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2007

Click here for this week’s European Volksmarch schedule.

‘Wow!” is the only way to describe the Heidelberg International Wandering Club’s bus trip to Weissbad near Appenzell, Switzerland. We heard that the weather for this trip had been bad in the past and that brought to mind some words of wisdom from our first time in Switzerland: There is no such thing as inclement weather — just poorly prepared walkers.

Determined not to fall into that category, we brought extra shoes, dry clothes and rain gear. Tina, the trip captain, even had HIWC umbrellas for sale. We just had to have one!

We left promptly at 6 a.m. As we rolled down the autobahn, the sun began to peek out above the tree-lined horizon, revealing a blanket of fog hugging the landscape. As it rose, the sun also showed a clear blue sky. The talk changed from rain gear to sunglasses and sunblock. After a quick stop at Patch Barracks to pick up a dozen smiling, enthusiastic walkers from the Stuttgart German-American Wandering Club, we were off to Switzerland.

Always mindful of their manners, the Heidelberg club members waited until the Stuttgart group was on board to break out the champagne/Sekt brunch. Meats, cheeses, muffins, quiche and other goodies were passed around the bus along with the champagne, Sekt and other beverages.

Soon we were in Weissbad, and the walk was spectacular. Listening to the bells from the cows and sheep tinkling like wind chimes, we started out up a road that took us above the city, then across pastures to a steep downhill trail along a stream and into a valley. After going across a wooden bridge, it was back uphill for a while. All along the way we saw the beautiful Swiss farmhouses with flowerboxes overflowing with blossoms. As we walked, we could look up at the Alps and see the colorful curved canopies of the paragliders gently sailing way above us.

After the walk we settled at the nearby Pizzeria Alpenhof for ice cream and conversation. Across the street from the pizzeria was a garden with gorgeous flowers and several motion-activated attractions. From garden trolls that told jokes, to a spider that scurried up and down the wall, to the famous Bigmouth Billy Bass singing “Jingle Bells,” it was a very unusual collection.

Too soon it was time to leave Weissbad, and we drove about an hour to the Rheinfalls. After a boat ride to the falls and souvenir shopping, it was back on the bus to Stuttgart and then Heidelberg. As we pulled into the parking lot at 11 p.m., we were tired from a long, but exciting day of making new friends from the Heidelberg and Stuttgart walking clubs.

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Here is the second after-action report submitted recently by Tim and Luchi Lynch. Tim writes:

“Our other permanent walk was in Frankfurt. The start hall is the Goethe- Haus at Grosser Hirschgraben 23-25 in Frankfurt. This walk is 11k and brings walkers through the ‘Altstadt,’ which is a misnomer since the city was virtually flattened during World War II, along the Main River, then through residential areas on the outskirts of town.

“Watch for the one control point — it’s actually a hand-operated stamp machine planted in the ground before reaching the Goethe Turm, just past a parking lot on your right, where the trail bends right. The stamp machine is in a little area to your left.

“Continue past the Goethe Turm, then you’ll start heading back into town for another look along the Main, where you’ll cross back over and head back to the Goethe-Haus. If, like us, you go on Saturday morning, you’ll pass by the huge flea market along the Main. Stop to do some browsing and get a bratwurst and beer before ending your walk.

“Unfortunately, there is no validated parking for this walk, so it’ll cost some euros. But Frankfurt is most definitely worth exploring.” If you’ve done an interesting walk, let us know by dropping us a line at: two.walkers@yahoo.com.

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We will be staying close to home this weekend. The Organisation A.M.T.F. Plombières in Belgium is hosting its 36th Annual International Walk of the Three Frontiers. We will be there Saturday and then head to Groesbeek, Netherlands, for their Liberation Walk on Sunday. The Groesbeek walk is not an IVV walk, but the start card will allow free admittance to their Liberation Museum. I (Bob) frequently mention Battle of the Bulge museums in Belgium and Luxembourg, but this is an excellent museum that covers the fighting during Operation Market Garden, as well as the impact the fighting had on the local Dutch citizens.

• Members of the Wanderfreunde Miesau host their annual walk Saturday and Sunday in the town of Bruchmühlbach. A very close walk for folks in the Kaiserslautern Military Community. Just head down B40 and you’ll find signs to the walk.

• There are new routes at the Ragogna, Italy, walk this year and the castle has been recently restored. Expect some hills.

• The walk in Piovene Rocchette, Italy, has a 6k route that is for handicapped persons only. Everyone else can do either 11 or 19 kilometers.

E-mail Volksmarch schedule 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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