Geocaching in the Swiss Alps

After a comfortably cool night of rest, I woke bright and early before the alarm clock stirred. The plus thirty-five degree heat wave blocked by grey clouds and morning mist. How lovely and perfect for a steep walk. We’d set the alarm for, I actually can’t remember the time but it was set for breakfast. We don’t use alarm clocks normally yet we packed one to come on holiday. However as an insomniac there is nothing worse than not knowing how much sleep you’re losing out on. So a red LED clock helps me sleep.

Another endearing quirk of the freak that I am I suppose. I have so many sweet little foibles, some even pass for normal. Like liking tea.

I questioned my astute guide’s suggestion to pack all the gubbins required, as we have a big boot, to ensure maximum cosiness on this exploration trip of ours. He, my loved one, being Swiss is under the strange impression that a decent cup of tea is crucial in ensuring a happy Brit. So we also took the electric kettle, some teabags and my preferred mug. The cost of the room included a breakfast buffet, a chocolate on the pillow but not a kettle. Some people love nothing better than to be proven right. Me for instance, alas I was the idiot one saying “Naw, don’t be silly, a kettle?” Fifteen years experience, hubby resigns himself to a typical, head shaking sky glance. Anyway I’m rambling and I haven’t done breakfast. Time to get downstairs before the guests cough over everything. Another kink of mine, I abhor eating cake with candles.

I was first for breakfast and as it was holiday I allowed myself to indulge in some of the foods I’ve cut from my everyday diet. I casually sauntered by the cereal. Indulge and muesli, what an oddball image. I wanted bacon, scrambled eggs and butter. Whilst I was about it, two slices of white toast, a couple of wee sausages, mushrooms, tomatoes and a symbolic glass of fruit juice. I ordered tea and when it arrived I momentarily wished I were back in a certain builder’s café off the Finchley road. For many, making a decent brew consists of tipping boiling water on top of the tea, no matter I had my kettle.

On satisfyingly full stomachs we marched out of the hotel with our Garmin GPS indicator pointing up the hill. The route was steep, the morning mist was damp and thick it felt like October. There was a slight nip in the alpine air, which was much preferable to the swelter of past days.

Walking three steps behind the rising vapours we stayed dry climbing the well-trodden path. There were plenty of benches had we needed a rest but the views were still obscured at this ridiculously early hour. When we came within a few metres of the geocache our device beeped. The co-ordinates and clues were noted down after visiting the following website.

https://www.geocaching.com/play

( Includes a short video on the opening page which explains geocaching. )

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Terrain was rated 2/5, difficulty 1.5/5 and the size of the cache, micro although I’d have said normal. Other details can be found reading finder’s comments and written clues. As you can see below the path is quite manageable.

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The clever thing about geocaching is that the members hide them and normally in amazing places with interesting views. Often in special locations that remain unknown to mainstream strollers. A standard cache would be a plastic sandwich box containing a book to sign, a pen and tokens left behind by other finders. Things like bottle tops, key-rings and pretty stones, general bits of plastic tat. The aim and thrill is in the find, searches can take a few seconds or many minutes, on rare occasions you have to admit defeat and walk away. I have found a cache hidden in a fake outdoor electric socket, took a while to twig that it was a stupid place for a power-point. Also a micro one inserted into a combination pad-lock at the train station. I took up this hobby after my dog passed, something to get me out the house as I missed the walks. I recommend geocaching to the curious and also people with children. On this trip we found two caches and logging our finds on the geocache.com website map stands as a souvenir of where we’ve been.

We had climbed upwards to locate our finds, the mist had cleared by this time and although cloudy a ginormous postcard landscape was our reward.

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Downhill all the way back to the village, which was much busier than I’d expected. I imagined a ski location wouldn’t have much going on out of season. My mistake, like a page on the calendar they just flip to the summer programme.

A hikers paradise. One can travel by a high-wire gondola to Oeschinen Lake, a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site. Amble along on a peaceful nature walk and fill your lungs. For children and big kids, an adventure park with almost a mile of rope-ways and other climbing activities. Then there is Scooterland, something I did before and about as extreme as I get. Riding a wobbly gondola up a mountain and taking a big-wheeled scooter (with brakes) down again. I didn’t plan to do any of these activities on this check-it-out trip. The main purpose of which was to see if I could tolerate holidaying adult style.

My first time on a spa break and I don’t imagine it would be a full experience without a few treatments therefore a neck and shoulder massage and a facial had been scheduled. It was an expensive trip compared to two weeks on a beach but I’d done that, this was different. I arrived back home with a healthy glow and a very polished nose.

I hope you enjoyed my blog.

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