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Click here for this week’s European Volksmarch schedule.

If you enjoyed the Bastogne, Belgium, perimeter walk last month, there is another walk coming up soon that you should like.

On Feb. 23, the Belgian Chapter of the 82nd Airborne C-47 Club is sponsoring its next “In the footsteps of the 82nd Airborne Division” walk. This is the 26th year that they have done a walk dedicated to the members of the division.

Like Bastogne, this is not an IVV-sanctioned Volksmarch, so there will be no IVV credit. However, there will be plenty of uniformed re-enactors and World War II-era vehicles to add to the authenticity of the walk.

There is only one route and it’s 22 kilometers long. This route is based upon the trails taken by the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment. The walk starts at 9 a.m. at the Noirefontaine farm. Signs to the start will be posted from the Manhay exit (exit 49) of the E25 motorway as well as from the town of Basse-Bodeux.

Hot soup will be provided at about noon at the town of Petit-Halleux at a field kitchen set up by the 82nd Airborne “All American” Jeep Group. Additional food and drinks will be available for purchase from the field kitchen.

At the end of the walk, another field kitchen will provide traditional hot wine. There is no pre- registration; you sign up right before the 9 a.m. start time — so get there early.

The fee of 6 euros covers the cost of the soup, wine and your souvenir certificate.

We participated in this walk a couple of years ago and had a great time. The terrain was hilly, so you might want to bring a hiking stick. Mark your calendars and start planning to attend this historical event.

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Vijlen, Netherlands, after-action report: It would have been so easy to skip this walk; it was still dark outside and gusts of wind were blowing sheets of rain against our windows. With the mild temperatures and recent rain, we knew the trails would be muddy, and the Vijlen area is very hilly, but this was our first projected walk of the new year, so we decided to go despite the temptation to do otherwise.

This was the third time we have done this walk. The first time was in January 2003, and it was about 9 degrees Fahrenheit outside. Last year, it was about 9 degrees Celsius, or about 48 degrees. This year it was in the low 40s with a brisk wind that cooled it off a bit more.

Located just west of Aachen, Germany, Vijlen is on a narrow strip of the Netherlands that lies between Belgium and Germany. The walk took us in the direction of the Dreilandenpunt — the place where the three countries meet. The forests in the area are home to an elaborate network of walking trails, so every time out, you’re likely to see a different view of the countryside.

Prepared for wet and muddy weather, we were very pleased when the rain stopped early in the walk. We still had hills and mud to deal with, but at least we were not going to get soaked.

By the end of the walk, we actually had some sunshine and blue skies breaking through the clouds. We were so glad that we went. It was a very nice walk and we were able to cross off the first walk of the year from our list of goals.

Sometimes the first thing on a list is the hardest one to get done. With the first one behind us, the rest of the walks for the year will be easier. In fact, we were up and out early the next morning to attend the walk in Nuth, Netherlands. It was the first weekend of the year and we were able to attend two walks. We’re off to a good start; we hope you are, too.

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A lot of familiar names again this week have mailed fliers to us and we appreciate their efforts. Thanks to 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.

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Miscellaneous short notes about this week’s Volksmarch events:

• If you missed completing a torch walk last fall, there are two being offered this Saturday in Adelsried and Gräfinau-Ang- stedt, Germany.

• This year, the Wanderfreunde Kirchberg e.V., Germany, walking club holds the event in Kappel, beginning at the Gemeindehalle. Walk 5K, 10K or 15K on Saturday and Sunday between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m.; finish by 5 p.m. A B-medal is the souvenir.

Here’s what walking buddy Clark Soeldner has to say about walks in Italy:

• Saturday morning’s Monteforte d’Alpone event is the 13th “For the Smile of a Child” walk. Events start with the Expo opening at 9 a.m. and continue with the morning walk. Saturday afternoon’s walk is limited to 120 participants and will tour the wine country of Soave.

There is a pasta party at 6 p.m. for all participants on Saturday and Sunday, and mass at 7 p.m. in the St. Maria Maggiore Church. Saturday’s prize is a blue beret for the first 2000 participants.

Activities continue with Sunday’s walk, starting at 8:30 a.m. This is quite a walk as there are usually more than 17,000 participants! The signups are at the top of the hill in the expo area just past the church. Prizes include a cap, gloves and muffler, a bottle of wine, 6 ounces of cooking cream (think tortellini cream sauce) and three fruit juices (for the first 10,000 participants). Just go easy with the sausage, polenta and grappa at the rest stop in Montecchia — it’s uphill after that.

Find more information at www.montefortiana.org/presentazione.php?lang=en.

• The Roraipiccolo di Porcia event is being held in conjunction with a small fest, so there will be some booths at the end.

• Sunday’s walk in Paganella is a 10-kilometer snowshoe walk. You must pre-register, and tomorrow is the last day to do so. Contact the tourist office at (+39) 0461-864400 or visit www.valledeilaghiturismo.it

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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