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Click here for this week’s European Volksmarch schedule.

It’s only three weeks until one of our favorite walks. In fact, the Heidelberg International Wandering Club’s annual walk is one of our top two walks in Germany. I (Bob) first did this walk in 1996, and since we have come back to Europe, we have always put it high on the priority list. Instead of writing a list of things to do on the weekend of Sept. 6 and 7 and then seeing if there is any time left for a volksmarch, make this walk the number one item on the list and tackle the other things afterward.

Make sure you allow some time to help as a volunteer, too. Rob and Cath Floyd sent us the following message: "A lot of hard work and effort goes into planning and organizing this event and scores of volunteers are needed to help make it happen. … Help is needed in all areas: setting up and breaking down benches and tables in the start hall, marking and monitoring the trail throughout the march, operating checkpoints, stamping cards, preparing and selling food, selling drinks, distributing supplies and equipment, directing parking and monitoring traffic flow, making and selling coffee and cakes, selling boutique items, working at the start card tables and handing out prizes and cleaning the start hall after the event."

There are many benefits to volunteering for this event: You get to be part of a great organization; you help operate a German/American community event; you will meet new people and experience new challenges; you’ll receive a free volunteer T-shirt, free food and drink coupons, and last but not least ... you’ll get your beer mug before they are sold out.

Whatever you can do will be appreciated. For more information, contact the Floyds at 06227-841226, e-mail the club at hiwc@yahoo.com or check out the club’s Web site at www.hiwc.de for more information.

Heidelberg is a beautiful city, the trails are well-marked and organized, the food at the start hall is always very good and there will be live music. This year’s prize is a beautiful beer stein decorated with a scene of Heidelberg’s old bridge and castle. As a bonus, on Saturday night the city of Heidelberg will illuminate the castle and old bridge with a magnificent fireworks display. We have our hotel reservations already and plan to spend a wonderful weekend in Heidelberg. Look for us there and let’s talk volksmarching!

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If you are off work tomorrow, Aug. 15, and live near the Hunsrück area of Germany, boy, do we have a deal for you. You can Volks-sport at four events sponsored by the WF Amerikaflug-Club e.V., Stromberg. You can choose a six-kilometer and 10-kilometer walk at each featured town and a swim, with start windows staggered so you can hit all events in one day — all within an 18-kilometer radius.

The first event is in Waldalgesheim. Hit the trails between 7 and 9 a.m., and finish by 11:30 a.m. The second is near Spabrücken. It has a 9 a.m. to noon start and a 2:30 p.m. finish. The third and fourth are in Rheinböllen. Walk from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. (7 p.m. finish) and swim 300 or 500 meters starting between noon and 5 p.m. (6 p.m. finish). Participants who complete all three walks at all three locations will receive a free commemorative certificate. B-medal wine glasses are also available at the reduced price of 2.80 euros. We completed this special event three years ago and had a blast!

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This weekend, the members of the Wanderfreunde Crailsheim e.V. hold their 45th Internationale Wandertage and 30th marathon. Crailsheim is only 30 minutes from Rothenburg o.d. Tauber, one of Germany’s most popular tourist attractions. The 5k, 10k and 20k routes begin on Saturday between 5:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. and again on Sunday, 5:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. A Jugendwanderung, part of the DVV-Junior-Serie, will also be held daily. The 42k marathon starts both days between 5:30 and 9 a.m. We are told the club members are friendly, the trails are well-organized and well-marked and there is plenty of parking available. If you start and finish your Crailsheim walk early in the morning, consider spending your afternoon visiting the walled city. Since you’re already in the area, take advantage of being close to this picturesque and famous German town.

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Some weekends, the walks seem to be few and far between, especially for those of us who live in the Netherlands. This weekend, however, there is a plethora of walks to choose from.

On Saturday, the Belgian walks in Housse and Bellevaux are within easy driving distance. As a bonus, Bellevaux is close to two of Bob’s favorite Battle of the Bulge museums in La Gleize, and Poteau. These two walks are also being held on Sunday, but that day we will be walking in the Netherlands; the walks in Heerlen and Nuth are practically in our backyard. Oerle, close to the Eindhoven airport, is about an hour away. Monday evening will find us walking in St. Odiliënberg. It looks like we are in store for an excellent weekend of nearby walks.

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• In Mainz-Gonsenheim, Germany, the start times are: 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. for the 5k; 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. for the 10k; and 7 a.m. to noon for the 20k. The volksmarch starts in the Karl-Geib-Haus on Kapellenstrasse 44 in Mainz-Gonsenheim and is adjacent to a wild animal park. The start point is small but quaint and lies in an extremely popular walking area. If the weather is hot, sunny and dry, arrive early; parking will be at a premium.

• Wednesday’s march in Nieder-Wiesen, Germany, offers walkers an opportunity to start the six- and 10-kilometer events until 6 p.m., which is great for those who want to walk after work. If you get off work a little earlier, or happen to have the day off, walk the 20k, which begins 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. A toy fire truck is the souvenir.

• The walk in Castelvecchio di Valdagno is Friday, an Italian holiday. The longer route has some serious grades. The walk is in conjunction with a fest and a special food plate will be available for walkers.

• Arrive early for parking for the walk at Villanova della Grotte, Italy, if you want to avoid a "warm-up hike" to the start.

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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