Volksmarch column for the May 13 edition
Today is Ascension Thursday, a holiday in many parts of Europe. That means this is the start of a four-day weekend of walking events. Look for one near you.
May and June are asparagus season, and it has become one of our favorite times of the year. Before coming to Europe, neither of us cared for asparagus, but having tried several different recipes, we now love it, especially the white variety. While you are out volksmarching, be on the lookout for restaurants or cafes advertising Spargel dishes. Whether in a soup or as a side dish, make sure you try this delightful European culture; we think you’ll enjoy it.
We had plenty of asparagus on our recent trip down the German Wine Road. Our first stop was at Bad Dürkheim, where we walked the six-kilometer permanent trail through the vineyards on the edge of town. Some of the trail markers were in places where bushes might hide them as the bushes continue to grow this spring and summer. The trail took us past the ruins of an old Roman wine production villa that is being restored. This walk was mostly on paved roads through the vineyards. There is little shade, so take plenty of water and wear sunscreen on sunny days. The trail is not very flat through the vineyard. We were on some kind of incline for most of the walk. It was mostly stroller-friendly, except for the last few hundred meters, which took us down steps on a steep hill.
The next morning we drove down the German Wine Road and crossed into France, where we headed to the pottery-making town of Soufflenheim. We found the store where our favorite pottery is made, Poterie Graessel, in a cute little pink building in the center of town. The owner and master potter, Jacky, took us on a tour of the workshop where all the pottery is handmade. We were surprised that the store’s intricately detailed and beautifully colored pottery could be made in such a small workplace.
After our pottery shopping, we stopped at a Maginot Line museum and then went back into Germany to find gas and lunch. We stopped in Bad Bergzabern and found both — including more white asparagus. We also picked up a flier advertising a West Wall museum and four walks in the area that go along the West Wall, or Siegfried Line. These are not IVV walks, but the World War II history-loving part of Bob makes him want to come back and explore the area on foot.
Next, we headed to the Deutsches Weintor — German Wine Gate — where there are a couple of hundred types of wine to sample before buying. Then it was off to Wissembourg, France, to get ready for the evening dinner with Lorraine’s colleagues.
The town was busy with people attending an accordion music festival and other events. After a brief walk through town, we returned to the hotel for the evening dinner party. The gourmet meal, which included a Spargel salad, was excellent, as was the fellowship with friends and co-workers.
We can’t forget to mention the 24th Annual Aspergeswandeltocht in St. Odiliënberg, Netherlands, on Sunday. The W.V. Roerdal ’87club always puts on a well-organized walk, and St. Odiliënberg has become one of our favorite places to walk. Doors open at 7 a.m. and the routes range from six to 42 kilometers. Look for us there this Sunday!
Miscellaneous notes about this week’s events:
• Thursday’s walk in Niederweisl, Germany, south of Bitburg, is convenient for walkers in the Eifel region.
• This weekend’s volksmarch in Pressath, Germany, is conveniently located for people in the Grafenwöhr and Vilseck communities.
• The start for the Cremona, Italy walk is at the Palestra del Quartiere Cambonino along SS-415 toward Milan.
• Sign up in advance to get the food pack at the Verona walk.
E-mail volksmarch information to firstname.lastname@example.org. Mail brochures to Bob and Lorraine Huffaker, CMR 460, Box 278, APO, AE, 09752.