Our little Geocaching ‘escape to the continent’ edition – taking in France, Belgium, Germany and Holland!
On an impromptu journey in the van with MrBizkitz, to pick up some sound equipment over in Holland, we managed to pick up a couple of new souvenirs and a few brilliant caches!
Normally with mini work outings they usually involve pick ups and drop offs in and around London but MrBizkitz was lucky enough to have bagged a trip abroad to pick up some equipment for a VIP who shall remain nameless.
Our journey would take us across the Channel through France, Belgium and into the Netherlands with an even sneakier trip over the border into Germany.
The job involved getting to our Van der Valk hotel in Arnhem (which I highly recommend if you’re out that way) by nightfall for an early pick up the following morning. This left us with a whole day of adventuring…minus the travelling time to, and over the Channel.
Having decided that Bruges would be our stop off point we left around 5am making it to our chosen destination for around 12pm. I think we might have arrived a little earlier but there were some minor delays on the way across.
Luckily we’d had a few days to prepare for the trip and so I’d been very proactive on the Geocaching front, scouting out possible stopping points, printing out maps, printing out multicache information etc. Most of which we didn’t need in the end but it helped me to look forward to what was essentially a very long drive!
Bruges was lovely but, very busy for the middle of the week, it must be a crazy place to be at weekends! Club Brugge KV were also at home to Brøndby IF that day and there were quite a few supporters milling around singing football chants and generally enjoying themselves which added to the bustling atmosphere of the place.
We started our own mini tour at Bruges Station 1 which was a nice well camouflaged container and very close to the train and bus station, perfect if you’ve ever got a bit of time to kill whilst your waiting for your next connection as it’s only about a five minute walk from the front door.
Remembering that everything’s back to front on the roads and that EVERYONE has a bike we eventually managed to make our way across the road to pick up minnewaterpark which took a little longer to find as it was so well covered. Although it was in a nice spot, I reckon we might have caught the attention of a few passing muggles on the retrieve so we had to wait a little longer to replace it.
I’d printed off the details for our next cache, ‘BRUGGE WITH LOVE.‘ as it had 10 waypoints, which for MrBizkitz and I means 10 extra chances of screwing things up, so I wanted to be as prepared as possible for what we were going to be looking for. I’d also opted to print this one out as it was going to be taking us around the centre of Bruges and I didn’t want to be looking down at my phone the whole time. I wanted to be able to see Bruges in all it’s glory. 🙂
The walk started at the Lake of Love and headed on an easy 3 mile circular walk through the centre. Bruges is packed full of character and it was everything I was hoping it would be. Cafe’s, cobbled streets and chocolate…at one point I had to tear MrBizkitz away from buying a pair of chocolate breasts…to be fair they were quite impressive so I can’t blame him really! I wish we’d had a little more time so we could have gone to watch a real chocolatier at work – although my waistline was probably thankful for the reprieve. 😉
Thankfully, by some miracle, we managed to get all the answers right enabling us to calculate the final coordinates and find the cache. 🙂 We were impressed with the hide, and luckily we managed to make the grab whilst no one was around. I really rate this cache, it took us around an hour to complete and gave us a good tour of Bruges. My highlight was the town hall in the main square which was a very grand building with a very fancy facade, exactly the picture I had in my mind of buildings in Bruges.
Sadly we didn’t have anymore time in Bruges, and we missed a couple of the other traditional caches in the centre that we could’ve picked up had I been a bit more on the ball, but all in all I was happy to have found the three that we did. 🙂
Draisinenstrecke – Gaensebahnhof was our next cache. It required a little sneaky, and completely unnecessary if it wasn’t for Geocaching type, manoeuvre over the German border. The streets were quite narrow for the van but we managed to park relatively close to the disused railway track which was where we started our hunt from. Walking down the disused tracks was good fun and we spent a bit of time pretending we were in a black and white movie about to reenact our own great train robbery!
In my mind Germany is the second home of Geocaching so I was expecting something unusual and this cache definitely lived up to that, it was in an interesting location and had a fantastic hide that we nearly missed! It didn’t help that our German isn’t up to par and so reading the previous logs gave us no indication of what we were looking for!
Eventually after searching for what seemed like ages, and what turned out to be the wrong place I finally saw something which looked out of place and was soon happily signing the log. I had to award a favourite point to this one as it kind of embodies what Geocaching is all about. Being taken to an extraordinary place and being rewarded at the end of it!
We got to the hotel quite late and were pleased to find a comfy bed…caching and driving really takes it out of you!
Of course, we had to find a cache in Holland and so the next morning, as we were waiting for the equipment to be ready from the warehouse, we popped off to Kapel “de Heuvel” which was a stunning little chapel out in the absolute middle of nowhere! It was completely unexpected and despite, yet again, having no idea where the cache might be – with me not being able to read the cache page (my Dutch is even worse than my German!) – I managed to find it quite quickly tucked away around the side of the little chapel. 🙂 Happy days!
We ran out of time for more caches in the Netherlands as the equipment was ready and we needed to get ourselves back over the Channel…however we also needed to fit a break in somewhere 😉 and so we decided to take a look around Dunkirk as it wasn’t too far away from Calais. We found parc du vent #4 and parc du vent #3 then had a nice wander along the beach before heading home. Dunkirk looks like a great spot for water-sports, and there were plenty of people out that day using various methods to enjoy the surf so if that’s what you’re into check it out over at the Dunkirk Guide website! 🙂 Random little fact for you ‘Dunkirk’ is derived from a Flemish term ‘Dune kirk’ meaning The Church of the Dunes.
I guess that concludes our little escape to the continent and now that we’ve got the hang of the Chunnel maybe we’ll consider some more ‘MzAdventures’ overseas in the near future 😉 Watch this space!
Let us know where we should check out abroad, we’d love to know what adventures you’ve been on!
Happy caching! 🙂