A quiet October

15 11 2016

For various reasons October was a very quiet geocaching month, in fact an incredibly quiet geocaching month. In total I found three caches and was awarded two souvenirs and a badge for my profile.

International Earthcache Day 21016 souvenir

International Earthcache Day 21016 souvenir

Haunted Hides souvenir

Haunted Hides souvenir

I haven’t found so few caches in a given month since January this year and that in itself is unusual. January has been the month with most finds for many years. My first day out in October was on International Earthcaching Day which was on the 9th. There are not so many earthcaches where I live and with the exception of one I had found the others on previous occasions. This one, Brudstenen, is in the middle of the forest in an area I don’t often visit and as such I hadn’t already found it. The stone was quickly located and the necessary information gathered. As we were ready to drive off another car turned up. I was expecting it to be another geocacher but it was a hunter checking the area as it was the Sunday before the annual moose hunt in the area.

At Brudstenen

At Brudstenen

There is another cache just a couple of kilometers from the earthcache that has been on my to-do list since 2004. In the early days of geocaching we were just a handful of cachers in the area and the goal was to find all the caches the others had placed. This cache, N ölbo, was placed by Piggen who was a prolific hider in the day and was the reason we learnt the phrase “under a rock in the forest” which is where most caches were placed in the early days. A rough forest road took me to within about 200 m of the cache and the remainder was done on foot. Previous logs have complained about the terrain but I found it to be quite manageable. There were no boggy or overgrown areas. It was mostly moss covered boulders of various sizes and a couple of small mounds to pass. This time the cache was found “on top of a rock in the forest”. Visit the cache and you will see what I mean.

The route to the N Ölbo cache

The route to the N Ölbo cache

N Ölbo - on top of a rock in the forest

N Ölbo – on top of a rock in the forest

As you can see I managed to turn the knob on the top of my camera such that the colours were all messed up. The result wasn’t too bad – it gives the impression of a dreay autumn day, which is what it was.

My final find for October was on October 30 and this was a traditional cache just a couple of hundred meters from home where it had been sitting unfound by me for about six weeks. It was at a site that I had considered using to place a cache but I liked the implementation of this one. I can’t add more or I will spoil the fun for future hunters. The cache is Hands off.

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Stjärnsund

18 05 2016

If it hadn’t been pouring down and only 4 C I would have felt bad about missing the event “Vår tid i Hedemora” due to other non-geocaching commitments. My original intention was to participate in the event and then visit the three earthcaches in the area. As it turned out we were able to visit Stjärnsund on the Sunday and start the geocaching adventure with the earthcache Bergarter vid HK.

My GPS on a block of magnetite

My GPS on a block of magnetite

Once that was done I walked over the road and then down the steep hill to visit the four waypoints that the earthcache Högsta Kustlinjen – Husbyringen – EarthCache consists of. Between the 1st and 2nd point I paused briefly to log Husbyringen #71 Ditåt. Of course, those of you who know the area will realise that I drove past about twenty geocaches along the road from Stjärnsund – the Husbyringen series of caches. As my muggle partner was with me stopping every 200 m to grab a PET preform is not so popular.

At the highest point of the coastline

At the highest point of the coastline

Walking down from the highest point of the coastline

Walking down from the highest point of the coastline

Anyway, after the two earthaches we continued a couple of kilometers along the road to Stora Björktjärn where we stopped for coffee and a sandwich grabbing Husbyringen #80 Skylt at the same time. From there we walked up to the third earthcache on my to-do list which was Kustjärns Putta – EarthCache.

Kustjärns Putta

Kustjärns Putta

It was only when I was logging my finds that I discovered that I had been to the spot ten years ago to find The Ring # 6 Kustjärns Putta. It made me think. That was geocaching in a nutshell. Seven caches around the whole of the Husby ring. Now of course there are twenty times that number.

Our next port of call was Stjärnsund where we did a little sightseeing, visited the new farm shop and treated ourselves to a “tunnbröds rulle med extra allt” a thin chapatti like bread with a couple of hot dogs, mashed potatoes, fried onions and shrimp salad. I’m sure it must have been a healthy meal. 🙂 We started walking down to the brand new Stjärnljus series of caches eating our meal on the way, followed by the older Engelskaparken series.

Stjärnsund is of course known for it’s connection to Christopher Polhem who most Swedes are familiar with and have a more or less daily connection to as he is portrayed on the reverse of the 500 crown notes.

