Stars and Stripes June 28, 2007
Click here for this week’s European Volksmarch schedule.
Father’s Day turned out to be a very enjoyable day for us. With all of the rain we have received recently, it was nice to have a dry, even though not always bright and shiny, day for several outdoor activities.
We were out the door early on Sunday morning to visit the military flea market at La Gleize, Belgium. It was an outdoor venue so the nice weather played an important role. We walked around the booths for a couple of hours looking at every type of military memorabilia imaginable. From uniform accessories to spare jeep parts to World War II M1 carbines, it was there. As a student of history, Bob bought some black and white photographs and post cards, a clothing ration card from 1944 Germany, and two World War I-era color prints of German camp life and a ski patrol.
We also picked up fliers for two museums opening in the area. The first, in Grand-Halleux, Belgium, is called Museum of the Battle of the Salm. It doesn’t list a Web site, but its hours in July and August are daily from 2 p.m. until 7 p.m. The other is the Baugnez 44 Historical Center near Malmedy, Belgium. This museum, dedicated to the 84 American prisoners of war who were murdered on that site, will open on Dec. 18, 63 years and a day after the massacre. They have a Web site that is still under construction: www.baugnez44. be.
Before we left La Gleize, we caught the smell of what we thought were bratwursts on an outdoor grill. In Belgium it is not a bratwurst, but a saucisse. In any language, they sure were good!
We then visited Eupen, Belgium, to attend their walk. Road construction made locating the start hall a challenge, but we found it. Situated only a few miles from the German border, the Eupen route took us through the western portion of the Hürtgen Forest. The tall pine trees and steep hills with streams at the bottoms made it a beautiful place to walk. It was farther east, near the towns of Vossenack and Schmidt, Germany, where the Hürtgen Forest became the scene of such horrendous fighting in the fall and winter of 1944. All told, we had a great day.
Keeping with the history theme, this weekend, Hünningen, Belgium, hosts a weekend of walking. This area is also rich in WWII history as the place where the 99th Infantry Division, along with others, fought during the Battle of the Bulge. Members of the 99th who were killed in the fighting and listed as MIAs are still being recovered in this area. Bob recommends the book “The Dead of Winter” by Bill Warnock, as an excellent story about how these missing men are being sought and recovered by dedicated battlefield investigators and WWII veterans and then identified by forensic scientists so they can be returned to their families. It is a safe bet that Bob will be walking in this area on Sunday before visiting the new Battle of the Salm museum.
Notes about this week’s events:
• This weekend the members of the Wanderfreunde Idar-Oberstein hold their 42nd Volksmarch in the nearby town of Weierbach, Germany. The start location for this weekend’s three trails is at the Hessenstein Halle. The prize is a stone necklace pendant. They also will offer B-medal stones from previous walks.
• The walk in Seffern is convenient for folks in the Spangdahlem and Bitburg areas and is close to the West Wall bunker in Irrel, Germany.
• The German-American Wander Club- München, Germany, offers a pen and pencil set as their prize this year. Ramona Kechelen sent a note stating that this walk is on a beautiful trail in the forest.
• Today’s Italian abbreviations include Coltura for Coltura di Polcenigo, and Montecchio for Montecchio Precalcino.
• The start hall for the walk in Montecchio Precalcino, Italy, is by the psychiatric hospital. The flier says this walk has hills and panoramas.
• The Torreglia, Italy, walk will be in the hills of the Colli Euganei National Park. This is a really pretty area.
E-mail volksmarch schedule information to email@example.com. brochures to The Huffakers, CMR 460, Box 278, APO, AE, 09703-0278.