Click here for this week’s European Volksmarch schedule.
Keukenhof after-action report: Our bus left JFC, Brunssum, at 7 a.m. and it rained the entire three-hour drive to Lisse, Netherlands. It was our good fortune that the rain ended just as we arrived. It was still overcast, but that beats rain.
The start hall was the Bakker Family tulip bulb processing plant. The lower level of the building must have had a mile of conveyer belts for processing, packaging and shipping flower bulbs.
Our trip captain, Pres Farris, picked up the start cards for the group and soon we were on our way. The 7-euro cost for the start card was more than three times the normal cost for a walk in the Netherlands, but about half the normal admission cost for the Keukenhof Gardens.
The theme at Keukenhof this year is China, due to the Olympics in Beijing planned for later this year. Inside the Juliana Pavilion there was a display of posters from the 19th Olympic Games held in Amsterdam in 1928. There were traditional Chinese garments and shoes on display as well.
Just outside the building was a large bed of orange and red tulips named Olympic Flame. Part of the Juliana Pavilion is dedicated to the history of the tulip; there are information sheets in several languages and numerous pictures and displays. There is also an English-language video on the harvesting and processing of tulip bulbs that we found very interesting.
By this time the sun was peeking out from behind the clouds. After walking around some more and enjoying the flowers and sculptures, we went looking for the Chinese dragon outlined in flowers. We found the dragon, but the flowers had not blossomed yet, so it was just a green figure. When they do bloom, if the flowers are as pretty as the picture on display, it will be an awesome “fire-breathing” dragon.
We took a break for lunch and then walked through more of the gardens before heading back to the start hall. After getting our books stamped, we headed to the bus for the ride back, but first we had to buy some tulips. In what has to be the bargain of the year, there were tulips for sale — 30 cut tulips for 5 euros. They were tightly closed, so we are still enjoying them as they open several days later.
It was a wonderful day in Lisse and the Keukenhof Botanical Gardens. We hope our club charters a bus again next year.
For one of the prettiest walks we have ever done, go to Consdorf, Luxembourg, this Sunday and find out why they refer to the area as “Little Switzerland.” It is not only the hills, but also the caves and rock formations that make this a unique walk. With spring and the newly budding trees, bushes and flowers, we bet it is impressive.
Thanks to the following people for sending the flyers that make this column possible: William Castro and Maureen McHugh-Castro, Manfred Dahl, Bob Gambert, John and Evelyn Golembe, Lew Harrison, Wayne Henry, Ramona and Horst Kechelen, James Kelly, Chuck Kotyrba, Tim and Luchi Lynch, Pat Patterson, Dawn St. John and Nancy Shawley.
The Heidelberg International Wandering Club will host a Kiddies Volksmarch on April 26 at Patrick Henry Village. Contact Rob Floyd via e-mail at hiwc@ yahoo.com.
Notes about this week’s events:
• The prize at the Foechheim, Germany, walk is a zippered pouch.
• The AWO-Behindertenwerkstatt is the start location for the Netphen-Deuz, Germany, event. The club is sponsoring four trails this weekend to include a 6K, 12K and 22K as well as a marathon. The prize is a 15-inch tall decorative object in the shape of a flower.
• The two Dutch walks in Heer and Wijnandsrade on Sunday are fairly close together. It is a very good opportunity to do two walks in one day. The Wijnandsrade walk is not IVV sanctioned, so they will not stamp your IVV books, but it is still a nice walk.
• The prize for walking at Cleebronn, Germany, is a toy Porsche automobile.
• At Kist, Germany, they are offering B-medals this year, but last year they had a decorative, heart-shaped tealight holder. They might have some left over for this year.
• Clark Soeldner’s tips from the Italian walking scene:
• The view of the castle as you approach the town of Marostica is really impressive. I did the walk in 2002, and while the route did not take us through the castle grounds, there were still plenty of ups and downs through the hills surrounding the town. Watch for the house with the paintwork that simulates a castle!
• The Porcia Volksmarch is a good walk and they appreciate American participation.
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.