Stjärnsund after our visit

Stjärnsund after our visit

I would have liked to have done the Husbyringen PT but I will save that for another day when I won’t have any muggles with me.





A country of superlatives

21 03 2016

You probably don’t know much about the United Arab Emirates (UAE)? Neither did I before this trip. It’s a young country, formed in 1971 by the federation of seven emirates – Abu Dhabi (which serves as the capital), Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah, and Umm al-Quwain. Of the population of over 9 million nearly 8 million are expatriates, mostly Indians and other Asians who are there building the country’s infrastructure and working in service sectors.

We found this destination when were looking for a holiday on Tenerrife where most of the decent accommodation was expensive. For less money we could spend a week in Dubai in a climate warmer than the Canary Islands and tick off a new geocaching country at the same time!

Arrival in Dubai was at 00:50 local time so by the time we reached the hotel it was closer to 02:30. We had to wait for other passengers who didn’t get their luggage right away or got stuck in the long immigration queues. After a good nights sleep and a leisurely breakfast we started walking from our hotel in the Jumeirah area to the nearest cache. We chose it both for the price and because it was quieter than the down town hotels with their 24/7 traffic outside.

National Day Street should have been an easy find but I couldn’t see the cache anywhere so we walked on to Jumeirah Mosque where we found Eat Pray Love, which although it was at the right spot didn’t match the cache description at all. From here we took a taxi to the Dubai Mall, which is probably the worlds largest mall and after spending a few Dirhams on coffee went over to Burj Khalifa, the worlds tallest building. The whole country is built on superlatives. At Burj Khalifa, I was able to log an earthcache Build Your House on the Rock.

Jumeirah mosque with geocache in foreground

Jumeirah mosque with geocache in foreground

Some of many high rise buildings in Dubai - note the sand everywhere

Some of many high rise buildings in Dubai – note the sand everywhere

Burj Khalifa

Burj Khalifa

ds8300 at Burj Kahlifa - the worlds tallest building at 818 meters

ds8300 at Burj Kahlifa – the worlds tallest building at 818 meters

Another superlative is the worlds only “seven star” hotel where the room rate starts at 61,000 AED/night – roughly 150,000 SEK/night or 16,600 USD/night. We heard that a cocktail costs 27,321 AED – roughly 61,100 SEK or 7,400 USD. There are 27 floors to the hotel and it’s height is 321 meters hence the pricing of the drink.

Hotel Al Arab - "seven stars"

Hotel Al Arab – “seven stars”

As I don’t like to stay in just one place we took a tour to the eastern coast of the UAE passing through the town of Masafi and the Hajar Mountains on the way. The trip passed through the emirates of Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah, and Umm al-Quwain. As we were on a tour bus we couldn’t steer where we went but on the route along the coast between Dibba Al Fujairah and Fujairah we stopped at Al Badiyah to look at the country’s oldest mosque and luckily there was a cache nearby that I could grab in the ten minutes that we stopped there. Historical Bidiyah Mosque was a traditional cache with a regular size container, which is nice in a world of micros.

Friday market Masafi

Friday market Masafi

Friday market near Masafi - pots and pans

Friday market near Masafi – pots and pans

Hajar Mountains eastern UAE

Hajar Mountains eastern UAE

Al Bidayah watch tower above the oldest mosque in the country

Al Bidayah watch tower above the oldest mosque in the country

Cache found at Al Bidayah on the east coast

Cache found at Al Bidayah on the east coast

Portuguese Fort at Fujairah

Portuguese Fort at Fujairah

Later in the week we revisited National Day Street and found the nano that was hidden at GZ. I should have seen it on our first visit. From there we walked the few hundred meters to a new man made island called Pearl Jumeirah where there is Emirate Flag Pole Series : Dubai but I didn’t find the cache, just a couple of workmen’s helmets and reflective vest plus a load of rubbish. The cache is probably still there but I am not a fan of rummaging around in trash.

The older part of Dubai is centered around the creek so we walked up there from our hotel, a round trip walk of around 8 km. After having visited Dubai museum we took the ferry across Dubai Creek for one Dirham and explored the north side before returning to the south bank where we walked up to Dubai Promenade, which was another nano, but at accurate coords.

