Volksmarch column for the September 17, 2009 edition
CORRECTION: The schedule that originally ran online with last week's volksmarch column was for the wrong date. It has since been updated. We regret the error.
The weekend we’ve been waiting for is here. It’s time for the big volksmarch in Heidelberg, Germany. We’ve talked it up the past few weeks, so here is a quick reminder:
The start and finish will be at the International Gesamtschule behind Nachrichten Kaserne (site of the U.S. Army hospital). The five-kilometer route will stay below the hills and will be flat and stroller-friendly. The 11- and 22-kilometer trails will meander through the forests and fields in the hills above Heidelberg, passing by the Ehrenfriedhof Memorial, which honors those who died in battle in the Heidelberg area during both world wars and offers a marvelous panorama of the city of Heidelberg. Additionally, the 22k trail will go past Heidelberg castle. Your camera is a must for this walk.
Start times are between 7 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday and 7 a.m. and 1 p.m. Sunday. The prize is a beautiful beer mug with a multicolored picture of the old Heidelberg castle and city. If you get there early enough, you might be able to get some of their past mugs as well. Rob Floyd tells us there will be about 500 mugs from the 2007 walk available at 2 euros apiece. This is one walk where we have seen people carrying away boxes of mugs because they are so nice. Whether on your desk at work or on the mantel at home, these mugs are conversation pieces.
In addition, organizers will award Commander Cup trophies to the military activities with the most participants. So make sure you bring your unit and your guidon.
If you volunteered to work, thanks. If you can’t stay and work, you can help by donating some baked goods for the club to sell. For any last-minute questions, contact Rob Floyd at 06227-841226 or 0172-623-9338.
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Another of our favorite walks takes place in Luxembourg this weekend. Saturday you can walk in Wiltz, where past routes have wound around the hills overlooking the city and the castle. Wiltz was the former headquarters of the 28th Infantry Division and the site of desperate fighting during the Battle of the Bulge.
Having mentioned the Battle of the Bulge, let us add that next weekend, Sept. 26-27, there will be a big militaria show in Bastogne. The purpose of the show is to raise money for the memorial to the 326th Airborne Medical Company, which is to be dedicated Dec. 13 as part of this year’s Bastogne Historical Walk weekend activities. In December 1944, a clearing station that had been set up by the 326th Medical Company was overrun during the fighting. Most of the medical
personnel were taken prisoner and the wounded patients were murdered. The plans for this monument have been years in the making and it’s good to hear the dedication is almost here. We will be looking for a walk in the area next weekend so we can support their efforts.
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The Ford automotive plant in Saarlouis, Germany, hosts its 36th volksmarch this weekend. The six-, 11-, 20- and 30-kilo- meter trails start Saturday and Sunday, 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. In keeping with its traditional model-car souvenirs, this year’s prize is a Ford Fiesta in 1:43 scale. To reach the event, take the Saarlouis Steinrausch exit off Autobahn 8 if coming from the Luxembourg or Saarbrücken direction. If driving from Kaiserslautern or Karlsruhe, take the Nalbach exit. It begins at the Ford Werk, Kantine Halle B.
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Notes about this week’s events:
• If you go to the walk in Olching, Germany, make sure you head into Munich for Oktoberfest. One can work up quite a thirst on a volksmarch and what better place to get your favorite Bavarian beverage … beer! For more Oktoberfest information, see www.oktoberfest.de.
• Kützberg, Germany, hosts its fifth annual torch walk on Saturday. Start the 5k route between 7 and 8 p.m. A toy Volkswagen is the prize. Let’s hope this is the first of many torch walks this fall. Organizers will be offering regular walks on Saturday starting between 2 and 7 p.m. and Sunday between 7 a.m. and noon. Kützberg is west of Schweinfurt.
• Wednesday’s walk in Konz-Krettnach, Germany, is only about 20 miles from Mettlach, home of several outlet stores, including Villeroy & Boch. If you’re in the area, it would be a shame not to take advantage of the shopping and walking.
• Just north of Amberg, Germany, is the suburb of Ammersricht, site of five-, 10- and 20-kilometer trails this Saturday and Sunday. All three courses have fairly small daily start windows: Saturday’s is 8 a.m. to noon (4 p.m. finish) and Sunday’s is 6:30 to 11 a.m. (3 p.m. finish). A reflective emergency vest is the prize. This walk is close by for folks in the Grafenwöhr military community.
• If your Saturday walking plans take you near St. Goar or St. Goarshausen, make sure you stick around for the Rhine in Flames fireworks display.
Clark Soeldner tidbits on Italy:
• The Malo walk is a new event. The flier says the 5k trail is flat and the 10k route is in the hills.
• Hopefully, the Portogruaro walk will pass through the old town and past the old mill. They are well worth seeing.
E-mail volksmarch information to email@example.com. Mail brochures to Bob and Lorraine Huffaker, CMR 460, Box 278, APO, AE, 09752.