Click here for this week’s European Volksmarch schedule.
The days are getting longer and so is the weekly list of Volksmarches. We hope you are enjoying the milder weather, even though it seems to have meant more rain. Don’t forget to switch your clock forward one hour on March 25, a week from Sunday, so you don’t miss any start times.
Next week kicks off the Second Annual Naheland-Cup marathon series in Rheinland-Pfalz. This series features five marathons this summer. In addition to the patches and certificates given for completing each walk, there is a special patch and certificate for those who complete all five. We’ll say more about each walk as it approaches, but the first one is next week at Kirn-Sulzbach, Germany.
You can get ready for that walk by walking in Bitche, France, this weekend. Last year, I (Bob) did one of the shorter routes and then visited the citadel in the center of the city. This fortress was built on the site of castle ruins in about 1680 by famous French military engineer Marshal Vauban. I was unable to tour the underground passages in the fortress because it was closed for renovation. It was still impressive to walk around the outside and see the panoramic view of the countryside.
According to its museum Web site, the citadel is closed for the winter and will reopen April 8. It is only about 50 or so miles southwest of Kaiserslautern, so if you live in that area, you can use this weekend’s walk as a reconnaissance mission to check out the city and then return after April 8 to visit the citadel. The 10- and 20-kilometer routes begin between 7 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. You can begin both long-distance courses each day between 6 and 9 a.m. Wrap up your walk by 6 p.m. Expect hills.
Another colorful episode in the town’s history happened in 1945, when it was liberated by the U.S. 100th Infantry Division. When the fighting died down, the soldiers promptly formed an organization they called The Sons of Bitche. Don’t you love Army humor? For more information about Bitche, see www.ville-bitche.fr.
Wednesday’s walk in Gulpen, Netherlands, is the first of the local club’s Midweekwandeltochten for this year. Now through November it will host one Wednesday walk each month. We have been to a few of these and they are well organized. The routes will be 5, 10, and 15 kilometers, and start times are between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. for the 5k and between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. for the 10k and 15k.
If you live in the area, you should do one of these popular walks. The dates are March 21, April 18, May 16, June 20, July 25, Aug. 15, Sept. 19, Oct. 17 and Nov. 21.
Ed Whitworth, one of the Volksmarch faithful, wrote that he had been bitten by the PCS bug and will leave the area soon. We will miss the bundles of fliers he frequently sends. We send him our warmest thanks and best wishes as he finds new trails to wander.
A quick note about weekly thank yous: As the list of walks gets longer, we often will not have the space to name those who sent in fliers. Please know we still appreciate — and depend on — your efforts!
Notes about this week’s events:
• The prize at the Schlüsselfeld walk is a door wreath with an Easter theme.
• Note the narrow start window for the walks and bike event in Edemissen, Germany, on Sunday. The 5- and 10-kilometer walks start between 8 and 11 a.m., while the 20- and 30-kilometer bike rides start between 8 and 10 a.m. All events must be finished by 2:30 p.m.
• The prize at Grolsheim, Germany, is a small flashlight that is also a key chain.
• Sunday’s Trier-Ehrang event is a nice walk, and the award of an authentic Roman coin is one of the most unusual prizes we’ve seen. Start the 5k and 10k between 7 a.m. and 2 p.m. and the 20k between 7 a.m. and 1 p.m. Finish by 5 p.m.
• Those in the Frankfurt area, note the start times and choose among the four trails offered each day in Frankfurt-Bergen Enkheim. Finish the walks by 6 p.m. Saturday and 5 p.m. Sunday. This event begins in the Volkshaus on Borsigallee 40.
• More than 600 years old, the town of Freudenberg-Alchen hosts its 19th International Walking Days this Saturday and Sunday. If you fancy half-timbered houses, visit the historical part of Freudenberg. The 5-, 10- and 20-kilometer trails begin each day between 7 a.m. and 1 p.m. Finishing time is 5 p.m.
• Be one of the first 1,500 walkers at Cortenuova di Monticello, Italy, and get a bag of pasta, beans, peeled tomatoes, rice and farina.
• The middle school on Via Papa Giovanni XXIII is the start location for the San Stino di Livenza event.
Please e-mail volksmarch schedule information for any country to email@example.com. By conventional mail, send brochures (in date order if possible) to: Bob and Lorraine Huffaker, CMR 460, Box 278, APO, AE, 09703-0278.