Stars and Stripes March 6, 2008
Click here for this week’s European Volksmarch schedule.
Wow! Was the weather in Rothenburg perfect for walking, or what?
Since our Gasthaus didn’t start breakfast until 8 a.m., we decided to walk early and return in time for a late breakfast. After eating, we made a quick trip into town for the usual souvenirs and then went back to the start hall. One busload of walkers came from Heidelberg, while the Ramstein Roadrunners and Kaiserslautern Sunny Coyotes shared a bus.
We really enjoyed visiting with a lot of die-hard Volksmarchers on Saturday, including Pat and Cheryl Patterson, Dave and Debbie Miller, Rob and Cath Floyd and Mike and Pam Medolo. We also talked with Tina Kracke, who told us she recently completed three Volksmarches in Finland. This was her 14th European country to walk in, which means she’s eligible for the Europa Cup.
At noon we headed out on the Old City Walk. This was the sixth time we’ve done this walk, but right when you think you’ve seen every square inch of Rothenburg, they change the route, and we saw new portions of the city.
We especially enjoyed one section outside the walls where we saw two squirrels scampering among the trees. They were reddish-brown with the long hair on their ears that make them appear pointed. We watched them frolic for a while and tried to take pictures of them. We had bought some Sneeballen — local confections that resemble snowballs — but we were not going to share those with anyone, even if they did have cute, pointy ears.
When we got back to the start, Otto’s live music and singing had some folks standing on their benches, swaying their arms and singing along. As usual, the bratwurst, French fries and beer were especially good and the atmosphere was as exciting as at any walk we’ve attended.
On the down side, Bob lost his IVV books at the start hall, so if any reader found them, please mail them and we will gladly reimburse postage. As we’ve tried to convey before, we find Rothenburg’s annual Volksmarch a tough one to beat.
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Old Town Alexandria after-action report: While Lorraine was busy at a conference, I (Bob) decided to walk the year-round Volksmarch in Old Town Alexandria, Va. This walk, hosted by the Northern Virginia Volksmarchers, starts at the George Washington Masonic Memorial, a short walk from the hotel where we stayed. The weather was cold and windy and a winter storm was to hit in the afternoon, so I was at the memorial when it opened at 10 a.m. After a quick briefing on the memorial by a staff member, it was time to hit the trail.
This 10k walk winds through residential areas, along the Potomac River, past the Torpedo Factory Art Center, as well as through the historical town center’s shopping area. In the center of town is the historic Christ Church, which was completed in 1773. George Washington frequently attended church here and it was the childhood church of Robert E. Lee. Just after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill attended services here on Jan. 1, 1942, as part of the World Day of Prayer for Peace. Just around the corner from Christ Church is the Austin Grill, which serves an excellent plate of Roadhouse Nachos.
The final two to three kilometers of the walk is along Alexandria’s King Street, which is filled with a variety of shops, cafes and restaurants. All in all, this was a very enjoyable walk and a “must do” if you are in the area.
I finished the walk before the winter storm hit, but we were caught in the nasty weather that night when we took the Metro into Washington for dinner at the Army and Navy Club. We were pleasantly surprised by the ease of use and sense of safety we felt while using the Metro. While looking for walk information on the AVA Web site, we noticed that Volksmarches in the Washington area have directions posted for finding the start locations from the Metro. With heavy traffic and scarce parking in the city, we recommend using the Metro to get to and from your walks.
Next week: walking in Washington, D.C.
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The Ansbach German-American Wanderclub invites everyone to participate in its annual Ansbach Community German-American Friendship Volksmarch this weekend. The trails are five, 10 and 20 kilometers long, and you can start between 7 a.m. and 1 p.m. both days. You must finish by 5 p.m. B-medals will be available while quantities last. The five largest military units from the Ansbach area that participate will receive a group prize.
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Thanks to our fellow walkers for sending in brochures, all in date order! Here’s to: William Castro and Maureen McHugh-Castro, Bob Gambert, Lew Harrison, Wayne Henry, Ramona and Horst Kechelen, Tim and Luchi Lynch, Pat Patterson, Dawn St. John and Nancy Shawley. It is a pleasant surprise to see new names on the return addresses. This week’s new contributors are Susan Fowler and Chuck Kotyrba.
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Miscellaneous short notes about this week’s events:
A popular event each year in the Kaiserslautern, Germany, locale is the one in Queidersbach. Only B medals are available, while quantities last, but perhaps you can get one of their leftover Weizenbier glasses from a couple of years ago.Again this year the towns of Lauterbach and Lauterach are having their walks on the same weekend. They are about 200 miles apart, so make sure you’re heading toward the right one.Notes from Clark Soeldner, our Italian walking expert:
The start for the walk in Ca di Cozzi Villa Monga is off via Trento, just west of the hospital in Borgo Trento, on the north side of Verona. The name of the walk is “The Three Hills,” so expect some grades.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.