometer courses starting 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. A lantern that holds a tea light candle is the prize; B-medals are also available in limited quantities.
• Clark Soeldner, our Italian walking guru, says admission to the Padova museum is free with the volksmarch start card. This is a Cystic Fibrosis charity walk.
Soeldner also notes that S. Eusebio is a fraction of Bassano del Grappa. The flier notes that the course is mixed hills and panoramas. Clark says Bassano is always worth a visit!
Please e-mail volksmarch schedules to email@example.com. By mail, send brochures to: Bob and Lorraine Huffaker, CMR 460, Box 278, APO, AE, 09703-0278.