Groundspeak Lackeys are traveling thousands of miles from H.Q. throughout the year to share smiles, shake hands, and make geocaching memories at nearly 20 Mega-Events worldwide. Ben Field aka, LackeyBenno, attended the Mega-Event PROJECT: GeoGames 2012 (GC32012). It took place in Leipzig, Germany. Ben has been a Lackey since 2008 and works in IT. Here’s Ben’s account of his adventure.
Written by: Ben Field
As I read through the descriptions of the games being hosted at the Geogames Mega-Event in Leipzig, I had two questions running through my head: How many of these games should I actually attempt and what exactly IS a PETling??? The answer to the first question took a few hours to figure out, the second one was answered relatively quickly. A PETling is a small plastic preform for a 2-liter bottle. The clear water-tight containers are frequently used as geocaches in Germany. The PEtlings were the focus of three of the GeoGames I was about to attempt.
The day leading up to the event I managed to take the tram with Jeremy, the Co-Founder and CEO of Geocaching.com, to grab a few caches and explore downtown Leipzig. I’d already seen a small amount of the downtown area having come down the night before to watch Deutschland’s agonizing defeat in the Eurocup semi-finals, but wasn’t about to pass up more opportunities to explore.
There was an added layer of difficulty finding some of the caches with our limited knowledge of German. After looking for one cache in the wrong area for a lengthy period of time, some nearby geocachers helped us out by explaining that the name of the cache we were looking for translated to “old town hall”, which happened to be the building across the street from where we were searching. We had no trouble logging the find once we had what should have been an obvious giveaway.
Between caches, we also managed to explore the Bach museum, which held some fascinating pieces of history. The museum was positioned next to the site of the Thomasschule, where Bach taught students and composed during the latter part of his life.
After a great meal at Romanushof on Katharinenstraße, and a gracious ride back to the Messegelände from cachers Manuela and Peter (Schulze&Schultze) but better known by the name of their geocaching and dining blog “Schlemmercacher“, we prepared for the opening party. While Jeremy was busy preparing a speech, I represented the US in the opening parade with only Signal at my side. Thankfully, Caro (saxony) was gracious enough to hold the sign for us as we marched through the masses of people gathered for the event.
Still feeling some effects of a cold, I wasn’t feeling overly adventurous the next day, but I was too excited for the event to let the cold hold me down. Enjoying the PETling toss first, my enthusiasm grew. By the time the 6:00pm cutoff arrived, I’d made it through all of the games. My new geocaching friend Jana (tkrholic) kept me moving, determined to complete all of the games and keep me company throughout the day.
The games weren’t the only activities at the event. There was ample time during the day to take photos of Jeremy descending the Trau Dich (zip line – see the photo at top) from the top of the 75M high tower. Later in the evening, it was time to take in the geocaching band Dosenfischer and mingle with the masses of geocachers as a thunderstorm passed by. All in all, it was a fantastic day.
We found time the next day to explore some areas of Leipzig with Andy (stash-lab) and Nils (Nilos). A trip to the Völkerschlachtdenkmal monument commemorating the German victory over the French at the Battle of the Nations was a worthwhile glimpse at the history of the location. After snagging the correspondingly named cache, we stumbled upon some other cachers, including ORaMo and Rennrodler. They graciously shared some personalized swag with us. Before heading out, there was still time to snag a few more caches including Connex and then Gleis 26 – Reloaded at the train station. It was a great day to end a great trip.