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Click here for this week’s European Volksmarch schedule.

May and June are asparagus season in Europe, and it has become one of our favorite times of year. Before coming to Europe, neither of us cared for asparagus, but having eaten several different asparagus dishes, we now absolutely love it!

Asparagus has been a delicacy for thousands of years, dating to the time of the pharaohs. It was first grown in Germany in about 1567. In 1688, it was planted on the palace grounds at Schloss Schwetzingen near Heidelberg, which is now considered the Spargelhochburg, or the citadel of asparagus. The white variety requires a lot of work to grow and harvest, so it is expensive. But it’s worth it. Not only does it taste good, but it is also high in nutrients and low in calories.

We mention this because we encourage you to try some of the many asparagus dishes that are abundant during asparagus season. While you are out volksmarching, be on the lookout for restaurants or cafes displaying "Spargel" dishes on their signboards or display menus. Then go in and try a taste of this local culture — we think you’ll enjoy it.

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This weekend we plan to attend the walk in Delft, Netherlands. We have heard that parking is very hard to find in Delft, so we are going by train. The 25- and 40-kilometer routes start between 8 and 9 a.m.; the shorter routes start after 9. There is no cutoff time for starting the shorter routes, but you must finish by 5 p.m. each day.

In addition to the walk, we are interested in visiting the Royal Delft Museum, the Dutch Army Museum and the Vermeer Center. We also want to try "the best sandwich in Holland" at the Kleywegstads-koffyhuis.

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Last year, Bob Gambert and I (Bob) walked the permanent trail in Schömberg, Germany. It was such a nice walk that we have to highly recommend the event hosted by the Volksportverein Schömberg e.V. this weekend. It will have 6-, 11- and 21-kilometer trails for the ordinary walkers as well as 42- and 50-kilometer routes for long-range walkers. If you have never been to the northern Black Forest area, here is a chance to get out and see its beauty. The prize of a troll for your garden is an added bonus.

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Please don’t forget Sunday’s anniversary and memorial service at Perlè, Luxembourg, for the 385th Bomb Group Museum. For more information about this museum or the 10th anniversary ceremony, see www.385bg.com or e-mail Roger Feller atrofeller@pt.lu. You could do the walk in Esch-sur-Alzette in the morning and then head up to Perlè for the activities.

• On June 15 there is a walk in the town of Höfen, near Monschau, Germany. This is the first time we’ve heard of a walk in this area, so we’re interested in attending. The routes are five, 16 and 24 kilometers, with the two longer routes going through the town of Monschau. There are two drawbacks, however. First, this is not an IVV-sanctioned walk, so you will not receive IVV credit. Second, you have to register before June 11. You can sign up online at www.kreis-aachen.de/wandertag.

We look forward to seeing more of this area and visiting Monschau during a warmer month — we never miss its Christmas market; now we’ll see it with leaves on the trees.

• We heard from Mike and Pam Medolo that more than 20 people attended the Volksmarch 101 course. That’s fantastic!

Thanks for your hard work and dedication.

Thanks also to the following for their contributions to the column: William Castro and Maureen McHugh-Castro, Manfred Dahl, John and Evelyn Golembe, Lew Harrison, Wayne Henry, Ramona and Horst Kechelen, Doug LeVien, Tim and Luchi Lynch, John and Patty Marsh, Pat Patterson and Nancy Shawley. We are sending a high-five to first-time contributor M. Gardner. We are always glad to see a new contributor’s name in our mailbox.

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Miscellaneous short notes about this week’s events:

• Last year, Ramona Kechelen mentioned there are several good cheese shops, some of which are open on Sunday, in the area around Unterthingau, Germany.

• The walk in Schwedelbach, Germany, this weekend will be convenient for the people in the Kaiserslautern military community.

• The volksmarch in Kell, Germany, appears to be about halfway between the Bitburg/Spangdahlem community and the Kaiserslautern community. Add in a few folks from the Baumholder area and there could be quite a few Americans at this walk.

• As we have mentioned, it seems that as the weather gets warmer, the names of Italian cities get longer. Sometimes we have to resort to creative abbreviations for the walk chart. This week we shortened San Eusebio di Bassano del Grappa to "San Eusebio."

The flier for the walk notes that the course is mixed hills and panoramas. Bassano is always worth a visit.

More Italy notes:

• The walk at Montecchio Precalcino has two routes: six and 10 kilometers. If you want to walk more, these routes are repeatable so make sure you get your cards stamped. The cost of the walk is also based upon the number of kilometers you walk. You can walk all day if you want, but don’t miss the pasta party at 12:30.

• The folks at San Quirino always have a great restoro at the end of the walk.

E-mail volksmarch 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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