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Click here for this week’s European Volksmarch schedule.

In addition to this being Memorial Day weekend, it is Pentecost Monday and a religious holiday across Europe. Therefore there are several Volksmarch opportunities. For those of us in the Schinnen/ Brunssum/Geilenkirchen area, there are local walks on each of the next five days. If you have any time off this weekend, go out and find a Volksmarch. If your wanderings take you near one of the American cemeteries in the Benelux area, stop in and say a quiet “Thanks!” to the Americans who paid the ultimate price for freedom in Europe.

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We cringe when we head to the gas pumps because prices keep going up. However, we have a couple of ideas that might keep rising fuel prices from impacting your Volksmarching.

First, join your local Volksmarch club. These clubs are always looking for members and will welcome you with open arms. Once you join, you’ll have a new network of friends with whom to plan walks. Most clubs plan bus trips to various walks across Europe. The frequency of these trips vary from club to club, but they offer several benefits: someone else does the driving and parking; you can spend more time looking at the scenery; and it allows you to stray a little farther from home than you might if you were going alone.

Or, you can still start your own Volksmarch network. At work, look for telltale signs of avid Volksmarchers, such as the beautiful beer steins on their desks. Perhaps they are always preoccupied with the Stars and Stripes Travel section on Thursday mornings, or their Monday morning conversation is about a “10k” or “20k” in one town or another. Once you identify a likely candidate, ask if he or she is a Volksmarcher and if the answer is yes, you can arrange to carpool.

Carpooling is a great benefit of this networking, but one must observe certain points of etiquette. First, don’t always be the passenger, you have to offer to drive sometimes. If you don’t have a car, let the others know so they won’t be wondering when you are going to offer to drive.

Second, as a passenger, offer to contribute for gas. Or, perhaps offer to buy their start card and lunch in exchange for the ride.

Third, as a carpooler, remain flexible to the desires of the others in the car. If the driver plans on walking only 10 kilometers, don’t ask him or her to sit and wait while you do a 20k route. On the other hand, if you only want to go 10 kilometers while the others are walking 20, take a book or something to keep you occupied while you wait for them to finish.

Finally, with the hot bratwurst and flowing beer at the end of the walk, make sure you have a “designated driver” so you get home safely.

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Wednesday, May 30, is the start of the four-day walk in Rodenbach, Germany. Hosted by the Niederländische Wander- verein von Rodenbach, participants walk either a 5k or 10k trail each day starting at 6 p.m. (and finishing by 10). Saturday also offers the choice of a 20k, beginning at 5 p.m. Individuals who complete at least three days’ walks will receive a medal; those who complete one or two days will receive a certificate. You’ll get a different stamp in your IVV kilometer and/or event books each day.

This year the sponsors are offering a wide selection of Dutch souvenirs for sale as well as typical Dutch food, drinks and snacks. If you have never tasted Dutch poffertjes — tiny pancakes, but sweeter — these alone will make the trip worthwhile. Here is a chance to experience Dutch culture without having to make the long trip: It’s a close walk for folks in the Kaiserslautern and Baumholder military communities. For more information, e-mail the club at wandertage@ gmail.com.

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June 4 marks the beginning of the 13-week Summer Evening Walk Series in St. Odiliënberg, Netherlands. Each Monday night there will be a different 10-kilometer route, which you can start between 4:30 and 7 p.m. We have done these walks several times in the past and they are good walks.

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This week’s “atta-boys” and “atta-girls” go to: Mary Campbell; William Castro and Maureen McHugh-Castro; Manfred Dahl; Bob Gambert; Lew Harrison; Egon Hatfield; Wayne Henry; Ramona and Horst Kechelen; David Kuik; Tim and Luchi Lynch; John and Patty Marsh; Pat Patterson; Mary Jo Piccin; Dawn St. John; Nancy Shawley; Jose Valdez; and Ed Whitworth. Keep those fliers coming!

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Miscellaneous short notes about this week’s events:

• The Netherlands walks in Kerkrade and Mechelen are only 15 kilometers part. Here is an excellent opportunity to get two different sets of stamps in your books in one day.

• Beaufort, Luxembourg is described as being in Luxembourg's “Little Switzerland” area. We have walked here before and it is beautiful . . . and hilly!

• The walk in Petit Rechain, Belguim, is close to the World War II American cemetery at Henri-Chapelle. If you are in the area, make sure you stop and see this beautiful cemetery.

• The walk in Freiberg, Germany, is advertised as an “old city” walk. The prize is a doll wearing a Black Forest outfit.

• The walk in Luxembourg City starts in the Limpertsberg district, which is northwest from the city's center.

Clark Soeldner’s Italian walking notes:

• The start for the walk in Opicina is at the Stazione Ferroviaria. In 2001, the walk went along the bluffs above Trieste, with nice views over the bay.

• The start for the walk in Pasian di Prato is next to the Centro de La Nostra Famiglia in Via Cialdini 29. A twist to this walk is the option to walk an additional three-kilometer loop so that the 13k route can become 16k, and the 18k can become 21k. Just make sure you get your start card stamped to reflect the extra distance.

• To reach Maddalene in Vicenza, exit the autostrada at Vicenza Ovest and take the SS46 toward Thiene for four kilometers from the Vicenza center. Then follow the parking directions.

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

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