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After the delights of spending 21 hours the previous day riding a bus across Europe (see All Aboard the Gigabus) we set our alarm at a fairly lazy 9:40 am. Both of us woke up a bit earlier than that (partly due to the noise of people going in and out of the nearby breakfast room), and we grabbed a quick shower before going for breakfast ourselves. Thankfully the breakfast room was open quite late, by German standards.

Ami seemed to be in fairly good condition (probably better than me, to be honest) and we managed to get ready without any argy-bargy or grumpiness.

The breakfast room was literally only 10 yards away from our bedroom door, just along the corridor. It was a traditional German affair consisting of a selection of breads, cereals, meats & cheeses with hot drinks delivered by a fairly friendly waitress dressed in the “full Bavarian”

We had an appointment to meet up at 11am at the Hauptbahnhof with some others who were staying locally, so we could travel up to the event together. We arrived nice and early and I took the opportunity to grab some Euros from a nearby cashpoint, as I’d only got 30 or so in my wallet. The day promised to involve the use of cash for anything needing to be purchased, such as food and beer.

Our companions turned out to be more numerous than we expected and somewhat late, but we got there eventually and then descended into the U-Bahn. Ticket negotiations proved troublesome (always research and decide beforehand when trying to use public transport somewhere they don’t speak your language) but we ended up with some kind of a group ticket that covered several of us but only provided one receipt, and hence which meant we’d all need to stay together or meet up somewhere to go home later. One of the assembled company was carrying an ironing board, which apparently is trackable.

We took the U8 line up to Olympiazentrum and ascended into the sunshine feeling ready for some eventing and box hunting.

The route from the station to the stadium was heaving – never has one single area been packed with so many people who know so precisely where they are, but who have such little idea about why they are there. Probably.

Anyway, we were suitably armed with all forms of GPS device, onto which we’d variously downloaded a selection of regular caches, lab caches, events, and other random stuff. The whole weekend proved to a be big exercise in negotiation as we variously met up with and then separated from people who had or hadn’t got the solutions to puzzles in the vicinity, and were aware of which ones had been temporarily disabled and which hadn’t.

First up we followed a crowd to an item hanging in a tree which purported to be a “travelling” cache visiting from elsewhere in Bavaria, but which ultimately turned out to be a wind-up job – some irritating soul had decided to hang a bit of tupperware in a tree and label it with the name of someone else’s cache, and that someone else started receiving hundreds of logs about people finding his cache in Munich until at some point he just archived it and deleted all the logs. Not such a good start, not that we knew that until the evening, when we tried logging everything.

Then we continued wandering towards the stadium, where we found our first Lab Cache (at the Art Gallery). Lab Caches are strange, aren’t they? Somewhere in-between the old Virtual cache type and the modern-day Munzee, and generally a bit half-arsed in the implementation at the moment.

As we left the art gallery and moved towards the stadium we had the first of several heavy showers during the day. It was quite impressive watching the way the roofs of the stadium channel water along the edges and into the (inadequate) drains. We huddled under the roof until this one stopped. It was a good one.

And then we wandered over to find our way into the event itself. When we arrived at the stadium entrance we were greeted by the sight of a massive queue, and our hearts immediately sank a bit until we realised that it was the queue for people who hadn’t pre-registered for the event. We all had pre-registered and were, therefore, able to walk right up to an empty desk with our confirmation receipts to pick up our geocoins, goody-bags and other items. And this meant we could then descend directly into the stadium without really having to queue at all.

What greeted us inside the stadium was a veritable cacophony of caching chaos, consisting of a stage with a very loud PA system, several food and beverage outlets, a selection of Bavarian pub-games, multiple vendors of geocaching items, a series of tables for swapping trackables and a series of huge boards that constituted the official event “logbook” And a lot of people. Oh, and several people walking along the stadium roof and jumping down a massize zip wire that ran into the stadium bowl.

The stadium itself was very similar to the previous time I’d visited (in 1989) except that it no longer seems to have a running track or grass field. It seems to have been covered in tarmac. Well I guess it helps the rain to drain away. It is still a very impressive place when you’re standing down on the stadium floor, though. The roof really towers over you from down there.

All of this excitement was getting the better of us, so we decided it was time for some kind of refreshment. We wandered over to a nearby stall and negotiated our way towards some coffee and cakes. I had a bit of a dialogue issue whereby I seemed to be overcharged and discussed with someone who said no, I’d definitely been charged correctly. I couldn’t be bothered to argue over a Euro so I left with my coffee and cake in hand while we all wandered over to one of the many Coca-Cola concession stands. At this one we got talking to a chap who was very aware of who we were (claiming to have heard of Simply Paul) and who explained to us the issue with the pricing. What the coffee stallholder had failed to get across to me was that the drinking vessels in the stadium carried a 1 Euro deposit, which I could get back when I’d finished and returned my empty cup to any of the stalls in the stadium. He also told us that the plastic bottles of soft drinks carry a 25 cent deposit that can be redeemed at any vendor of such items anywhere in Germany. I guess it encourages recycling. Or it encourages you to nick the glass instead of throwing it away.

Once we’d got ourselves suitably caffeinated we ventured off around stadium floor to see what was going on.  There seemed to be a whole host of Bavarian pub games going on that we obviously had to have a go at, such as “milk the rubber cow”, “shove beer glass”, “chuck the beer mat in a barrel”, “walk on a beer crate”, “hold a full beer glass out at arm’s length” and “hammer the nail” – All of these resulted in your getting a little rubber stamp, and when your sheet was full you could enter your sheet into a prize draw. None of us won.