Other trips around the city took us to some of the high rise centres of which there are several and on to the metro system to reach an even more exclusive mall where we definitely didn’t buy anything – nor did we go skiing on the indoor ski slope!

Mall of the Emirates

Mall of the Emirates

One of many expensive shops

One of many expensive shops

Ski slope at the Mall of the Emirates

Ski slope at the Mall of the Emirates

Typical attire for the locals

Typical attire for the locals

Clementines - 65 SEK/kg or around 3,33 USD/lb

Clementines – 65 SEK/kg or around 3,33 USD/lb

On our last day we took a trip to Abu Dhabi, the sixth of the emirates that we visited during our stay but apart from the usual tourist sights of the world’s third largest mosque – the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, covering 21 hectares and having room for 40,000 worshippers, the Emirates Palace Hotel where just about everything is gold, (it should be as it cost 3 billion USD to build! ) and Ferrari World, we didn’t have any opportunities to look for caches.

Sheik Zayad Mosque - Abu Dhabi - the world's third largest

Sheik Zayad Mosque – Abu Dhabi – the world’s third largest

Sheikh Zayad Mosque - Abu Dhabi

Sheikh Zayad Mosque – Abu Dhabi

Emirates Palace Hotel - another seven star hotel

Emirates Palace Hotel – another seven star hotel

Hotel Emirates Palace lobby

Hotel Emirates Palace lobby

Fountain at Emirates Palace Hotel

Fountain at Emirates Palace Hotel

Abu Dhabi high rises

Abu Dhabi high rises

Reflections in Abu Dhabi building

Reflections in Abu Dhabi building

We saw wild camels and this one

We saw wild camels and this one

Ferrari F12 Berlinetta - I prefer red though

Ferrari F12 Berlinetta – I prefer red though

So, after a week in the UAE I had logged five cache finds and seen a lot of amazing sights. Would I go back again? Doubtful, but it was still worth the experience.





Jordan

13 11 2014

My partner and I wanted an autumn break but the tourist season in Greece, which was our original goal, was over so the choice fell on Jordan and what attracted us there was the forgotten city of Petra, a visit to the Dead Sea and the fact that sun and 28-30C was forecast for the whole week.

Our hotel was located directly across the road from the ancient city ruins of Ayla where there was an earthcache Earthquake evidence at ancient Ayla and a traditional cache Tunisian Springs Park #1 which we DNF’d. Apart from that there were just two more traditional caches in the city and even after several visits we had to DNF those as well. A few days later a cacher who shall remain nameless has placed caches close-by (up to 100m away) and called them replacements. As it wasn’t done with the knowledge of the CO and the listing co-ords still point to the original cache it is a behaviour that is questionable. In it’s extension a cacher can just drop a micro somewhere and claim it’s a replacement cache and not even bother looking for the original. Some call it creative, some call it cheating.

I am not enthralled by urban micro’s anyway so it doesn’t matter that I DNF’d them. I find earthcaches much more interesting and educational. The first earthcache at the ancient site of Ayla taught me both about types of earthquake damage but also about the history of the site itself.

Sign showing the layout of the old city

Sign showing the layout of the old city

ds8300 in the centre of the ancient Ayla city

ds8300 in the centre of the ancient Ayla city

You can see that everything leans this way and that

You can see that everything leans this way and that

Earthquake damage on the old wall

Earthquake damage on the old wall

Remains of column in the old city

Remains of column in the old city

Two days after our arrival we took the tour to Petra. Some people prefer to do this on their own by renting a taxi but I am not convinced it is a cheaper solution in addition to the ride an entry ticket has to be bought at the entrance on arrival and is much more expensive than a ticket supplied through the travel agent. We paid 50JOD (about 55 EUR/70USD) whereas a ticket on the gate cost 90 JOD (100EUR/125USD).

The site is fascinating and well worth the visit. The construction of waterways as well as the tombs themself was quite amazing. Some of the stonework is really artistic in its execution. Some of the details on carvings have been eroded over hundreds of years of flying sand but non-the-less they are still of a very high class.

Mountains surrounding Petra

Mountains surrounding Petra

Start of the walk into Petra

Start of the walk into Petra

Walking into the ravine which is wide and shallow at this point

Walking into the ravine which is wide and shallow at this point

The ravine tightens up as we get closer to Petra

The ravine tightens up as we get closer to Petra

The Treasury just coming into sight at the end of the ravine

The Treasury just coming into sight at the end of the ravine

Coming out of the ravine and seeing the whole of the treasury is quite amazing

Coming out of the ravine and seeing the whole of the treasury is quite amazing

Even after all these years the detail in the stonework is still there

Even after all these years the detail in the stonework is still there

Locals shot at the urn believing it held treasure.

