Yesterday we went “Daaaaan ta Laaaaaaaaandan!” In a previous post I had blogged about wanting to go around London picking up the many (40-odd) virtual, earth and web cam caches that were there. Well, yesterday it became a reality and we had such an amazing time! My theory was that as London is such a big city, picking up real caches would be a nightmare and so virtuals were the way forward. Actually, this wasn’t true and we ended the day with 12 virtuals, 1 earth, 2 web cams, and 15 traditional caches (30 in total). We only managed half of the virtuals that I’d planned, however there’s always another day. I really recommend a trip to London caching. The only problem is you’ll have to use your geo-senses as sometimes the concrete jungle sends the GPSr crackers. There’s a good variety of different types of caches and if you plan your route wisely you can hop on the tube from cache to cache. We however walked everywhere and couldn’t believe our eyes when we pulled up the route on the GPSr and it read 18.8miles!!! Despite walking so far we didn’t actually managed to get very far as we just kept going around in circles! hehe! Read on for more on caching in London [...]
We hopped off of the tube at ‘Tower Hill’ for our first virtual, “Catastrophe, Calamity, Cataclysm Part 1″ but got distracted by a huge crowd of people watching something. There was a film crew and people in high viz jackets. A lady asked what was happening and was told they were filming the next Johnny English movie. We decided to stand and watch the take and saw Rowan Atkinson in a wheelchair whizzing down the street as if he was being chased. I took a pic and got told off, “No flash photography” Ooops!
Then it was off to the cache which was in Royal Mint court, a location that used to be an old plague pit. We grabbed a number off of a plaque, did a bit of posing and then it was onto the next one.
We then took a short stroll along the river (Picking up a few traditionals on the way) and grabbed “Catastrophe, Calamity, Cataclysm Part 3” which meant heading to The Tower of London to the Traitor’s Gate.
Keeping with the same virtual theme we then carried along the river to “Catastrophe, Calamity, Cataclysm Part 2” which was at “The Monument”. This is a monument that was built between 1671 and 1677 to commemorate the Great Fire of London and to celebrate rebuilding the city. It has 311 stairs and to claim the cache you have to get to the top to have your picture taken and grab some information from a sign. The Monument cost us £3 each to climb, which I suppose wasn’t bad, but I don’t think I would have bothered if there wasn’t a cache at the top. There was a major 4.5million restoration of the monument recently though and I suppose that money does help towards that. It certainly is a lovely piece of to mark such a tragic part of London’s history.
The next stop was our first ever webcam cache, “Broadgate Webcam” which overlooks a big area that is used as an ice rink in the winter and to hold events during other times of year. Well, would you believe that we turned up to it on the day that the entire area was fenced off with a big canopy in the middle. NOOOOO! We couldn’t get to a spot for a clear shot of us however we used our noggin… If you’ve ever looked at webcam caches you’ll know that you need a friend to log on to the camera and take a shot of you. Well, our friend had a late night as when we hit this cache at 11:30am he was fast asleep in bed. However, we expected this, so I did something clever and installed software on my iPhone that could access the PC at home and view the web cams via that. I’ve added a separate post here for anyone who has an iPhone and wants to grab some web cam caches. So we were able to see ourselves on my phone and eventually find a spot which was included in view, behind the blue fence. We held up our purple bag and you can just see it in our pic. I took a screenshot on the iPhone of us holding the purple bag on the blue fencing for our log and added that to the upload to prove it was us. What a palava!
We carried on through London to a couple of virtuals that didn’t require too much work and just needed us to get some info off of plaques. We had planned to do ‘Golden Gallery Virtual Cache’ which required climbing all the top to St. Pauls which we were up for, however when we reaslied it was £12.50 each to do so we changed our minds and left that one out!
Next it was onto an earth cache along the river, “The River Thames – Rocks on the River Bed” Luckily the tide was out and we were able to climb down to the river to find some of the rocks (There were loads) when we got there it became really obvious what rocks they were talking about as there are probably some in my garden!!!
