Click here for this week’s European Volksmarch schedule.

For the past few years, we have kicked off the new year of walking in Vijlen, Netherlands. Lingering medical issues caused us to miss the walk this year, but we were able to meet fellow members of the Tri-Border Walking Club for a post-walk get-together at the De Pannekoeken Molen restaurant in the nearby town of Gulpen. After windmills and tulips, one of our favorite images of Holland is a winter scene with ice skaters. The recent cold spell has frozen many of the local lakes and ponds — among them the large pond in front of the restaurant, which was crowded with skaters. This was a pleasant sight for us as it was the first time we have seen such a large group of skaters. Perhaps we are usually too preoccupied with getting to, or returning from, a walk to notice them, but from now on we will be looking for them.

Gulpen is a great walking town. It’s the site of at least a dozen walks every year, including one this Sunday. The countryside is covered with walking trails and the hills in the area make the routes a challenge. If you are ever in the Limburg region of the Netherlands, whether for a walk or for a visit to the American cemetery at Margraten, make sure to stop in Gulpen and visit De Pannekoeken Molen for a delicious Dutch treat. You might even want to bring your ice skates.

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Here are a few walks to mark on your calendars. More details will follow as the dates get closer.

• Feb. 7-8: Idar-Oberstein, Germany

• Feb. 28-March 1: Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany

• Feb. 28-March 1: Trois-Ponts, Belgium

• April 4: Lisse, Netherlands

• April 18-19: Stavelot, Belgium

• April 19: Consdorf, Luxembourg

• May 23-24: Verviers, Belgium.

If you know of an upcoming walk that you have enjoyed, or if your club is sponsoring an event, please send us a flier or an e-mail with the details so we can spread the word.

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Notes about this week’s events:

• The prize for walking in Haisterkirch, Germany, is a small scented oil burner. The bottom looks like an old stove and holds a tea light. The top is a kettle that holds scented oil. As the oil is warmed, the aroma spreads around the room.

• If you missed completing a torch walk last fall, Gräfinau-Angstedt, Germany, is hosting a "Winter, Fackel and Glühwein" walk on Saturday.

• This year, the Wanderfreunde Kirchberg e.V. walking club holds its event in Kappel, Germany, beginning at the Gemeindehalle. Walk five, 10 or 15 kilometers on Saturday and Sunday starting between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. and finishing by 5 p.m. A B-medal is the souvenir. Kappel is in the beautiful Hunsrück region.

• Saturday morning’s Monteforte d’Alpone, Italy, event is the 14th "For the Smile of Children" walk. Events start with the Expo opening at 9 a.m. and continue with the morning walk. Saturday afternoon’s walk is limited to 120 participants and will tour the wine country of Soave. There will be a pasta party at 6 p.m. for walk participants on Saturday and Sunday, and Mass at 7 p.m. in the S. Maria Maggiore Church. Saturday’s prize is a blue beret for the first 2,000 participants.

Activities continue with Sunday’s walk starting at 8:30 a.m. This is quite an event as there are usually more than 18,000 participants. The sign-ups are at the top of the hill in the expo area just past the church. Prizes include a bottle of wine, a jacket, a 10-pack of pudding, hot chocolate mix and three fruit juices, all in a cotton bag. This prize bundle is limited to the first 10,000 participants. If you have room after all of the restoros, they have free pasta at the end. For more information, in English, call 0039-349-0854525.

• The Roraipiccolo di Porcia, Italy, event is being held in conjunction with a small festival, so there will be some booths at the end.

E-mail volksmarch information to Mail brochures to Bob and Lorraine Huffaker, CMR 460, Box 278, APO, AE, 09703-0278.

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