Stars and Stripes June 19, 2007
Click here for this week’s European Volksmarch schedule.
Delft, Netherlands: What a city! We caught the oh-dark-30 train and arrived in Delft just before 9 a.m. After dropping off our luggage at our hotel, we were off to explore the city.
Every Saturday during the summer, Delft has a flea market that extends along several of the streets and canals of the old city. After finding a couple of Dutch mementoes, we found ourselves outside the tourist information office. While some of its brochures had to be purchased, there was a rack holding miniature business cards for many of the city’s attractions; some cards offered discounts of up to 50 percent. We later saved 6 euros on admission to the Dutch Army Museum by using one of these cards.
As we continued to roam the flea market, we came across the Vermeer Center. This center is dedicated to the famous Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer, whose painting, "Girl With a Pearl Earring," is famous. We thoroughly enjoyed learning about the life of Vermeer as well as the explanations of his artistic style.
For lunch we ate at Kleyweg’s Stads-koffyhuis, noted for having "the best sandwich in Holland." In our opinion, the ones we had are worthy of that award. Sitting on their barge canal patio, we had an excellent view of Delft’s Old Church, which leans about six feet off-center.
We went to tour the church only to find it was closed in preparation for a Mozart concert that evening. Instead, we went for a boat ride on the canals and learned more of the city’s impressive history.
Sunday morning we had a rendezvous with several members of our walking club who had come up for the day. Most of us decided to walk the shorter route in order to have more time to explore the city. The route took us through some residential areas before going into the old city and through the city center. The greatly reduced amount of pedestrian and bicycle traffic on Sunday morning made the walk more enjoyable. After picking up our medal for completing the walk, we were off for more exploring.
About 20 minutes on foot south of the train station is the Royal Delft Porcelain factory and museum. Delft has been producing beautiful porcelain products since the 1600s. The museum displays these exceptional pieces of art. From the smallest plate to the largest wall-sized mural made of hundreds of hand-painted tiles, the artwork is spectacular. Two master painters were at work displaying their talents.
We also toured the factory where molds are made and filled and where the large kilns are operated. A factory employee explained in depth the pouring and firing procedures.
We then went through the gift shop and ended our visit with lunch in the museum’s courtyard. Sadly, it was then time to walk back to the train station for the trip home. On the way, we asked ourselves, "Why didn’t we visit Delft sooner?"
It will not be long before we return to Delft.
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It looks as if Hürth-Knapsack, Germany, is the busy place for IVV events this weekend. You can actually custom-design your own triathlon. The Wandergesellen Alt-Hürth 1991 e.V. is offering walks of five, 11 and 22 kilometers. It also has a marathon walk of 42 kilometers. For the bike enthusiasts, there’s a 25k cycling route. You’ll have to take your own bike because they will not have rentals available. To top it off, you can do a swim event as well. They will have a shuttle to take you from the start hall to the "Familienbad De Bütt" swimming pool.
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Miscellaneous short notes about this week’s events:
• The walk in See, Germany, is convenient for those in the Hohenfels area.
• If you live in the Baumholder area, the volksmarch in Heimbach is right next door! The walk starts at the Besenbinderhalle between 6 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday and 6 a.m. and 1 p.m. Sunday. This walk is for IVV credit only.
Words of wisdom from Clark Soeldner, the guru of Italian volksmarching:
• The Stolvizza event is on the permanent trail Ta Lipa Pot. The volksmarch group from Terni will serve lentil soup to everyone to publicize its October walk.
• Expect beautiful mountain views and grades at the Ziano event.
E-mail volksmarch information to email@example.com. Mail brochures to Bob and Lorraine Huffaker, CMR 460, Box 278, APO, AE, 09703-0278.