Friday, September 18, 2009
Three Volksmarchers - Somewhere in Southern Germany - September 1978
One of our favorite activities during our second tour of duty in Germany was Volksmarching. Volksmarches are hikes laid out by a local hiking club, that wander through villages and towns, but mostly through woods and farmland. You sign up and pay a small fee, and choose whether to hike the short, medium or long course. In those days, the short course was 10 km (6.2 miles), which was plenty for us and would take us about two-and-a-half to three hours with the boys, depending upon the weather and how challenging the terrain was. We never managed a 20 km or 30 km "march."
Volksmarches take place in all kinds of weather, and we were out in rain, snow and sleet as well as heat and sun.
The price to enter includes some "Kraftbruhe" at a couple of stops along the way. That's basically beef or chicken bouillon and is served steaming hot in disposable cups. It also includes your prize, which is a usually a medal with some interesting scene or personage on it, but could be a metal or wax plaque or a plate to hang on the wall. We had quite a collection of these and still have some of them.
It was a great way to see more of Germany, get some fresh air and exercise, and find a new restaurant to visit at the end or on the way home.
Lots of times, Leif would get worn out and have to be carried. After all, we started doing this when he was only two-and-a-half years old and six miles is quite a long way for those little legs.
I no longer know where this particular hike was, but we were living in Sachsen bei Ansbach at the time, and it was somewhere within a couple of hours drive of there in southern Germany. It was a lovely fall day and my guys did what they always did when there was something to climb . . . up they went, all three of them. I'm glad none of these logs rolled or slipped under their feet or we might have have some difficulty finishing the hike.
Peter W., as always with his arms around his boys, enjoyed those hikes, even if we did occasionally get lost for awhile trying to find them.
This photo was taken in September 1978, exactly 31 years ago. Peter A. was almost ten years old and Leif was a little over three-and-a-half.