Click here for this week’s European Volksmarch schedule.

This Saturday is one of the most popular walking days in the Netherlands. The town of Lisse is holding its annual "Keukenhoftocht," which takes participants through one of the most beautiful botanical gardens in the world.

This year is special for American walkers because the theme is "USA, New Amsterdam: New York, 400." This commemorates the 60th anniversary of the gardens and the 400th anniversary of Dutch explorer Henry Hudson reaching what is now Manhattan. Hudson and the Dutch East India Company established the settlement of New Amsterdam, which later was renamed New York. One of the big attractions this year is a flower mosaic of the Statue of Liberty, made of more than 53,000 flowers. This is just one of many displays with an American link. On Saturday, there will be different choirs performing around the gardens as well as bird-of-prey demonstrations in the picnic meadow at noon and 2:30 p.m.

This very popular walk will have busloads of people coming from across Europe. Among them will be members of the Ramstein Roadrunners from Ramstein, Germany, and the Tri-Border Walking Club from Brunssum, Netherlands. Over the years we have found that a bus trip to the walk is the best way to go since someone else gets to worry about driving, parking and gas. All we have to do is enjoy the walk and meet the departure times.

In addition to the gardens, you get to walk around the town of Lisse and see several commercial flower fields with many varieties and colors of blooms. The cost of the start card, 8.50 euros, is high for a volksmarch, but that is a 5-euro saving over buying your entry ticket at the garden. IVV credit is a bonus.

If you don’t like the bus and decide to drive up on your own, the start hall is at the Family Bakker flower packaging warehouse. The street address is Meer en Duin 1-5. GPS information: postal code 2163 HA, Lisse, Netherlands.

This year the gardens will be open until May 21. Gates open at 8 a.m. and the last entry ticket is sold at 6 p.m. The garden closes at 7:30 p.m. Tickets for adults are 13.50 euros, and 6.50 euros for children ages 4-11. Parking is 6 euros.

You can get more information on Keukenhof by visiting; read about the history of the gardens, see a schedule of events, watch a video and buy tickets online.

Even if you don’t make it this weekend for the walk, try to get to Lisse sometime this year to see the gardens while it has the American theme. In addition to your cameras, make sure to take an umbrella. Some rain might be annoying, but it is what makes the flowers so spectacular.

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Not everyone is heading to Keukenhof this weekend. A busload of folks from the Heidelberg International Wandering Club is headed to a walk in Ballersdorf, France, with follow-on shopping in Soufflenheim and Haguenau. We hope you find some excellent pottery deals in Soufflenheim.

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Thanks to the following, for without the fliers they submit, you would not have as many choices for walks. This week’s contributors are William Castro and Maureen McHugh-Castro, John and Evelyn Golembe, Tim and Luchi Lynch, "Pat" and Cheryl Patterson, William Collins, Wayne Henry, Bob Gambert and Nancy Shawley.

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Miscellaneous short notes about this week’s events:

• A B-medal beer mug will be the prize at the volksmarch in Rodenbach, Germany. This is a really close walk for those in the Kaiserslautern and Ramstein area. The town of Rodenbach will be the spot for a series of evening walks May 6-9. More information on these walks will be given as the date gets closer.

• The volksmarch in Freiberg has been designated as a "Stammtisch" walk by the Stuttgart club. Look for its blue flag at the start hall.

• This weekend, the walk in Bellaire, Belgium, will be convenient for those in the Brunssum/Geilenkirchen area.

• On Wednesday, April 8, you have the chance to do a walk and/or bike event at Hohenöllen, Germany. This is a close walk for folks who live in or near the

Kaiserslautern Military Community. If you can get off work early enough, try for one or both events. You can start the five- and 10-kilometer walks until 6 p.m. The 20k walk cuts off at 3 p.m., and the 20k bike event at 5 p.m. Finish time for all events is 8 p.m. Showers are available in the Radsporthalle. All events are for IVV credit only.

• The ever-popular German-American Friendship Walking Day, hosted by the Wanderfreunde Alte Veste Zirndorf, always greets Americans with open arms. This year’s event will be held in the neighboring town of Langenzenn. This year the club is offering a tablecloth as the prize.

• You must preregister for the marathon walk in Vedelago, Italy, on April 26. See: for full information and online sign-ups. The longer you wait, the more it costs.

• The award for the walk in Aquilea, Italy, is a pound of focaccia or wine, but only for the first 500 who register. After the walk, there is a special meal for 6.50 euros. Plan to spend the afternoon visiting the Roman ruins and the basilica.

• The start for the Verona, Italy, walk is at the Piazzale della Chiesa S. Maria on via Tommaseo. This is northwest of the city center.

E-mail volksmarch information to Mail brochures to Bob and Lorraine Huffaker, CMR 460, Box 278, APO, AE, 09752.

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