What to do on the day after Christmas during the first cold snap of the season? Go geocaching, of course.
I’ve mentioned some of our geocaching adventures before on this blog; this very very long post is all about a very very long geocaching project we’ve been working on since the summer. There are a lot of side games in geocaching, and this one was all about finding 25 geocaches at different places around the county, collecting 4-digit codes which are written in the boxes, and entering the codes into a website which will then give you the location of the final cache. In Jasz-Nagykun-Szolnok County, most of the caches were hidden in or near various less-famous-but-still-interesting sites in all different kinds of towns and villages.
Without further ado, here are all 25 boxes, in the order we found them, and a bunch of pictures but NO SPOILERS (links on the names bring you to the cache listing on geocaching.com and I think you’d have to be logged in there to see them):
Hungary – JNSZ #16, located in Szolnok
This was the first box we found, on July 29th. I’m sure Tomi had no idea at this point that there would be 25 more to come, or he would have been considerably less enthusiastic.
Hungary – JNSZ #2, located just outside Abádszalók
We decided to take a trip round the northeast corner of the county and collect all the caches there. Our first one was a bomb (see #20, far below) and the second was nearly as bad – the car narrowly avoided being totaled in a parking lot pothole, we learned the danger of caching in flip-flops, and I didn’t get any pictures. So, courtesy of Google, here is the general location:
Hungary – JNSZ #13, located in Tiszafüred
In a mosquito-ridden little forest we found this cache, and then got away as fast as possible. This picture is probably the single moment when I wasn’t slapping away mosquitos.
Hungary – JNSZ #1, located in Kunhegyes
Right smack in the middle of Kunhegyes, this was the first of many churches in the series. Tomi proved himself to be a very useful caching companion, because I gave up after a couple of minutes and he kept going until he found it – another thing which was the first of many.
Hungary – JNSZ #19, located … um … next to an under-construction villa in the middle of a weird industrial park on a barren stretch of road between Kunhegyes and Kenderes
This was a strange one. We came in from the wrong side and ended up driving through an industrial / agricultural park, over what I’m pretty sure was a walking path instead of a road. The site seemed suspiciously like private property and I don’t think the geocache should have been there.
Hungary – JNSZ #5, located near Fegyvernek
This cache taught me to always double check the coordinates and not rely too much on pictures. The picture on geocaching.com was the first one below, the statue of St John of Nepomuk. It happened to be surrounded by corn when we arrived, but no problem, through the corn and thistles and brambles we pushed. Thistles… so many thistles. And while the statue was interesting, it turned out that the cache was actually not there at all, but in a much easier-to-reach place (right where we had parked, basically). I still haven’t gotten all the thistles out of that skirt.
Hungary – JNSZ #7, located in Martfű
One boiling day in mid-August, we made a quick trip to Martfű to find this cache. People have been telling me for ages to try the shoe outlet in Martfű and I’ve still never been there, but now at least I can say that I’ve been in the woods outside the front gate.
Hungary – JNSZ #25, located near Öcsöd
Our second big trip was to collect all the caches in the southern part of the county. The first was not far from Öcsöd. This was one of my favorites, mainly because it wasn’t urban. We walked a ways along the bank of the Körös River and found the cache not far from where a channel joined the river.
Hungary – JNSZ #8, located in Kunszentmartón
Another favorite in the series. I never thought of Hungary as a place with a lot of windmills, but apparently in the 19th century there were nearly a thousand in the country, mostly between the Danube and Tisza Rivers.
Hungary – JNSZ #9, located in Szelevény
So, Szelevény. I’ve lived in this county for 9 years and taught hundreds of students from dozens of villages near and far, and never once heard of this town. But after all, the point of this geocache series was for people to visit the “hidden treasures” of the county. And in this tiny village we found the cache next to this beautiful neo-Gothic church.
Hungary – JNSZ #24. located in Tiszakürt
We had planned to visit the Tiszakürt Arboretum as the final point on our southern trip, but it was hot and we were lazy. I got tired of taking pictures and passed the camera to Tomi, so the rest of the day’s pictures are either my back, or me making faces at the camera.
