2011-05-21 52 14
The big Berlin meetup 2.0, as decided on the Geohashing_Day_2011_Extravaganza page.
Today's battleship location is: G 4
A swamp in western Poland. Border jumping for all!
 Gathering Plans
2011-05-21_52_14! - We meet at 1100 Berlin main station and try to get a train to Frankfurt and/or Kunowice! -- relet and the early deciders.
Please add yourself. Only if you plan to be there, of course
|Aperfectring||45,-122||friday 19:00 at Tegel airport||?||need to catch a plane around 13:00 from Tegel on sunday. I will have no car or other personal vehicle, so I strongly advocate transit+walking, but would also be willing to rent a bicycle if need be.|
|Ekorren||48,9||Friday evening by train||Greifhostel, Prenzlauer Berg||Refuse to go anywhere by car or other motorized individual traffic. Considering to bring my own bike. Will probably stay at least until monday.|
|Mampfred, LadyBB (+1)||50,8||Friday evening (very late) by car||Will stay at a friends place. No more room there though, sorry.||Arrived shortly after midnight. Now wondering when exactly to meet at the main station ... ?!? Update: just received a text from Ekkoren, meeting 10:00 at lyx or 11:00 at the main station. We'll go for the main station and probably some breakfast at the Wirtshaus Hasenheide around 09:00 if anyone wants to join us ;)|
|lyx||52,13||long ago||at home|
|relet||60,10||directly to location|
||Prenzlauer Berg area|| My train is being canceled/rerouted. Was supposed to arrive at 7:20, as of 9:00 it's about 3 hours late, which means ETA 10:20.|
Plane to catch on Sunday at 12:30 (Schönefeld airport)
A success! More to come later.
 Aperfectring's Report
The journey to the hash really started many months ago when relet and I decided that we wanted to start organizing an epic event for geohashing, which is akin to what Journey to the End of the Night is to SF0. After some discussion, we decided that we should involve the whole community in the decision, to try and get the community as excited about this as we were. We also decided that GHD2011 would be a great time, since it is the first combination Geohashing Day and Mouseover Day since inception. The rest of this can be read on the initial planning page.
Starting in January, I started to have some health concerns, and had tentatively put off my trip to Europe until that was all settled, and it in fact was eventually completely cancelled. Cue business needs. My company suddenly had a need for me to spend some time in a small town in northern Sweden for some time, starting in mid April. This time, I already knew, would include Geohashing Day. My ability to join the expedition was revived!
As for travel specifically for the geohash, that started on Friday at about noon, when I left the office in Sweden. I walked to the bus stop, and took a 30 minute bus ride to the nearby airport. From there it was an hour long flight to Stockholm, followed by a 3 hour layover. During the layover, I used the wifi access in Stockholm Arlanda airport to research accessibility of hashpoints in and near Berlin, so that I could make educated votes. After that was done, I had a 1.5 hour flight to Berlin, arriving there at about 7PM. Once at the Berlin airport, I changed a small amount of money ($60) to euros, so that I would have some money for food and transit tickets. I then took a bus to lyx's place, which took about 30 minutes. End of the first phase of travel.
I went out, with lyx and one of her friends, to a small board game cafe place, which has huge numbers of games. Relet joined us on the way to the cafe, and ekorren met us there a bit later. We played DiXit and Pirate Fluxx while also talking about geohashing in general, and starting some basic plans for the next day's events. We eventually decided that we would arrange some meeting times in the morning, and discuss the actual location of the expedition in that timeframe. End of day one.
Beginning of day two. Ekorren arrived at lyx's place (where both relet and I had stayed overnight), and we had breakfast while deciding that, due to the delay of crox's train, we would need to stay somewhat close. We decided on the Frankfurt (Oder) graticule, which put the hashpoint in Poland, thus granting all of us a Border achievement if we were to reach it. We then headed over to Berlin Centralstation at about 11:00 and purchased our day passes on the rail. There were greetings and was a general sense of glee at what we were about to do.
