October 4, 2007
Click here for this week’s European Volksmarch schedule.
As the days grow shorter, it’s time to review tips for enjoying one of our favorite types of Volksmarches: the Fackelmarsch, or Fackelwanderung, or torchwalk.
• Dress warmly and in layers. Once the sun goes down, so will the temperature. You might feel cold at the beginning; however, once you begin walking you will warm up and want to shed a layer of clothing.
• If you plan to buy and burn torches, take along a few paper plates with you. Cut a hole in the center of the plate and slide it over the torch handle — it will protect your hands and gloves from the dripping wax (just imagine what hot, melting wax does to fleece gloves).
• If you have young children and prefer not to use the torch, carry a flashlight. You won’t be alone. Take along a spare set of batteries.
• Be aware of how close you are to not only others’ torches but also your own. If the wind should pick up and whip the flame around a bit, it’s possible to get burned.
• Leave your dog at home. Trails that are dark and crowded with people carrying lit torches are no place for Fido; he will be a safety hazard to not only his fellow walkers but also to himself.
• If the torch you purchased has a hollow core, stuff the handle portion — not the whole torch — with a paper tissue or similar material. This will prevent a chimney effect and slow the rate at which the torch burns. This provides a bit more safety for you and all around you.
Not offered as frequently as in past years, these are unusual walks that each Volksmarcher should do at least once. Take the opportunity this winter to try a different type of Volksmarching. Get out there and attend a Fackelmarsch and we bet you’ll add it to your list of favorite European Volksmarching experiences.
We sure have been on the fortunate side of some great walking weather recently. Such was the case Sept. 16 when we went to Groesbeek, Netherlands, for its Liberation walk. It was a very nice walk over surprisingly hilly countryside around Groesbeek.
The first control point was at the National Liberation Museum, which the start card allowed you to enter free. That’s a savings of 8 euros for an adult. We were given a tour by volunteer museum guide Annelee Vahl, who shared a wealth of information about the many dioramas and displays. One touching point she added was that many of the Dutch people were heading home from church when the Allied paratroops began their jumps into Holland. She said that the people on the ground saw the parachutes coming down and looked at them as angels from heaven.
After watching the new video exhibit on Anne Frank, we went into the memorial room, shaped like a large parachute. Names of all the Allied soldiers who died in the fighting are listed under the unit with which they fought. It is a very nice museum with a dedicated staff that works hard to preserve the history as well as the sacrifices of their liberators.
This is the third annual Wednesday walk in Hahnenbach, Germany, near Idar-Oberstein, and a close walk for those in the Baumholder and Kaiserslautern military communities. Start the 5-kilometer route between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., the 10k between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m., and the 20k between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. You must finish by 6 p.m.
Don’t forget the walk in Kaiserslautern starting at the school center south. You can walk 6 and 10 kilometers both Saturday and Sunday between 7:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. Start the 20k route between 7:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.
For readers in the Eifel, Germany, region, the Wanderfreunde Wißmanns- dorf e. V. is hosting a walk Sunday starting at the Bitburg airfield. Walkers in Bitburg and Spangdahlem will find this a very convenient event.
Thanks to these awesome people, there were fliers galore for this week’s column. They are: William Castro and Maureen McHugh-Castro; Manfred Dahl; Bob Gambert; Lew Harrison; Egon Hatfield; Wayne Henry; Jan and John Jensen; Ramona and Horst Kechelen; James Kelly; Tim and Luchi Lynch; Pat Patterson; Dawn St. John; Nancy Shawley; Regina Tiedermann; and Ed Whitworth.
Notes about this week’s events:
• The walk in Bolderberg, Belgium, is unusual in two regards. Not only is it a Monday walk, but it also has routes of 3k, 6k and 9k that may be walked in different combinations to total 6, 9, 12, 15 and 18 kilometers.
• The Berghaupten, Germany, souvenir is a 5½-inch-tall fall-themed welcome sign with a scarecrow.
• The walk in Selz di Ronchi dei Legionari, Italy, has an added attraction. By special arrangement, you will be able to visit the Vergine Caves in conjunction with the walk. There is also a fest, so food will be available at the end of the walk.
• The walk at San Paolo di Morsano al Tagliamento, Italy, includes a boat ride across the Tagliamento River. You might want to take a change of pants, because unless you are in the first boatload, you’ll probably end up sitting in a wet seat.
• The Zanè, Italy, event is a great walk that draws big crowds. Get there early for the best parking.
E-mail Volksmarch schedule information to firstname.lastname@example.org. Mail brochures to Bob and Lorraine Huffaker, CMR 460, Box 278, APO, AE, 09703-0278.