Year in review 2020: Challenges make it exciting

A colorful year

I came up with the idea of ​​writing a review of the year, i.e. creating a review blog for 2020, when I was called on Facebook. @Sympatexter offered a challenge. And I love challenges! Challenges that demand something from me and where I can become active. And that's how this year's review blog came about, which should take you a little through my year 2020.

2020 hasn't made a good name for itself. A virus destroyed many lives and many plans - including some of mine. But there were also good things and experiences. And I've learned to be more grateful. Grateful for my hobbies that have carried me through this year. My biggest hobby, traveling, was of course also negatively affected. This left plenty of room for other leisure activities. I wasn't forbidden to go outside, so I was able to pursue my passions of geocaching and photography. The last even stronger than the time before. My house and garden look better than ever, the Christmas cookies were not a last minute to-do on December 24th. in the morning and I could list even more positive developments. I'm sure you feel the same way.

Jordan/Israel

One of our few trips with cacher trips this year takes us to Jordan and Israel in January. We at Cacher-Reisen have not done this tour for the first time (and hopefully not for the last time either). We were able to win Ralf from Berlin as tour guide, who led the group well to all the highlights of the trip. I was allowed to ride along as an "accompaniment", which was a real pleasure. How good that we were at least able to do this tour in this crazy year.

   

Seychellen&Co

Our private annual vacation took place in January this year. Due to the goal and the offers, this could not be changed. At first we didn't like it at all - the rest of the year is so long after the holidays are gone. In hindsight we couldn't have done anything better. On the one hand, we chose a travel time when another cacher couple was also on board - we would never have met if even one of us had preferred a different date. Unthinkable! At this point, best wishes for the geo-links to Berlin!

On the other hand, the trip would not have been possible a few weeks later.
We had treated ourselves to a cruise with our favorite shipping company. And with the background that we had received a 50% voucher for another tour that had been cancelled. We could choose a tour, the second person traveled free of charge. It is logical that it should not "only" go to the Mediterranean. Our goal was quickly set: we always wanted to go to the Seychelles. And Madagascar – yes, that's where we wanted to go. Pretty expensive pleasure, but for 50%? So we accepted the small evil that in January we would already have our annual vacation behind us. As I said: we didn't know at the time how good this decision was.
So we went to the Seychelles, then by ship to Madagascar. On two days and two different piers we were able to get an impression of this beautiful, very special country. We continued to Mauritius, where we were actually able to take photos for the virtual cache in front of the museum with the Blue Mauritius. La Reunion was our fourth country point on the tour before we went back to the Seychelles.
An amazing tour with white beaches and lots of animal contacts. The absolute highlight of this year for me was the time I was allowed to swim all alone in super clear water with a large turtle. This was at the top of my once in a lifetime list. Also in this respect a special year for me.

    

Asia I tour

We at Cacher-Reisen have also carried out this tour for the second time. A variety of Asian countries were visited. Including Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Singapore and a few more. This is a journey where every day offers a highlight. We went by boat to Halong Bay, we went by bike or rickshaw to Angkor Wat, we experienced northern Thailand and scored a few more country points. Only afterwards do you sometimes realize what you were allowed to experience....

For me, this was the beginning of Corona. To be more precise, I write about my feelings during this time under the keyword Corona. At that moment, I began to think about what else – travel-wise – is in store for us. Nevertheless, the impressions on this trip were so enormous that it was definitely worth it. I hope to be able to travel to these countries again at some point.

   

Mega Bonn

Joint meetings and events are very important for geocachers. When many people come together, it becomes a mega event. Planned well in advance and with many special experiences in one weekend. A mega event was planned for February 29 in Bonn. We from Cacher-Reisen were represented with a booth in the event hall. A few hours before the start, the information came that many cachers would not come. On the actual day, we were supposed to set up our booth early in the morning. We were able to really expand, because some of the exhibitors had also canceled. We felt safe in Bonn on February 29, 2020, distance was the order of the day, but if you know each other and rarely see each other, then we cuddle. Now, in retrospect, I don't think we had to wear masks back then and it's a miracle that nobody heard about contagion at this event. It wasn't all that bad either, as there were far fewer participants than planned. It was not an easy time for the organizers. Decisions had to be made and we were grateful that the decision was made that the event will take place. It was also nice for us stand operators, we had plenty of time for the individual visitors and we could talk about travel destinations. It was just the beginning of the crisis, and we didn't know exactly what was right and what was wrong. In hindsight we were very lucky and would have decided differently at this point in time. At the time it seemed right to us and we spent a wonderful weekend in Bonn.

   

Corona - this is how a virus moves my year

Actually, I didn't want to give the topic much space. Maybe you are sometimes annoyed because you only hear this word? And Corona is to blame for everything... Sometimes it makes you smile how quickly you can build excuses on it. But unfortunately, unfortunately it's so intense that it has shaped our lives in 2020 quite a bit. That's why it belongs in this annual review blog.

