Volksmarch column for the Thursday, March 11 edition
Saturday, Feb. 27, was a perfect day for walking in Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany. It was, however, just one day in a weekend filled with fun, friendship and walking.
The fun started on Friday afternoon when we arrived in Rothenburg. After checking in at our Gasthaus, we were off to do some shopping. First there was a quick stop at the Tourist Information Office, where we confirmed some activities for Saturday. Then we headed to one of our favorite establishments, Käthe Wohlfahrt’s Christmas store. We bought mostly Easter decorations, but some Christmas items found their way into the basket as well. Next was our favorite art store, Galerie zum Burgtor, where we bought a few items for framing. After dinner at Café Roma, we headed back to the Gasthaus to get ready for a busy Saturday.
Saturday morning we had a quick breakfast with some of the other members of the Tri-Border Walking Club. Shortly after 8 a.m. we were at the start hall. We immediately noticed the blue flag from the Stuttgart German American Wandering Club set up at an empty table — everyone must have already been out on the trail. We bought our start cards and lunch tickets as the first members of the Heidelberg International Wandering Club started to arrive. Soon their flag was flying and the festivities started. After a birthday celebration for club members Rob Floyd and Teri Arranz, we headed out on the trails.
There was a bit of confusion on the morning trails. Having stopped for some pictures, we found ourselves walking alone and made some wrong turns. We noticed that we were walking against the flow of other walkers and had to back-track to get on the right route. When we returned to the start hall, we told one of the staff members of our problems, and she said they had heard of some trail markers being taken down and had sent people to make sure the trail was properly marked. Since a lot of the morning trail was inside the city, we feel we got to see more of Rothenburg than originally planned.
By the time we got back to the start hall, the maroon flag of the Ramstein Roadrunners was flying, so we visited with Brad and Lynne Crandall and "Pat" and Cheryl Patterson.
As if the birthday party and the walk weren’t big enough events, another highlight of the morning was finally getting to meet a couple who have frequently sent fliers and notes about walks in their area, Ramona and Horst Kechelen. Bob also quickly met another contributor, John Laub, as he was heading out on the trail. It is good to finally put faces with familiar names.
After a lunch of bratwurst and Pommes we went back to the Gasthaus to drop off our candles and a B-medal beer mug. With Lorraine recovering from a knee injury, we decided to pass on the afternoon walk, so we went to an English tour of St. Jacob’s Church. Another new walking friend, Bill Stentz, was part of the fairly good size group on the tour. The Holy Blood Altar, carved in wood by Tillman Riemenschneider in about 1500, was absolutely beautiful.
Next was dinner with the Tri-Border Walking Club, after which several of us went to the central market square for an evening tour of the city by the medieval night watchman. This was another English-language excursion that gave us insight to the city’s history and German life in the Middle Ages. This funny and informative tour was a great way to top off a busy day.
Breakfast Sunday morning preceded a trip to the town’s flea market, where Bob was on the lookout for any unique German or Rothenburg mementos. By 10 a.m. we were heading home and fighting very high winds on the highways. Nothing was ordinary or boring about this weekend in Rothenburg. Volksmarching with friends, good food, touring a historic walled city, learning more about German history and culture, and of course, good shopping made this a very special weekend. We can’t wait until next year!
• • •
Wednesday’s walk in Gulpen, Netherlands, is the first of their Midweekwandeltochten for this year. Now through November they will host one Wednesday walk each month. The routes will be 5, 10 and 15 kilometers and the start times are between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. for the 5-kilometer trail, between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. for the 10-km route, and 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. for the 15-km walk. The dates are March 17, April 14, May 12, June 16, July 21, Aug. 11, Sept. 15, Oct. 13 and Nov. 17.
• • •
Notes about this week’s volksmarch events:
• Good luck to the Heidelberg International Wandering Club as they head off to Munich for a weekend of walking and fun.
• A popular event each year in the Kaiserslautern, Germany, area is the one in Queidersbach. You can start the 5- and 10- kilometer trails both Saturday and Sunday between 7 a.m. and 2 p.m. If you want to go 20 kilometers, start before 1 p.m. Only B medals are available, but perhaps you can get a Weizenbierglass from a couple years ago.
• Sunday’s Volksmarch in Fellbach-Schmiden, Germany, is a Stammtisch walk for the Stuttgart German American Wandering Club. Start this walk between 7 a.m. and 1 p.m. The prize is a cloth shopping bag.
• If you walk in Kerpen, Germany, this weekend, you can earn an honest-to-goodness, old-fashioned Volksmarch medal! These medals were popular when we started Volksmarching in the late seventies. Since then, the trend has been toward more practical prizes rather than purely decorative awards. It is rare that clubs offer these.
• The flier for the Magre di Schio, Italy, walk states the 23-km route is "demanding," so expect some stout grades.
• The courses at the walk in Monselice, Italy, will not take you past the castle, but it would be worth a visit after the walk.
E-mail volksmarch information to firstname.lastname@example.org. Mail brochures to Bob and Lorraine Huffaker, CMR 460, Box 278, APO, AE, 09752.