Click here for this week’s European Volksmarch schedule.
Regarded by American walkers as one of Germany’s most popular Volksmarches, the annual Rothenburg ob der Tauber walking weekend is Feb. 23-24.
Walk the six- and 11-kilometer paths on Saturday from 7 a.m. to noon and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. A 20k also will be held, 7 a.m. to noon Saturday and again 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday. The 11k old-city walk is a Saturday-only event starting between noon and 5 p.m. If you want another choice, there is also the 12k permanent trail.
The prize? This year, for the first time in a long time, it will not be a beautifully decorated mug. Organizers have decided to award a beer glass as the prize. It is a tall, thin Weizenbierglas that appears to have a frosted finish and a profile of the old city on it. If you have ever walked the permanent trail, you’ll note that the view of the old city from the trail seems to be the inspiration for the design. This is a new twist to a well-established and very popular walk: Start gathering friends and fellow marchers now, reserve the bus and don’t miss the event. If transportation is a problem, the start hall is only a five-minute walk from the train station. Watch for more information in the coming weeks.
Ransdall, Netherlands, after-action report: This is a very unusual time of year in this part of the Netherlands. Not all the Christmas decorations are down yet and people have begun to decorate for carnival. As we walked through Ransdall, we saw many flags, banners and balloons in green, orange and yellow, in addition to leftover Christmas decorations.
After winding through fields and forests, we followed a trail along the Geul River. After crossing the river, we walked past two Dutch castles, Kasteel Genhoes and the bigger Kasteel Schaloen. With the blue skies and bright sunshine, Kasteel Schaloen was especially impressive. We look forward to returning to this area when the town of Schin op Geul has its walk in a couple of weeks.
For the second week in a row, we were greeted with clear skies and mild temperatures. We do not want to jinx things by saying more about the weather, because there is plenty of winter left and things still can get nasty. Let it suffice to say that we will gladly take whatever mild weather comes our way.
The night before, we had gone to a New Year’s party and we met a woman who had come all the way from Stuttgart. As an enthusiastic walker, she shared a lot of Volksmarch stories with us. She was going to walk in Ransdall the next morning, and we hoped to walk with her to continue sharing experiences, but we must have just missed her. We hope she enjoyed the walk as much as we did.
Next week we will be going to the States for a conference. While Lorraine will be busy with the conference, Bob already has looked for some permanent Volksmarches in the area. One starting point is only about a quarter-mile from our hotel. Look for an after-action report shortly after we return.
If you go back to the States, you don’t have to set aside your desire to go Volksmarching. Go to the American Volkssport Association Web site, www. ava.org, and look for either regular walks or permanent trails wherever you are going. Take your log books and continue to work on your 2008 Volksmarch goals.
Kudos to the folks who contributed fliers for this column: William Castro and Maureen McHugh-Castro, Wayne Henry, Ramona and Horst Kechelen, Diane Lockman, Tim and Luchi Lynch, Pat Patterson, Dawn St. John and Nancy Shawley.
Miscellaneous short notes about this week’s events:
• A garden troll-like figurine is the souvenir this weekend at Seibersbach, Germany. Start the 5k or 10k trail on Saturday and Sunday between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m., finish walking by 5 p.m. For more information, check out the club’s Web site at www. wanderfreunde-seibersbach.de.
• The prize for the walk in Flacht is a musical clock with a bird family motif.
• If you finish the Volksmarch in Lisberg, you will receive an umbrella.
Clark Soeldner’s Italian walking notes:
• The maximum time for the Cordenons walk is four hours, but it is a flat, easy walk. In the past, along the 21k route, organizers have set up a grill for cooking pancetta for small sandwiches. They are really good. It is usually cold, so be prepared.
• The Cornedo Vicentino flier notes the route is mixed with hills.
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.