2009-01-04 47 8
In Elsau, Switzerland. Fairly easy to get there by car.
I was sitting around at home not knowing what this Sunday had planned me to do. I was checking xkcd and also the wiki, to see if anything new was up. I also checked at around noon where the hashpoint would be. Up to this point all of them were effectively unreachable and again the hashpoint in the granicule of St. Gallen, where my hometown of Constance is located, was way out there in the woods. So I went to check in Zürich. And bingo: The hashpoint was located the the beautiful village of Elsau, close to Winterthur only half an hour's drive away. I got right at the phone to call Lukas, as I knew he was in town and willing to do crazy stuff. By the way he was also the one who showed me xkcd. Thanks! Unfortunately he had some kind of math project to prepare and said he did not know if he would have time to spare. Anyways I was not willing to give up and called Mara, who I know does crazy stuff even if it always takes a little convincing. So we decided to meet later that day at Lukas' place and drag him along. While Lukas was busy learning math and Mara busy eating at her parents, I got right at planning our little trip. I checked What to bring and the Cover Stories. I also printed out some aerials and a plan on how to get there by car. Of course I let Google Earth cache all the images on my laptop to know where to go if we should be completely lost.
Mara was already at Lukas' place when I arrived at 5 pm. She was also a bit in a hurry as she wanted to be back at 7pm. As we were about to leave, I asked if someone had a camera. It turned out Lukas' camera was broken and his flat mates' cameras too. So we had to go to Mara's apartment to fetch her camera. It took a while until she came back and it turned out she had tried to quick charge the battery of her camera which was empty. Fortunately she brought the super-duper mirror reflex camera and off we went. As we crossed the border into Switzerland, I was explaining that we could earn the border geohash achievement; I could feel they were getting excited. We got off the highway at Attikon and then drove through the countryside entering Elsau from the north. We drove through the center when I told Mara to pull over to see which street exactly we were on. After finding a parking spot, I realized I had not taken my laptop with me and told them I had to go get it. Well, I think that's the way it is: you can never leave again without once you've started using laptops. So we started walking around and even asked a local which way to take. The woman did not know it and I briefly doubted that we had arrived at the correct location. But she told us she had only moved there recently, so we headed up the hill to see if we got lucky there. Indeed, to the right of Wiesendangerstraße we found the Hohlgasse. As we went along the Hohlgasse, I told them that the exact location would be in the backyard of Im Husacher number 2. We decided to take it slowly, as we were not there for trouble. At first we tried to get as close as possible from a public road and took some pictures of the backyard. It turned out the digicam had not been reacharched to even take a single photo, so we used the super-duper cam. Fortunately it had a flash, so we could take some pictures of a hedge with some snow. I don't know if that will look so exciting though. Then I said I'd be the dumb-ass to ask the people if we could get in their backyard. I strapped the camera around my shoulder, trying to look official reporter like and was preparing my cover story. Before I know, I rang the bell and a woman opened the door. I told her the Internet had sent us to her place on this particular day to visit her garden. She looked a little confused and that was okay as I was also a little confused as to what to tell a mid 60ies woman exactly what we were doing in the middle of the night at her doorstep. xkcd is not one of the things she knows, I assumed. I told her it was a little like a scavenger hunt and we only wanted to make a photo in her backyard. Her face lightened up and she said "A photo! A photo with the vogelhüsli (Swiss-German for birdhouse)!" "Why not with your birdhouse," I replied. She let us in, introduced us to her husband, and guided us through her living room to the backyard. There we were: The right place, at the right time, with the right people. Nice! We gathered around the vogelhüsli and the woman was so nice as to take a picture of the three of us with the birdhouse in the middle and a second just to be safe. We thanked her and her husband multiple times and warned that more people might come. Before long we were out again and on the road. It all went so quick that we did not even have time to ask their names, taking a picture of the two with their birdhouse would have been fun too. And in a way they earned the couch potato achievement in the Zürich graticule that day.
Mara had the film developped. See for yourself:
| Mara, Lukas, Nahtanoj earned the Land geohash achievement
| Lukas, Nahtanoj earned the Drag-along achievement
| Mara, Lukas, Nahtanoj earned the Border geohash achievement
| Mara, Lukas, Nahtanoj earned the Ambassador achievement