A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
I’m coming ‘home’ to Leiden next week, and with the promise of warmer, if not rain-free, days ahead, I’ve been thinking about things to do. I remember being small, when summer meant running around outside in the smell of freshly cut grass, getting fingers grubby exploring until the sun set and it was time to go home. Last year I was introduced to the grown up version of this- Geocaching.
A Geocache is a little treasure that you leave somewhere, and post a clue to its whereabouts online. It’s like a global treasure hunt. You have to get a geocache account, and download an app for your phone (I think it’s worth the price, especially if you can split the cost between a group), and then you can set out on a treasure hunt. My phone is a dinosaur, so I had to rely on friends’ more up to date technology, but that meant company for the trek. The best part is that there are loads of caches hidden in and around Leiden.
Some are a little way out of town, so bikes and maybe even a picnic are required. Some are right under our noses on some of the busiest streets in Leiden. It’s a really great way to see the city in another light. I love the idea that I must have walked past some almost every day without even thinking that a treasure was lying nearby. One is hidden in a really clever place, and I guarantee you’ll walk very close to it at least one Saturday on the way to buying a fresh stroopwaffel…
All the clues are different. Some just give the coordinates and, smartphone in hand, you simply walk in the right direction until you’ve found it. Others are a lot more sneaky. My favourite one gave a general area, and then a sound effect- ‘tok tok’. We tapped the ground with sticks until we heard what we were looking for.
When you’ve found the cache, you can add your name to the list hidden inside of people who’ve already been there. Remember to bring a pen, as not all caches have one (we used eyeliner in one case). I was really surprised to see how many people had been before us. Lots of caches have other things inside, and you can add your own treasure to the stash.
And once you’ve found them all (it’s starting to sound a bit like Pokemon now) you can even leave your own cache in a completely new location. It’s been a year since I’ve seriously had a look for any, and I hope some new ones have popped up. Maybe I’ll plant my own this year.