Monday, September 5, 2016

Walk the Airborne

Walk the Airborne

The Airborne March is the annual Dutch commemorative event in remembrance of the Battle of Arnhem in September 1944. It began in 1947 and always takes place on the first Saturday in September at Oosterbeek near Arnhem in The Netherlands.

From the beginning the net revenues of the Airborne March are used to enable veterans and next of kin with poor means, to come over to The Netherlands and attend the annual Airborne-commemorations in and around Arnhem.

The Airborne March has 4 distances: 10, 15, 25 and 40 km. The longest distance is for individuals only. The routes lead you through the woods of the Veluwezoom and the municipality of Renkum and the great views over the river Rhine.


How to do this?

1) This is a paid event in Netherlands, and it happens every year on the first Saturday in September.
So you need to be able to
* buy the ticket
* get to Netherlands and stay there for as long as it takes
* walk 10, 15, 25 or 40 km

2) Timeline is there already.
This happens on the first Saturday in September, come rain, come shine, come flu and your cousin's third child's wedding. It is totally safe to book tickets already now and tell everyone you will be in Arnhem the first week of September. Sorry.
You also know how much time you have to save the money and get fit.

3) Getting the ticket is also easy.
You just need to find out how much it costs, when is the last day to purchase it and how it is purchased. All that information is clearly on the site.
Getting the money for the ticket might not be that easy, but - I have spoken about saving tips earlier, the same principles go for this.

4) Getting to Arnhem.
This depends totally on where you are right now. The longer the road is, the more you need to think about this.
If you are in North-Western Europe, this will not be a problem. You could even fly to Netherlands in the morning, do the walk and get back home to sleep in your own bed. I wouldn't recommend that, though, because there will be a lot of interesting people there, all the WWII veterans (blessed be they, dead as well as alive) and their friends and relatives. Think about all the stories!
If you come all the way from any other continent, it might be worth it to make this PART of a total Netherlands experience, and put all the interesting things one can do in Netherlands on your list and plan accordingly. Now, not all events happen during the first week of September, and the tulips will have bloomed, but there's plenty of things to do and see in Netherlands.
Nevertheless, plan accordingly.

5) Having fun when walking
Firstly, you need to be in the physical condition to do that. It's not difficult to walk some 5 km every day. It takes less than an hour when you are used to do it, and it will have all kinds of benefits, not only to your physical health but your mental health as well.

This will also make you aware of the equipment needed. You will need good walking shoes. You will need clothes that allow certain movement and keep you warm/cool and dry, but you don't need exercise clothing. If you walk 5 km every day for a longer period of time, you won't even get sweaty.

The shoes are the most important part here.
If you get a blister the first 15 minutes of the walk, you will not enjoy that walk! So you MUST have walked in the shoes enough times to know you won't get blisters in them! You also need to wear socks. Nylon socks under the ordinary socks help, too, they say. But have blister patches/band-aid with you just in case.

If you don't know anyone, bring some music. But don't count on listening to music while you walk The Airborne March. Remember that there is a reason you are there, and that is most likely the same reason everyone else is there too! Go talk with people! You might get lucky and have some very personal memories about the area where you are walking!

Bring with you some water and some snacks, like nuts and dried fruits, just in case.

Be prepared to rest if need be. You can carry a backpack with a foldable chair, or a small picnic blanket, so that you can sit on the ground.

Remember to have a hat and sunglasses, perhaps even sunblock, as the weather can still be quite warm this early in September

Bring the camera. See that the battery is full loaded and that there is room in the memory card (or bring a couple of rolls of film.)

Bring some calling cards... you might make new friends :-)

Look around you. Look up and down, right and left, front and back, near and far. Try to capture every sight, scene, smell, sound and sensation. Be aware of what is and what happens around you.

Read up before you go. 

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