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See this week’s European Volksmarch schedule.

May 1 makes this a long holiday weekend in Europe and there are plenty of volksmarches to choose from. The walks are starting earlier, too, so you early birds can get your volksmarches finished first thing in the morning.

In addition, Friday is Queen’s Day in the Netherlands, a national holiday and in many cities a big celebration. It is also the date of the Queen’s Walk in Rimburg/Landgraaf, a popular event that we have enjoyed on several occasions. It is very convenient for those in the Schinnen, Brunssum or Geilenkirchen areas.

Normally we would not miss this event, but we have other walking plans for the weekend. We will join about 20 of Lorraine’s colleagues for a road rally to Wissembourg, France. Of course, we are going to work in a couple of volksmarches: Friday we hope to walk the permanent trail in Bad Dürkheim, Germany, and Saturday, we plan to follow the German Wine Route to France. We hope to visit Trifels Castle in Germany, the German Wine Gate on the border with France, a Westwall war museum, a Maginot Line museum and a stop in Soufflenheim for pottery shopping. We’ll be out the door early Sunday for the walk in Schweighouse sur Moder in France’s beautiful Alsace region before heading home. We have lots planned and hope to squeeze all in over the weekend.

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Hohenfels has a lot of activities planned this weekend in association with the German-American Volksfest. The schedule, at http://newspaper.grafenwoehr.com, shows there will be live music, kids rides, bus tours and a fireworks display along with plenty of food and drink.

There is a volksmarch in Hohenfels this weekend, too. We did not get a flier, so we don’t have details on distances, prizes or the start location. There will most likely be signs guiding you to the start hall once you get close to the city. Start times for the walk are 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, and 7 a.m. until noon Sunday.

This sounds like a lot of fun and a great way to experience German culture. A volksmarch combined with a Volksfest — can it get any better?

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Next Sunday is Mother’s Day. If you haven’t got something planned, why not take her on a volksmarch? The Ramstein Roadrunners are hosting their big spring walk next Saturday and Sunday. The start is at the Realschule plus, Schernauerstrasse 31. They are offering new 11- and 20-kilometer trails this year, in addition to a six-kilometer route. The prizes are either a scarf with an edelweiss pendant, or a B-medal mug with a colorful scene of the Berlin Wall and Brandenburg Gate. Start time both days is 7 a.m., so begin working it into the schedule now.

Bamberg, Germany, is also sponsoring a volksmarch next weekend. It starts at 7 a.m. both days at the Graf Stauffenberg School on Kloster Langheimstrasse. The prize is a ceramic vase.

We will publish more details on these walks next week.

We recently attended a volksmarch in the nearby town of Sittard, Netherlands. It was a cool, clear morning and we were enjoying the walk through the countryside. On a small farm road, we came across a monument dedicated to an American pilot who crashed at that spot on Christmas Day 1944. Capt. Donald R. Emerson was a P-51 pilot and was returning from a mission during the Battle of the Bulge. He was only 21 years old when he was shot down.

As an enthusiast of World War II history, Bob is fascinated when we come across these monuments. We are both touched by the sincerity and the undying appreciation displayed by the Dutch people, who build these monuments so our young heroes will not be forgotten.

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Thanks to the following fine folks for sending brochures for this week’s column: Cath and Rob Floyd, Richard and Donna Glenn, John and Evelyn Golembe, Lew Harrison, Wayne Henry, Nora Hernandez, Ramona and Horst Kechelen, John, Mary and Tess Laub, Doug LeVien, Tim and Luchi Lynch, "Pat" and Cheryl Patterson and Nancy Shawley.

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Miscellaneous notes:

• Look for the Stuttgart German-American Wandering Club’s blue flag at Oberstenfeld, Germany. This event is another of the club’s Stammtisch walks. The prize is a zippered manicure kit.

• The walk in Reinsfeld, Germany, is close to the town of Mettlach, home to several factory outlet stores. We have found some good bargains there, especially at the Villeroy & Boch Christmas store.

Notes from our buddy Clark Soeldner about walks in Italy:

• The Saturday walk in Bibione is the year-round walk that goes by the lighthouse.

• The Monte di Malo walk is a great one, but expect some serious hills.

• Note that the Villaverla event is for bikes only.

• The prize of a food bag at the Buttrio walk is only for those who preregistered.

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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