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Click here for this week’s European Volksmarch schedule.

Wednesday, Oct. 3, is the 17th anniversary of German Reunification — the day when East Germany and West Germany became one again. It’s also the day the German Volksmarching community sets aside to help combat a deadly disease.

Cystic fibrosis, known as Mucoviscidosis in German, is the most common cause of chronic lung disease in children and young adults. Cystic fibrosis is an inherited disease that affects the respiratory and digestive systems. Symptoms of this genetic defect include whooping cough, asthma or bronchitis.

Several walking clubs will participate Tuesday and Wednesday in “Deutschland wandert — Deutschland hilft ” (Germany walks — Germany helps), an annual walk on Reunification Day. A portion of the proceeds from each of these events will be donated to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation; the money will go to aid the children and their families. We encourage you to attend a “Deutschland wandert” event. After all, how often is it that you can help a child suffering from a genetic disease just by Volksmarching?

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The hot walk for this weekend is in Boppard, Germany, a beautiful city beside the Rhine River. This is a well-organized walk that coincides with the town’s annual wine festival. There is no swim event this year. Our walking club here in the Netherlands has attended this event several times in the past few years. The start is at the city swimming pool, which is about halfway up, or down, the side of the valley. In the past, the 10-km walk provided us with beautiful views of the Rhine River from up high and then took us down along the river side. Another time, the route stayed in the hills above the city.

The town has several interesting sights, including the remains of a Roman military camp, the St. Severus church, built in the 12th and 13th centuries, and the medieval market square, built on the site of Roman baths. There are numerous riverside restaurants, and on Saturday night there will be a fireworks display. Food and wine booths abound and live music and bands are everywhere. If you like sweet, white wines, try the Federweissen.

On Saturday, start the 5 and 10-km walks between 7:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. and the 20-km route between 7:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. On Sunday, all routes start between 7:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. A B-medal, in limited quantities, is the prize for the walks.

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Sunday’s walk in Vianden, Luxembourg, will give you a chance to see a beautiful castle, Luxembourg style. You will also be able to hike through the lovely Luxembourg countryside. In the past, this has been a very hilly walk, but the magnificent views are worth the hills.

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Saturday, Sept. 8, found us back in Heidelberg for the Heidelberg International Walking Club’s annual walk, and again we were treated to a great day of walking and meeting with friends. The Schwaninger family at the Hotel Neu Heidelberg treated us like family, and while it was too early in the year for their delicious pumpkin soup, Lorraine says the Fladlesuppe was outstanding.

The walk itself was everything we expected: new trails, beautiful sights, good food, a nice mug for the prize and lots of smiling faces. We volunteered for a few hours at the information desk and hope we were not in the way of the regular club members! We shared pictures from the Switzerland Volksmarch just two weeks earlier on our laptop. There appeared to be a lot of new walkers, and we handed out a lot of IVV starter books to the kids. Here’s hoping they have many exciting experiences on the trails.

We saw lots of friends and met new ones, including Don Seltzer, who wrote this column when Bob was at Würzburg in 1996. All told, it was an outstanding Volksmarch on a beautiful day.

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Our unending gratitude goes out to this week’s group of contributors. They are: William Castro and Maureen McHugh-Castro; Manfred Dahl; Bob Gambert; Wayne Henry; Ramona and Horst Kechelen; David Kuik; Tim and Luchi Lynch; John and Patty Marsh; Pat Patterson; Mary Jo Piccin; Dawn St. John; and Nancy Shawley. A special thanks to new contributor William Collins. Keep those fliers coming!

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Notes about this week’s events:

• The prize for completing the walk at Filderstadt-Harthausen is a schoolhouse wind light. There are several versions of these winter-themed buildings and we have been known to drive several hours to get one. They make unique Christmas gifts.

• A 1:500 size, 12-centimeter-long model of an Air Canada Airbus A-330-200 is the Dietenhofen, Germany, souvenir.

• A 16-centimeter-tall figure of a girl and her dog can be yours for completing 6, 11 or 20 kilometers at Röhrmoos-Kleininzenmoos, Germany, this weekend.

• Our Italian abbreviation for the week is “Feletto Umberto,” which is short for Feletto Umberto di Tavagnacco.

• Clark Soeldner, our Italian volksmarching connection, says the prize for completing the Caltrano walk is a gold leaf etching for the first 100 walkers.

The prize at Isola della Scala is a kilogram of rice and 350 grams of jam.

• The Fontaniva, Italy, walk has new routes that travel along the Brenta River.

E-mail Volksmarch schedule 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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