Hungary – JNSZ #10, located in Cserkeszőlő
Just like I’ve lived in this county for 9 years and never heard of Szelevény, I’ve lived in this county for 9 years and people won’t shut up about Cserkeszőlő. Supposedly it’s one of the best spas / pools / strands in the county. And there’s a geocache in the parking lot. The pictures we took are exciting things like me looking hot and tired in a parking lot, and the signing of a log book on the card hood, so instead here’s a lovely Wikipedia photo of the pool complex.
Hungary – JNSZ #6, located in Jászdózsa
Our third big trip was up in the northwest corner of the county, which is the Jászság – the area where the Jassic tribe once lived. Several of Tomi’s relatives come from villages in this area, so many of the places we had been to or through before. Our first stop in Jászladány was a strike out (see below) but we were successful in Jászdózsa. Guess what, the geocache was near the church.
Hungary – JNSZ #23, located in Jászjákóhalma
Windmill again! This one has been renovated and is now part of a business.
Hungary – JNSZ #11, located in Alattyán
At this point, we were starting to get tired of small villages, churches, and churches in small villages. So here is one lonely photo of the butt of the Alattyán church.
Hungary – JNSZ #18, located in Mezőtúr
Our fourth and final big trip was to get all the caches in the southeast part of the county, as well as a couple that we had missed on our first trip in the northeast. The first stop was Mezőtúr, and yet another church. A big one, this time.
Hungary – JNSZ #3, located in Túrkeve
And yet another church. One of the more beautiful ones we visited, I think. Unfortunately it was also a dangerous one; one of us slipped on the wet stones and twisted an ankle, which cut short the day’s tripping. Luckily we were able to pick up where we left off the following day.
Hungary – JNSZ #17, located in Kisújszállás
Near this little well and monument we found a cache.
Hungary – JNSZ #15, located in Karcag
I’ve been to Karcag at least half a dozen times to visit the lovely and talented Claire, and yet somehow I had never made it to the northern half of the town. This hill-top monument, which I first assumed was a religious site, is to commemorate the heroes of the Hungarian 1848-49 Revolution.
Hungary – JNSZ #14, located just outside Kunmadaras
This cache taught me to always read the comments carefully. We found this one on the second try. It’s located right at the entrance to a fenced and guarded area, and the first time we went we were put off by the guards and other people loitering around. After getting home and reading all the comments, it turned out that the security guards knew about the cache. When we went the second time, we told them quite openly what we were looking for, and they didn’t mind at all. Still, I didn’t feel too comfortable about taking a lot of pictures.
Hungary – JNSZ #20, located in Tiszaroff
Another awkward cache found on the second try. Again located at the front gate of a very private property. Having just successfully found the Kunmadaras cache by talking to security guards about it, we tried that here as well. It turned out that the guards vaguely knew about the cache and were not thrilled with it being there. In fact, just a few days before we found it, it had been found by a gardener who nearly called out the bomb squad. One of the guards who was somewhat familiar with geocaching asked that we leave a comment on the site asking for the cache to be moved which I did, but so far nothing has changed. Sorry, Tiszaroff guards.
Hungary – JNSZ #4, located in Törökszentmiklós
In an abandoned brick factory, to which we arrived at sunset. Sometime between the moment we stepped out of the car and the moment we arrived at the spot some 80 meters from the car, my phone died. So we were searching blind. Sound like the beginning of a horror film much?
Hungary – JNSZ #21, located in Szajol
The last geocache of the series that we actually found. We had planned to get it at the same time as the box in Törökszentmiklós, but the dead phone battery prevented it. But since Szajol is only a few-minute drive from Szolnok, it was easy to get back and find it one fine fall day.
Although we never did find these two geocaches, we were able to find the codes hidden nearby. The statue is the “Little Jász Girl” in Jászladány, and the other pictures are the Jánoshida church.
Hungary – JNSZ Bonus, located in Szolnok
And finally, having collected all twenty-five codes, we were able to find the bonus geocache yesterday. December 27th, nearly 5 months after we started. We found it in Szolnok, the city where we started, located a mere 658 meters from where I’m typing this now. But that’s all I’ll say about that 🙂