Shortly before noon, we got on the train to Frankfurt (Oder), on the German side of the border with Poland. While on the train, we played another game of Pirate Fluxx. I don't remember who one either this game, or the one the previous night. However, with this game, I'm not sure that winning is really the point. =D The train ride took about one hour. Once we disembarked, we started our 7km walk to the hashpoint.
It was at this point that I should mention our very own hobbit started to become a nuisance. He was constantly complaining that we weren't stopping for picnics nearly often enough. We walked through the (very different to the US) rural areas of Poland, mostly following small trails and dirt roads which would take us in the general direction of the hashpoint. When we got to the town nearest the hashpoint, we passed by the train station we would catch a train at later.
From this point, it was only about 1km to the hashpoint, and we were also approaching 4PM. The last bit of the journey to the hashpoint was mostly through woods, and a good portion of that not on any sort of human track. As we neared the hashpoint, we were confronted by various fences, which luckily did not bar our path, and only gave rise to small detours. When we were finally getting close to the hashpoint, we saw the swamp which had previously been identified on openstreetmap.
Here we began to get a bit dismayed. Were we to be thwarted by the swamp? As we neared, we discovered that, from the edge, it was still a dozen or so meters into the waterlogged, and mosquito infested swamp. This was very bad news, because that is just outside the accuracy of our GPS units! Luckily, while some of us were mourning what appeared to be our failure, mampfred discovered a dry way to get further into the swamp. Success! With some careful navigation, we were able to make it within GPS accuracy of the hashpoint!
After some picture taking, we then quickly retreated, fleeing the swarm of mosquitoes attempting to feast upon us. We then ventured a bit further away, and decided to stop for a picnic, since we didn't need to be back to the return station (less than 1km away) until a bit after 6PM. Here we all ate various delicacies which we had packed in. Relet, lyx, and I also played around a bit with a frisbee, until we were scared we would lose it over one of the nearby fences.
We then ventured back to the train station a bit early, so that if there was a ticket office, we could purchase tickets with some time to spare before the train arrived. It turned out that the station building there was no longer in service, but the stop was still in use, meaning we would just need to purchase our tickets once on the train. At this point, we had about an hour until the train would arrive.
We had seen signs for ice cream back in the town, so some of us decided to walk there and get some, and I decided to join if for nothing else but to be doing something. The ice cream, it turns out, was all just pre-packaged cones, bars, etc, so I did not have any. We returned to the station, and talked for a bit until the train came, and we all boarded.
On the way back, we started to formulate plans for dinner, and finally decided on a vegan place in Berlin. Unfortunately, though, crox would not be joining us, because he was also in town visiting his cousin and family, and ended up going to dinner with them instead. When we hit the Alexanderplats station, we bid crox a farewell, and headed to the restaurant. There we had a good meal, and much more conversation was had. From there, we bid Mampfred and LadyBB farewell, and the remaining four of us went back to Berlin centralstation. At this point, ekorren also parted ways, and the remainders went back to lyx's place to catch some sleep. End of day two.
The final day, travel back to Sweden, begins. I consumed another breakfast, graciously provided by my host, and then packed up, and headed to the bus stop. There I bade farewell to lyx and relet, and gave further thanks for providing me with a place to sleep while in Berlin. I payed the bus fare, after which I was left with 0.09 euro from my initial exchange. I couldn't have planned that any better! From there, the trip back to Sweden was fairly similar to the trip to Berlin, just in reverse.
All in all, it was an excellent weekend, and I am extremely happy that I came!
Great circle distance from where I am staying in Sweden to the hashpoint: 927 mi (1492 km)
 Mampfred and LadyBB's report
We started out our trip in Wiesbaden on friday after work. After picking up a passenger from the "Mitfahrzentrale" at 6:30pm, we took only two small breaks and arrived (thanks to very good traffic conditions) in Berlin shortly after midnight.
