A Walk to Remember …

By travelleranto on 2013.09.08 In arnhem hiking

image (1)Although we don’t like big crowds and busy happenings, there’s one event we try to participate in when we get the chance: the annual Airborne March in Oosterbeek. It’s the biggest one day walking event in the world, just a 30 minute bicycle ride away from where we live. The march is organized each first Saturday in September, to memorialize the 1.750 Brittish and Polish soldiers wo died during the Battle of Arnhem during WWII.

As there are usually more than 30.000 walkers it’s a very busy happening but it’s always special to be a part of it. Not only because of the memories but also because of all the people who remember and the soldiers that participate. This year we saw groups from Denmark, Norway, Belgium, Germany and Great Britain.

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You can sign up to walk 10, 15, 25 or 40 km in order to get your medal, this year we did 25 km. The walk starts at the grounds behind the Airborne Museum, one of the best museums in The Netherlands that shows all about the Battle of Arnhem. It leads you past various important historical sites such as the Airborne Cemetery, drop and landing zones around Wolfheze, Renkum and Heelsum as well as various battle grounds.

Though the start of the walk is very crowded as the military groups usually march in step and musical bands accompany the walkers it is always a lot of fun. Among the walkers there are old people (I’ve seen those who are at least 80!), fast walkers and families with children and strollers so it’s impossible to walk your own pace. Further down where the routes split it gets less crowded and at some places you’re almost by yourself. Along the route there are children selling cookies and beverages for various good causes and people who have opened up their garages with private museums and collections about the war. It’s all very impressive and alive!

imageAs every year, we had our first break at the golf course in Heelsum at 13km which is one of the drop and landing sites. Our second stop is always at 21km at the Duno Estate, from where there’s a great overview of the Rhine and the land behind it. Despite the gloomy weather it was a spectacular happening once again and I was glad to participate.  The 25km were peanuts for us, although I did feel the soles of my feet the last hour since most of the walk is on asphalt. But that doesn’t matter and is nothing compared to those who perished on those grounds back in 1944. Despite the fact there will (unfortunately) always be wars and killings it’s important that we never forget and always remember … combining this with a walk for all ages is in my opinion the perfect way to celebrate freedom!

This blog was X-posted in we12travel as well. For more information about the Battle of Arnhem please go here.

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nice to meet you

My name is Antonette (Anto) and I’m a 30-something outdoor fan living in The Netherlands. Traveling is my passion (hence the username travelleranto) and I like to spend my journeys the active way, mostly by hiking and camping.

If I’m not on the way, I work as a product manager for a Dutch tour operator specialized in natural destinations, such as Alaska, Argentina and Iceland. When not in the outdoors or behind an office desk, I enjoy writing (for my own site but also some Dutch websites), photography and reading.

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