Tag Archives: Europe

Churches, Red Houses and 15 Years – Geocaches 138 – 140

After a gloriously lazy morning finishing off my book, it was time to geocache!

The weather was absolutely horrible! So why cache today? 15 years ago to the day, Geocaching was born! As such, there was a new souvenir to collect on Geocaching.com, and who can resist a new .jpg for their profile?

Terri and I headed out to pick up some local caches that have sprung up over the winter. We started off with Attention Defici… oooooh shiny (GC5PJNQ), which is nearby the National Glass Centre. When we got to the parking place we were surprised to see this:

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HMS Ocean is staying in Sunderland this weekend. It’s a really huge boat. We walked up onto the glass roof of the centre to get a better look. This is the weird view you get up on the roof – the gift shop many floors below.

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Terri hoped that these designs weren’t covering up the cracks!

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Back to the geocaching though. We found the cache near the Red House, a sculpture nearby the National Glass Centre.

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Quite a view from the living room.

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After a short drive up in the hideous weather, we ended up on top of the cliffs at Roker. The picture below doesn’t do justice to the wind and rain we were enduring by this point! Traditional Bank Holiday weather.

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Next up, Top Bombing (GC5NM3R). Continuing the military theme we headed for a multicache set near an old Sea Mine.

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We solved the clues from the nearby information board, and ran along the clifftops to the final location to keep warm. The elements didn’t want us outside today. Once we got to the final location, we quickly hunted out the cache and signed the log.

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On the way back to the car, I picked up Church Micro 6343…Roker (GC5CCZ7) – which Terri had already found. Still freezing, we ran back to the car.

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From one church micro to another, the next one on the list today was Church Micro 7369…Whitburn (GC5NA9Y). In our own traditional style we headed straight for the church in Whitburn. Except it was the wrong church. Whoops. Still a nice church though.

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Nearby Whitburn Parish Church is this other red house The Red Cottage, which has cricket-themed decorations.

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Anyway, we were in exactly the wrong place for the church micro. We walked back through the village towards W.M.#62 We Shall remember them ~ Whitburn (GC5NEB8). The War Memorials series is a relatively new one, and you complete them by reading information on the monuments which reveals the final location of the caches. The church micro series has really taken off, with at least 7000 in the UK. I wonder if the W.M. Series will do the same.

Before going to the final location for this cache, we went to the Methodist Church in Whitburn (the correct location this time) but were unable to unearth the cache. We had similar luck with the final location of the war memorial cache. We should have quit while we were ahead!

At the end of the adventure, we were left with a couple of new DNFs in the area as well as our finds – it’s been a while since we’ve had some local DNFs to grab! The souvenir unlocked itself and presented us with a new mission of finding various types of cache on various days throughout the summer. I wonder if we’ll manage it!

Pi Day–Geocaches 135 and 136

 

In what is now a two-week long tradition, Terri and I grabbed a couple of local caches before heading to the gym. Our first one was Church Micro 7370…Fulwell (GC5NYCA) and after withdrawing last week due to dog walkers, we had to have another go this weekend. The coast was clear, and we went straight to it – a real cache and dash!

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Because of Pi day, there was a special souvenir to be unlocked on Geocaching.com. Finding a ? (puzzle) cache would do the trick. As we had already got a puzzle cache ready to find, we went for the final part of the BTB Cleadon series – BTB – Cleadon C (GC32XAH).  We had found the 4 feeder caches ages ago, and thought today would be the day to grab the final cache!

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It was a fairly quick find somewhere in the vicinity of the church, which we had suspected all along given the cache owner… you’ll know what I’m talking about it you’re from around here! Souvenir bagged, we went off to the gym!

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A Souvenir by: Geocaching HQ

Additional Information:Computing more and more digits of pi has been a goal of some mathematicians throughout the years. It’s almost like solving a very complex puzzle, which is why this souvenir was awarded to those who found a Mystery Cache on Pi Day, March 14, 2015 (aka 3.14.15).”