It started for us when the first participants in our travel group put on an FFP2 mask at the airport in Singapore in February. To be honest, I thought back then: if I have to walk around like Asians sometimes do in our tourist strongholds! And today I go shopping or to work like this every day... The next experience station in connection with Corona was just a few minutes after the FFP2 mask at the flight counter in Singapore. After a 14-day tour of Asia through 8 countries, we were supposed to go from Singapore to Frankfurt/Main. But at first they didn't want to let us... Leaving Singapore was no longer easy. Why was that? The flight counter was of the firm opinion that we were tourists on a cruise ship from China. This is probably how most tourists come to Singapore Airport. After a short discussion and proof that we had entered the country via Bangkok, we were allowed to board the plane to Germany. At that time, attempts were being made to protect the country from the virus that was imported from China.

Back in Germany, the big topic was whether our cruise on March 13th could take place as planned. More and more horror news reached us about life on board, canceled shore leave, etc. Ultimately, all participants were sad, but also a great deal relieved when the evening before departure, the news came that our trip had to be postponed. In the course of the many cacher trips that we have already carried out, this was a severe blow for us. The joy of the participants! The planning work for the excursions! All for free. But of course everything is better than sailing on the water and not being able to get to the caches on land. And of course everything is better than getting sick! And postponed is not canceled. The anticipation remains.

For the remainder of the year, Corona so dominated our day-to-day business that we had to postpone or cancel all planned trips, many remittances had to be made, many hard battles had to be fought with airlines, hotels and third-party providers , in order to come out of this year with little financial damage as the company Secret Point/Cacher-Reisen. We are very happy that we succeeded. Luckily we have few permanent staff, no rent and ancillary costs, so that although it meant no income for us, the expenses are manageable in return. And so we look forward to 2021, when traveling may be possible again, at least on a smaller scale.

Travel planning Kilimanjaro
… or Berlin, Berlin, we are going to Berlin….

Have I ever written about the cacher couple from Berlin when describing the Seychelles experience? A lot of fun ideas can arise on such cruises. Ours is called Kili. What is meant is Kilimanjaro or Kilimanjaro. And strictly speaking, it means walking up there. Yes, that is only possible with a guide and that requires preparation. Wouldn't it be possible to order a guide for a small group of people? You could also develop a cacher trip out of it. That was actually the idea of ​​the two men, who gave themselves completely to their plans. Both gentlemen have been dealing with the topic for a long time and have a lot of knowledge about it. Since you can't just walk up the Kili, we have to plan the trip more carefully. Which route? How many participants? How do you plan the journey? What is special to consider? Everything you consider when preparing for a trip - and a little more, because it's Mount Kili....

But I also want to go to Africa, to Tanzania! And that, although I already fulfill the local challenge with 2 caches over 3000 m! And no, I don't want to walk up to almost 6000 m. Not with and not without carrier…. So a station wagon had to be found. Yes, we go on safari in Tanzania and get country points like Kenya etc. The other part of the group hikes up Kilimanjaro and before we part again at the end of the trip, we go on a final safari together. We choose the whiskey route and need the following…

Since the newly met couple is from Berlin, we like to go to Berlin to plan our trip. We were able to experience a wonderful weekend with lots and lots of conversations, lots of research, phone calls and also caching together. But here, too, the virus accompanied us again.... We know our capital, but we have never stood alone under the Brandenburg Gate in the early evening. Great opportunity for photos, but also spooky feeling.
The result is - in our opinion - good travel planning. The tour was actually planned for the beginning of October 21 - it remains to be seen how it will develop further. But a cool trip with lots of adventure points came about this weekend. We will do that, even if the timing is still a bit in the stars. I am already looking forward to this tour to Tanzania.

  

Special cache experiences

You could really write a lot here. Even though it was a restricted year, caching was possible most of the time. Even if not in the same way as usual. But going for a walk, fresh air and exercise has never hurt anyone and the trees in the forest are probably not contagious either. So get out!

We experienced many special caches this year. I'm probably forgetting to list a lot of them here. However, that doesn't mean that I don't remember them.
I've also blogged some reports about the individual caches, so you're welcome to read them there.

paw round
Aliens in Worms
Post Michel
Geierlay
Bootje varen
Flies emol
Blossoming Mölsheim

and much more. You can find all of them on the Cacher-Reisen website

Geierlay Suspension Bridge

I spontaneously think of the Geierley suspension bridge, the Bootje varen in the Netherlands, the Cache Houdini, which I had heard a lot about. And of course the children's home in Bräulsdorf, which filled my camera with countless lost place photos. We were caching in Aying-Land, i.e. around Aying near Munich, where a very special team of cachers set up very special caches. We escaped from Prison Break and recorded quite a few hikes with Komoot. Appropriately for Christmas, we tracked down Dexter in his hiding place again. All highlights that have enriched our cacher year. And I'm sure I forgot to mention many, many caches. It's nice that we have such a hobby that we can still practice and enjoy every time.

