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An American In Lisbon

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Weeks after announcing his visit at this website and after getting in touch with a few local geocachers, gathering translations and hints for a few caches, we finally had the chance to meet JCDecker. It's not the first time a foreign geocacher comes for a visit but this time, for a change, we decided to have a welcome committee guiding him and helping him out with the fine details that make our geocaching so subtle and different.


It was also decided to invite him for a beer and some caching downtown before he went back home. October the 9th 6.30 PM at the Hard Rock Cafe. By the time I was supposed to be there I was still on a traffic jam in Monsanto heading to Almada. I was lucky, though, and I managed to get there by 7.15. After parking the car nearby and getting inside, I found them in a secluded table by the main stage talking about you know what. Had the chance to finally meet JCDecker and to see BTRodrigues, Manchanegra and VSergios again, while they exchanged stories and threw some yellowish fluid down their throats (it's beer and I'm allergic).


It took them 5 to 10 minutes to empty their glasses and for VSergios's bluetooth GPSr to wake up from the dead and it was finally time to hit the streets.


The first one was right across the street, Elevador da Glória, and our GPSr didn't even get enough time to get a decent satellite fix. JCDecker was happily punching the coordinates manually on its Explorist (something he's been doing for the past 700 caches) but the tall buildings weren't helping much and we were being sent everywhere but where we were supposed to be. Had to have Manchanegra and BTRodrigues playing a human GPSr (with sexy voices - "you're standing 2 meters away from it - that's 6 feet, Chris") and even with all the help, it was playing hard to get. What we didn't know was that VSergio got it right when we were heading up, without even looking at the GPS. Logged what had to be logged and went down to the next one, "Elevador de Santa Justa".


A lot has been said about this cache but the truth about it will have to be postponed to another chance. JCDecker was again punching the coordinates manually (he's waiting for the 1000th cache party to get a decent GPSr - a Garmin) but Manchanegra and BTRodrigues (which have probably swept clean every single cache around Lisbon) were already saying it was no use because the cache was missing (again). History repeats itself, I'm just unable to find a cache by the Rifkindsss alone and this time I had some company I could use :)


So the next stop on the caching tour would be "Fernando Pessoa". We climbed Calçada do Carmo and Rua Garrett uphill and there it was, the famous statue. No need to enter coordinates manually now, because it was pretty obvious. There was a bunch of tourists nearby waiting for their turn to take a photo by the guy and everyone was wondering where could a cache be hidden there. JCDecker posed for the photo but wasn't able to get it, so he had to let a spanish couple had their picture taken and getting a simple clue. Two photos later, he got it. Then it was time to put it back in place and it was harder than expected. We had to take a bunch of photos but the creature just wouldn't stand still. It had to be the "tourist" which took it out to get it back in.


Some more history lessons and explaining some details about the city later and we were right next to "Paço do Terreiro". I had done it before, so it was my turn to stand looking at the other guys on their seach frenzy. Getting it out was much more difficult than it was to find it, because there were some cops 10 meters away staring at us. The Rifkindsss arrived around the time we were about to give up, but nothing a quick hand movement using a moment of distraction wouldn't fix. There it was on our hands! Getting it back without being noticed? No problem! Just use the tourist trick again. JCDecker had to have a picture taken by a typical bus (er?) to get it back in place. The boy's got a talent!


The next target was close: "Judiaria". I hadn't found this one before, so I was one of the lucky guys searching for it. The satellites weren't helping so we had to be guided by the human GPS standing right there. Still it took us a while, we had the cache in front of our noses and couldn't believe it could be possible. It was 9 PM and BTRodrigues, VSergios and Manchanegra had to go home, otherwise they'd sleep on the couch... :)


It was time for the four of us (the Rifkindsss, me and JCDecker) to find a place to grab something to eat. We got back to Chiado and grabbed a few sandwiches and soups, just to digest them and get back and very close to where we had just been, the "House of Diamonds", a true pearl. Since it's placed in a wide area, it was easy to get a fix and for our guest to find it. I'm glad he remembered the hint on time, as he was already ready to get a jackhammer to crack it open :).


By now, it was getting late and we tought about getting back to Restauradores. But since the Sé de Lisboa towers were so close, why not? Chris played the tour guide and still aware of the cache spoiler, got it out of the hiding place real quick. Was it time to get back now? Would we get back to Avenida da Liberdade to get the car and escort JCDecker to the subway station so he could get some sleep before the next day flight?


Nyah! There was still another cache on the map waiting for us. So dadgum close it would hurt not to visit it: "Ascensor do Lavra". We started climbing the hill but the elevators were on maintenance, so it would be quite hard to get the cache without raising awareness.Having returned to the starting place of our journey it was time to finally say goodbye...


...or not. The yellow line was closed, so the Rifkindsss weren't able to use the Metro to get home. While I was driving them back home, we found Chris walking along Avenida da Liberdade towards Sete Rios, because the subway station was closed wasn't able to get to the hotel. Not only did I play the guide for most of the evening, I also had to take them all "home".


It was quite a remarkable tuesday evening. One of the most interesting things about geocaching is the social side, getting to know more people and exchanging experiences. Geocaching isn't about competition or who gets somewhere first. It's about getting to know new places and actually learn something new about them. We couldn't help showing what the portuguese hospitality looks like applied to geocaching. I sincerely hope our guest liked our little town, our city caches and everything else, so he'll take a break one of these days to visit us properly and find some of his favorite caches, out there in the woods.


This is valid for everyone else, if you're planning on visiting Portugal soon, let us know, using some of the community forums available. We'll try to help you out as much as possible and get you an unforgettable experience.


Text: Bringer & BTRodrigues

Translation: BTRodrigues

Edited by Bringer
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Hey, great story.

I have some great photos of a few geocachers searching every single hole near near the "Elevador da Glória" cache while mugglers passing by were wondering what the heck was happening there.

Log with the photos. I promise i will translate the post soon.


Just one small correction. I had to leave after the "Elevador de Santa Justa" cache. Otherwhise i would sleep not in the couch but in the street :) .




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Well being the subject of this post of course I had to comment. One of the my favorite things about traveling is using geocaching to learn interesting history about the places I visit and this visit was no exception. It was a wonderful trip and the best hosts I have had. Lisbon was a wonderful city and my local escort team gave me some history about the trolleys, the subways, and the churches that I would have never learned in a tourist book.


And I also appreciated the harassment about my punching in my coordinates ;-) - it's the ability to quickly speak the geocaching 'language'.


Again thanks to all and if you are ever in the States look me up.

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