Airmen tour Bitburg, learn town's history

SPANGHDALEM AIR BASE, GERMANY -- For any Airman, a guided tour through historical Bitburg is a great way to experience one of the many great attractions the Eifel area has to offer. 

I had an opportunity to visit some of these areas that the German community provid to Airmen stationed at Spangdahlem Air Base. Bitburg and the surrounding area provide numerous historical points. 

One of many points I learned about on this tour is where Bitburg got its name, which was from the ancient Romans who inhabited the area centuries ago. While marching from Trier to Cologne, the Romans would march at an average rate of three kilometers per hour, and Bitburg was the first resting point. 

Many years later, during World War II, Army Gen. George Patton lead his division along the unpaved B-50 through Bitburg on his way to aid the 101st Airborne during the Battle of the Bulge. 

During these early times the town of Bitburg began to grow and presently has approximately 15,000 residents. I also learned that Bitburger brewery is one of the largest independent beer breweries in the world. The brewery has its own water wells only used for their beer. 

Today, Bitburg has an outstanding number of recreational opportunities. These range from various family restaurants, pubs, and swimming establishments to go carts, sky diving and ice rinks. These are great places to visit instead of the usual clubs. 

What may be quite a surprise to many Airmen is the shopping they can do at Bitburg markets on the walk platz. 

As young Airmen get a taste of life in Europe, and more specifically German culture, they can begin to appreciate the values of German hospitality. Being culturally aware also assists Airmen to seek other means of entertainment away from the strong hold that the base seems to have on many! Guided tours through local area towns and villages such as Bitburg are great stepping stones for gaining knowledge and respect of Germans.