That doesn't mean that it wasn't an exciting trip as Mampfred decided to skip a gas station and wait a bit as he still had a bit less than a quarter of the tank left to go. Little did he know that there wouldn't be another gas station for another 90 or so kilometers and the last quarter for some reason always depletes that much quicker than the rest of the tank. So he watched the indicator go into the red ... light up ... starting to blink - now imagine the feeling with a pregnant woman and a stranger in the car. Eventually a sign announced the next gas station just as Mampfred was wondering how long it would take the ADAC (german automobile club) to show up with extra gas ;)
Shortly before we arrived in Berlin we discovered that our host for the night wasn't even at home but attending the ECTA Round Dance Festival 2011 so we took another detour and picked him up before dropping off our other passenger at Hermannstrasse.
Since by then it (sadly) was already quite late, we didn't bother trying to join the other geohashers (see above). But since we both left straight after work we had hoped that by the time we reached Berlin, there would be a decision on when and where to meet in the morning in the wiki. That wasn't the case so Mampfred decided to complain on IRC (it was something along the lines of "worst planning eva, I've just dragged a pregnant woman on a 5-hour car trip to Berlin and we don't know what's gonna happen tomorrow"). He was reassured that everything would be fine in the morning though and calmed down a bit, thanks for listening guys ;)
Day 2 then started off with a nice breakfast with our host at the Wirtshaus Hasenheide. From there we went straight for the main station where we met the rest of the bunch. Aperfectring did a good job describing our journey to the hash so I won't repeat that here, let us just add a couple of points:
- Ekorren won the game of Pirate Fluxx on the train.
- Buying supplies in Poland is a good idea. And cheap.
- My quote of the day by relet: "We solve problems with technology rather than social interaction." when we mounted the camera for the group shot in the train on a tripod-like thingy rather than asking one of the other passengers to take the photo. Mind you geohashing is supposed to be about social interaction ;)
- The "decision" on the vegan restaurant was more of a "sure, we're happy with what you choose, you know Berlin better than we do" - at that point it wasn't clear to us though that it would be exclusively vegan, we were in for a little surprise ;)
- The long-term effect of mosquito bites are greatly underestimated - Mampfred was fine on saturday but the 25 bites started itching madly some point on sunday (and still are)
After we bid the rest of the bunch farewall, we actually went back for a quick visit to the ECTA Round Dance Festival 2011 ourselves before heading back to Wiesbaden the very same night. We actually arrived around 4:30am on sunday morning and fell into bed with the good feeling of having "achieved" something ... well ... great. We had a marvellous time and would do it again anytime (if the +1 allows us to do it in the future).
Thanks guys and see you at a hash!
 Ekorren's photos
Feel free to blend these in the gallery above, and sort out doubles, I actually couldn't be bothered... have a few more reports to do...
 Mampfred and LadyBB's photos
Same here, if anyone wants to merge them - feel free!
| Aperfectring, Ekorren, relet, lyx, Crox, Mampfred and LadyBB(+1) earned the Land geohash achievement
| Aperfectring, Ekorren, relet, lyx, Crox, Mampfred and LadyBB(+1) earned the Border geohash achievement
| Aperfectring, Ekorren, relet, Crox, Mampfred and LadyBB(+1) earned the XKCD-100 Achievement
| Aperfectring, Ekorren, relet, lyx, Crox, Mampfred and LadyBB(+1) earned the Meet-up achievement
| relet earned the Hobbit Achievement
| Aperfectring, Ekorren, relet, lyx, Crox earned the Public transport geohash achievement
| Aperfectring, Ekorren, relet, lyx, Crox, Mampfred and LadyBB(+1) earned the Migration Geohash achievement
| Aperfectring, Ekorren, relet, lyx, Crox, Mampfred and LadyBB(+1) earned the 2011 Geohashing Day achievement
| Aperfectring, Ekorren, relet, lyx, Crox, Mampfred and LadyBB(+1) earned the 2011 Mouse Over Day achievement
| Mampfred achieved level 1 of the Minesweeper Geohash achievement