The thing about pub games is that they make you hungry and thirsty, though. So after finishing our course, we retired to the food area to grab some lunch. It was at roughly this time that the heavens opened again and we had to take a gamble on whether to stand out in the rain whilst queuing or whether to keep hiding under the awning of the Coke tent in the hope that people would all wander out of the queues just as the rain was stopping. We settled for getting wet in the queue. Ami had some extremely healthy chips. I had my chips with an even healthier currywurst. We ate them whilst standing under the awning and watching the rain come down in buckets.

Just as we were finishing our lunch the rain relented and we were greeted by some bright sunshine (again), so we decided it was time for a quick look at the trackables tables and to go sign the big sheets that were acting as the event log. The logs were dry enough. Many of the bits of paper containing trackable codes (for discovery) had been suitably turned to mush. I still managed to get photos of about 400 codes for discovery though.

By now the sun was properly out, so we decided to say goodbye to the stadium and to shoot off to do a bit of the tupperware hunting. We had a collection of trads, puzzles, WherIGos and other items in the Olympic Park as well as 9 of the 10 Lab Caches remaining to be found, so lots to have a go at and time was marching on.

We decided to walk a clockwise route heading (initially) north out of the stadium towards the old Olympic Village. This took us past a number of “proper” caches as well as a few of the lab ones. There was a multi which started at the site of the infamous Munich Massacre and finished really close to the stadium (and which I’d pre-solved using Google). Then there was a traditional that involved scrambling down a very mucky and very slippery slope. After this, we were actually at the site of the Munich Massacre on Connollystraße, where there is a small memorial to the Israeli athletes who lost their lives.

From here we walked northwards to find a traditional cache stuck in a birdhouse in the middle of the Olympic Village, and from there southwards again for a lab cache in the area of the village that contains single floor bungalow style accommodation. This area is now used chiefly by students, many of whom have painted some very ornate murals on the outside.

This looped us nicely back to the lab cache at BMW World and back into the Olympic Park for a puzzle cache I’d solved and a lab cache by the side of the lake (which proved tricky because the original clue was buried beneath a flea market and whilst they’d changed the lab cache they’d done this sufficiently late that none of us had the new instructions. We only realised when another cacher told us the what and how…..

That was a fair amount of walking in itself but we weren’t done yet as we still had the whole of the Olympic Park itself to search through. We walked around the lake continuing in a clockwise loop where we found a traditional stuck to an anchor, another lab and a traditional on the “rubble hill”, then the earthcache on the very top of the Olympic Mountain plus a bonus traditional stuck in the trig point (that none of us had in our GPS devices for some reason). From here we descended to the south and west of the stadium to find the end point of a WherIGo cache and two more lab caches, and then the bonus for the WherIGo and two more traditionals before ending up at the last lab cache (at the Olympic Swimming Pool). At this last juncture the Dave’s Piglings scooted off in the direction of a puzzle they’d solved that was outside the Olympic Park by a few hundred metres, but sadly they didn’t find it.

Ami and me arrived at the swimming pool, shortly followed by EmmaW, and by now it was raining again, so we grabbed a drink and an over-sized pretzel each and mooched about in the rain waiting for the others to arrive. There’s a little stage jutting out into the lake and there was a live band playing, so there was some entertainment. By this time the clock had marched its way around to about 7 pm, I think. We’d been out caching for a good 4-5 hours since we’d left the stadium, so I felt we owed ourselves a beer and a sit down for a while.

We reassembled ourselves and decided we’d rather like to go up the extremely tall Olympiaturm for a look around. We’d deliberately waited until quite late in the evening though, to try to avoid the seething mass of humanity that had been around the park all day. By this time of the evening it was quite quiet by comparison. We cheated slightly here as the tower gave discounts for family groups, so myself and Ami were temporarily joined with Becky and Izzy into the Garford (or Mundner) family from Leighton Keynes (or Milton Buzzard).

The lift up to the top was quite quick, but not quite to the top. There are three or four floors up top, including a viewing gallery, a restaurant, and a nausea-inducing open terrace with mezzanine on top. It’s 190m up to the viewing gallery level and one good flight of stairs up to the outside level from there. Above there is another 90m of pointy televisual and communications gubbins. It’s quite spacious up top, which isn’t what I was expecting, even though it does look quite large from ground level. The view is superb though. You can see quite a long way on a clear day and you get a very impressive bird’s eye view of the stadium complex below. For some reason there’s also a small rock ‘n’ roll museum up there too. There’s also a little box on the wall with a combination lock, and inside that box is a geocache.

On the ground floor there’s a little tourist tat shop and some toilets, both of which were required before we left. It was starting to get distinctly dusky by the time we got down to the bottom so we had a quick chat about what to do for an evening meal. Our conclusion was that we wanted something quick and cheap, so we ended up returning to the centre of town on the U-Bahn and going to McDonalds. This particular outlet was all of about 100m away from the front of our hotel, so we were laughing.

The McDonalds was very McDonalds-ish and we sauntered back to our hotel feeling suitably stuffed in the now darkness of 10:30 pm, having arranged to meet up with our tour party right outside the same establishment at 11 am the following morning.

Not a bad day, overall. Ami survived well, given the absence of sleep (as did I) and we found a clutch of caches as well as attending the world’s first Giga event. Can’t be bad.

By way of reference, the caches we found were :