Volksmarch column for the March 12 edition
The days are slowly getting longer and so is the weekly list of volksmarches. We hope you are enjoying the milder weather, even though it seems to have meant more rain.
It looked like it was going to be another one of those wet, gray days as we met some fellow members of the Tri-Border Walking Club for our car-pool trip to Trois Ponts, Belgium. The weather got even worse as we drove south below Liège and into the Ardennes. The fog was so thick it reduced visibility to about 30 meters. We saw this as an omen for a gloomy walk, but by the time we got to Trois Ponts the fog was gone and the sun was peeking through the clouds.
This was Lorraine’s first volksmarch after her foot surgery and she was going to take it slowly and easily. The shortest distance being offered was four kilometers, so she teamed up with a couple of co-workers and took this trail. It turned out to be along a pretty lake, and fairly flat as well. On the other hand, I (Bob) teamed up with a couple of other club members and headed up into the hills above Trois Ponts.
After about five kilometers, the trail started to look familiar, and soon we were entering the small town of St. Jacques. In the church yard we saw a monument to the 82nd Airborne Division and remembered why the area was familiar: It was part of the 82nd Airborne Division’s historical walk a few years ago. By now the skies had cleared even more and we had some nice views of the countryside. Soon we were heading downhill, through the forest and back to Trois Ponts.
About a dozen miles from Trois Ponts is the Baugnez 44 Historical Center, which includes the Five Points Café. None of the other members of our club had been to either place, so we knew they were in for a treat. Lorraine had her favorite salad with goat cheese crepes with honey, while I tried the spicy sausage sandwich that is served in a half baguette. As usual, both meals were excellent. Since I was driving, I passed on my favorite Belgian cherry-flavored Kriek beer; next time, someone else can drive!
After lunch, most of us went through the museum. Having been there several times before, I was pleased to see that the displays had been updated. The hand-held audio guides gave a nice description of the displays. The museum also has a new video that explains the events leading up to the Malmedy Massacre.
The last stop is the gift shop, where there was a good selection of books in English as well as World War II helmets, bayonets and other artifacts. Since it is very difficult to tell the difference between authentic relics and reproductions, it is a good idea to do some research on any item you are interested in before spending your money. This is true not only at a historical center or museum, but also at military-type flea markets — one of the largest is coming up on April 26, in Ciney, Belgium.
All in all, it was a very nice outing for the Tri-Border Walking Club.
Everyone seemed to have a good time, and I know we will go back again.
This weekend we are carpooling with the club to the Kerpen volksmarch. We might try to find the chocolate museum in Cologne after this walk. If we find it we will share the details with you. We are still waiting for some Rothenburg reports, so if you went, drop us an e-mail and tell us what we missed.
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Wednesday’s walk in Gulpen, Netherlands, is the first of the Midweekwandeltochten for this year. Now through November the club will host one Wednesday walk each month. The routes will be five, 10, and 15 kilometers and the start times are between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. for the 5k trail, and between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. for the 10k and 15k trails. The dates are March 18, April 15, May 13, June 17, July 22, Aug. 12, Sept. 16, Oct. 14 and Nov. 18.
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Notes about this week’s events:
• More than 600 years old, the town of Freudenberg-Alchen hosts its 21st International Walking Days this weekend. If you fancy half-timbered houses, visit the historical part of Freudenberg for a treat.
• Sunday’s Trier-Ehrang event is always a nice walk. Sponsors are offering B-medals this year, but maybe you can get an authentic Roman coin left over from a previous walk.
• A nice beer glass is the prize at the volksmarch in Schrozberg. This event is a Stammtisch walk for the Stuttgart German American Wandering Club, so look for their blue banner.
• The prize at Grolsheim is a B-medal, but maybe you can get one of last year’s first aid-kits.
• The start location for the walk in San Foca di San Quirino, Italy, is presso Azienda Vinicola Quinta della Luna.
• At the walk in Cortenuova di Monticello, Italy, you will receive 42k credit for the 40k route, so there must be plenty of hills.
E-mail volksmarch information to email@example.com. Mail brochures to Bob and Lorraine Huffaker, CMR 460, Box 278, APO, AE, 09752.