Click here for this week’s European Volksmarch schedule.
Saturday is the 30th annual Bastogne Historical Perimeter Walk. This is not an IVV-sanctioned event, so there will be no IVV credit. It is, however, a unique, well-organized event that we have attended for the past seven years.
The routes this year go west and northwest of the city into the area defended by the 502nd Parachute Infantry Regiment in World War II. As part of the walk, there will be an airborne jump by 32 paratroops from the Liberty Jump Team. Several groups of re-enactors will camp near the Rolley Chateau, site of the 502nd Regimental Headquarters during the battle. They also will be at locations along the route. The towns of Hemroulle, Champs and Longchamps will conduct ceremonies during the weekend.
Rest areas with tents and toilets will be available, as will refreshments, usually hot chocolate or hot wine. There will be food for sale also.
The walk starts at 8 a.m. and you can choose between 7-, 13- and 20-kilometer trails. A fourth route will take you directly to the drop zone; looking at the map, it appears to be about 10 kilometers long. At about 2:30 p.m. there will be a parade through downtown Bastogne featuring veterans, re-enactors, and WW II-era vehicles. Activities conclude at city hall with the nut- throwing festival.
Walkers who have not pre-registered can still participate by registering in Bastogne between 3 and 6 p.m. Friday, or starting at 7 Saturday morning. Registration is at the start hall, Centre Sportif Porte de Treve. If you wait until Saturday morning, be there early because it will get crowded quickly and some roads may be closed for the parade or other activities.
Bastogne is in a part of the Ardennes where the weather is unpredictable. Dress in layers for warmth and have some wet- weather gear ready. Remember, the more snow, the more realism for the history purists.
In addition to its Volksmarch, Vianden, Luxembourg, is having a medieval Christmas market from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. According to our Canadian walking friends Serge and Diane Duplain, the medieval market, “was truly a great experience last year, and we would love to see it again.” For details, see www.castle-vianden.lu/ programmeculturel2007/ weihnachtsmarkt/index.html.
One of our favorite walks is the annual Paris event in January. With the city still decorated with Christmas lights and the Eiffel Tower lit up like the world’s largest Christmas tree, the already spectacular city is even more so.
What we don’t like is driving to and around Paris. The Heidelberg International Wandering Club has the answer for those of you who feel the same way. It is sponsoring a bus trip to the event, leaving early Saturday, Jan. 5, and returning to Heidelberg Sunday evening. The trip includes a boat ride on the Seine, the IVV-sanctioned walk through Paris and a stop at the Reims Cathedral on the return journey. To sign up for this trip, contact Dave Miller at dave.miller2@ us.army.mil.
The club has designated a few slots on the bus for the Stuttgart German-American Wandering Club.
Thanks to these folks for mailing envelopes of Volksmarch brochures in date order: William Castro and Maureen McHugh- Castro, Manfred Dahl, Lew Harrison, Wayne Henry, Ramona and Horst Kechelen, Tim and Luchi Lynch, Pat Patterson, Dawn St. John and Nancy Shawley.
Miscellaneous short notes about this week’s events:
• A beautiful snow globe with the holy family is the prize at Bierbach, Germany. Located in the Saar region, this walk is hosted by the club in nearby Blieskastel. The 5k and 10k start both Saturday and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. while the 20k starts, again both days, from 7 a.m. to noon. Finish by 4 p.m.
• The Kronau, Germany, walk is 28 kilometers south of Heidelberg. The prize is a cookbook.
• The prize at the Porcia, Italy, walk is a Christmas stocking, limited to the first 150 people to sign up.
• The Castel Maggiore, Italy, event has a very “busy” flier; it mixes all events. Along with the normal walks, which are for IVV credit, there are competitive 21k and 2k (for children) runs. The competitive events appear not to be IVV sponsored.
E-mail Volksmarch schedule information to email@example.com. Mail brochures to Bob and Lorraine Huffaker, CMR 460, Box 278, APO, AE, 09703-0278.