What’s the Story?
So this day was, fundamentally, our last one in Belgium. We had to go home. “Boooooo!” and “Hisssssss!” and all that. It started with a quick hack around Bruges and ended up at a big white nose.
Which left the small question of what to do about caching for our final day.
One of the newly released series for the Mega Event was the “Cartoonwonders” series. It was over on the east side of town. It seemed to have 20 caches, designed to be easy for kids, with a few add-on extras for good measure. We didn’t really have time for a long series. To be honest after Sunday’s exploits we didn’t really have the legs either.
We parked up as per the guidance and began our quest for the day. The brief said it was pretty much hard paved all the way round, so we took the decision to not bother with walking boots. That proved to be a good decision. Relaxed feet and free ankles. Mmmm! I really must try getting some boots that actually fit my feet.
Back at the plot, we couldn’t find the first one. And we couldn’t find the second one either. But then we caught up with a local couple who literally lived right next to where we parked. They gave us some pointers on the first two. We then spent the rest of the series either walking with them, or catching up / leaving them. It was like a “with you, but not really with you” thing. We exchanged some pointers on the cartoon characters that were required for the bonus. They also helped us quite a lot (maybe we helped each other) with finding info for the accompanying multi. I would not normally have done a multi with 9 waypoints, but we were sort of walking around them anyway, so I thought we might as well.
The series proved to be much as described – flat, fast walking, and mainly paved. We thought we’d boo-booed with the bonus codes because we hadn’t been writing down the numbers associated with each character in each cache, but shhh, don’t tell the locals, you didn’t actually need any of them apart from the last, which was good. Anyway, it was located much where I expected. There was a suspiciously large looking gap between the first two caches.
To the Cachemobile
So with the add-ons that put us back at the car having done 21 caches in three hours. Slow going caused by the multi, but a decent series nonetheless.
After this we decided to revert to “drive-by” mode so that we could stop whenever we felt like it and scoot over to Calais for the train home. So we made our way around central Bruges for the last time and followed a quiet country road westwards, stopping every few hundred metres for another cache. We did about 16-17 this way before deciding that we better get a shift on. It was also time for lunch.
Lunch was had a the Mannekensvere services, and this time we included some fuel. I guessed I’d need €40 to fill up. I guessed a bit under, but at least that meant I didn’t have to go back into the shop to get a refund of the surplus. It was close enough anyway.
Cap Blanc Nez
From here we bashed our way across the motorways until we were at Calais and found ourselves with two and a half hours before our scheduled train departure. We had catered for this possibility by allowing for a bit of time up at Cap Blanc Nez, a cliff just to the west of Calais from which you can see Dover, and see the continuous trail of ferries crossing the Channel. It was a clear day, so the White Cliffs of Dover were clearly visible on the other side.
There’s a big monument on the top of the hill dedicated to the Dover Patrol, and this was the setting for a virtual cache. We did a few traditionals around here too before deciding we’d had enough and heading back to the Tunnel Terminal for the trip home. We arrived an hour before our scheduled departure but we couldn’t get on an earlier train. That proved to be a good thing because if we had got an earlier one, we’d have missed it as a result of having to queue for so long to buy something to eat in the terminal. Eventually, though we did get some food, and we did the necessary toilet trip, and dashed off to join the train loading lanes. As it happens we did get put onto one train earlier than we’d booked. That saved us a whole 12 minutes (according to the schedule).
Back in Blighty
Once we got to the UK again the drive home was boringly easy. That’s just how I like it to be, and we got back home at around 9:45 pm. Ami had slept much of the way back through England.
When I did all the final counting over the following days, having typed up all the field notes, we’d logged 208 regular caches and 19 lab caches, which I think is a decent return for four days. Ami was along mainly for the ride, so I didn’t do as much caching as I might have done if she’d not been there. To be honest, on the longer days of Friday and Sunday we’d done over 60 caches, and I regard that as plenty if you’re out for a 4-day burst. Eventually, even I got bored and want to stop.
I managed to eek it up by one more cache because the two virtuals we did at Cap Blanc Nez allowed us to claim a challenge we’d done in Kent the previous weekend (see Greenhithe). I was happy with that total.