Volksmarch column for the October 29, 2009 edition
Since we did the "fall back" thing last week, it means daylight will be growing even shorter. It also means it’s time to review the tips on one of our favorite types of volksmarch: the Fackelmarsch or Fackelwanderung, or torch walk.
Not offered as frequently as in past years, these are unique walks that each volksmarcher should do at least once. Take the opportunity this winter to try a different type of volksmarching. Get out there and attend a Fackelmarsch, and we bet you’ll add it to your list of favorite European volksmarching experiences. Our tips for enjoying the walks:
• Dress warmly and in layers. Once the sun goes down, so will the temperature. You may feel cold at the beginning; however, once you begin walking you will warm up and want to shed a layer of clothing.
• If you plan to buy and burn torches, take along a few paper plates with you. Cut a hole in the center of the plate and slide it over the torch handle — it will protect your hands and gloves from the dripping wax.
• Carry a flashlight if you have young children and prefer not to use the torch. It’s not uncommon to see walkers with flashlights. Take along spare batteries.
• Be aware of not only how close you are to others’ torches, but also to your own. If the wind should pick up and whip the flame around a bit, it’s possible to get too close and get burned.
• Leave Fido at home. Trails that are dark and crowded with people carrying lit torches are no place for your dog; it will be a safety hazard to not only his fellow walkers but also to himself.
• If the torch you purchased is made with a hollow core center, stuff the handle portion — not the whole torch — with a paper tissue or similar material. This will prevent a chimney effect and slow the rate at which the torch burns. This provides a bit more safety for you and all around you.
Now that you are familiar with these tips, start making your plans to head to Volkach, Germany, for this weekend’s torch walk. The Fackelwanderung, which starts between 4 and 6 p.m. Saturday, is just a small part of a weekend’s worth of walking in Volkach.
The daytime walks start Saturday between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. for the six- and 11-kilometer trails and up to 1 p.m. for the 20k route. On Sunday the start time is 7 a.m., and you can start the shorter two trails until 1 p.m. and the long route until 11 a.m.
The prize for these events is a wine mug with a colorful picture on the side. This isn’t a delicate, stemmed wine glass, but rather a hearty mug with a handle. It looks like it could double as a good coffee cup.
Volkach/Main is east of Würzburg and south of Schweinfurt. The start hall is at the Mainschleifen-Halle on Obervolkacher Straße.
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The annual Bastogne Historical Walk is still several weeks away, but it’s time to start thinking about attending. This year the walk is Dec. 12, but there will be various activities starting Friday night and running through Sunday. Even though this is not an IVV-sanctioned walk, it is such an exciting weekend of walking and activities honoring those who fought there that we’ve always given it good coverage. We will pass along more information as we get it, but the early word is that it will be a memorable weekend.
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The deadline for signing up for the Heidelberg International Wandering Club’s weekend bus trip to the Cologne, Germany, Christmas markets and volksmarches in that area is rapidly approaching. For more information contact Jochen at Jmunz.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Another good Christmas trip is being sponsored by the Kaiserslautern Sunny Coyotes. They are taking a bus to Metz, France, on Dec. 5. This is an afternoon/evening walk, so you’ll see the city illuminated with Christmas lights and visit the Christmas markets. For more information, or to sign up, e-mail the club at email@example.com.
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This week, we tip the old fedora to the following who contributed fliers: William Castro and Maureen McHugh-Castro, John and Evelyn Golembe; Ramona and Horst Kechelen; John, Mary and Tess Laub; "Pat" and Cheryl Patterson; and Bob Gambert and Wayne Henry.
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Miscellaneous short notes about this week’s events:
• The walk in Bietigheim has been designated as a "Stammtisch" walk for the Stuttgart club, so look for its blue flag and stop by and say "Hi." The prize for this walk is a B-medal. Last year organizers had wind chimes and they might have some this year.
• The prize at the Langenzenn, Germany, walk is a Christmas tablecloth that is about 34 inches square. Langenzenn also has a permanent walk which starts every day after 9 a.m. at the Gasthaus zur Krone.
• The flier for the Argenthal walk says there is a new 15-kilometer trail this year.
Our man with his finger on the pulse of the Italian volksmarch scene, Clark Soeldner, offers this information for this weekend:
• The walk in Baone is one of my personal favorites. It is on the south side of the Colle Euganei Park. Expect mountain terrain, beautiful panoramas, plenty of checkpoints and rest stops and very friendly people. With all the hills, organizers prorate the distance credit.
E-mail volksmarch information to firstname.lastname@example.org. Mail brochures to Bob and Lorraine Huffaker, CMR 460, Box 278, APO, AE, 09752