Monday, 18 August 2014

A 'Giga' Weekend in Munich

Back in early April I heard there was to be a new icon and heard rumours about the Giga event status. We waited patiently for the announcement by Groundspeak which was made on 22nd April and as soon as I saw it was to be held in Munich I told Mark that we were attending - just a small problem with work getting in the way before and after that weekend so we knew it would have to be a quick fly-in and fly-out trip.  Two days after the announcement from Groundspeak we logged our will attend and had arranged flights and hotel - we had to move quickly as hotels were booking up very fast.

The weeks flew by and very soon it was time to go to Munich.

German beer on the plane to get us in the mood

We left Birmingham airport 17:50 on Friday for a 1 hour and 40 min flight with Lufthansa to Munich - we didn't need a hire car this time as the Munich public transport system is excellent - we bought tickets to hop on and off the S-bahn and U-bahn trains all weekend - the underground railway operates on 8 lines and serves 96 stations and all the trains were perfectly synchronised which made getting around a doddle.

We checked in at our hotel at 22:15 and were instantly greeted by a group of Danish cachers who informed us that there was rumoured to be 10,000 cachers in attendance at the event.


Up bright and early and breakfast at 7am in the hotel with many other cachers.
At 9am

The focus for the weekend was to attend the giga event, meet lots of cachers, do as many of the lab caches as possible, find all the Wherigos and Webcams and the only Virtual in Munich, pop into the odd biergarten or two, have frequent Kaffe and Kuchen breaks and generally have a good time.

We got to the event venue nice and early and chatted to cachers from all over the world while we waited for it to open.

The venue had to be able to cope with over 5,000 cachers so the Olympic Park was chosen.  An impressive venue that was constructed for the 1972 Summer Olympics.  After the close of the Olympic games the stadium was used mainly for football matches and served as the home stadium of the FC Bayern Munchen and TSV 1860 Munchen teams.  Since the opening of the Allianz Arena in 2005 the site is used almost exclusively for cultural events.
A few pins from the UK

When I ordered the geocoin I had no idea what size it would be, I'd just assumed it would be normal event coin size but it's quite large and I will have to buy some larger sleeves for my folder.

We spent a few hours talking and mingling with lots of cachers, quite a few we know from the UK, some that we'd met at previous mega events in Europe and many that we'd never met before.
Signing in

There was a great selection of stands for geo-shopping and amongst other things I treated myself to a pen that could write on wet paper, I'm sure that will be getting a lot of use.
Duck race!

The forecast wasn't great for Saturday and we spent a fair bit of it dodging the torrential showers which was a real shame for the organisers that had put together a brilliant event and gone to so much hard work at a fantastic venue.
Lots of entertainment and games

By lunchtime it looked like the rain had set in so we decided to leave the Olympic Park and hop on and off the tube and find some caches.

We were a bit concerned when we heard how many cachers were set to attend but on the day it wasn't a problem, the venue and location could more than cope with the numbers and the event itself was extremely well organised - also the weather not being so good probably kept the flow of people coming and going a little quicker than if it had been hot and sunny.

Next to the Olympic park is 'BMW Welt'  -  which is an exhibition/visitor centre situated next to the BMW Headquarters - as this was free to enter we decided to have a look around while we were waiting for another torrential shower to pass.
Completing a Wherigo with Bruno24

Towards the end of the day we headed out of the main city on the tube to play Rubis Geburtstagsschatz wherigo.  Just as we'd set off and were heading to the first stage we were greeted by a fellow cacher, Bruno24 and his young son, they were trying to find this wherigo as they were on an icon challenge for the day.  They had reached the second stage twice and could not find where to go next, they were about to give up so we joined forces. We were a little concerned that the cartridge wouldn't work for us either but luckily we had success in triggering all the zones and once we'd gone the correct route they had success too.  It was really good fun doing the wherigo together and we were really pleased to have been able to help our new friends Bruno24 as this was the last icon to get in their icon challenge for the day.


The forecast was for sun all day today so we took a risk and left our waterproofs at the hotel.
Oh go on, you've twisted my arm.

We spent the day finding lab caches, playing a wherigo that took us high up into a tower, talking to lots of cachers, doing a webcam cache, having Kaffe and Kuchen breaks, finding the only virtual in Munich and generally walking our legs off! 

There was an unofficial event arranged late afternoon with the UK attendees at The Englischer Garten, a large public urban park, it was lovely to meet up with most of the cachers from Simply Paul's Giga or Bust Bus.
Unofficial meet-up with UK cachers

Thirsty work all this walking

One of the attractions in the park is an artificial stream that flows through the park and a standing wave is produced by a water pumping mechanism - surfers line up along the bank taking turns to surf on the wave - you had to see it to believe it! - There's a cache here, Surf is up in Munich, otherwise I doubt we'd have known about it.

These are just the highlights from our trip, I can't believe how much we fitted into our weekend, we walked our legs off around Munich, we didn't find all that many caches but the experience of going to the world's first Giga event was something we'll remember forever.

Going home - At Munich Airport

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