Church Micro – Geocache 134

Terri and I tried to get close to Church Micro 7370…Fulwell (GC5NYCA) first, but there were too many dog walkers about… we resolved to come back later.

Terri and I thought we might be first to find Church Micro 7373…Seaburn (GC5NM4V)… but we weren’t. We hung around the wrong clue item for a little too long and waited for a man and a dog to walk by. Unfortunately for us, they went more or less straight to the coordinates and stood there! Happily, he broke the silence and told us we looked suspicious. He was right! We quickly found the cache and signed the log, and had a nice chat too. Not bad for our first run out of 2015!

Once Brewed, Sun and Geocaches 130-133

Today I went to Once Brewed with my dad, who does lots of work with public engagement in astronomy. Once Brewed is near a section of Hadrian’s Wall, which provided a theme for the day as we travelled along various points on its route. My main task was to photograph him setting up his equipment and I also took some pictures of people looking at the sun through the specially designed solar telescope. I had lots of fun with the camera!

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Happily, this being Northumberland National Park, there was a fair smattering of geocaches about! I managed to find three different types today – two traditional, a letterbox hybrid and an earthcache.

The first cache, Once Brewed and the Sill (GC5226C) was very easy. It had been placed at the visitor centre by Northumberland National Park – a very quick find hidden in a very traditional style. Still, a find is a find!

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The second was the earthcache, Cawfields Great Whin Sill, (GC1YH9E), which was at Cawfield quarry.

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Very close by, there was a letterbox hybrid cache, Cawfields Quarry (GCXWCE) with a brilliant container, the first of its type I’ve found. Alison and I spent a few minutes searching in the wrong place.  There we uncovered a milk bottle half-dug into the ground, but closer inspection revealed it was not the cache.

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After relocating slightly, we got our hands on it! This was Alison’s first physical find, so I explained about letterboxing and how the logging works by collecting stamps in a book rather than by writing your name in the cache logbooks.

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After a short drive, we found ourselves by another interesting geological feature at Walltown with a cache nearby, Walltown Quarry (GCK29D). On the way up the hill from the car park we were heard a pack of hunting dogs and dad spotted a deer. We found the cache quickly at the top of a small hill and signed the log.

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At the end of the day as the sun was going down, we headed off to Twice Brewed, a very warm and cosy pub. There was a good pub menu and I really enjoyed my sausage and chips after a long afternoon in the cold! On the way out the barman told us they had the biggest rum collection in the North of England, and the next biggest collection is in Manchester. It seemed an odd accolade for a rural Northumbrian pub!

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I was really happy to get back in the warm after such a chilly day.

Wiener Schnitzel in the Woods

My final full day in Austria was spent with Lisi’s family, who meet up each Christmas. We travelled across the city and out towards a nearby village, via this fetching building – apparently the longest residential building in Europe at over 1km long. You can read more about Karl Marx-Hof here.

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We eventually arrived at Der Waldhof in Maria Gugging, which oozed character from the very beginning. Could it look any cuter?

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Even the taxidermy was feeling the festive spirit.

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And what else would you eat in an Austrian cabin in the woods? Wiener schnitzel and apple and potato salad of course!

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The decorations were simple and effective, and the bid windows let in plenty of light and a view of the surrounding trees.

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Even the signs on the toilet doors were very cute.

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The food was good, and some of us headed out for a little walk afterwards to blow away the cobwebs. Coming out into the snow was a big shock to the system after the cosy woodburner in the restaurant.

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On our walk we went through an outdoor church, Lourdesgrotte.

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After our walk, we all went back to a family home for tea and cake, before heading home for the evening and packing!

Boxing Day in Vienna

Another day, another hill! This time we took the bus up to Am Himmel, which means “in Heaven”. On the way we went through some picturesque spots in Vienna, and then left the city limits!

