We packed our stuff (lots of it) in the car and set off one hour later than originally planned. We made good time, and I learned that abnormal situations (such as a closed lane) is advertised later on the Autobahn than on the snelweg. If a posted board says to merge to the right, you want to merge now.
Along the way, we did three caches. Most highwaycaches are simple micros thrown behind a garbage bin, but the ones we did were actually away from the parking spaces and took us into a bit of forest. After one, I found a tick walking around on my head -- my first encounter with one, but not the last one this vacation.
We arrived after the kids' bedtime, and after installing ourselves and making plans for the next morning, we went to bed.
Wednesday, we went caching in a forest to the north of Copenhagen, the Dyrehaven. Most of the caches in Denmark are traditionals, so if you go for a brisk walk, you can score quite a few founds. Some of the caches had been placed with quite a bit of creativity, others were simple to find. But all the places we visited were very beautiful.
It wasn't until we were on our way back (we had gone upto the coast and come back) that we found out that Dyrehaven means 'deer park'. We were standing near the hunting palace, and looked over the valley -- there were too many deer to count. Easily over a hundred, maybe even over two hundred. In the Netherlands, you are lucky if you get to see a few of them -- here we had to wait for a group of six of them to cross the path in front of us. The males had huge antlers as well. Really impressive.
Back at the car, a man asked us (in Danish -- apparently we look like we are Danes) whether we were out geocaching. Turns out he was a geocacher as well, and he was going to pick up a few on his MTB.
Thursday, we went to the Louisiana. Great fun was had, except when we were waiting in line to get something to eat.
Friday, the weather was still pretty bad. paultje took us and the kids to the Eksperimentarium -- a playground filled with scientific toys! It wasn't only the kids who did a lot of playing. Great fun. Special mention goes out to the dinosaur exhibit, because of the impressive animatronics.
Afterwards, we went to do a few caches. We came to the starting point of a multi that looked interesting, but we needed to get back. After dinner, we took paultje along with us to do that multi, which took us to four lakes/ponds. But due to the heavy rains of the past days, this walk was a lot more adventurous at times that perhaps initially planned... It was paultje's first geocaching experience, and she liked it.
Later that evening, klik found one tick walking around on me, and one already embedded in my abdomen. Turns out that the tick-pincet really works -- good purchase.
Saturday was The Special Repeater Date: 07-07-2007! This was the reason we planned our vacation at that time, and we (well, I) wanted to be there at 07:07. We got up before 6AM, and proceeded to the coordinates. The location was rather un-inspiring, and apparently some people were there before us: the foliage had been thoroughly trampled. We got there at 06:50, but we simply could not find the cache. Turns out nobody could -- either the cache had been washed away by the rain-induced floods, or it had become submerged and therefore unfindable, or whatever. This was the only DNF of our vacation, too.
We got back, lounged a bit (read: slept a bit more) and then went to Copenhagen city centre. We had a great lunch at a tea shop where the owners are even bigger tea snobs than I am -- the tea I had was perfect. We did some shopping -- amongst others, I picked up a Robotech RPG adventure module for 20 kronen -- about EUR 2.50. Given the quality of the writing and the scenario, that's almost too much. ;)
Sunday, it was the big celebration of our nephew Joep's birthday. In Denmark, parents don't drop off their kids and collect them when the party is over -- they join in on the fun. So the house was quite full, but it was very nice. We left when the kids went to the playground, to do some more caching around the Norreskoven.
Monday, we slept in, and klik finished up the lamps she had made for paultje. She used a new technique, and it turned out beautiful.
After that, we went to visit paultje at her workplace, had lunch in the cafeteria and collected B. who also works there. He had expressed an interest in geocaching during the party the day before, and since we were going to do some caches, we invited him over. A good time was had by all. We did a multi in the 'Danish Switzerland' (OK, it's hilly, but nothing like Beek!), and picked up two traditionals in the 'Mill brook' series.
Then we dropped off B. and went to collect Joep and Nienke, to take them along on their first cache! Joep had expressed a keen interest in our 'treasure hunts', so why not take him along? He had even made a bracelet to use as a trading item.
Things didn't go as planned. We found the cache (Nienke spotted it, with some coaching), Joep selected a toy car to take back with him, but he had trouble with parting with his bracelet. What we should have done at that time (hindsight is always 20/20!), was to take an item from our cache bag and exchange that for the toy car. Instead, we put the bracelet back into the cache and hid the cache again.
Joep exploded. There simply isn't any other way to describe it. Apparently, the concept of leaving something behind to trade was too much for him to grasp (especially after the tiring birthday party the day before). paultje had to literally drag him back to the car. A quite unexpected end.
Tuesday, we went back. Thigns went swell, until we hit the queue for the ferry. We got there at 11:20, and were still in the queue for the ticket booths when the boat for 11:40 left. No problem, our ticket said we'd have the ferry at 12:20. But when 12:20 came about, we saw a ferry leave, while we were still in our assigned lane, waiting. No problem, it was very busy, these things happen. We were directed to another line, more to the front, and another boat was coming. But this time, quite a few lanes were directed to board, but not us. Therefore, we also didn't get the ferry of 12:40. By some miracle, we did somehow manage to get on board of the 13:20 ferry -- we just lost two friggin' hours!
Why do they put a time on the ticket if they know they won't make it? Is there not some sort of handling system to ensure that the people who come first, get on board first? If there is, I haven't seen any evidence of it -- to us, it seemed that the Scandlines employees were just busy running around and improvising, simply overlooking the line that we were in.
Luckily, we made good time during the rest of the trip back. Still, 11.5 hours is a long time to drive.
Things I learned:
- The mapping and autorouting of the GPS saved our hides quite a few times. It made navigating the city feasible, instead of panic-inducing.
- The new car almost drives itself. Cruise control, automatic windshiel wipers, stuff like that. All you have to do is turn the steering wheel.
- Ticks suck. Literally.