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See this week’s European Volksmarch schedule.

With Christmas approaching, we have noticed that the number of scheduled volksmarches has dropped dramatically. But the ones we do have this weekend are pretty nice.

On Saturday and Sunday, the event in Eberhahn, Germany, has a walk that offers three routes. The longest, 20 kilometers, will go through the Christmas market in the town of Montabaur. You could also walk a shorter distance, get your pretty Christmas decoration prize, then drive to Montabaur to visit the Christmas market.

On Sunday, the walk at Alt-Hürth starts next to the Christmas market at the Pfarrheim on Lindenstraße. With both a Christmas market and a volksmarch being close to each other, parking might be a challenge, so try to get there as early as possible.

The Heidelberg International Wandering Club will be taking a bus trip to both of these walks with an overnight stay in Cologne and a visit to that city’s fabulous Christmas market. We wish them good luck and good weather for this trip.

Good luck as well to the Kaiserslautern Sunny Coyotes as they head to Metz, France, on Saturday for the evening walk. Enjoy the city lit up in Christmas lights and have fun at the Christmas market.

We have done this walk twice and have thoroughly enjoyed both. This is a hugely popular event with about 10,000 walkers, including an anticipated 60 to 70 busloads of walkers. The 10-kilometer route winds participants through many of the city’s historical sites.

The walk begins at the Complexe Sportif Saint Symphorien near the Palais des Sports. You can start between 3 and 8:30 p.m. Arrive early because parking will be extremely limited. Even though this event may seem a little daunting, not to mention crowded, venture out and join your fellow marchers in Metz. This is one event you don’t want to miss.

Speaking of the Coyotes, they will be heading for the historic Bastogne walk on Dec. 12. This walk commemorates the 65th anniversary of the Battle of the Bulge. Distances include eight, 12, 16 and 23 kilometers. While not an official IVV-sponsored walk, it is one event not to be missed. Sign up directly with Helen Wallace from the Coyotes via e-mail at helina@arcor.de.

While the Sunny Coyotes are going to Bastogne for the day, we will be there for the whole weekend. Friday night we’ll attend the special showing of the movie "Bedford: The Town They Left Behind." Saturday morning we’ll be at the start bright and early for the walk. We want to participate in the ceremonies along the route, so we plan to leave promptly at 8 a.m. After the walk we’ll be visiting the stores in Bastogne and watching the traditional nut-throwing ceremony at city hall.

After dinner, there will be walking tours of the city describing life in Bastogne during the 1944 occupation. These walks leave the Tourist Information Office at 8, 8:30 and 9 p.m.

At 11 a.m. Sunday, if the weather permits, the Liberty Jump Team will do a parachute drop near the Mardison Memorial. These re-enactors jumped a couple of years ago during the Bastogne walk and it was amazing.

For more information on the walk and the weekend of activities in Bastogne visit www.bastognehistoricwalk.com or www.bastogne.be .

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We hope you get to visit a Christmas market wherever you live. This year, Lorraine’s birthday coincided with the opening of the Christmas market in Bernkastel-Kues. We stayed at the Weinhaus Sankt Maximilian where the room, the wine and the food were very nice and very reasonably priced. While Bob had a traditional dinner, Lorraine tried a pasta dish that was a bit different. It was pumpkin-filled ravioli with a cheese sauce. Both meals were delicious, but, as usual, Lorraine picked the better of the two.

Saturday included a boat ride on the Moselle River and the Christmas market. The market stalls were set among the timber-framed buildings of the old city. Some of the buildings date back to the early 1400s. Most city stores were open, so between them and the Christmas market, there were excellent shopping opportunities.

Bernkastel-Kues is less than an hour’s drive from Bitburg and Spangdahlem and maybe a little more than an hour from the Kaiserslautern military community. It is a beautiful city made even better with their Christmas market. It is well worth the trip to visit Bernkastel-Kues.

• • •

Thanks to William Castro and Maureen McHugh-Castro; John and Evelyn Golembe; Ramona and Horst Kechelen; John, Mary and Tess Laub; Tim and Luchi Lynch; "Pat" and Cheryl Patterson; and Lew Harrison and Wayne Henry, for sending in the envelopes of volksmarch brochures in date order.

• • •

Miscellaneous short notes about this week’s events:

• The walk at Winnenden, Germany, is a "Stammtisch" walk for the Stuttgart German-American Wandering Club.

• The prize at Hüttigweiler, Germany, is a ceramic plate with a Santa Claus theme.

Italian walking notes from Clark Soeldner:

• Dec. 8 is a holiday in Italy, so there will be a few walks on Tuesday.

• Arrive early for good parking at the Colle di Pinzano al Tagliamento walk. This is a small town and parking can be difficult.

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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