1. Oct, 2022

Mediterranean Secrets

seWe had a cruise around the West Indies for last June but some of the islands were messing tourists around with their everchanging Covid polices so we decided to swerve the WI and settle for something closer to home. We changed the cruise for one called Mediterranean Secrets. We had visited all the countries before that at least we would dock at all new places.

We touched down late at Palma, Mallorca and were whisked off to the boat. A day at sea beckoned and we were due to dock in Corsica the day after. Unforeseen weather conditions prevented us from visiting Corsica but allowed us to dock in Sardinia. We couldn't understand this because the two islands were joined by a short ferry.🤔 

So we docked in Olbia, Sardinia in a port that there only three caches.☚ī¸ The bus system was in chaos but we managed to get in. Our usual plan is to mooch around town together in the morning and then I go out for a couple of hours in the afternoon. So we decided just to get the one cache and head back to the boat. Chiesa di San Simplico, a 1/1 trad was soon spotted and we spent the rest of our time on the island, getting back to the boat.

As we couldn't visit Corsica, the substitute venue was going to be Genoa but first we were going to Savona in Italy. We went into town and had a good look around. In the afternoon, I went out on my own and headed up to [JLX.68] Rintocchi e Memorie, a mystery that I had solved at home. All was well here apart from me dropping the magnet from the container.🙄

I looked for Un salto net blu but it was missing. As I walked up to the Fortress, I received a message from the CO saying that the cache would be replaced within the hour. I carried on up to La fortezza del Priamar and made a start on the AdLab series. There was a virtual and a trad in the fortress so I wanted to fit these in.

Savona dall’alto - Virtual Reward 2.0 was the oddest virtual that I have ever done. The CO had scratched the geocaching icon on part of the battlements and I had to find it.đŸĨ´ I didn’t want to join the long list of failures here so it took me at least half an hour. The next part was to take a photo of the tower in front of me and send it to the CO. I sent the two photos off but the CO responded by saying that I had took a photo of the wrong tower. I was right on the third time and it was a tower about a mile away over by Un salto net blu.đŸĨ´

I tried for ages to get up to the next floor of the fortress and I eventually reached where I wanted to go. The only problem was that Priamar ovest was missing. Time was running out so I decided to give this a miss and have a try for a second base of the AdLab series. It turned out that I was on the wrong level for this too so I gave up.

I went back to Un salto net blu and indeed the cache had been replaced. Unfortunately it was a submerged Kilner jar and the seal wasn’t good enough and the container was full of water. I emailed the CO who was more than miffed as he had just bought the jar an hour ago. I went back to the boat and celebrated the day with a free Red Peroni.😀

We travelled over night east up to Genoa. We docked up and later we went ashore. For the first time, we travelled on one of those tourist open top on/off buses around the town. We got off at the Piazza de Ferrari and walked down to the church of San Lorenzo. We had a good look around the church and then settled down for a cappuccino each in a nearby cafe. There was a cache nearby and I quickly found the S. Lorenzo trad whilst the coffee cooled.🙂

We walked back to the Piazza and whilst we waited for the bus, I had a go a the Virtual Reward 2.0 - Genova in ♥ī¸. This was essentially a Webcam cache and I wish that it had been classified as such.😏 I stood in he required spot and waved.👋😀

We went back to the boat and I came back in the afternoon for a solo run. I wandered around the town collecting trads. I won’t name them all as they are long titles in Italian.

The one that I was keen on finding was Genova storica (n.1) : 1945. Some walls in Genoa still have signs left by the allied soldiers who arrived to liberate Italy from the Nazi troops. These signs were a warning signal from the Allied Military Police forallied soldiers and indicated the point beyond which the "safe zone" ended. Outside this area, the allied command could not guarantee a surveillance that could safeguard the soldiers' safety from the numerous dangers of these alleys: prostitution, fights and thefts.

I was very pleased to find this one and some walls with the original signs. Amongst the trads I had the time to find just one base of the Talking Stones AdLab series. It was then a priority to get myself back to the boat before it sailed away without me.đŸĨ´

Our next port of call was Toulon in France. We weren’t in a berth close to town so had to board a tender to get into town. We caught one of those silly train things to show us around town. I was surprised how many of the town sites that we saw. There weren’t many caches over this side of the water so I saved my caching energy for the afternoon.

I left the ship and took a circular walk that went down to Fort de l’Eguillette and then back through the countryside and into Centre Ville. I picked up three trads and set about the Murs Peints AdLab series in town. I had hoped to do another but I just couldn’t get past the first stage. I hunted down painted murals and gathered numbers for the bonus cache. Luckily the final stage for this one was on the way back to the ship.

We we now heading to Spain, Tarragona, no less. Again we were a long way out of town and we had a special coach into town. What a place, full of Roman antiquities including an amphitheatre and a circus. It was the sort of place where I really needed a week but only had a couple of hours. We decided that I should get a couple of caches whilst we were here as it was too far to return later. I made do with the Balco del Mediterrani trad and the virtual of the same name.

So we were now in our final port, back where we started in Palma, Mallorca. We had a late flight out so kept a cabin on and headed into town on a hop on, hop off tourist bus. I definitely wanted to visit the fantastic cathedral, La Seu but we managed to not get off there and ended up doing the journey twice.đŸĨ´ When we finally alighted, I quickly found the La Seu EC and the S’hort del Rei - Virtual Reward. That’s all I had time for in town. On the bus round town, I had spotted another couple of virtual caches that I would like to have tackled, especially one by the head boy of the League of Extraordinary Cachers, terrapintim.🙁

We couldn’t face another bus journey so we got a cab back to the cruise terminal. There was just one last cache to find, the West Mediterranean Cruise Caches - PALMA DE MALLORCA trad. This one was a real git but a spectacular cache to end the week. 

1 Earthcache 2 Mystery 4 Virtual 7 AdLab 12 Traditional 

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