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Click here for this week’s European Volksmarch schedule.

The Famille Lorraine de Metz-Borny holds its 16th Annual Metz Illuminée on Saturday. There are several walks that come around each year that are classified as “must-do” events, and the Metz Illuminée is one. For the past few years, more than 11,000 marchers have participated on this one evening. That should give you an idea of the popularity of this walk.

The event begins at the Complexe Sportif Saint Symphorien, near the Palais des Sports. You can start between 3 and 8:30 p.m. Arrive early as parking will be extremely limited; the club expects 60 to 70 busloads of participants. Even though it may seem a little daunting, not to mention crowded, venture out and join your fellow marchers in Metz this Saturday; this is one event you don’t want to miss. Don’t forget your camera.

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Gundelfingen after-action report: We joined the Heidelberg International Wandering Club for its bus trip to Gundelfingen, Germany, and had a wonderful outing, starting with the rolling champagne breakfast buffet. All kinds of goodies passed up and down the aisle as we prepared ourselves for a day of volksmarching and shopping.

The walk in Gundelfingen was a typical German volksmarch. We were fortunate that the trails were not very muddy considering the recent snow and the fairly mild temperature. It seemed like the routes were a bit shorter than advertised, but that just got us back to the start hall sooner so we could get some lunch while listening to the live accordion music. It was perfect weather for pea soup, and we were surprised there wasn’t any. The roast pork and salad plate was very good. After buying a jar of homemade jam, we were back on the bus heading to the factory outlets.

The outlet area was fairly small — only about seven stores — but we found some bargains. The Lindt chocolate store was busy, as one might expect. Bob is far from an enthusiastic gardener, but still enjoyed going through the Gardenia store and checking the garden tools and gadgets. The timing of the shopping was good in that the heaviest snowfall came while we were shopping and not while we were out on the walk.

After loading the bus with our bargains, we returned to Heidelberg. While in Heidelberg, we usually stay at the Hotel Neu-Heidelberg. The Schwaninger family makes us feel at home and the hotel’s restaurant, the Brunnen Stube, always has something new and exciting for us to try. This time our new treat was the cream of mushroom soup, made with chanterelle mushrooms. We both agree that this was undoubtedly the best mushroom soup we have ever had.

All told we had a wonderful weekend of walking, shopping and, most of all, seeing old friends and meeting new ones. Thanks to the Heidelberg International Wandering Club for sponsoring the walk. We’re looking forward to our next adventure with them. For more information on the HIWC, visit its Web site, www.hiwc.de.

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This year’s Bastogne Historical Walk is Saturday, Dec. 13. This is the 31st year that Maurice Spirandeau, a veteran of the battle, and a group of highly motivated volunteers have held this walk in honor of the Americans who fought, suffered and died during the defense of Bastogne.

Each year, the walk visits a different section of the defensive perimeter of Bastogne, and this year it will go to the west and southwest of the city to the areas defended by the 327th Glider Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division and the 17th Airborne Division. There are four routes from which to choose: six, 12, 20 and 30 kilometers. Re-enactors will be in town and along the routes with authentic uniforms, equipment and vehicles. Rest stops with hot beverages, food and restrooms will be available.

This is not an IVV walk, so no IVV credit will be awarded. Still, it is, in our opinion, one of the best walks you can attend while in Europe. For the whole weekend, people flock to Bastogne to enjoy the walk, the festivities and the chance to honor the men who

fought there. We have attended for the past six years and would not miss it for anything. Come share an historical weekend in Bastogne.

For more information on the walk, visit www.bastognehistoricalwalk.be.

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Miscellaneous short notes about this week’s events:

• Friday’s walk in Kirn-Sulzbach combines a torch walk and a Christmas market. The regular walk starts between 1 and 4 p.m.; the torch walk between 4 and 5 p.m. Both start at the Collet club house on Oldenburgerstrasse and end at the Christmas market in the village center. Here’s hoping they are not too far apart.

• This Sunday the walk at Alt-Hürth starts next to the Christmas market at the Pfarrheim on Lindenstraße. With a market and a volksmarch being so close to each other, parking might be a challenge, so try to get there as early as possible. If the five- or 11-kilometer routes are not enough for you, Alt-Hürth also hosts permanent IVV trails of seven and 13 kilometers.

• The prize for walking in Hüttigweiler is a ceramic plate with a Christmas theme. Organizers also have plates from past walks to choose from. These look like very nice prizes.

Notes from Clark Soeldner, our Italian walking expert: Monday is an Italian holiday, so you will have several events from which to choose!

• The prize for the Orgiano walk is either a bottle of wine or a jar of honey. I have done the 30-kilometer route a couple of times and give it a five-star rating. It is a really pretty walk in the Berici hills.

• The prize at Loreggia is a typical Veneto meal.

• At Pordenone, the trails are a combination of mixed asphalt, gravel and fields. Along the longer trails the club members may offer small grilled meat sandwiches called pancetta — probably not good for you, but they sure taste good!

• The prize at the Lendinara walk is a bottle of wine for the first 800 entrants.

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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