My Geocaching adventures in the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg (the official name. Hamburg is a charming port city in Northern Germany along the Elbe River.
By GCACHE METHOD
Over the past three years, my Geocaching adventures in Hamburg took me to many of the city’s seven Bezirrke (boroughs) of the City. As Europe’s third largest port town, water plays an important role in the dynamics of the city. The river and its tributary canals are connected by over 2500 bridges which is more than Amsterdam, London and Venice combined. One unique feature of the city centre are two lakes: Inner Alster and Outer Alster, which provide exceptional scenery for walking, biking, and caching.
The city’s architecture consists of historic buildings and modern neighborhoods and contain no skyscrapers. The tallest features dotting the skyline are beautiful church spires.
On my walks, I successfully cached at all of the city’s most popular tourist attractions including the grand church Saint Michaelis, the old warehouse district or Speicherstadt, the harbor promenade, and the gorgeous Elbphilharmonie concert house. My hikes also took me through the Reeperbahn in the Saint Pauli area. In addition to being Europe’s largest red light district, the Reeperbahn is home to various bars and nightclubs which hosted the Beatles from 1960-1962.
The German geocaching community takes their geocaching very seriously, and I found many amazing caches and virtuals during my trips. I grabbed my first smiley in Germany, on August 19, 2017 and to date have 30 finds, of which all but two are in Hamburg. I learned that my geocaching adventures were much more difficult when the cache description and hints are in another language. Here are some of my favorites
GC7B7KN is a Virtual with over 1000 Favorite points! The Elbphilharmonie is the stunning concert hall. The observation deck is a must visit whether Geocaching or not!
GCGR9B is a webcam cache and the first one I have successfully completed! At the time I did this it had over 950 Fave Points.
Airport - Kirche TB Hotel
GC4EN84 is a must do if you are flying in or out of Hamburg Airport! Read the description in advance as there are some questions you will need to answer.
...Ja Wo Isser Denn??
GC6NP5R is super interesting cache in a beautiful garden setting. Loosely translated, the cache name is Yes, Where is it?
Now for the rest of the story
My son and I started a Travel Bug race in September of 2016. Travel Bugs (TB) are trackable tags that you attach to a small item, often a keychain. Each trackable has a unique code which allows the owner to track its movements and mileage around the world. It is easy to calculate the total mileage each month and remind each other whose bug was in the lead!
We agreed that the bugs would race for two years and then make their way back to Chicago. The winner would be the Bug that made it closest to Chicago two years from the start of the race.
We started the race by dropping the Travel Bugs at one of our favorite TB hotels with the hope that someone would move them fast and far! My son’s TB was named “My Kind of Town TB” and my racer is the “Windy City Traveler.” As luck would have it someone grabbed both bugs and moved them both to Northwest England. The race was on!
My bug was eventually picked up by an active geocacher, named Hertaner, who took the Windy City Traveler on an amazing tour of Europe. I was really logging some miles. Then one day my son announced that his bug had traveled to Australia. Oh, no, I was now thousands of miles behind in the race. But I had a brilliant idea!
I was planning a trip to Hamburg in April 2017, so I wrote to Hertaner and asked if it would be possible to get the Bug to Hamburg. I was excited to receive a reply that Hertaner had friends in Hamburg and would try to get the bug to them. A week later I received an update that Hertaner had successfully passed my racing bug along to a cacher named HolgerElke.
At the last minute my trip was cancelled and I was so close to being reunited with the bug. I wrote to HolgerElke and asked them if they could drop the bug at the Grand Elysee Hotel where the rest of my work colleagues were planning to stay. When the team returned from Hamburg they were all smiles when they gave me the Bug! I couldn’t wait to show my son!
When I arrived home with the TB my son was without words. I couldn’t stop laughing and he kept saying “how did you get this”? I wasn’t able to keep this ploy to myself and quickly revealed how I came to have the bug in my possession. Even though I had made up some mileage in the race I was still 4,000 miles behind. So I took a few pictures and quickly set the bug back into the wild.
My Favorite Cache in Hamburg
My next trip to Hamburg was in August 2017 and I was hopeful that I would meet HolgerElke on this trip. We exchanged messages all week and we agreed to meet Friday after work at GC 604WR. As I understood from the text messages, it was a birthday party. I arrived at GZ and quickly recognized Elke and Holger from photographs! Yes, HolgerElke was indeed two people! Then I learned that the celebration was for the anniversary of Paddy’s Irish Pub! I ordered a Guinness and spent the evening talking about Geocaching with Holger and Elke.
Six months later I was back in Hamburg for my second to last visit. We made plans to meet at Paddy’s but it was packed, so we connected at a local brewhouse to share stories and trade some trackables. I gave HolgerElke a special TB and asked them to show the bug around Germany and I would get it back when I returned in June.
June 2019 was my final visit to Hamburg for awhile. HolgerElke were on holiday and I was busy at work. Then one day I got an SMS sharing that they were back from their travels and suggested meeting at GC88A44. I didn’t immediately realize that it was an event cache so I was super excited when I arrived at GZ and entered the restaurant. I made my way upstairs to find the room full of Geocachers! After catching up a bit, Elke presented my travel bug which they had taken on a most amazing journey of over 1,000 miles. Along the way they dipped the bug in 275 different caches! What incredible cachers!
The event was the perfect way to spend the last night on my final visit to Hamburg. As the event was beginning to wrap up, we said our goodbyes as I was meeting a colleague at Paddy’s. I was sitting outside and who did I see riding up on their bike! Two Guinness please. Yes, GC604WR get’s a Favorite Point!
GCACHE METHOD is dedicated to the amazing places, and people, that I discover while Geocaching! Finding the hidden cache is only half the fun. Visiting awesome new places is the real treasure!
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