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How to find geocache ‘treasure’ By David F Unless you are a Geocacher you will probably be surprised to learn that there are 55 geocaches hidden in Lagos, and more than 300 others in the Western Algarve between Sagres and Portimão. So what is geocaching and what is a geocache? Geocaching is an outdoor treasure hunting game using GPS-enabled devices, like your smartphone for instance or a dedicated GPS device. The ‘treasure’, or geocache, can be anything from a 35mm film container to a tupperware box. There is generally little of value in the geocache, often just a logbook for you to sign and possibly some toys for the kids; but the pleasure comes from trying to find the box. You may even bump into one of the three million other geocachers from around the world or around the corner. Having found the container you can log your find on the geocaching website (geocaching.com) which will keep a record of your exploits and provide you with details of more than 2.8 million geocaches across the world (and one in the Space Station). If you enter "Lagos, Portugal" into the search box on the geocaching.com website you will get a full list of local caches. Some of the caches can be sneaky. They may be camouflaged or you may need to visit several places to gain information. Some require you to solve puzzles and

some are straightforward but in places with amazing views or points of interest.

use the search facility to find geocache GC64YBY.

To play you need to register free at geocaching.com (you won't receive spam) normally using a pseudonym - you will find a short explanatory film - then download the Geocaching app. There is an option to purchase Premium Membership (US$35) which gives you some extra bells and whistles and access to some exclusive caches, but this is not necessary and not recommended until you get the bug!

Go to the given GPS coordinates and you will find your first geocache, often guarded by a tiny gecko who will scamper away. Remember to sign the log book (take a pencil) and return the cache as found - if there are any goodies help yourself but please replace with something of similar value. Make sure you are not seen by muggles - this is the name given to nongeocachers.

Once registered you are ready to go - you will find many cache details in English as well as Portuguese and there are no ongoing charges other than normal data usage from your mobile provider.

Then record your find online with a short note but don't post anything that will give clues to others. On a laptop or PC it is easy to call up a full screen map showing the location of all our local caches and I'll guarantee you will be surprised at how many are right near you.

Once you have found 50 or so you might want to hide some of your own, because all caches are placed by the geocaching community. The website will create a webpage for your cache, then it will be reviewed by a volunteer Reviewer to ensure it fits within sensible geocaching guidelines.

Next month: Circular geocaching walks and the different types of caches in the Algarve and around the world. Plus some more difficult ones to try. 

Optionally you can also attend an ad hoc local event where you can meet the many Portuguese cachers in the area as well as a good few Brits and others. You will be made very welcome. As a start try one of my straightforward geocaches between Lagos and Bensafrim. On the geocaching.com Home Page

Sometimes caches are off the beaten track

Tower reopens after revamp The tower at Beja Castle was due to reopen last month after a €500,000 renovation programme. The repair and renovation of the Beja castle tower ‘the highest in Europe’ is ‘a landmark step in the suite of works in progress at this monument’ according to the council. The state of the 183-step tower meant access was barred and in November 2014 a balcony collapsed causing a rapid rethink on the acceleration of the maintenance programme with the Alentejo Culture Board appointing a specialist company to carry out the work before more of the structure fell down. The work involved taking much of the tower structure apart, including balconies and battlements, replacing friable stonework and treating the surface with chemicals before repointing. Much of the

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spiral staircase also had to be rebuilt. At Paderne castle in the Algarve, a new programme has been launched to make better use of the historic site which is usually closed to the public, much to visitors' irritation having managed to find the right road out of the village and negotiated the track.

twelfth century during the Almohad rule, a period in which the Arabs held a strong defensive system in order to try to stop the expansionist policy of the Christians. The first written reference for the castle dates to 1189 and the archaeological work that has been carried out shows human occupation dating to the mid-twelfth century.

‘Discovering the Castle of Paderne’ is due to run in August with the castle opening its gates from 10am to 6pm. (Please check before you go!) Albufeira Council and the Regional Directorate of Culture have opened up the castle and developed enhanced on-site information.

In the year 1506 the population transferred from inside the castle to the current parish of Paderne when a new church, Nossa Senhora da Esperança, was ready. Silves castle is now open from 9am until 11pm to encourage evening tourists to a series of music evenings to be held until August 3rd. 

The Castle of Paderne is in a strategic point between the coast and the hills between Loulé and Silves. It was built in the

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Thanks to the www.algarvedailynews.com for this piece

Tomorrow August 2016  
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