2010-12-12 49 8
In a garden on private property in Schwabenheimerhof.
Having completed a rather major milestone for a university project last Friday (the infamous construction of round hay balers for alpine territory), Liadanin and her friends were out celebrating when the topic came up, what to do with their first free weekend in months. Well, Liadanin had had that idea of trying to geohash for a while, so after some short (or longer - "Fine, so how long will that geohashing thing take? - Well, I don't know yet, depends on the stock-market..." ) explanations, she had a car full of friends to drag along on her very first geohashing expedition (unfortunately, Saturday and meetup were a no-go, as Liadanin had to work that day).
We decided to opt for the 49,8 graticule since the hash point was nearer than the one in the 48,8 graticule, even though it looked like it would be on private property. Well, it's always worth a try and who knows when we're going to have the time for such a
silly important undertaking again.
It was a Sunday of great coincidences. I wanted to go running anyway, and probably would have even taken the same path along the Neckar towards Schwabenheimerhof. So I didn't have to think twice about going on this expedition, even if reaching the coordinates was unlikely. I've passed by the hash-house on several occasions, and in 2009, I've even taken a picture of the garden, which was full of beautiful flowers back then. When I arrived after a nice and uneventful (but muddy) run, I saw a group of people on the property, waving at me, much to my surprise. Accidently meeting them was probably that day's most unlikely and most pleasant coincidence. It was a bit sad to get so close to the coordinates, yet be unable to reach them. But I guess we should respect that old lady's wish without questioning it. It was nice enough to not call the police right away. Geohashing is a strange activity.
Setting out by car from Karlsruhe at about 9:45, we reached Dossenheim-Schwabenheimer Hof rather quickly - not much traffic on Sundays made for an enjoyable ride.
Once there, we parked the car and recognized the location as the one seen on googlemaps rather quickly. It sure was on private property and there wasn't even a fence (as is normally the case in Germany), except for that little door at the entrance. Still, we wouldn't want to be trespassing there without permission.
We tried following the village roads to approach the yard from the other side, just to see if we'd be closer to the hash point. Not really, still 55m to go with a precision of 16m. Ok, back to the start and to the front of the house. Maybe we could try to ring the bell and ask for permission? Would make this an ambassador archievement!
At first it seemed like no one was home, but it turned out the intercom was broken. A friendly old lady called us from her window, so we approached and talked to her.
We tried to explain that we were on an adventure to a randomly chosen location on the map, that just happend to be a tree in her back yard this day. She was confused ("So what's there again?"), but told us it was fine if we wanted to take our picture as long as we didn't get dirt on her walkway (it had rained the previous day and the garden was a bit muddy).
We were just trying to figure out how to avoid the mud as much as possible on our way to the location, when she called us back. She seemed more and more uncertain. ("So, whose idea was that game? I still don't quite understand, there's nothing there!") We tried to explain again, mentioned the internet, and a certain webcomic - not such a good idea in retrospect.
At that moment Liadanin spied fellow geohasher Ilpadre at the entrance to the grounds. We got excited: we knew he had had plans to visit the hash point as well, but we had not expected to actually meet, as we had not set any specific time. Unfortunately, our excitement at the sight of a stranger seemed to scare our poor homeowner. She had gotten quite unnerved by that time (maybe she feared an invasion of weird people from the internet) and in the end, we decided to abort and regrouped with Ilpadre in front of the house. The GPS tracklogs showed: not quite! We had still been a few meters short! So close, and such a spectacular fail of the ambassador archievement...
So instead, we went for a walk along the Neckar and enjoyed a bit of fresh air and countryside ("d'you think they have round hay balers at that farm over there?") before driving back home.
Photos coming later.