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Click here for this week’s European Volksmarch schedule.

We were not happy when we read about groundhog Punxsutawney Phil seeing his shadow, which means six more weeks of winter. Surely, we thought, Phil might know about the northeastern United States, but his prediction could not possibly extend to central Europe … could it?

With England getting large amounts of snow and the flurries coming down steadily elsewhere, I guess Phil knows more than we gave him credit for. So keep the winter garb ready and your emergency snow kit in the car a little longer. As the saying goes, “There is no such thing as inclement weather, just poorly prepared walkers.” You may be wishing for warmer weather, but brace yourselves for more cold.

This Saturday is Valentine’s Day. Why not spend some quality time with your sweetheart on a volksmarch? The list of walks is still pretty short, but certainly you can find one somewhere.

This week’s walk in Ghlin, Belgium, seems interesting. The flier states that it features a historic attraction, namely, the Chapel of Notre-Dame du Moulineau. This 16th-century Gothic structure is rather small and plain looking, but it became noteworthy after 1615 when the residents of Ghlin were spared from a plague that spread across Europe. Since then, the town has held an annual procession to the church and a Mass honoring its deliverance. This year the procession is in mid-August.

Sunday’s walk starts at 8 a.m. with distances up to 30 kilometers. In addition to IVV credit, there is a prize of a badge. Other than stickers, it is rare to see a prize offered for a Belgian walk. The town of Ghlin is only a few kilometers off E19 at exit 24 on the northwest side of Mons.

Battice, Belgium, is hosting an interesting walk as well. This is a pretty part of Belgium, and the flier makes it sound as though the fortress is open this weekend. The massive underground fort has several kilometers of tunnels connecting gun turrets, observation posts and a large number of storage rooms, offices and living spaces.

During May 1940, Fort Battice put up a stubborn defense against German artillery and aircraft until it was overcome by superior numbers and technology. Just like its sister fortress at Eben-Emael, Fort Battice is being restored by volunteers and is a tribute to those who fought there. So, after the walk, make sure you stop by the fort and visit the museum.

Ramona Kechelen sent us some information on the Hallerndorf walk. Located south of Bamberg, the walk is, “doable from the Ansbach and Graf–Vilseck military communities,” she wrote. The start times for the six- and 12-kilometer trails are 7 a.m. to noon both Saturday and Sunday. The prize is a tea light holder.

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The Tri-Border Walking Club executive committee has been looking for a way to get more club members involved in club activities. In an effort to make volksmarching a little more family-friendly by getting some of the older children involved, the club has decided to look at the sport of geo-caching and see if it can incorporate some of these activities into a volksmarch.

The club is fortunate to have some members who are avid volksmarchers with a great deal of geo-caching experience. If you have any suggestions on melding these two activities, please drop us a message at two.walkers@yahoo.com.

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Are you making plans for the big Rothenburg walk in a couple of weeks? If you are in the Mannheim area, its Morale, Welfare and Recreation department is sponsoring a bus for the walk on March 1. For more information call DSN 381-7215 or 381-7232, or 0621-730-7215 or 0621-730-7232.

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High-fives to the following for sending in the fliers that make these columns possible: William Castro and Maureen McHugh-Castro, John and Evelyn Golembe, Ramona and Horst Kechelen, Tim and Luchi Lynch, “Pat” and Cheryl Patterson, Lew Harrison, Wayne Henry and Nancy Shawley.

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Notes about this week’s events:

• This Sunday’s walk in Schinveld, Netherlands, has a new start hall. It is at the Olympia sports field.

• Start the Ingolstadt, Germany, walk at the Handwerkskammer und Berufsbildungszentrum am Brückenkopf. Coffee cups from previous years are the B-medal souvenirs for the five-, 10- and 20-kilometer trails.

• After the Busseto, Italy, walk, your start card gets you a reduced entrance fee to the carnival.

• The flier for the walk in Magnano in Riviera, Italy, notes that the group is not responsible for damage due to improper parking. So beware, and perhaps get there early.

• The sign-ups at Mestrino, Italy, stop at 8:15 a.m. There is also a competitive run of 21k that starts at 9:30 a.m. Get there early because parking can be a problem for later arrivals. A 20-centiliter bottle of grappa offered as a prize costs 3 euros.

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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