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We had dinner in Oktagon, a restaurant right on the top of the hill. The building was windows all around, and almost felt like eating outside, except for the warmth! We had tafelspitz – topside of beef boiled with vegetables and served with apple sauce and sour cream, as well as creamed spinach and potatoes. It was fantastic, especially the potatoes! Lisi and I had hot red grape juice and Aimee had apfelschole, apple juice mixed with carbonated water.

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Now we were well and truly ready for a walk. As we went out of the restaurant very fine snow started to fall, and the cloud hung over the city. We walked through the vineyards. To my surprise, we were visited by a green woodpecker! First one, and then another. The first one made himself known very loudly – you can see him and listen to his call on the RSPB page. Can you see why he was somewhat unmissable?

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The other side offered this view of the city, and Aimee and Lisi were amused by the sign which said that all the wine grown in the vineyard is fertilised by Viennese green waste – the food scrapings and potato peelings that go into the little recycling bin on everyone’s kitchen counter. Apparently “nobody talks like that!”

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On the way back down the hill we walked down some long streets, and Aimee pointed out how different some Viennese houses were from each other, thanks to planning regulations – or lack of them – in some parts of the city. These two are pretty different from one another!

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As we got further down a few neighbourhood cats took an interest in us, coming and asking for a pat. One stayed high up on a fence and scratched its chin and cheeks on some straw which was sticking up, making a very happy face as it scraped away! Occasionally it changed surface and went for the wooden fence post instead.

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Travelling abroad always brings linguistic joy… two stand-out instances came along in just a couple of minutes thanks to this unintentionally hilariously named street, and this amusing family name.

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We eventually got back to the U-Bahn near Karl Marx-Hof, which hides a spectacular station in unassuming wrappings.

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We took the U-Bahn to the Pink Christmas Market, which was festooned in pink and was playing possibly the worst dance remixes of Christmas songs we’d ever heard. Even the people selling their things there were complaining about the music! It seemed to be a very short playlist too. There was a good selection of stalls open selling quality things, though most of them seemed to be food stalls, with lots of preserves and schnapps on offer. I bought some painted papier mache baubles (Lisi encouraged me to buy two, much to the amusement of the stall holder). There was another stall selling these… not quite my taste but they may well delight others!

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After a crepe and some mulled wine (finally!) we went back home. We caught the bus close to this sweet shop with a terrifying window display…

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Happily, the strange mannequin was balanced out by this display of lucky new year pigs and toadstools! Thank goodness for small mercies…

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Christmas Day in Vienna

We started the day in fine fashion as Aimee cooked breakfast, including the Britwurst, which were nice – even if Lisi and I struggled to find the promised apricots in our sausages. We also had eggs and shockingly, SPROUTS! Aimee cooked them really nicely and they were very tasty fried up and seasoned. I don’t even like sprouts particularly, but I really enjoyed these.

Once we had had our boilers stoked (I added some chocolate for good measure) we walked up a hill close to Aimee and Lisi’s place, up to Schloss Wilhelminenberg which shares the hill with some vineyards.

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Schloss Wilhelminenberg was decked out nicely for Christmas, and there were people inside having Christmas treats and looking at the view. The small surrounding Christmas market was closed, but the view was more than enough entertainment.

We walked back down through the city and the Christmas decorations were all switched on on the way down. Not really sure what went wrong with this tree…

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Aimee enjoyed pointing out all of these handwriting style neon signs which seem to be everywhere in Vienna. There’s something nicely old fashioned about them.

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Some interesting santa-style figurines… garden gnomes perhaps?

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We were really hungry when we got back, and got started on our Christmas meal straight away. We had boiled the rice for sushi earlier, and so were ready to make lots of tasty rolls. Aimee and Lisi started by chopping vegetables and I did the first couple of rolls, then Aimee and Lisi made some too. We made plenty of sushi!

I really enjoyed making “Austrian” sushi, which contained sausage, pickle and mustard. It worked surprisingly well, though there might have been too much mustard in it! None of it lasted long. Alongside the sushi we had a bit more tokaji.

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And what December 25th is complete without setting your dessert on fire?

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