Love Love Braga: Um Mega-Evento cheio de Amor, Comunidade, e Geocaching

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High-Five!

“All you need is love,” The Beatles

100espinhos, uma pequena mas dedicada equipa de geocaching de Portugal, teve uma importante revelação em 2014: o mundo precisa de mais amor e o geocaching é a única maneira de ajudar a espalhá-lo. Nos últimos anos, esta equipa tem abraçado o movimento de alma e coração, organizando três eventos com mais de 500 geocachers – todos cheios de “Love Love”.

“Nós organizamos estes Megas porque amamos o geocaching e acredito que o jogo traz imensa alegria para a vida das pessoas”, disse Tiago, um dos 100espinhos. “Não há nada mais poderoso do que amizades, sorrisos e amor.”

E funcionou. Através dos seus eventos, eles criaram uma comunidade inspiradora de geocachers, todos dedicados ao jogo e à iniciativa do amor.

100Espinhos Team
100Espinhos Team

Em agosto, eu tive a sorte de viver a mais recente edição da série Mega Love Love, GC60WBP. O evento em que participei foi realizado na bela Braga, uma cidade histórica e digna de postais, no norte de Portugal. Foi uma longa viagem de Seattle a Braga, mas depois de dois vôos de seis horas e uma viagem de comboio de três horas, eu chegava ao que eu considerei o paraíso do geocaching. O evento seria de quatro dias com atividades geocaching, Signal The Frog, Lab caches, mini-excursões por toda a cidade, e uma abundância de momentos em comunidade cheios de amor. Eu senti-me com doze anos de novo, fora de casa para o meu acampamento de verão favorito… não sabia o que esperar, mas estava incrivelmente feliz por lá estar.

Love Love Braga
Love Love Braga

Seja o que for que o teu geocoração tenha desejado ao longo dos quatro dias, o Love Love disponibilizou. O espaço principal do evento foi num grande auditório, onde workshops diários, intercâmbio de trackables, competições de recipientes criativos, lojas de fornecedores, e aulas de dança tiveram lugar. Houve uma iniciativa CITO em curso durante o evento onde as tampas dos frascos utilizados eram recolhidas (tampinhas) – todas as tampinhas angariadas tiveram o objetivo de contribuir para a compra de uma cadeira de rodas para uma menina que luta contra uma doença rara. Além do espaço principal, houve eventos paralelos planeados todos os dias por toda a cidade onde se podia conhecer as principais atrações da cidade, enquanto se fazia geocaching. Se não te sentisses como disposição para participar numa dessas excursões, podias relaxar na piscina ou visitar um museu de todos os que existiam nas proximidades, tudo grátis. Foi tudo muito bem organizado e disponibilizado, tudo o que eu tinha a fazer era abraçar o amor e aproveitar o momento!

Carly, Signal, and Tiago
Carly, Signal, and Tiago

Cada dia era um deleite, mas as alturas das refeições foram as minhas favoritas. Eu realmente gostei do tempo que passei a relaxar, a tomar vinho verde, e a conversar com os diferentes grupos de geocachers, enquanto degustava a cozinha local. As suas histórias de geocaching e dedicação ao jogo inspiram-me verdadeiramente. Nota: Há tantas geocaches épicas em Portugal que deves planear várias viagens de regresso para experimentar todos elas.

Making a splash at a T5 cache
Making a splash at a T5 cache

Outros acontecimentos importantes do fim de semana incluiram um espetáculo de fogo de artifício, conhecer o Vice Presidente de Braga e um atleta Olímpico que tinha acabado de chegar do Rio, tirar mais de 500 fotos (sem exagero), praticar CITO, experimentar Peddy Paper pela primeira vez, encontrar duas cache T5 (uma numa cave e outra numa ilha), dar mais cinco ao Signal (muitas vezes), comer demasiada pastelaria Portuguesa e fazer muitos novos amigos.

  • The event begins and Signal greets attendees!

Depois do evento, passei uns dias em Lisboa, a comer mais pastelaria (estou a desintoxicar-me) e a passear pelas ruas. Também tive a oportunidade de me encontrar com os incriveís revisores Portugueses para um jantar. Por ser um país relativamente pequeno, Portugal tem cerca de 40 000 geocache ativas, e a equipa de revisores voluntários faz um excelente trabalho ao apoiar o crescimento do jogo e da comunidade.

