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Explore the Eifel offers unique travel experiences

SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany -- Spangdahlem Air Base is called 'the center of the universe' by many past commanders. There are literally dozens of amazing European destinations mere hours by car, train or plane from here. It would be a shame to spend your two to four years in the Eifel stuck on base or in your house.

But what about the smaller, closer trips you can take? Did you know a 12th century monastery is only a 14 minute drive from the gate, or that ancient volcanic lakes lie one hour north?

In 2005 Colonel David Goldfein, base commander at the time, initiated a program to encourage Sabers and their families to get outside the gates and explore the Eifel. Over the years, Spangdahlem Airmen have ventured throughout the Eifel region, enjoying hiking, camping, parks, zoos and visits to local monasteries and cathedrals.

This year marks the sixth year the program has been in action, and it is fast approaching.
The program is a 52nd Fighter Wing commander sanctioned event. The information fair is scheduled 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 27 and the tours take place July 2-4.

Close to 100 exhibitors, including mayors, county and area officials, community volunteers and travel and tourist office agents, will provide tailored packages in English to Spangdahlem service members and their families. Belgian and Luxembourg tourist agency representatives will also be available to hand out information about travel opportunities in their countries.

Kornelia Pitsch, 52nd Fighter Wing Community Relations assistant, recalls one of her favorite memories since the program was created. While visiting the Speicher Museum a few years ago, a silversmith taught children attending the tour to make their own rings as souvenirs.

Sabers and their families are encouraged to sign up for tours and trips at the fair. Our German hosts are looking forward to seeing us at the fair. Remember, if you sign up for an event at the fair be a good neighbor and make every effort to attend.

Additional information for Explore the Eifel and travel days are as follows:

Fair
Date: June 27
Time: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
Place: Base fitness center
At the fair: Pick up information about the Eifel area offering special Explore the Eifel excursion packages and general travel information.
Policy: The fair is an alternate duty location and military members are encouraged to attend as they can throughout the day.

Travel Days
Dates: July 2-4
About the travel days: Sabers explore the Eifel area to learn about the local culture and spend time with their German neighbors.
Policy: Travel days are not days off. Service members must either be participating in an Explore the Eifel event, on leave or at work.
Note: Various agencies are encouraged to venture off-site together for team building and visit one or more of the many Eifel locations.
Host Nation Courtesy: Service members may sign up for events at the fair. Once committed, make sure to attend the event or cancel ahead of time. No-shows are impolite and may harm relations with German neighbors.