Click here for this week’s European Volksmarch schedule.
This week’s featured walk is in Lisse, Netherlands, and the gardens of Keukenhof.
Keukenhof and its flower displays have become one of the best-known attractions in the country and one of the most photographed sights in the world. The park, open through May 20 this year, will have some 7 million bulbs blooming in the 80-acre park plus breathtaking indoor exhibitions.
Keukenhof inspires nature lovers and gardening enthusiasts who flock to see the latest in garden trends, demonstrations, centuries-old trees, its Japanese and English-landscape gardens, ponds and works of art.
Again this year, your start card for Sunday’s walks will allow you to enter the park for free. With the usual adult admission price at 13 euros, that’s a good deal. However, this is not an IVV-sanctioned walk, so you will not receive IVV credit. For more information about Keukenhof, visit www.keukenhof.nl/nm/english.html.
After-action report on the permanent walk at Schömberg, Germany: March 15 was a beautiful day for a walk. While Lorraine was attending a conference, Bob Gambert, a member of the Stuttgart German-American Wandering Club, met me at the new post exchange at Stuttgart’s Panzer Kaserne and together we walked the permanent trail at Schömberg, west of Stuttgart.
The time and the kilometers flew by as we shared stories from our experiences in the Army and as Volksmarchers. The countryside was beautiful and is a popular walking area as evidenced by the numerous paths that crisscross the area. In addition to the permanent trail, Schömberg is home to an 11-trail Rundwanderweg that also provides IVV credit. There are also paths belonging to other organizations, so you have to pay attention when on a trail.
The markers for our 13-kilometer trail were round with orange borders. The five self control points were yellow signs with the round, orange-bordered markers attached to them, along with letters that we recorded on our start cards. We noted that the markers were placed high on posts and trees for good visibility.
If you ever want to walk the trails of the Rundwanderweg, the markers are rectangular with black borders, and the trail number in the center. The last control point was at a Gasthaus that served authentic Schwäbian cuisine. We had the daily special, which was Rouladen with homemade Spätzle. This delicious meal was accompanied by a mug of the local brew. It was an excellent end to a great walk through the beautiful northern Black Forest with a new “old friend.”
Bob Gambert is an outstanding ambassador for Volksmarching and for the Stuttgart German-American Wandering Club. If you are in the Stuttgart area, I encourage you to hook up with this organization, which is the oldest German-American Wandering Club in Germany. It has a new Web site: www.sgawc.com.
We also received some feedback about the permanent walk at Bad Schwalbach, Germany. Nancy Shawley reports: “This is a great walk, but we experienced one problem. The self control points (with one exception) are not mentioned in the trail guide, and are not marked with the ‘SK’ symbol that is used on many walks. They are large white signs that say ‘Bad Schwalbach’ and have a picture of a swallow at the top.
“We noticed the signs as we were walking, but did not record the numbers and letters because we did not realize that they were the self control-points. When we reached the end, books were not stamped because of missing control point entries. The woman who stamps the books at the end of the walk says that this happens frequently.”
We are sorry to hear of Nancy’s bad experience and hope that the club is taking steps, no pun intended, to clear up this problem.
The issue of confusing self control points is not limited to this walk. We overheard someone in Rothenburg saying that they take digital photos of anything that looks like a control sign for documentation in case there are any questions when they get their books stamped. If anyone else has had a similar problem, let us know so we can spread the word.
The Ramstein Roadrunners’ annual Spring Walk is May 5 and 6, and volunteers are needed. This is a very popular walk and lots of help is needed before, during and after the walk. Plan now to contribute a few hours to help the Roadrunners bring about another successful walk. You can contact the club at Ramsteinroadrunners@yahoo.com.
Miscellaneous notes about this week’s Volksmarch events:
• The Belgian walks in Montzen and Welkenraedt are about five miles apart. Both are close to the American Cemetery at Henri-Chapelle. Welkenraedt’s walk is Saturday only, but Montzen’s is both Saturday and Sunday.
• If you like stuffed animals, the walk in Jettingen will earn you a Teddy bear. For finishing the walk in Lahm/Itzgrund, you will receive an Easter bunny. We have a feeling these prizes will go quickly, so get there early. For those who want more practical prizes, Schelklingen is awarding a backpack; Stetten, an umbrella; and Richtheim, a flashlight.
Walking notes from Clark Soeldner, our Italian walking expert:
• I did the Lipa na Krasu walk in 2005 and was able to get the Slovenia stamp in my book. Remember, you must have a passport to cross the border.
• The start for the Vicenza walk is a short distance from the train station. The 6-kilometer route is flat, while the other two go out into the hills.
• The April 22 marathon in Vedelago requires an early registration. This is a great event, but the longer you wait to register, the more it costs. See www.maratonasantantonio.com for details and registration in English.
Please e-mail volksmarch schedule information to firstname.lastname@example.org. Send brochures by mail to: Bob and Lorraine Huffaker, CMR 460, Box 278, APO, AE, 09703-0278.