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Click here for this week’s European Volksmarch schedule.

This weekend, Europe switches to daylight-saving time. Don’t forget to set your clock ahead one hour Saturday night before going to bed or you’ll be late for your Sunday Volksmarch.

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The library at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, is having a Volksmarching 101 orientation class at 6:30 p.m. April 2. Here is an excellent chance to get more information and meet people with a common interest in Volksmarching. Topics to be addressed include how to find a Volksmarch that is right for your family; the record booklets; costs; trail markings; and Volksmarching trail etiquette.

If you have seen the fliers that advertise this class, don’t let the huge backpack worn by the person in the picture scare you. Backpacks of any size are optional, depending entirely upon the wishes of the walker. Packs the size shown on the flier are extremely rare; in fact, we can’t recall the last time we’ve seen anything like that on a Volksmarch.

Between the Kaiserslautern Sunny Coyotes and the Ramstein Roadrunners, there is a wealth of Volksmarching experience and camaraderie in the Kaiserslautern military community. Here is your chance to get hooked up with an inexpensive way to explore parts of Europe that most people never get to see. For details about the presentation, call the library at DSN 480-6667 or civilian 06371-47-6667.

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Last year we received an after-action report from Tim and Luchi Lynch about the exciting time they had at the walk in Saarburg, Germany. Tim said the walk was about average, but the food at the start hall was exceptional. The start is at a French military base and Tim says, “The French most definitely know how to eat! We had goulash and some desserts that were nothing less than fabulous.”

After the walk, they went to Saarburg. “What a cute little village it is,” Tim wrote. “There is a castle ruin above the Saar River on one side of town and the other has a nice walking area with shops and cafes. Since finding this charming village last year, I’ve brought two groups of friends from the States to visit.”

Tim’s photos remind us of Monschau, Germany, where a river runs through the center of town and castle ruins adorn the heights above it. His description has us looking at the calendar trying to figure out a plan to get to Saarburg for this walk and to visit this town. We notice that Saarburg is not far from Mettlach, where the Villeroy & Bosch outlet stores are. Don’t be surprised if you see us at Saarburg.

Tim also reminded us about the Wednesday Volksmarch in St. Julian, about 45 minutes north of the Kaiserslautern and Ramstein area. He says the folks in St. Julian have always had nice trails and are some of the friendliest people that he and his wife have met at Volksmarches. Even if you have to work on Wednesday, you still have time to do this walk. You can start the 5- and 10-kilometer trails until 6 p.m., and the course closes at 8 p.m.

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This week’s walk in Kirn-Sulzbach prompted Tina Kracke to send us an article she wrote for the Heidelberg International Wandering Club’s newsletter about last year’s 20k trail. Let it suffice to say that she was very impressed by the hills on the route.

Tina wrote, “Don’t be fooled by the gentle stroll to the first checkpoint, and by all means do not shortchange your results and choose other than the 20k option, but pace yourselves for what is to come …”

Farther along she adds, “From there, we began switchbacks up what initially appeared to be a gentle hill that gradually morphed into what felt like the Himalayas. We would gaze up into what we thought might be the crest of the hill and the horizon, only to turn again onto another mountain goat track with no end in sight. Upward and onward we dragged ourselves.”

Keep in mind that clubs often vary their routes from year to year, so it might not be as daunting as last year.

It sounds like if you like hills and a challenging workout, this is the walk for you. If you decide to do the 20 km trail this year, keep an eye out for Tina - we're sure she'll be out there too.

The only hike that I (Bob) have done that sounds like Tina’s experience was when our son Robert and I walked the Bunderspitz trail in Switzerland. We started in Kandersteg and hiked up over the top and into the next valley. It took us about four hours to reach the top and at one point we passed through a layer of clouds. It took another three hours to get down the other side where, thankfully, we got a ride back to Kandersteg. We did not have any trouble sleeping that night!

Between the tinkling of cow bells, the sound of the alphorns, and the awesome panoramas, we have memories that will last a lifetime. If anyone has fliers for walks in Switzerland, please mail them to us so we can let everyone know about them.

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It’s not too late to plan your trip to Lisse, Netherlands, for a walk on March 31. Your start card will allow you to enter the world-famous Keukenhof botanical gardens. This is not an IVV-sanctioned event, so you won’t get a stamp, but Keukenhof is one of the most beautiful gardens anywhere. More details next week.

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“Danke” goes out to the following people: Manfred Dahl; Theresia Fontaine; Bob Gambert; Wayne Henry; Jan and John Jensen; Ramona and Horst Kechelen; David Kuik; Tim and Luchi Lynch; Pat Patterson; Mary Jo Piccin; the Reynozo family; Dawn St. John; Nancy Shawley; Jose Valdez; and Ed Whitworth. Their fliers help make these listings possible.

We saw a new return address this week. William Castro and Maureen McHugh-Castro are the newest contributors to the column. Thanks everyone!

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Thanks also to those who have responded to our request for feedback regarding the possible addition of postal codes to the walk chart. We will wait a couple of more weeks for people to respond before presenting the data to the editors. We have received some good suggestions, so keep those votes and suggestions coming to: two.walkers@yahoo.com.

Miscellaneous short notes about this week’s volksmarch events:

• The walk in Echt, Netherlands, is a Monday evening walk starting between 4:30 and 7 p.m. It is not too far from the Tri-Border area.

• Ramona Kechelen added a note stating that the walk in Bopfingen-Schlossberg is “a good one!” The Westhausen exit from the A-7 is about 15 kilometers from Bopfingen. She adds that the beautiful monastery cathedral at Neresheim is also nearby.

Clark Soeldner’s Italian walking notes:

• For information (in Italian or German) on the walk at Selva di Val Gardena, see the Web site www.val-gardena. com/ ciambonfs.

• On the walk in Altavilla Vincentina: “I’ve done the year-round walk here, and these are very enthusiastic folks. This should be a very nice, well attended walk.”

• The prize for completing the walk in Bonavicina di San Pietro di Morubio is a half-pound of tortellini and a pound of fettuccine.

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

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