Click here for this week’s European Volksmarch schedule.
Still recovering from surgery, Bob is not quite ready for a 10-kilometer walk, but Lorraine is building his endurance with sightseeing and shopping trips.
Our latest trip was to northern Holland to the small town of Hattem and the Anton Pieck Museum. Pieck was a Dutch artist who lived between 1895 and 1987, but the themes of many of his paintings capture life in the Netherlands in the early 1800s. We like his work because of the unique characters, animals and scenes that capture the essence of an easier, happier time.
The day we arrived at the museum, we were very pleased to find out that it was an "Open Day" for many museums and there was no entrance fee. We spent several hours looking at the exhibition over three floors of the old house turned into a museum. Of course we loaded up on Anton Pieck prints, note cards, and even a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle. For more information on Pieck and this museum, visit www.antonpieckmuseum- hattem.nl.
The town of Hattem used to be a walled city. It still has a large guard tower with a road passing through it. These towers are not unusual in Germany, and several can be found in Rothenburg ob der Tauber. What makes Hattem special is that about 200 meters from the guard tower is an old windmill. This makes for quite a unique combination.
Next to the guard tower is a tiny chocolate shop, Bonbon Atelier A3. Inside, you can buy all kinds of delicious and beautiful chocolate creations. In addition to the normal bonbons, they had chocolate animals and forest scenes complete with the red-topped mushrooms. You could also watch one of the employees as he filled some molds with chocolate from one of three machines that were stirring and pouring either white, milk or dark chocolate.
After looking around for a while, we decided to return to buy some goodies right before we left Hattem. Leaving and promising to come back later violates one of our basic rules of shopping, because the item is invariably gone, or the store is closed, or something else spoils the plan. In this case, the small shop was so packed when we returned, we couldn’t even get in the door! The wait would have been too long no matter how good the chocolate.
As we walked around Hattem we also found a bakery museum. This one was not recognizing "Open Day," so we had to pay, but it was still a very pleasant visit. Toward the end of the visit, the route took us under the street and into another building, which was a Droste chocolate museum. What a surprise! Sadly, the gift shop at the end did not have any Droste chocolates for sale. This was not to be our day for chocolate.
After spending the night in the area, we visited the huge flea market in Cuijk, Netherlands. It is open every Saturday, but this weekend was one of the three Sundays that it is open during the year. This has to be the biggest flea market we have ever been to. As luck would have it, one of the first stalls we visited was a cross-stitch vendor who had three Anton Pieck cross-stitch kits complete with patterns, material, and embroidery floss. After having just visited the museum, we just had to get these kits. Now the challenge is to make the time to finish them.
After a couple of hours of wandering up and down the aisles, we realized that we had not even covered half the flea market. There was a food court area where we could have had lunch and then tackled the second half of the market, but we still had at least another two hours of driving ahead of us and decided to call it quits for this particular day. If you need more information about this flea market, see www.vrijemarkt.nl.
Even though there were no IVV walks in store on this weekend, we recall seeing fliers in the past for walks in the nearby city of Apeldorn. We can hardly wait to return to walk in Apeldorn because it is home to the Dutch Palace Het Loo, with its beautiful gardens and old castle. This area is definitely on our list of places for a return visit.
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Did you clear your calendars for the Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot in Ramstein? It is only three weeks away. Start making your plans now to add a little German culture to your American holiday. There is nothing like a volksmarch and a bratwurst in the morning to get you ready for turkey and trimmings in the afternoon. You can start the five- or 10-kilometer trails between 7 a.m. and 1 p.m. If you cannot break loose from your busy plans to participate in the walk, at least try to drop off some baked goods at the start hall in the morning. For more information about the Turkey Trot, e-mail the Roadrunners at ramsteinroadrunners @yahoo.com.
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Miscellaneous short notes about this week’s events:
• The prize for completing the walk in Untererthal, Germany, is a frame that holds several small pictures.
• This week’s Italian abbreviations include Monterossa, shortened from Monterosso di Abano Terme, and San Martino al Tagliamento, shortened to San Martino.
• Clark Soeldner, our Italian volksmarching connection, adds that the San Martino walk will have roasted chestnuts and vin brulé at the final restoro.
• The Monterosso walk will be in a very pretty area with mixed hills.
E-mail volksmarch information to email@example.com. Mail brochures to Bob and Lorraine Huffaker, CMR 460, Box 278, APO, AE, 09703-0278.