The Portuguese
Portuguese Community Volunteer Reviewer Team

Que mais posso dizer? A minha viagem a Portugal foi muito especial e sei que não a vou esquecer. A comunidade, os anfitriões, o país, e as aventuras de geocaching foram extraordinárias. Para perceber completamente “o amor”, deves experimentá-lo tu próprio. O evento do próximo ano é no Porto (Agosto 11-13), mais uma cidade mágica do norte. Vemo-nos por lá!

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Love Love Volunteers!

The journey begins before you even leave. — Hansel and Gretel e a Casa de Chocolate (GC468WD) — Geocache of the Week

PortuguêsGeocache_of_the_Week_vFINAL_122314

 

Inside the Casa de Chocolate. Photo by geocacher Tramossos
Inside the Casa de Chocolate. Photo by geocacher Tramossos

Geocache Name:

Hansel and Gretel e a Casa de Chocolate (GC468WD)

Difficulty/Terrain Rating:

5/3

Why this is the Geocache of the Week:

When I first saw this geocache, the thing that struck me was the incredible description! I didn’t understand any of it (I don’t speak Portuguese), but I could definitely see the time and effort that went into creating the story and images. From there, a quick look at the logs and the photos showed that this geocache was more than just a pretty description—the container itself is an elaborate puzzle box. Geocache owners that put this much effort into a geocache deserve to be recognized!

What geocachers are saying:

[translated as best I could from Portuguese]

“I really enjoyed it, Falkon Eye congratulations, this was the best cache I’ve ever done.” – eduarda

“Magnificent cache !! Certainly deserves all the praise it has received, and from us, a BIG FAVORITE POINT. Congratulations to the owner throughout their dedication to create this geocache.” – SACTeam

“Very, very, very good! Shoe-in for (at least) the top 3. Congratulations to the owner on the GREAT accomplishment and thanks for giving us the pleasure of enjoying this MAGNIFICENT cache.” – avilescos

Photos:

A lucky geocacher with the logbook. Photo by geocacher Lusitana Paixão
A lucky geocacher with the logbook. Photo by geocacher Lusitana Paixão
You've got the box, now how do you get it open? Photo by geocacher Narsa
You’ve got the box, now how do you get it open? Photo by geocacher Narsa
The beginning of this geocache's page.
The beginning of this geocache’s page.

 

What’s the most elaborate geocache you’ve ever found? Tell us in the comments.

Continue to explore some of the most engaging geocaches around the globe. Check out all the Geocaches of the Week on the Geocaching blog. If you would like to nominate a Geocache of the Week, just fill out this form. Thanks!

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Three Cheers for Brazil, Geocaching’s Newest Country Souvenir!

Brazil Geocaching Souvenir will be officially released on Monday, December 22, 2014
Brazil Geocaching Souvenir will be officially released on Monday, December 22, 2014

 

Yes folks, the time has come: Brazil is getting its very own Geocaching Country Souvenir! You’ve seen Croatia, Italy, Mexico, Belgium, and now you get to see Brazil!

Souvenirs are virtual pieces of art that are displayed on your Geocaching profile page when you find a geocache in certain locations. This holiday season we’re releasing six beauties to decorate your profile!

Take a virtual vacation and tour of some of Brazil’s best geocaches. After all, Brazil is known as the Land of Happiness, so let’s get happy, and let’s get going!

Five Wonderful Geocaches from Brazil
Five Wonderful Geocaches from Brazil

 

1. First on our list is  GC4KZEY Pão de Açúcar (Sugarloaf Mountain) EarthCache in Rio de Janeiro. This EarthCache is located in a public area atop the Urca and Sugarloaf hills. The cable car leaves a ground station located at the base of the Babilônia hill to the Urca hill and then to the Pão de Açúcar. And if that isn’t exciting enough, you could always reenact that famous action scene from the 1979 James Bond film Moonraker (…just kidding, that’s much too dangerous!)