Locals shot at the urn believing it held treasure.

ds8300 in front of the Treasury

ds8300 in front of the Treasury

Map of the Petra area

Map of the Petra area

Camel rides for the tourists

Camel rides for the tourists

Simpler grave chambers on the western side of the valley

Simpler grave chambers on the western side of the valley

Impressive carving work

Impressive carving work

Can you see the small red square? That's the local inhabitant on the next photo.

Can you see the small red square? That’s the local inhabitant on the next photo.

One of the local inhabitants

One of the local inhabitants

One of the many graves hewn into the cliffs

One of the many graves hewn into the cliffs

Another of the many graves

Another of the many graves

There are three traditional caches and an earthcache at Petra. Unfortunately, the trads are a climb out of the tourist area and need a couple of extra hours to get to. As we were in a tourist group it wasn’t possible to stray away for that long so I had to be satisfied with the earthcache. The earthcache questions were easier to answer for Petra Al Khazneh than the ones in Aqaba and the whole site was worth it’s place on the UNESCO World Heritage Site listing (Number 326).





A mixed fortnight

18 08 2014

The last couple of weeks have been quiet for me in terms of hunting for geocaches despite this being August and still a summer month. I have spent some time in my workshop preparing new geocaches that I will place out in the wild soon. Perhaps the energizer for me to go out hunting was the possibility to gain eight new souvenirs from Groundspeak although at the beginning of the month I had only realized that there were seven available. I missed the fact that International Geocaching day is on 16th August.

Anyway, as the month started I had already solved a couple of mystery caches in Gävle that I then went out and logged – Prickar and IQ-test which gave me the The Puzzler souvenir plus a cool traditional cache The Elevator that gave me The Explorer souvenir. I was able to take a lunch break a few days later and find a letterbox hybrid which was luckily not so far from my office – Åshammar Letterbox Hybrid and gained The Collector souvenir thus giving me half the number of souvenirs that Groundspeak was promoting in August. I think I then realized that it wouldn’t be too hard to find the remaining three, but it wouldn’t be for a few more days.

Luck was on my side as my partner and I were in Hille, just north of Gävle, one day and I “noticed” that there was a nearby multicache. No sooner said than done and Sagas milstolpe was visited and The Sightseer souvenir was gained. That was on 12th August.

Finally on 16th August I got out to hunt for the final two type of cache that qualified me for The Nature Lover souvenir and The Socializer souvenir. Of course, when the sixth souvenir was gained it also unlocked the seventh souvenir – The Achiever. Something that is new for Groundspeak is that they also show you what number you were to gain the final souvenir. I’m not sure I like it, but for some competitive people it will push them to get out and, well, achieve.

My Saturday trip took me to Avesta where I stopped to have a look at an earthcache at Döda Fallen. I have passed by the turn off to the old industrial area of Avesta near the falls many times but never had the time to stop and explore. This time I did and found both Avesta’s old industrial area and also the old town. Unfortunately as I needed to push on to Litet augustievent i Säter” I didn’t have time to stop and explore the area nor hunt for the caches in the area. One cache – Koppardalen Underground is on my “want to do” list but it will have to be in the company of other cachers. The starting point is near here.

Old ironmaking buildings in Koppardalen

Old ironmaking buildings in Koppardalen

So what do the “dead falls” look like? Pretty dead, but it was interesting to read about their formation.

The dead falls in Avesta

The dead falls in Avesta

It’s about 35 km between Avesta and Säter so I arrived at the event not long after it started. There were already a good twenty people there, some known to me and a greater number that were not. As it usual there was a lot of meeting and greeting and a good selection of TB’s and geocoins to look at. Not long before I left, WVBuss, Knatos and others turned up having been to the Geocoin och TB-fest in Haga Park Stockholm. With them they had a pile of geocoins for us to log. Nice.

The six souvenirs

The six souvenirs

The bonus souvenir

The bonus souvenir

It was only after logging the caches and the trackables that I realized that it was International Geocaching Day and I gained the eighth souvenir. Great!

