The first ever Geocaching Giga event of 5,000+ people was being held on Saturday 16th August 2014 in Munich, Germany. Myself and some caching friends quite fancied an adventure there so we caught the Eurotunnel on the Thursday evening with Kris&Co, FayR+R, Decker1527, Yorkie63, MummaD, Foxscout, Doggywalker, The Box Teddies, and BEASTMARSTA for a real adventure around Europe!
Friday: The trip to Munich
It was a 9 hour drive from Calais to Munich so the following morning we headed off to make our way there. We changed our route slightly to encompass a very old cache named simply “Geocache”, but popularly known as GC40.
Our route to GC40 took us past a few cache and dashes. Our favourite was La grotte de Revogne at the grotto of Lourdes at Revogne (Beauraing). The grotto was built in 1885 as a place to pray. Inside were holy statues, candles, flowers and a few prayer benches.
We then headed for GC40. It was a quick cache and dash not far from the road, but was a big ammo can originally placed in July 2000.
It was then a straight run to Munich arriving around 11pm, grabbing a quick pizza, and getting a bit of sleep before the Giga.
Saturday: The Giga
We parked at the Olympic stadium and took a stroll to the main event, the Munich Giga event. It was a fair walk, but we knew that we were going in the right direction as we could see lots of people with GPS! After grabbing our admission bracelet we headed to the stadium via the entrance gates.
It was already very busy with cachers inside and we got a great view at the top of the steps overlooking the stadium.
Once inside we bumped into some cachers that we’d met before along with many of the others who had traveled from Essex with us. An Essex flag photo was definitely in order!
There were many stalls around the stadium, but they were absolutely crammed with people crowded around buying things. It certainly was a popular event. We had a look around the stalls before heading to see the Lackeys who had heard all about us from Tyler. I think they tried to run, but they didn’t get very far and they were soon tied to our Essex flag!!!
We were particularly impressed with the effort that Rayne had gone to to dress for the event, although he would have looked better in a red Mega Essex T-shirt!
Around the stadium the organisers had many games including cow milking, beer glass holding, and beer mat throwing!
The logbook was an interesting idea. We all signed benches with different coloured pens. However, as it had rained before our name wasn’t very easy to make out on the bench, but it was there nonetheless.
After grabbing a bratwurst for lunch (You have to, don’t you!) the heavens opened and we got completely drenched! We were still smiling though! :)
So that was the end of our trip to the Giga and once the heavy showers had passed we escaped to the car to get changed into some dry clothes. Our next stop was to head off into Munich centre to finish some of the lab caches and grab the webcam cache, The heart of munich. At the webcam we met our German friends, Waterandsun, who we had met at the Scottish Mega so we took the webcam screenshot of us, Yorkie63, MummaD and them at the fountain.
That was our 7th icon for the day as we’d already found a traditional, giga, puzzle, wherigo, earthcache and
lab cache. After the quick break in Munich we were back on the road again and heading towards the Czech Republic.
We stayed in Germany as close as we could get to the Czech border on the Saturday night ready for our epic mission of finding caches in 10 countries in a day. It was a really quirky hotel that we picked too. We were greeted by a stuffed fox on our way to our rooms and then found a load of dolls hiding in the upstairs corridors around our room. If it wasn’t so funny it’d be terrifying!!!
Sunday: 10 Countries in a day
After a good night’s sleep and thankfully not getting murdered by the dolls in the night we headed off just down the road from the hotel for our first cache, Willkommen in Altschönau around 6am.
We quickly dashed to the Czech Republic for Usmev, prosim! Bitte lächeln! before a long drive through Germany to Austria. Austria was such a beautiful place and driving through it was a real pleasure. Our chosen cache and dash, [A12] Spore06 – Ampasser Hof was at a services with beautiful views also.
We soon crossed the toll road over into Italy and became 8.5EUR lighter! However at least we managed to grab two caches for our money. The first was just a cache and dash, Picknick am Brennero however right next door was the earthcache Passo del Brennero – Der Brennerpass at the boundary stone between Italy and Austria.
A reasonable drive across to Liechtenstein after crossing back through Italy and spending another 8.5EUR on the toll got us to Liechtenstein’s First. This cache wasn’t originally on our itinerary, but a friend had mentioned it had spectacular views. It was a fabulous location, despite the very steep and winding road up to it. There were also some very cute baby donkeys on the nearby grassland. All the way to the cache and back we were accompanied by percussion from the cow bells. It was a fabulous adventure. We then headed off to our intended Liechtenstein cache, 1. TB und Coin Hotel im Fürstentum Liechtenstein and walked into Switzerland from it to get our Swiss cache Treffpunkt Autobahn. A very long drive to France followed where we picked up TB hotel A4 Strasbourg-Metz, aire de Narbéfontaine before grabbing Have a break – A6 exit Bridel in Luxemburg, followed by Belgium’s Have a break – A4 LuBe in the dark!
One final country was not too far away and we eventually found 3x is scheepsrecht in The Netherlands to complete our challenge and finally get some sleep. 19 hours of driving and caching and over 900 miles covered! We were absolutely knackered and crashed near GZ for a few hours to awake in the morning fully refreshed (not!)
Monday: The Recovery!
We spent Monday recovering from our challenge and cat napping here and there. As we were in the area, however, we decided to take a drive to a very remarkable location that we’d heard about. It was a work of art known as the ‘See-through church’ in Limburg, Belgium. There was a cache at the “real” church first so we headed to that.
After the cache find we stepped inside to experience the ‘Proximity Effect’. The Proximity Effect is a set of speakers hanging from inside the church which are on pulleys. They lower themselves down towards you and play noises recorded from inside and outside of the church. It was like some crazy Doctor Who/Sci-Fi invasion of robotic creatures as the speakers moved up and down above our heads. Totally weird, but totally amazing!
After experiencing this very strange piece of art we headed to the see-through church which was absolutely stunning! We walked around and explored observing how the church appeared to dissolve into the landscape.
Our final piece of art was Untitled #158 which was near the cache Mariënlof. This strange, circular wooden construction made you feel quite dizzy as you walked around it!
After a trip back to Calais and a Eurotunnel crossing we were back home in the UK with one final task: Find the CHALLENGE CACHE – 10 COUNTRIES IN A DAY cache. A small reward for our epic drive around Europe!
Great fun and now Alice Clark!!!