Monday, 9 June 2014

Caving under Budapest

I'm going to preface this adventure by sharing with you that Batman is my all-time favourite superhero and that I was really eager to explore these caves hoping that it would bring me one step closer to feeling like I was in the Bat Cave. Except that they made us wear these dorky get-ups, so it kind of ruined the illusion.  

I should probably start this off by telling you that neither myself or my caving buddy read the description of the tour very carefully, so we didn't really know what we were getting ourselves into.  We're both pretty fit people so our first decision to walk to the caves came pretty naturally to us, but we weren't expecting it to be a half hour walk uphill from the bridge.  We did however find what is probably a very nice retirement community.  Is it too early to retire? I digress. 

The Pál-völgyi caves are located in a really nice park with a cafe where you can buy beer.  A well-earned treat after a long walk.  When the rest of our tour group arrived, we were all suited up with caving onesies, helmets and lamps before being led to the entrance to the cave: an unassuming door covered in graffiti.  Inside we were led into an open area an then total darkness.  We only had our headlights to guide our way down a 15 meter ladder and into the labyrinth we'd be exploring for the next three hours.  

That's three hours of slithering, crawling, sliding and climbing though dusty hard and sometimes jagged rocks.  And I'm not going to lie, sometimes I thought I was stuck for good. But we'd squeeze through a tight canal and emerge in a large space with enough room to stand and some large enough to host concerts (they actually do that).  How they get a cello through some of those spaces is beyond me.  Secret entrance maybe? 

My favourite and probably the most accurate name for one of the tighter passages: The Birth Canal

The tour ended and we emerged from the cave dusty, tired, sweaty, scraped and bruised.  It was the perfect way to spend what ended up being a rainy afternoon and a great way to experience something unique to Budapest. We celebrated with a beer and a walk downhill this time.