GC4KZEY - Pao de Acucar
GC4KZEY – Pao de Acucar

 

2. Next stop on the tour is also in Rio at GCX2R1 Na Padaria (RJ). Some geocachers wonder if this geocache is really a T3, or  more of a T5. If you decide to see for yourself, make sure to hike with a friend, bring some water, and wear sturdy shoes. Geocachers have been known to see monkeys on these hills, submarines in the water, and unparalleled views of the world while on this trek.

Na Padaria (RJ)
Na Padaria (RJ)

 

3. Time for a visit to the exotic rainforests of Brazil. GC3AN8N Fig tree Traditional Cache is placed in one of the most important remnants of the Atlantic Rain Forest in Southern Brazil. The forest extends along the Atlantic coast of Brazil from the Rio Grande in the north to the Rio Grande in the south, and as far inland as Paraguay and Argentina. Countless types of species and plants can only be found within this Eden on earth.

GC3AN8N - Fig tree
GC3AN8N – Fig tree

 

4. The Iguazu River forms the boundary between Argentina and Brazil. Legend has it that a deity planned to marry a beautiful woman named Naipí, who fled with her mortal lover Tarobá in a canoe. In a rage, the deity sliced the river, creating the waterfalls and condemning the lovers to an eternal fall.

Take a day to visit the falls and the traditional geocache GC3FMPF Frederico Engel. The namesake of this geocache was a man of German heritage who fought against the privatization of the falls. Find him and shake his hands and post your photo!

GC3FMPF - Frederico Engel
GC3FMPF – Frederico Engel

 

5. No list of Brazilian geocaches would be complete without the ultimate of all geocache types, the rarest of all icons that can still be claimed, and one of the most famous geocaches in the world, GCC67 Mission 4: Southern Bowl Project A.P.E. Cache!

In 2001, fourteen geocaches were placed in conjunction with 20th Century Fox to support the movie Planet of the Apes. Each geocache represented a fictional story in which scientists revealed an Alternative Primate Evolution (A.P.E.). These geocaches were made using specially marked ammo containers and contained an original prop from the movie. This one is the only A.P.E. geocache left in the world.

After 13 years in the jungle, this elusive geocache has acquired over 300 logged visits, and only 1 DNF. The tagline for this movie was, “Rule the planet”…and you just might if you obtain this cache.

GCC67 - Mission 4: Southern Bowl Project A.P.E. Cache
GCC67 – Mission 4: Southern Bowl Project A.P.E. Cache

 

Ready to go bananas for Brazil? We will unveil the last of the six country Souvenirs on Thursday, December 18th, and then retroactively award them ALL on Monday, December 22, 2014 to anyone who’s ever geocached in these countries!

A list of of currently available Geocaching Souvenirs and even the ones you’ve already earned can be found on Geocaching.com.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or right here on our Blog to find out what’s next!

Have you dreamed of finding, or actually found Brazil’s A.P.E Cache? Tell us about your dream journey! 

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14 Km Geocaching Hike Starting after 10pm – That’s Portugal

14 Years Geocaching – Sintra | Portugal

Mega-Event in Portugal
Mega-Event in Portugal

Editor’s note: Geocaching HQ staff are  attending dozens of Mega-Events around the world, shaking hands, sharing stories of adventure, and of course, geocaching. Each person at Geocaching HQ brings their own unique talent to advancing the adventure. Some write code for the website, others design images for the apps, and some shoot videos explaining it all. Annie or Love works as the Partners Program Manager, supporting all international distributors. This is her Mega-Event experience.

In early June, I had the pleasure to travel back to Portugal to attend 14 Years Geocaching – Sintra | Portugal. After the very warm welcome I received at Geocoinfest in Portugal two years ago, I was excited to spend some more time with the geocachers from one of the most beautiful countries in the world.  Even better, this Mega-Event would be taking place in the one of the most magical places. Sintra, a community hidden in the Sintra Mountains of the Lisbon region, is filled with unreal sites including a Moorish castle, architecturally stunning palaces and endless tiled sidewalks.

Mega-Event Attendees

The festivities spanned over five days in the Sintra region, and included a variety of geocaching walks, CITO events, a geocache lab adventure and lots of smiling faces. We walked, we cached and we blew bubbles. If you’ve ever wanted to use geocaching as your form of tourism, this Mega-Event would have been for you.