International Geocaching Day 2014

International Geocaching Day 2014





Paris in the springtime

17 04 2014

I can confirm that a good time to be in Paris is in the springtime. Most of the trees were green and many were in full bloom. The temperature was comfortable, even though I would have liked more warmth and the hoards of tourists that Paris is renowned for hadn’t all arrived. I’m sure that at Easter and onwards it will be completely different. The trip was a long weekend with partner and eldest grandson and the focus was on sightseeing. All the usual stuff of course. It meant lots of walking and many journeys on the Metro. The Metro was a great cheap way of getting around the city.

My partner’s grandson has been caching for over nine years (he started when he was 7 months old) and was pleased when we found a couple of micros in the centre of the city but didn’t really understood what a virtual and earthcache were all about. That’s all that was done in the way of geocaching on this trip even though I was hoping for more.

Arc de Triumphe

Arc de Triumphe

Eiffel tower as seen from the Arc de Triumphe

Eiffel tower as seen from the Arc de Triumphe

We started off at Arc de Triumphe and walked down Champs E’lysée to the Louvre finding our first cache Remember Votez Piments ! just outside Theatre Marigny which is in the park on Av. des Champs-Elysées. We then wandered on to the earthcache Les crapauds de l’obélisque de la concorde. at Place de la Concorde. Apart from the impressive obelisk there were a few rather strange looking people there as well.

The Egyptian heiroglyphics made no sense

The Egyptian heiroglyphics made no sense

The obelisk

The obelisk

There is an alien theory surrounding obelisks

There is an alien theory surrounding obelisks

Our walk continued on through the park past the Grand Bassin Rond and the virtual cache Who is she?

ds8300 and the Cezanne virtual cache

ds8300 and the Cezanne virtual cache

then on to the glass pyramid at the Louvre. Our caching for the day was over but we continued on through the central parts of Paris before returning to the hotel for the night.

The pyramid at the Louvre was pretty light

The pyramid at the Louvre was pretty light

Looking along the Champes-Elysees

Looking along the Champes-Elysees

The day after started with an hour standing in the queue at the Eiffel Tower before we could take the lift up to the viewing platform. The views from all sides were fantastic and we were all impressed. Shortly after coming back down to terra firma we found our second traditional cache Gustave et la Tour nestled into a corner together with a Munzee. We located a second cache in the Champ de March park but didn’t have the required bottle of water with us that was needed to extract the cache from it’s hidey hole.

Looking up the Eiffel Tower

Looking up the Eiffel Tower

Join 18038 parts together to make a tower

Join 18038 parts together to make a tower

Champ de March park

Champ de March park

Jardin du Trocadero

Jardin du Trocadero

Leon with the log for GC4HAV3 - Gustave et la Tour

Leon with the log for GC4HAV3 – Gustave et la Tour

From there on visits to Montparnasse, Sacreceur and other parts of central Paris were made using the Metro for transporting us around. We ended the day at La Defense. Very little geocaching but an enjoyable weekend none the less.

La Grande Arche De La Defense

La Grande Arche De La Defense





A snake in Luxembourg and a souvenir

24 07 2013

A souvenir for Luxembourg

A souvenir for Luxembourg

Finding a cache in Belgium doesn’t give a geocaching souvenir but finding one in Luxembourg does! Our day started in Belgium but it was just a short drive to Luxembourg. The afternoon in Belgium ended in a thunderstorm and a real downpour so the air was very humid as we arrived in Luxembourg in 30C heat. The aim was to find the Earthcache The Luxembourg Plateau – Luxembourg Sandstone and a few more caches in addition to sightseeing in the city. The poor underpowered rental car really struggled on one of the narrow cobblestone streets leading up out of the valley and smelled of burnt clutch when we reached the top of the hill.

Close to the sandstone earthcache

Close to the sandstone earthcache

A view of the city

A view of the city

Another view of the city

Another view of the city

After making my pocket query I sorted them after favourite points. There are so many caches these days that are less than mediocre that the favourite point system is a good way of finding something a little bit different. I chose to look for Corkscrew snake as this had the largest number of FP’s of the caches I had downloaded and was on the same side of the city that we entered. We were not disappointed. It is so simple and so brilliant in it’s execution that it got an FP from me as well.

Spoiler

Spoiler

We only looked for a couple more caches before leaving the country, but I would love to come back and stay in the city for a few days.








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