Click here for this week’s European Volksmarch schedule.
If you enjoyed the Bastogne perimeter walk, there is another event coming up soon that you should like. On Feb. 17, the Belgian Chapter of the 82nd Airborne C-47 Club is sponsoring its next “In the footsteps of the 82nd Airborne Division” walk. This is the 25th year that the club has done a walk dedicated to the members of the 82nd Airborne.
As with the Bastogne walk, this is not an IVV-sanctioned Volksmarch, so there will be no IVV credit. However, there will be plenty of uniformed re-enactors and World War II-era vehicles to add to the authenticity of the walk. Organizers also are expecting several veterans of the fighting to attend.
There is only one route, and it is 24 kilometers. The route is based upon the trails taken by the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment. The walk starts at 9 a.m. with a wreath-laying ceremony at the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment Memorial north of the city of Grand-Sart, Belgium. Hot soup will be provided at about noon at a field kitchen set up by the 82nd Airborne “All American” Jeep Group. Additional food and drinks will be available for purchase from the field kitchen. At the end of the walk, another field kitchen will provide traditional hot wine.
There is no pre-registration; you sign up right before the 9 a.m. start time … so get there early. The fee of 6 euros covers the cost of the hot soup, wine and your souvenir certificate. We participated in this walk a couple of years ago and had a great time. The terrain was hilly, so you might want to carry a hiking stick.
After-action report on the walk at Vijlen, Netherlands: Vijlen is just west of Aachen, Germany, on a narrow strip of the Netherlands between Belgium and Germany. The bright sun — low on the horizon — made the driving and reading the road signs a bit of a challenge. However, it also made it a beautiful morning for a walk.
This was the second time we have done this walk. The first was in January 2003, and it was about 9 degrees Fahrenheit outside. This time, January 2007, it was about 9 degrees Celsius, or about 48 degrees Fahrenheit! Quite a difference. We kept asking ourselves, “What happened to winter?”
This region has a lot of hills and we remember slipping and sliding frequently on the ice the first time. Due to all the recent rain, we were slipping and sliding on a lot of mud this time around. The people jogging the trail and those on dirt bikes did not seem to care about the mud. In 2003, nobody was jogging or biking on the ice.
Although we missed the picturesque views of the snow-covered countryside, we think the warmer weather is more to our liking. The weather brought out a lot of people as several thousand attended over the two days. Parking was “creative,” and we did a Volksmarch to get to the Volksmarch, but all in all it was a great walk.
The town of Waldangelloch has an interesting history. Many years ago, it could not be reached by automobile, and the only way in was by train from a nearby town. Then the town became accessible by car, and 25 years ago the train service was eliminated. This walk apparently will take you along part of the former train route through some beautiful countryside. Sounds nice and flat to us.
A lot of familiar names have mailed fliers to us again this week, and we appreciate their efforts. Thanks to: Mary Campbell; Tom, Petra and Maya Casarez; Manfred Dahl; Theresia Fontaine; Bob Gambert; Wayne Henry; Ramona and Horst Kechelen; James Kelly; Tim and Luchi Lynch; Nancy Shawley; Jose Valdez; and Ed Whitworth. Keep ’em coming.
A special thanks to Regina Tiedermann of the Ramstein Roadrunners for the whimsical wooden shovel decorated in a Christmas theme. (A footnote here to Martha Stewart for using the word “whimsical.”)
Miscellaneous short notes about this week’s Volksmarch events:
• If you missed completing a torch walk last fall, there are two being offered Saturday in Adelsried and Gräfinau-Angstedt, Germany.
• This year, the Wanderfreunde Kirchberg e.V., Germany, walking club holds its event in Kappel, beginning at the Gemeindehalle. Participants can walk 5k, 10k or 15k on Saturday and Sunday between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m.; finish by 5 p.m. A B-medal is the souvenir.
Clark Soeldner’s Italian walking notes:
• Saturday’s Monteforte d’Alpone event is the 12th “For the Smile of Children” walk, and this year is for the children of Taiwan. Events start with the Expo opening at 9 a.m. and continue with the walk. Then there is a pasta party at 6 p.m. for all participants of the walks on Saturday and Sunday, and Mass at 7 p.m. in the St. Maria Maggiore Church. Saturday’s prize is a T-shirt for the first 2,000 participants.
• Then there is Sunday’s walk in Monteforte d’Alpone. This is quite a walk as there are usually more than 17,000 participants! I’ve done the 29k in the past six years and enjoyed it. The signups are at the top of the hill in the expo area just past the church. Prizes include a large towel, a bottle of wine, 6 ounces of cooking cream (think tortellini cream sauce) and three fruit juices (for the first 10,000 participants). Just go easy with the sausage, polenta and grappa at the rest stop in Montecchia; it’s uphill after that.
The Roraipiccolo di Porcia event is being held in conjunction with a small fest, so there will be some booths at the end.
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.