         

1) Bootje varen - Netherlands, 2) Team Aying caches, 3) Bräulsdorf children's home, 4) Prison Break, 5) Caches in Zwergii-Land

Birthday party in Hanover

Geocaching turns 20, Secret Point turns 10. If that is not a reason to celebrate…. A mega event was being planned. And sometimes things don't turn out as you think... For known reasons, our mega secret point was postponed to September 11, 2021. Nevertheless, we had to celebrate our birthday somehow and invited to the open day - outdoors, with distance, etc. It was a birthday on a small but fine scale. It was fun and good practice for us for the Mega Geo Birthday 2021 next year.

 

Legal age = freedom?

All children in the household are now adults. Would be a good time to travel more…. But that comes again. In any case, it was a big milestone for us this year when the youngest came of age - and also a little bit of nostalgia. You kind of get older every day. But that's the way time goes...

Namibia Kids

I had planned another adventure in my life for spring 2021. I would like to go to Namibia a little longer. Somehow the country has fascinated me for many, many years. A colleague from work, at the very beginning of my career (many years ago), planned to emigrate to Windhoek when she retired (it wasn't that long ago for her). They were there 1-2 times a year and I had to find out what it was like there when I graduated. Even though it's been a few days - I haven't been to Namibia yet, but now the plan is taking shape. I don't really like traveling alone and my husband is not enthusiastic about such tours. So I was brave and just asked via the Cacher-Reisen Facebook group, the Cacher-Treff. I would not have imagined the resonance! Several people have contacted me, almost all of whom I already know. This has now resulted in a fixed travel plan with another geocacher who I already know and with whom I can very well imagine the tour. Other travel enthusiasts are following our planning and may get on board once the date has been set. Well, with 2-4 people we will drive through Namibia.

During the whole planning you keep coming across the keywords children and education. We don't want to be just tourists taking great photos. We might want to give the country a very small gift. During my research I came across a geocoin about Namibia. Actually, because I wanted to see if there was a coin that could accompany the tour in my luggage. And - I was amazed - there is actually a geocoin for Namibia. Just those from Namibiakids. A geocacher put this up for the Namibiakids e.V. association some time ago. The aim was to raise some money for the children's education. What appealed to me immediately was that I could look at the current projects on the association's website. I contacted them quickly, introduced myself as a geocacher - and a few days later I had the remainder of the existing Namibia coins in my hands. Beautiful memorabilia! Now it's up to us to sell them profitably and then maybe we can bring the profit and a donation directly to one of the projects on site.

Hotel flat rate

A flat rate from a hotel chain with many different locations in Germany? Wow! Since this year was rather modest for me with long-distance travel, cacher trips with inexpensive overnight stays in Germany sounded awesome. Said and done. At a convenient time for me bought the offered hotel passport. With this you could stay for 61 days in all hotels of this chain. My fear that it is always fully booked when I want to head for this city or my rejection when I hear that the flat travel pass is coming turned out to be completely unfounded. All the tours I wanted to do were possible. In the end I paid the equivalent of 12 EUR for an overnight stay. And that in 3 or 4* hotels. However, breakfast is not included. But still an ingenious offer that lives from the fact that you can really use the flat rate a lot during these 61 days. Of course it was possible for me this year and so it was exhausted. Since the passport was always valid for 2 people in a double room, I was able to travel with my daughter, husband or girlfriend. The travel destinations are specified by the hotels, but as a geocacher you can always find exciting destinations. So I got through all of Germany and also Austria. Fortunately, this was corona-compliant during this time.

I visited a total of 13 places in the two months. We did sightseeing in the classic sense, found some caching cans, went on long hikes to ice caves and much more. I posted some pictures of my tours on my Instagram account.

We took the train from Munich to the Zugspitze | One of my favorite caches in Aying Land. It reflects the ingenious humor of Team Aying. | On the way in Schwetzingen - so close to the home zone and yet completely new territory for me. | I would never have become aware of the incomparable Ohlsdorf Cemetery without staying overnight nearby. | Zoo Leipzig has been on our to-do list for a long time. Now we've done it and could have spent many more hours with the pachyderms.

Elections in the US

Without wanting to get political here: I can't remember ever having experienced the elections in the USA so intensively. I was excited and excited about Obama, but it still seemed to me that the election this year attracted much more attention in Germany and also captivated me more.

New website

In 2020 we have also created a new website for you at Cacher-Reisen. The previous website has been replaced by a new design and new functions. Unfortunately, we have not yet been able to test all functions in 2020, but we are curious to see how you will like the new design when bookings start again. In the background we have many functions that make our everyday work much easier. And so we have more time for new ideas!

 

This is what our website looked like at the beginning of 2020…. | …. and this is the new design

Own blog articles

My favorite 3 own blog articles from the past year are the following:

In the footsteps of Postmichel
Geierlay
Bootje varen (most resonance and many imitators….)

Curious? Clicking on the title will take you directly to the blog article....

Outlook for 2021

Photography: learn something that good photos are no longer a coincidence
Visit lost places – even without a geocache, but with a good camera
Bullet Diary – I finished the book (one of my favorite groups on FB). Diary and a planning book in one. What goals - what steps there - what result
Travel: Namibia, Antarctica, Northern Lights with my daughter
My motto for 2021 should be contentment. Let's make the best of it no matter what