Yes, this is the official end of my trip. I’ve been back in Odense for a week now, but two days ago GBTE ended, with a nice little event, created especially for this: GC5B5WN

I made the event at precisely the same coordinates as the first geocache I ever found, back in February when I started. The location is on a bridge, a very nice wood structure bridge. When I created the event I thought not many people will be interested in attending it since the location is so dull. I mean, it was not a cafe, a pub or a tea-house… or any other usual place for a meeting… it was a  just a bridge 🙂 And so I was very surprised to see logs gathering and people announcing their intention to attend.

In total, I had 15 geocachers that came to meet and greet me! Most of them arrived and stayed between 12:00 and 13:30. Pawel came later because he had to work… in fact he just took a break from work to attend, and I thank him very much for that!

First to attend was Kenneth, a name I knew very well since I saw it a lot in the logs of the caches I found. The coincidence was that he was many times no more that 1 or 2 logs before me…  🙂 and that is why I remembered his name. I recognized also other names and faces I saw in the logs, and I was really happy to meet them face to face.

 

 

To be honest, I was really looking forward to this event so that I could meet all of these wonderful people, specially Klabautermanden since his name stuck to my mind as owner of caches. I don’t recall seeing his ID in any logs, but I do remember him as owner. And on top of that, we chatted before this. The biggest surprise was not that he attended but that he and Helle brought sweets! Home baked sweets: brunsviger (Fyn’s speciality) and some wonderful cookies.

 

 

It has been a wonderful meeting, the weather was great (although we had a bit of wind), we talked, we logged trackables, some TB grabbing took place and a little geocache hunting for those who hadn’t found GC2C3JY yet.

 

 

You know what? Who the fu*k said Danes are cold people had no idea what he/she was saying! I never had such a warm „welcome back” party ever! I mean, I am a complete stranger to them, and they were strangers to me. Not more than a name on a website. And still I felt like one of them, I felt great. And to think that these 15 people came over here for/because of me, that some of them traveled from outside the city (Århus – 150 km, Fredericia – 54 km, Munkebo – 15 km), that two of them not only took the time to attend but also spent some hours at home, baking the sweets they brought… That, my friends, is extraordinary! If you read the whole story of my trip you must know by now how lucky I am to have met only the best people ever along the way. Well, here I am, adding 15 more people to that list!

THANK YOU!!

 

FTF: 29Kenneth
My only regret is that I failed to take pictures with everybody 🙁 I apologize for that. I know I should have done some things different, but since this was my first event ever created, I hope I will be excused 🙂

 

 

 

My event was set from 12:00 to 16:00 because, frankly, I had no idea what time-frame to set. I thought of it not being too early or too late… so I choose the time-frame in between :). As I said, most people came at 12 and left at about 13:00 since there was another event somewhere outside Odense and they were heading there. Just when the last people were leaving, Lars arrived. I would like to give him also some special thanks because he kept me company right until the end of my event, at 16:00.
I was actually thinking I was going to wait alone all that time, but he came and saved the day. Truthfully, time flew! Thank you Lars!

 

 

A small personal note about the GZ of my event: You gotta love wood! This is the bridge and all that orange thing is wood, the decking is made of wood and the beams that hold it are also made out of wood… Basically only the wind braces, hangers, railings and the bolts are made of metal. Everything else is wood. Nice!

 

Stats and thoughts after G(B)TE 2014

As you were able to clearly see in the first image of this post, I did use many means of transportation in this trip. The plan was to cycle all the way, but I changed it after arriving in France, and I do not regret my decision. It would have been nicer to do it all as planned, but where’s the adventure in that? 🙂

I don’t really have a GPX track of my trip, but I can give you the map of the TB that followed me along this trip:

 

I left Odense on June 30 2014 and returned on Sept 20 2014, thus a vacation of 83 days. I am not going to put a list of caches I have found, because you could find that on my stats on geocaching.com. In total, from start until finish, I found 190 caches all around.

  • I crossed 10 countries, geocached in 9 of them:
    1. Denmark – 17 new finds
    2. Germany – 52 finds
    3. Netherlands – 13 finds
    4. Belgium – 4 finds
    5. Luxembourg – 4 finds
    6. France – 53 finds
    7. Switzerland – no finds
    8. Germany – no stops, no new finds
    9. Austria – 2 finds
    10. Hungary – 1 geocache found
    11. Romania – 44 finds
    12. Denmark – no new finds
  • cycled from Denmark to France – 1500 km
  • hitchhiked in France – 480 km
  • used covoiturage (blabla car) in France – 480 km
  • drove from France to Romania – 2700 km
  • went by car, train and bus in Romania – 5700 km
  • flew back to Denmark – cca 1600 km
  • 9 nights slept in the tent (5 nights while cycling, 4 nights in Romania’s Mountains)
  • 3 nights couchsurfed: 1 in Flensburg, 2  in Osnabruck
  • 5 nights cycled without sleep
  • 41 nights slept at friends all over (2 nights in Netherlands, 20 in France, 19 in Romania)
  • 2 nights slept in the camping trailer, on the way from France to Romania
  • 1 night snoozed in the train
  • 3 nights at a hotel
  • 1 night on the beach, without sleep
  • 17 nights slept at home (home sweet home)
Maybe 190 caches are not that much, and maybe 1500 km by bike, for some, might seem a small distance, but for a first try, for me, that’s pretty good. I cycled in total about 14 days so that makes an average of 107 km per day. That is good, considering all the stops for geocaching.
Overall, it has been an wonderful trip, a great experience and yes, I would love to do it again, as soon as possible. Of course, having learned my lesson from all the previous mistakes. I have to plan better next time, and start planning earlier. I left kinda on the spur of the moment, wondered into the unknown…
A few factors influenced me into the decision of stopping in France and continuing via other means, but I am really  happy  of the results of that decision: I got to try hitchhiking, I had more time to spend in Pouilley-les-Vignes and Avignon (Provence), I got a camping trailer, I got home faster and manage to solve a lot of issues, got to spend some wonderful nights and days into the mountains, got to enjoy time with my friends, and that is a win!
I have to say, a trip like this is for everybody to try at least once! You get to experience all kinds of emotions being alone on the road, alone in unknown territories. Having cycled 1000 km, I am more confident about any trip I wish to take. I look at a bike trip of 300 km like at a „walk in the park”, and I LOVE this feeling.  I feel free. I really feel free! I just need air in my wheels, some food (apparently not that much) and my GPS to seek the caches! Yes! I never go anywhere without searching for caches!
I had ups and downs, I had rain and I had sun, I had laughs and I cried, I met new people and I had my fair share of being alone…. and I will do it again with the first chance I get! Better, bigger, longer, harder (terrain), lighter (luggage)! I have to! Those who don’t understand that… well, they don’t know what they are missing.
Some, hearing about the trip, have asked: „How  many tires did you changed?” „How many flat tires did you have to fix?” NONE! I had spares, tools and everything, but I had no flats so I reached France with the same tires and tubes that I had when I left Odense. It is true that since then, the bike needs a lot of work, but it survived heroically the whole trip! We got to know each other very well, and I managed to get around all its flaws and issues 😀
Thank you all my good friends, new and old, 
for making this trip as amazing as it was!
Looking now, at all the pictures taken this summer, I get to relive all the lovely memories and remember all the fun I had! That is priceless!
See all the pictures, from start to finish, in the album here
Read the whole story on the dedicated page: raduclapa.ro/GBTE2014