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Next Thursday is the Fourth of July, and we would like to wish you a happy one! It’s fun to cook out on the grill for the holiday, but it’s even better when someone else does the cooking. Head to a volksmarch and let a club do the cooking and cleaning up afterwards!

The official countdown has begun for the 38th annual Stuttgart volksmarch. Only four weeks remain to get ready for this big event. You do have it marked on your calendar, don’t you? If not, mark it down for July 27 and 28.

Of course, for any walk to be successful, a lot of volunteer help is needed. If you plan to attend the walk, why not help out and volunteer a few hours? No experience is needed and all help welcomed. For more information about volunteering, contact Melissa at volunteers@sgawc.org.

Bob attended this walk two years ago and had a great time. The route was hilly, but not too bad. As nice as the walk was, the best time was spent at the start with the great members of the SGAWC. Good food, good friends and good volksmarching stories make a wonderful combination.

If you can get off work next Wednesday, July 3, the walk in Bad Dürkheim should be fun. Be sure to try a little bit of the local wine. The start and finish is at the Weingut Kurt Lang.

Not too far from the Kaiserslautern Military Community is the event in Schwollen, near Baumholder. The walk offers routes from six to 50 kilometers, which start at 6 a.m. both Saturday and Sunday. It also has a unique prize in a gemstone elephant. The flier shows a different design from the elephant we picked up at a walk in the area a few years ago. You can also choose other B-medal animals if you are not interested in an elephant. Perhaps one of last year’s swans is more to your liking.

The walk in Wiesbaden Sunday will be in the Klarenthal district on the west side of town. Start the six- and 10-kilometer routes between 7 a.m. and 2 p.m., and the 20-kilometer route between 7 a.m. and noon. Finish time for all routes is 5 p.m. The start is at the Sophie-und-Hans-Scholl-Schule on Geschwister-Scholl-Strasse 10. This event is for IVV credit only.

For a history-related walk this Sunday, head to Wardin, Belgium. Located a few kilometers east of Bastogne, Wardin was along the main axis of advance as the attack on Bastogne unfolded in 1944. After you walk either a five-, 10- or 20-kilometer route through the countryside, visit one of the several museums in the Bastogne area.

Recently, a Stars and Stripes editor told us about an article from the Colorado Springs newspaper, The Gazette, that talks about volksmarching catching on in the States. You can read this article at http://gazette.com/german-sport-of-volksmarching-is-catching-on-in-the-u.s./article/1501270.

We found it to be an interesting view of volksmarching from an American perspective. We started volksmarching in the U.S. and did a couple of hundred walks before we had the opportunity to come to Europe and walk in the birthplace of the sport. Volksmarching is one of the reasons we are not in a big hurry to return to the U.S. From a walker’s viewpoint, we know we will never have it as good as we have it now. Our plan is to continue to make the most of the walking opportunities as long as we can.

Someday we will return to the U.S. and be as involved as we can in a local volksmarch club. Until then, look for us on the trails here in Europe, as we see these countries on foot — volksmarch style.

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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