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Stripes European Travel, Thursday, July 2, 2009

See this week’s European Volksmarch schedule.

Delft after-action report: Our trip to Delft was another very enjoyable weekend. Going by train meant we walked everywhere; parking spaces for cars are scarce and expensive in the Dutch town, not to mention scary if they are right on one of the canals.

The antique flea market Saturday was one of our main objectives and we saw some very nice items. We also found the shop of a vendor who goes to most of the U.S. military bazaars each spring and fall. Ank de Ritter of Holland Handicrafts showed us around her beautiful store. The family woodcarving business dates to 1520, and the skill and beauty of their work is amazing. From wine racks, spoon racks, butter molds, cookie boards and smokers to antiques of all kinds, you will love this store. Its Web site is www.hollandhandicrafts.com.

Also high on our priority list was a repeat visit to the Vermeer Center. We were pleasantly surprised to find that another floor has opened in which organizers explain the symbolism found in the works of artist Johannes Vermeer. We have always found his work pleasing to look at; now we understand its meaning.

After a gorgeous day on Saturday, Sunday’s walk was in the rain. It wasn’t pouring, but the drizzle was steady enough to get us all pretty wet. The route was challenging because directional markings were done in chalk on the sidewalks. With the rain, most of the marks were washed away, so we had to rely on the written instructions — in Dutch — to find our way around.

In the end, we had an enjoyable trip around the city and made it back to the train station a bit ahead of schedule for our trip home. Of course, the rain had stopped by then. We realize that there is still much to see and explore in Delft, so we’ll be heading back again someday.

Malmedy after-action report: Father’s Day was exciting as we were able to combine several activities. First was the military flea market in La Gleize, Belgium. A little bit of rain did not slow us down and Bob found a couple of small collectibles.

Next was the walk in nearby Malmedy. We did a short walk because the clouds were very dark and were able to finish just before a cloudburst pounded the area. Then we were off to have a late lunch at the Five Points Café in the Baugnez 44 Historical Center. The flea market, volksmarch and lunch made for a Father’s Day that will not be soon forgotten.

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If your summer travel plans include a trip to the U.S., check out the American Volkssport Association Web site, www.ava.org. You can find club walks as well as more than 1,800 permanent volksmarches.

If you are really serious about volksmarching in the U.S., get a copy of Starting Point 2009. This book of more than 600 pages lists all the IVV-sanctioned permanent walking trails in the U.S. This book can be ordered through the AVA Web site and costs $17 plus shipping. Why not get a copy and start planning your walks now?

No matter where you walk, be sure to maintain proper hydration and protect yourselves from the sun. Whether you use a hat or sun block, don’t fall victim to the hot sun.

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"Mahalo nui loa" to the contributors of this week’s column: William Castro and Maureen McHugh-Castro; John and Evelyn Golembe; Ramona and Horst Kechelen; Tim and Luchi Lynch; John and Patty Marsh; "Pat" and Cheryl Patterson; and Bob Gambert and Nancy Shawley.

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Miscellaneous short notes about this week’s events:

• Trois Ponts, Malmedy and Rodt are three walks in Belgium that are pretty close to one another. They could easily be done on Saturday.

• The walk in Sohren is in the beautiful Hunsrück region and is convenient for those in the Eifel and Baumholder areas.

• The prize at Wipperfeld is a polar bear doll.

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Clark Soeldner’s Italian walking notes:

• In the past, the prize at the Cimolais walk has been a T-shirt.

• The prize at the Lusia walk is 6 pounds of fresh mixed vegetables, but only for the first 500 participants.

• The Chatillon walk is good mountain hike. You will receive 40 kilometers credit for the 30-kilometer trail because of the ups and downs.

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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