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Click here for this week’s European Volksmarch schedule.

If only the sun had come out … We found ourselves saying that fairly often, but we did not let the cool, overcast weather spoil our walk at Keukenhof gardens in the Netherlands.

Our bus rolled in a little after 10 a.m., and after getting the group registered, we prepared to hit the trail. The route was marked in an unusual manner. We were given written instructions that guided us and told us about the color-coded markers on the trail. Luckily there were so many walkers, it was easy to play follow-the-leader to get to the gardens.

Once inside Keukenhof, it was everyone for himself — just get back to the bus on time for departure.

We wanted to go to the birds-of-prey demonstration at noon and were able to visit a couple of pavilion displays and grab a bite to eat on the way. It was a crowded demonstration but we had a decent viewing area. We were surprised at the size of the eagle owl and the harrier hawk. We also wondered whether the peregrine falcon was ever coming back. It did.

Then we took a boat ride through the tulip fields in Lisse; an attraction added this year. On a hot, sunny day, the breeze across the open fields would feel nice. However, on the cool, overcast day we had, the wind cut right through us.

We visited a couple more attractions before heading back to the start hall and the bus. We stopped by the table holding the flag of the Ramstein Roadrunners to say "Hi," but all the people there were speaking Dutch, so the Roadrunners must have still been at the gardens.

Before we left, we made sure we picked up some freshly cut tulips. Thirty tulips for 5 euros is quite a deal. It’s important to buy them with buds tightly closed so they open at home.

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Notes from the mailbag: Ramstein Roadrunner president "Pat" Patterson is off walking again. He has already been to the United States this year and has completed walks in Charleston, S.C., Savannah, Ga., and St. Augustine, Fla., to mention a few. His next trip will be to Israel and then to the Pacific Northwest to attend walks in Seattle, as well as Vancouver, Wash., and Victoria, British Columbia.

Our Dutch friend Jacques Liska is in Japan participating in what is known as "The Big Walk." For two months, Jacques and two Dutch friends will team up with three Japanese walking partners to walk from Hirado to Tokyo. For information on this walk and to check their progress, visit www5e.biglobe.ne.jp/~masaji/bigwalk2009/index_e.html. The walk ends in conjunction with the beginning of the 11th IVV Olympiad. All told, Jacques will be on the road for three months and walk about 1,100 kilometers.

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This weekend’s history-related walk is in Stavelot, Belguim, a scene of heavy fighting during the Battle of the Bulge. After the walk, visit the museum in Poteau. Only about 12 miles southeast of Stavelot, Poteau was also the scene of heavy fighting as this tiny but important crossroads changed hands several times. We highly recommend the museum. It has recently expanded and has several World War II vehicles — most in working condition. If there are enough people interested, the owner will fire up one of the authentic half-tracks and give a battlefield tour. There is an extra fee for the ride, but I (Bob) thought it was well worth it. The museum has an excellent multi-language Web site at www.museum-poteau44.be, where you can find hours and dates, directions and lots of pictures.

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For one of the prettiest walks we have ever done, go to Consdorf, Luxembourg, this Sunday and find out why the area is called "Little Switzerland." It is not only the hills, but also the caves and rock formations that make this an unusual walk.

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Don’t forget the Kiddies Volksmarch hosted by the Heidelberg International Wandering Club on Saturday, April 25, at Patrick Henry Village. The walk is for children 12 and younger and an accompanying parent. You can start between 9 a.m. and noon in front of the library. There is no IVV credit, but the kids will get a prize and a certificate. To participate or volunteer to help, contact Rob Floyd via e-mail at hiwc@yahoo.com.

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Notes about this week’s events:

• The start for the Berlin walk is at Onkel Tom Strasse 52a in the Zehlendorf district, southwest of the city center.

• The prize for walking at Cleebronn, Germany, is a toy BMW.

• The folks in Porcia, Italy, always put on a good walk, and appreciate the Americans who participate.

E-mail volksmarch information to two.walkers@yahoo.com. Mail brochures to Bob and Lorraine Huffaker, CMR 460, Box 278, APO, AE, 09752.

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