Volksmarch column for the November 5, 2009 edition
Stars and Stripes November 5, 2009
Gene from the Ramstein Roadrunners sent us a report about the club’s bus trip to the volksmarch in Dachsenhausen and follow-on trip to the wine festival at Boppard, Germany. Being unfamiliar with the area, they accidently took the "scenic route" to Dachsenhausen, which took a lot longer than anticipated. Fortunately, they had the flier for the walk and called the start hall and told them of the delay. The club allowed them to walk even though they missed the published cut-off time. Being a group of almost 50 people undoubtedly helped.
Gene went on to say, "We didn’t have time for the 20-kilometer route, but reports from the five- and 10-kilometer walks were that they were comfortable, well-marked, and overall a pleasure. Dachsenhausen is on the ‘highlands’ above the Rhine (like the Hunsruck —but on the other side), so the terrain wasn’t a monster challenge.
"As always, the walk was just an excuse to visit the wine festival in Boppard. It wasn’t as crowded as in years past, but the crowd was genial, the food plentiful, and the wine, well.... The high point was the fireworks over the river. It was about a 20-minute show, and received positive reviews from our crew."
Lessons we can glean from Gene’s report:
• If you have the flier for the walk, take it with you.
• If you are delayed, call the start hall or the contact listed in the flier and say you’re on the way. You might be allowed to walk, even if you miss the start deadline.
• If you get lost or delayed, make the most of it by trying to enjoy the scenery you would have missed if you had stayed on the correct route.
• Don’t miss next year’s wine festival and fireworks display in Boppard.
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Did you clear your calendars for the Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot in Ramstein? Start making plans now to add a little German culture to your American holiday. There is nothing like a volksmarch and a bratwurst in the morning to get you ready for turkey and trimmings in the afternoon. You can start the five- or 10-kilometer trails between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m.
If you cannot break loose from other commitments to participate in the walk, at least try to drop off some baked goods at the start hall in the morning. Homemade goodies are always in big demand, but store-bought items will be greatly appreciated as well.
If you are volunteering to work on the day of the walk, you can still get IVV credit by attending the "volunteer pre-walk" on Nov. 22.
For more information about the Turkey Trot or the pre-walk, e-mail the Roadrunners at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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There was no IVV credit involved, but there was quite a bit of walking at the volunteer repair day at Fortress Eben-Emael in Belgium. With the bad weather that morning, we were given inside work to do. Four of us volunteers were asked to clean the inside of Block IV so that it could be added to their guided- tour route.
Armed with brooms, brushes, dust pans and trash bags, we walked at least a kilometer through the underground fortress to get to Block IV. Once there, we had to go up at least 100 steps to get to the eight rooms on two levels that we had to clean. After about 2½ hours of cleaning, it was time to make a couple of trips up and down the stairs to haul out the tools and full trash bags.
On the way out, we passed a bat hanging on the wall of the tunnel. Near the cafeteria, where we were given a free lunch for our labor, other workers were installing a Plexiglas wall around a life-sized replica of a German glider that was used to attack the fortress in May 1940.
Bob counted about 50 volunteers, and we salute those men and women who gave up a Saturday to help keep Fortress Eben-Emael’s history alive.
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Thanks to the following for mailing envelopes of volksmarching brochures, all in date order: William Castro and Maureen McHugh-Castro; John and Evelyn Golembe; John, Mary and Tess Laub; Tim and Luchi Lynch; John and Patty Marsh; "Pat" and Cheryl Patterson; Lew Harrison and Wayne Henry.
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Miscellaneous short notes about this week’s events:
• The prize for completing the walk in Weiden, Germany, is a tea mug with a lid.
• At Mandel, Germany, the prize is a cup and saucer with an angel design.
Our buddy Clark Soeldner has these notes about walks in Italy:
• The San Martino walk will have roasted chestnuts and vin brûlé at the final checkpoint.
• The 28k route at the Romano d’Ezzelino walk is beautiful, but dangerous. It is for mountain trail experts with proper trekking gear only. All the routes will go through an area that shows farm life from the past.
E-mail volksmarch information to email@example.com. Mail brochures to Bob and Lorraine Huffaker, CMR 460, Box 278, APO, AE, 09752.