We continued on to a few more virtuals and started “The London Rainbow” series. This was a series of virtual caches created with the colours of the rainbow as the theme. Once you find all 7 you get to the bonus. We managed red and indigo, so have the rest left for another day. This took us to the house of a well known doctor of literature (However I hadn’t heard of him so perhaps I need to read more fiction and fewer geeky computer books – teeheehee!). After that we went down ‘Fleet Street’ (The home of printing and newspaper publishing) where the GPSr went absolutely crazy. It was like being in a complete black spot. This took us to a virtual at a church. I think this is an example of why virtuals got banned. I think there could have quite easily been a micro placed there as there are tons of spots where one could have been hidden. I think if virtuals are reinstated there needs to be a lot stricter monitoring of how many people place and where they are placed otherwise you could put one anywhere there is a number or photo opportunity!!! Perhaps this is why the earth cache rules are so strict.
Although I’d visited London many times in the past for shopping, concerts, and a few computer fairs (Yes I am a true Geek!) I hadn’t ever taken the opportunity to absorb the wonderful architecture and amazing statues and artwork that is scattered here, there, and everywhere all around the city. It was absolutely amazing what you could see. I noticed a quote by the famous author we looked for for the Red Rainbow cache, “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.” I think he could be onto something there!!!
Our favorite statue however was this big guy. There wasn’t a plaque on it, but i recall seeing a carving on it with a name but couldn’t remember what it was. I used Google maps to try and find out what it was. It’s a statue by Eduardo Paolozzi, a self-portrait of himself as Hephaestus, a Greek God. It was actually a cache that brought us to this spot and I was so surprised when the cache was actually hidden on the statue, and it was quite a large container. We were looking around the area trying to find it!
We continued along to more virtuals, this time the London Rainbow Cache 6 – Indigo for another famous writer. This time even I knew this guy!and then onto aiii que dolor which had us searching for a good 45 mins for a plaque. It was pretty easy once we had got there. I think being a bit tired hindered our search. There were so many plaques around this area (Gower Street) that it literally seemed like someone special had lived in every single one of the buildings there. Crazy! The thing that excited me more than the plaques however was some fab graffiti on some boards on the way to that cache. I love this sort of thing.
It got to 5pm and we headed into Oxford Street to pick up another web cam. At 17:10 we checked the webpage and the webcam picture was showing 17:00. A 10 minute delay. We eventually got to the web cam area and chose a spot on the left of the view which we soon realised was a bit crowded and you couldn’t see us. The camera had refreshed to 17:05 by then so we were hopeful that it was at least working. So we crossed over the road, checked the time 17:26, refreshed the camera and it said 17:23. Darn, we weren’t in the shot! We must have been hidden. So we stood at the crossing by the crossing button and refreshed… and waited… and refreshed… and waited… and waited… But the time didn’t change from 17:23 It got to 17:41 and we decided to move on to another cache down Regent Street. I however refreshed the image a few times and eventually it changed to 17:39 and there we were! Just 2 minutes before we left! RESULT! It’s not very clear, we tried to hold our purple bag up high so that it would be obvious in the shot, but were facing the wrong camera. You can see us quite clearly though with no-one surrounding us. I bet people were really puzzled as to why we were stood there all that time!
And then it was onto our last cache of the day “Catastrophe, Calamity, Cataclysm Part 4” our final one in that series. It was by a pump with a plaque about a guy who helped prevent a Cholera epidemic in London. We sat on the wall and worked out our coords for the bonus. Sadly we had run out of time by then so that has to be left for another day.
And finally we ended with the cleverest cache of the day, Tin Pan Alley Band. Along this alley were adverts for band members and instruments plastered in every gap along the wall. The cache logbook was no exception.
And that was our amazing trip to London. We only got half what we needed so there is plenty for another day and I can’t wait to go back, however I think we will save that for next year now it’s getting a bit colder. I’d recommend caching in London to everyone. Despite the signal problems it’s not too hard to work out where you need to go. For tourists I think the virtuals are a great idea as if they don’t feel comfortable searching for real caches in a city then they could still have a great day out with the virtuals. I think it’s definitely something I’d like to try in another city somewhere across the pond…