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Click here for this week’s European Volksmarch schedule.

Now that hectic holiday activities have ended and things are back to normal, it’s time to review your Volksmarch goals for 2007. We don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions because they often are broken and forgotten by February or March, but a goal for the year gives you 12 months to complete it.

We recommend that you take out your IVV books and see how many walks you attended and how many kilometers you walked in 2006. Volksmarching is flexible enough that you can decide to improve in either or both of these areas. But be reasonable in setting goals.

If, for example, you completed 16 Volksmarches for a total of 148 kilometers in 2006, you can set your 2007 goal for 20 or even 25 walks. Or you could increase the distance to 200 kilometers.

If you always do the shorter 5- to 10-kilometer routes, you might decide to include a couple of 15- or 20-kilometer trails this year. If you are used to longer distances, maybe 2007 is the year for you to try a marathon walk. But just make it a gradual increase and you will be more likely to keep up your efforts and meet your goals.

Perhaps this is the year to join a walking club. If you are new to Volksmarching, surrounding yourself with more experienced walkers will increase your exposure to their wealth of walking experience as well as walking opportunities. There are plenty of clubs out there and they are looking for new members, regardless of experience. They look forward to the opportunity to make you an experienced Volksmarcher.

We also feel that making Volksmarching a priority in long- range planning is important. The Rothenburg walk on Feb. 24-25 is already on our schedule and only a serious emergency will alter our plans to attend. We have found that if we wait until Saturday morning to see where we want to go, there is a good chance that something else will come along and bump walking off the priority list. This is why we try to occasionally have a “mark your calendars” section in this column.

We hope to see you on the trails this year as we discover new and exciting places in Europe.

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This is bargain week for Volksmarchers and after-Christmas inventory reduction time for three clubs hosting walks. B-medals, prizes left from previous years’ walks, will be offered at reduced prices in the towns of Eppelborn and Unterpleichfeld, Germany, and Strass im Zillertal, Austria. None of the clubs mentions what these prizes might be, which only adds to the excitement. Go ahead … take a chance.

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It is not often that we see a ski event that offers IVV credit, but if there’s enough snow in Strass im Zillertal, cross-country skiers will have the choice between 10- and 20-kilometer trails while walkers can trek along either a 5- or 10-kilometer course. The start window is 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.; the last finish time is 5 p.m. The B-medal souvenir will cost 2 euros, while those who don’t want a prize will pay 1.50 euros.

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“Obrigado” to the following devoted walkers who have stuffed our mail box with fliers: Mary Campbell; Tom, Petra and Maya Casarez; Theresia Fontaine; Bob Gambert; Lew Harrison; Wayne Henry; Ramona and Horst Kechelen; James Kelly; Tim and Luchi Lynch; Dawn St. John; Nancy Shawley; Jose Valdez; and Ed Whitworth.

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Miscellaneous short notes about this week’s Volksmarch events:

• To help you get organized for 2007, a pocket calendar is the prize for completing the walk at Lauterbach/Hessen.

• If you live in the Bitburg/ Spangdahlem area, the walk in Hontheim would be a quick trip for you on Sunday. The 5- or 10-kilometer trails open between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. You have to be finished by 3 p.m. It has no prize this year.

• If Ulm is closer to home, the walk in Ulm-Unterweiler offers a 33-inch-square tablecloth as its prize. Start the 6- or 11-kilometer routes on Saturday between noon and 2 p.m. or Sunday between 7:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. Finish by 4 p.m. both days.

A few notes from Clark Soeldner, our Italian walking guru:

• The Muris di Ragogna walk is mostly on trails and forestry roads as it traverses Monte di Muris. The 10k and 17k trails have a 300-meter dislivello (height difference), making them effectively 13k and 20k.

This is an example of some of the Italian events in the mountains that prorate the distance to the ups and downs of the trails. They figure the going up and down through the mountains is extra effort. (Anyone who has done it is likely to agree.)

The 17k path has an optional short alternative route just past the summit of the mountain. It goes along a ridge overlooking Tagliamento River — about 300 meters straight down — as well as the mountain towns across the river. At the start, you will have to sign a waiver to take the 17k route.

• The fliers claim that the walks in Vigasio and Prova di San Bonifacio are flat trails.

• The prize at Prova di San Bonifacio is a bottle of wine and a half-pound of tortellini.

Please e-mail Volksmarch information to two.walkers@ yahoo.com. Please mail brochures to Bob and Lorraine Huffaker, CMR 460, Box 278, APO, AE, 09703-0278.


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