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Click here for this week’s European Volksmarch schedule.

This week’s featured walk is the 32nd edition of the Madonna del Monte, Italy, walk hosted by the Aviano Road Runners. The 7-, 14- and 21-kilometer routes are partially on mountain trails and go by the “Silver-Dome” Church. The 4k route is stroller-friendly and suitable for families. (Remember, you will not receive IVV credit for distances less than five kilometers.) The 21k route will pass through the Castello d’Aviano.

Sunday’s start time is between 8:30 and 9:30 a.m. The start is at Visinai, the Aviano Sports complex that includes the Bocchiodromo. It’s by the “mountain highway,” on the right just past the Casa Bianca and San Giorgio Restaurants. There will be signs to point the way.

Clark Soeldner, our expert on walks in Italy, adds: “This is our opportunity to return all the friendliness and goodwill to the numerous Italian groups that we meet throughout the year at the multitude of walks they sponsor. (Last year we had 1,000-plus registered participants, an all-time record!)

“Even if you don’t want to do the walk, we need all the help we can get, especially with traffic control and parking. Contact Sandra.buna@aviano.af.mil or Chuck at DSN 632-7697.”

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You folks in the Wiesbaden, Germany, area have a big event in your back yard this weekend. There are three walking routes and three swim distances on both Saturday and Sunday. Adults will receive a hanging plaque for completing an event. Children younger than 16 will receive a cute police dog made out of sock material.

The junior walks begin between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. on both days. Adults can start the 6- and 10-kilometer routes between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m.; the 20k walk cuts off at 1 p.m. Swim events start between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. All events start at the Hessische Polizeischule at Schönberg- strasse 100 in Wiesbaden- Kohlheck.

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For this week’s walk through history, Forbach, France, is the place to visit. Forbach was one of the last French towns liberated in February 1945 as the U.S. 70th Infantry Division fought its way across the Saar River, through Saarbrücken, and into Germany. After capturing the Schlossberg Castle ruins with its commanding view of the area, the 276th Infantry Regiment was involved in bitter house-to-house and street-by-street fighting as it liberated the town of Forbach. Many of the town’s residents were forced to live in the basements of their homes during the fighting. When they emerged, they found much of the town had been destroyed.

Members of the 70th Infantry Division return often to visit the town they liberated and to meet the people of Forbach. It sounds like a great place for a Volksmarch and a walk through history. The start is at the Hotel de Ville, with sign-up between 7 a.m. and noon. There is only a 10k route offered, so there should be plenty of time to visit the town and the castle ruins.

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We’ve recently received information on two more walks to add to your May calendar. They are excellent walks that we are sure you will enjoy.

• May 17-18: Diekirch, Luxembourg.

• May 31-June 1: Reichweiler, Germany.

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Hey, Bob’s lost IVV books and walking diary are back! Thanks to Herr Jochen Messerschmidt of Rothenburg ob der Tauber for returning them. Bob was starting to wonder if the books would be returned but never lost hope. In addition to mailing a thank-you note and reward, Bob wants to look up Herr Messerschmidt at next year’s walk and buy him a beer.

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The following deserve a big pat on the back for sending fliers: William Castro and Maureen McHugh-Castro, Manfred Dahl, Bob Gambert, John and Evelyn Golembe, Lew Harrison, Wayne Henry, Chuck Kotyrba, Tim and Luchi Lynch, John and Patty Marsh, Pat Patterson, Dawn St. John and Nancy Shawley. Thanks everyone, we can’t do it without you!

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Miscellaneous short notes about this week’s events:

• The prize at Gültstein, Germany, is a folding knife, fork and corkscrew combination.

• The award at Sprendlingen, Germany, is a cloth bag with a design from the city of Bingen. If you take your dog to this walk, please note dogs are not allowed in the start hall.

• The prize for completing the walk at Untersiemau, Germany, is a B-medal, but last year organizers offered a small pewter cup decorated with a scene of the Heidelberg castle and old bridge. We love these pewter cups because they are great souvenirs from Germany.

Clark Soeldner has these additional notes about walks in Italy:

• If you want to participate in the Vedelago to Padua marathon on April 27, you need to register in advance. Visit the Web at www.maratonasantantonio.com to sign up.

• I have a love/hate relationship with the Masera di Padova event. I like the 31k distance, but was disappointed that the IVV guy was long gone when I got done walking it. The event is geared for runners, not walkers.

• The Villa di Teolo marathon walk is a bit of a challenge. It takes you through the Colle Eugánei Park and has several peaks. Upon completion, you receive a personalized certificate that has a chart of the course elevations and your total time.

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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