Bubble-blowing event
Bubble-Blowing Event

Some might think it’s weird to start a 14km hike at 10:30pm. Not geocachers. We thrive on adventures like that. If you can find about 35 caches on that 14km hike, even better. On the second night of the event, that’s just what we did.  When I finally returned to my hotel around 3am, I was able to reflect on a fun adventure through the mountains of Sintra with nearly 100 geocaching friends. Those are the memories that will stick with me forever.

Night Hike
Geocaching Night Hike

 

bruning portugal
“Bruning” in Portugal

Pride is one word I would use to describe Portuguese geocachers. Several times throughout the five days, I had conversations with individuals or geocaching teams about the incredible efforts they’ve put into their own geocaches. In a couple of cases, the teams had spent over a year perfecting one geocache. These are the types of geocaches that would inspire me to plan a return trip to Portugal.

New Friends
Love (center) and Geocaching Friends

If you are in search of a place where the people are friendly, the views are amazing, the culture is rich and the geocaching is pretty ‘darn’ good, Portugal has got you covered.

caching in portugal 2
Love and Geo-pup
Picnic Geocaching
Picnic Geocaching

 

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13 Years Lisboa — Bryan Roth’s Trip to a Portugal Mega-Event

Bryan Roth with Signal.
Bryan Roth with Signal.

Geocaching HQ staff are joining geocachers at Mega-Events around the world to celebrate and share the adventure of geocaching. One of the founders of Geocaching.com, Bryan Roth, a.k.a. Bryan, traveled from Seattle, WA to Lisbon, Portugal last June for the 13 Years Lisboa Mega-Event (GC42FFG). He says he was inspired to go by the exciting and growing Portuguese geocaching community and by other Geocaching HQ staffers who attended a Portuguese Mega-Event and raved about their experiences.

The Seeker awards.
The Seeker awards.

After arriving in Portugal, Bryan did what any geocacher would do—look for a geocache near the hotel. There was only one problem: the geocache description was in Portuguese. However, this didn’t stop him from searching. Luckily, Boonieh&  Cllydeh, some super-friendly members of the Portuguese geocaching community showed up. They helped Bryan find his first geocache in Portugal and decided to attend the Mega-Event as well. With a geocache found, it was back to the hotel before meeting the Geocacherzone Portugal team for dinner and then a good night’s rest before the Mega-Event.

Fraldinhas, the Mega-Event's host.
Fraldinhas, the Mega-Event’s host.

The next few days brought tons of activities for geocachers from Portugal and many other countries around the world. In fact, the event gained so much popularity, there were a few stories on the local news channels about it. The Mega-Event host, Fraldinhas, with help from his parents, Xana and Nuno, and many volunteers, created an exceptional four-day event that included night caching, a Lisbon bus tour, a much-needed CITO Event (GC4BNP8), an awards ceremony, a traditional Portuguese singing group with a rendition of “Geocaching Portugal”, a number of meet-and-greets, “Bruning” with the local Geocaching Volunteer Reviewers, and (of course) plenty of geocaching. The awards, known as the “Seeker Awards”, were given out to geocachers in multiple categories, including Best Maintenance, Best Log, Best Cache and more. Bryan ended his trip with another Mega-Event Cache hosted by Fraldinhas, the Hike @ Belém, that featured a walking tour of a number of geocaches at historical places within Lisbon.

Bryan says, “It was truly an honor for me to attend this International Mega Event, spend time with so many exceptional geocachers and experience Lisbon, Portugal in such a unique way.  I would thank all of the organizers for all the work they did to plan multiple days of fun geocaching activities for everyone that showed up. I also want to thank all of the geocachers who took the time to speak with me and make me feel so welcome in Portugal.” He would also like to give a special shout-out to Fraldinhas, Xana and Nuno for all of their guidance and support during his trip.

 

 

Check out some more photos from Bryan’s trip:

Attendees of the Hike @ Belem.
Attendees of the Hike @ Belem.
"Bruning" in Lisbon. It's kind of like planking, but on your back.
“Bruning” in Lisbon. It’s kind of like planking, but on your back.
The Geocaching Choir
The Geocaching Choir
The 13 Years Lisboa pinboard. Can you find Bryan's pin?
The 13 Years Lisboa pinboard. Can you find Bryan’s pin?
Night caching in Portugal
Night caching in Portugal