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See this week’s European Volksmarch schedule.

We are looking at another short list of walks this weekend. The Saturday walks in Namur, Belgium and Luxembourg city, Luxembourg, are designed to show the cities lit up in their Christmas splendor.

Namur is a beautiful city along the Meuse River. The city lights reflecting in the water should be very pretty. We have walked through Namur in the daytime and thoroughly enjoyed it. We are sure the city will be beautiful with the Christmas lights. The walk starts between 2 and 7 p.m. and must be finished by 9 p.m. As a note of warning, watch your footing as Namur has some steep hills and the route could be slippery. Make sure you take a flashlight along.

The walk in Luxembourg city is another great Christmas experience. We did this walk several years ago and were amazed by this beautiful city. All three routes begin between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., and you must finish by 6 p.m. The event will take walkers along five-, 10- and 15-kilometer illuminated routes through this 1,000-year-old city and its Christmas market. Grab the backpack for the goodies you’ll buy in the market and the stores along the way, and bundle up for the march, dressing in layers. Look for the bus load of Ramstein Roadrunners who will be attending.

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After-action report: Ebernhahn volksmarch and Montabaur Christmas market, in Germany.

An early start, strong winds, heavy rain and falling temperatures had us wondering if we had made the correct decision to drive to Ebernhahn to walk with the Heidelberg International Wandering Club. But we drove on and, as luck would have it, the rain almost completely stopped by the time we arrived.

We met the Heidelberg group in the start hall — the reindeer-antler headbands made them easy to spot — and we were soon on the trail. Walking and talking with Rob and Cath Floyd, Bob and Helen Lewis and Dave Miller was a real treat. The control point had free spiced tea, which was pretty good on a cold morning.

The route was mostly flat as it wound through the countryside and small villages. The 20-kilometer trail went to the town of Montabaur and through its Christmas market and past the castle. After completing a short route we bade farewell to the Heidelberg walkers and drove to Montabaur. The HIWC group drove to Cologne to visit the Christmas market and then spend the night. On Sunday morning, they were to attend the volksmarch and Christmas market in Alt-Hürth before heading home.

The Montabaur Christmas market was very enjoyable. It is in the downtown pedestrian zone, where, on a Saturday afternoon, the regular shops were open in addition to the market stalls. White Glühwein was served in a glass mug with the city outline on it. We walked up the hill to see the castle, but it did not look like it was open to the public, so we went back to the Christmas market. After a plate of potato pancakes with applesauce it was time to head home. We really enjoyed this little trip. Walking with old friends and seeing a new town and Christmas market made it a special day.

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About this time last year, we told you about the opening of the Aviano Roadrunners’ new permanent volksmarch. On Saturday, Clark Soeldner and the Roadrunners are getting together to walk the routes one last time in 2009. The start is outside the bar next to the silver-domed church, also called the “chrome dome,” between 8:30 and 9 a.m. The five-, seven-, 12- and 15-kilometer trails are on dirt paths and gravel roads in the foothills of the mountains. Clark says the trails are not too strenuous.

By the time you’re finished walking, the bar should be open for coffee or perhaps a grilled sandwich. A look inside the church is worthwhile, as long as there is not a service in progress. The church has an inexpensive guidebook in English that explains the history of the church.

If you would like more information about this walk or the Aviano Roadrunners’ club, contact Clark via e-mail at: clarkso@tin.it.

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Thanks to the following for sending us fliers: Tim and Luchi Lynch, John and Patty Marsh, “Pat” and Cheryl Patterson and Lew Harrison, Dave Miller and Nancy Shawley. You guys are the best!

Even though there are only a handful of walks this weekend, there are still a few opportunities to enjoy a European Christmas experience. We wish you a happy holiday season … have fun and drive safely.

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Italy Volksmarching notes:

• The walk under the listing “Roncaglia” is in Roncaglia di Ponte San Nicolo. This walk has a choice of prizes: 300 people will be able to get 5 liters of olive oil, while other walkers will receive five packages of pasta. The cost of the walk is 17 euros if you want the olive oil; 3.50 euros if you get the pasta.

• If you want either pastachutta or fagioli at the end of the Portogruaro walk, be sure to say so when you sign up. The 12-kilometer route will go past the Julia Concordia archaeological site.

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


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