After our first two successful geocaching outings last week, the kids were itching to get out for another one so this time, I copied down the details (coordinates and hints) in my little book for a whole series of caches in the same general area - the next town across from us called Fort Mardyck.
Our first cache was located in a lovely park, next to a tree with a double trunk. We had a good look around the whole park for double trunked trees (of which there were many !) then checked with the coordinates on my GPS but we couldn't find it.
We did find an enormous mushroom the size of a dinner plate though.
And we saw some lovely cute ducklings running along after their mum.
And we found some perfect places for caches but no little box. Never mind, a great time was had by all which is the most important thing.
On to the next cache and, in fact, our proper destination - the zoo. I'd seen that they were offering guided tours during the school holidays so we went along for a visit. It's only a small zoo but they have some lovely animals so the kids always love it. And I had just happened to notice that there was cache hidden somewhere along the zoo wall - we found it after a few minutes of hunting. This was great fun because you could hear the animals snuffling behind the fence, which made it quite exciting !
For the first time, we found a proper cache with items to exchange, much to the kids' delight. There was a scoubidoo and two magnets.
We took all three and left behind a Goofy paper clip, a wooden apple and a different magnet.
Pierre proudly put it back in its place.
So where next? A statue of an Icelandic fisherman, in homage to the men of Dunkirk who headed off to the waters off Iceland to go cod fishing, many of whom never made it back. One of the things I love about the geocaching.com website is that they give you the historical background of the different monuments and places of interest that you are taken to.
The hint for this one was "no entry but you can go there" and, after a bit of scurrying around, I had a brainwave. The top of the no entry sign comes off and it was hidden in there - genius !
Out - a little Smurf. In - a Boots toy, from Dora the Explorer.
And Juliette popped it back in place.
On to a different statue this time - a big golden bear representing the town's zoo.
The cache is listed as somewhere under a rock so we had a good look under all the rocks scattered around until Juliette let out a cry - she'd found it !
Well, we found the cork but couldn't find the container. The hint had said to "pop the cork" so I assumed it would be behind it. After logging my find online when we got back and mentioning that we couldn't find the paper log to fill in, I got a message from the geocacher who'd hidden it to say that it is INSIDE the cork. You literally have to "pop" the cork to get to it ! Ingenious ! Maybe we'll come back to this one another day to get closure and fill in the log.
By now it was getting quite late and we'd already walked miles but the kids wanted to do one more. We headed off to Le Calvaire de Kruysbellaert, hidden down a little lane.
Unfortunately, there are lots of roadworks down the lane which blocked access to some of the area. We were intrigued to see all the little rags and socks and baby booties tied on the railings. Geocaching.com had all the answers - legend has it that a relic of Christ's cross was found here so the water from the well supposedly has healing properties (or, more prosaically, the presence of a particular plant probably gave its properties to the water) so people leave offerings in the hope of getting healing from pain or fever.
We didn't find the cache in the end (I think the roadworks may be in the way) but we did find a huge hairy caterpillar ! It's a pretty little place and we had a good snoop around, in the calvaire grounds which feel like a graveyard, even if they aren't. I'd seen on the map that the calvaire is located very close to the local mosque and, while we were in the middle of our Scooby Doo moment, tiptoeing around the calvaire grounds, the call for prayer suddenly started booming out and scared us all to death ! We were giggling about it all the way home !
So, total for the day, geocache sites explored : 5. Caches found : 3 (well, two and a half technically !). Kilometres walked : 9.5 ! Calories burned : 456. And above all, loads of fun and excitement and a few discoveries of local landmarks we'd never spotted before.
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