Click here for this week’s European Volksmarch schedule.
The Famille Lorraine de Metz-Borny holds its 14th Annual Metz Illuminée on Saturday. Several annual walks can be classified as "must" events, and this is one.
For the past few years, more than 11,000 marchers have participated on this one evening … and those are just the folks who purchased start cards. That should give you an idea of the event’s popularity.
The 10-kilometer route winds through many of the city’s historical sites. Here are some you’ll most likely see:
Porte Allemande (German Gate): Resembles a medieval castle with a bridge, towers and 13th-century gate.Cathédrale St-Étienne: Illuminated on a hill above the Moselle, you’ll see the light reflecting through the stained-glass windows. Truly impressive!Place St. Louis: A large Christmas market with 90 wooden huts full of food and items for sale. Musical performances take place each night and there’s a children’s carousel.Esplanade: A beautiful garden in which you’ll find a smaller Christmas market with wooden huts, a beer tent, children’s carousel, ice skating rink and an evening fireworks display.The event begins at the Complexe Sportif Saint Symphorien near the Palais des Sports. Start between 3 and 8:30 p.m. Arrive early, as parking is limited; the club expects between 60-70 busloads of volksmarchers for the event. Even though it may seem a little daunting — and crowded — venture out and join your fellow marchers in Metz. Don’t forget your camera.
Turkey Trot after-action report: Lorraine had to work on Thanksgiving, so I (Bob) made the trip to Ramstein. It was great to see a packed start hall and people having a good time. There were a lot of families on the trail with strollers, dogs and umbrellas. It rained a bit, but that did not dampen the walkers’ spirits. After the walk, it was nice to talk with fellow walking enthusiasts such as Mike, Pam and Leonard from the Sunny Coyotes, plus Ed, Pat and Regina from the Road- runners.
The prize for completing the walk was either a prince or a soldier nutcracker and they were so popular they were practically flying out the door. If anyone gets a nutcracker from us as a Christmas present, they’ll know where we did the shopping!
The bottom line: The Ramstein Roadrunners hosted a great walk, again. Thanks to everyone who made it possible.
¶ The Holthausen, Germany, torch walk starts between 5 and 6:30 p.m. and the prize is a plush snowman figure.
¶ It is unusual for a walk to have a finish point that is several blocks from the start, but that is the case at the walk in Erstein, France. You’ll start at the Maison des Oeuvres and finish at the Salle Herinstein. The good news is that the map in the flier shows a lot of "P" symbols for parking places near the finish hall.
¶ An ornament that holds a tea light and hangs from a stand is the prize at Göllsdorf, Germany. Saturday’s start window is 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (4:30 p.m. finish), and Sunday’s is 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. (3:30 p.m. finish).
The following notes are in the words of Clark Soeldner, our Italian walking expert. Friday is an Italian holiday, so if you’re off, you have several events from which to choose.
¶ The prize for the Orgiano walk is either a bottle of wine, a jar of honey or a food item. I have done the 30-kilometer route a couple of times and give it a five-star rating. It is a really pretty walk in the Berici hills. Trails are a combination of mixed asphalt, gravel and field at Pordenone. Along the longer trails the club members may offer small, grilled meat sandwiches — probably not good for you but they sure taste good!
¶ Gemona del Friuli hosts an event this Sunday that begins near il Centro Sociale di Via Piovega. According to the flier, the routes will be the same this year. The 14k and 21k have a stout upgrade when they split from the 7k. There’s a mild upgrade followed by a long downgrade to the 14k/21k split.
The 21k heads down in the valley, hits another stout upgrade, and then goes down to where the church of St. Agnes is nestled at the foot of the mountains. From there, it’s back down the valley to go through the center of Gemona to the finish.
As you walk through Gemona, take time to look at the church. It was destroyed by an earthquake in 1976 and has been rebuilt like a jigsaw puzzle from the rubble.
To reach the event, exit the A-23 at Gemona, travel north on SS-13 for a short distance and then head right to Piovega.
¶ I have not done the Arqua Petrarca walk but have done the Baone trail, which goes through this small town. You can expect to see beautiful panoramas and rolling hills as well as to walk significant grades.
¶ At the end of the Porcia trails there are usually a small number of tables with handcrafted Christmas things for sale.
¶ The Asigliano Veneto brochure notes the course consists of mixed fields, asphalt and hills. In the past there have been vendors selling all sorts of things made with radicchio, including bread.
¶ You should find posted signs to guide you to the Cervignano del Friuli start location (Piazza Indipendenza).
Please e-mail volksmarch schedule information for any country to two. firstname.lastname@example.org. By conventional mail, send brochures (in date order if possible) to: Bob and Lorraine Huffaker, CMR 460, Box 278, APO, AE, 09703-0278.