Click here for this week’s European Volksmarch schedule.

Time to pull the calendar off the wall, take out the stubby pencil, and mark down these upcoming walks:

July 28-29:Stuttgart and Bamberg, Germany: These are two great German-American walking clubs well known for their excellent walks. If you live close to either of these cities, you just have to attend the walk; if you are a hard-core walker, try to do both.

Aug. 25: Appenzell, Switzerland. We will accompany the Heidelberg International Wandering Club on a bus trip to Weissbad to walk in the Appenzell region of Switzerland. This will be our first IVV event in Switzerland, so we are excited.

Sept. 8-9: Heidelberg, Germany. Another “must-do” walk. A beautiful city, an excellent Volksmarch, lots of food and music at the start hall … it doesn’t get much better than this!

Sept. 16: Groesbeek, Netherlands, Liberation Walk (not IVV). Held on the anniversary of Operation Market Garden, the Allies’ attempt to seize bridges across the Rhine River from Holland. Your start card entitles free admission to the Liberation Museum.

Sept. 29-30: Boppard, Germany. After the walk — another of our favorites — stop at the wine festival in the town center. Saturday night there will be fireworks.

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Castles! Don’t you just love to see these majestic reminders of a time long past? After your walk in Niederkail (Eifel region), Germany, drive to the Moselle Valley and spend the rest of Sunday exploring a popular castle, Burg Eltz.

If you’ve read any of Rick Steves’ travel books or watched his videos, you’ll know that his favorite European castle is Burg Eltz. Rick proclaims, “It’s been left intact for 700 years and is furnished throughout as it was 500 years ago. Thanks to smart diplomacy and clever marriages, Burg Eltz was never destroyed. It’s been in the Eltz family for 820 years. The only way to see the castle is with a 45-minute tour (included in the admission ticket). German tours go constantly (with helpful English fact sheets). Guides speak English and thoughtfully collect English speakers into their own tours — well worth waiting for (never more than 20 minutes). It doesn’t hurt to call ahead to see if an English tour is scheduled. Or organize your own by corralling 20 English speakers in the inner courtyard, then push the red button on the white porch and politely beg for an English guide.

Steves continues: “Eltz means stream. The first Burg on the Eltz (or castle on the stream) appeared in the 12th century to protect a trade route. By 1472, the castle looked like it does today, with the homes of three big landlord families gathered around a tiny courtyard within one formidable fortification. Today, the excellent 45-minute tour winds you through two of those homes, while the third remains the fortified quarters of the Eltz family.”

Another nearby castle is Castle Pyrmont, near the town of Roes. It was first mentioned in a document in 1225. When the French ruled this portion of Germany in the late 1700s, the castle was dismantled and allowed to fall into ruin. Restoration began in 1963 and it now resembles the way it looked in the 15th century.

During the summer, the castle is open for tours on 10 a.m. to 45 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday and holidays. There is a slide show in English and a self-guided tour using an English language guide map. After the tour, you might want to enjoy the small restaurant with a patio overlooking the valley.

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If you live in the Kaiserslautern, Germany, region, think about attending the weekend event at Bruchweiler-Bärenbach. This is always a great walk; the area and trails are beautiful. If the weather is nice, relax after your walk in the fest area outside the start hall and enjoy a variety of food. Walk the 5-, 10- or 20-kilometer routes starting between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. Saturday and 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday; finish time is 7 p.m. Saturday and 5 p.m. Sunday. On Saturday, Bruchweiler has a Sommernachtsfest (summer night party) featuring a dance beginning at 4 p.m.

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Thanks to these faithful folks for sending in those piles of fliers: William Castro and Maureen McHugh-Castro, Manfred Dahl, Theresia Fontaine, Bob Gambert, Egon Hatfield, Wayne Henry, Ramona and Horst Kechelen, James Kelly, Tim and Luchi Lynch, John and Patty Marsh, Pat Patterson, Dawn St. John, Nancy Shawley and Jose Valdez.

By the way, please let us know if the German postal codes used in the Volksmarch chart are helping you locate your walks.

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Miscellaneous short notes about this week’s events:

• Dogs are not allowed on the 30k and 42k routes at Xhoffraix, Belgium.

• For folks in the Netherlands and Belgium, the town of Gulpen, Netherlands, has walks Sunday and the following Wednesday. We have done this walk several times and know it will be well-organized and hilly. When Rick Steves said, “If you want to see all the way across Holland, all you have to do is stand on a chair,” he was not referring to the Gulpen area.

Some words of wisdom from Clark Soeldner, our Italian walking connection:

• The Moruzzo event begins next to the Gruppo Alpini. The walk is in the hills around Fagagna, always a pretty area to visit.

• If you want to walk Sunday in Vogrsko, Slovenia, make sure you take your passport to get across the border.

• The Fornance walk has been voted the best walk in the province several times. It has lots of mountain and forest trails with beautiful panoramas. Toward the end of the walk you pass a lot of tree stumps that have been carved into gnomes. To get there take the SS47 east from Trento and exit at Madrano.

E-mail Volksmarch schedule information to brochures to Bob and Lorraine Huffaker, CMR 460, Box 278, APO, AE, 09703-0278.

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