The caves are a HUGE tourist affair – think Kent’s Cavern, Cheddar Gorge or Becka falls writ large. There’s a hotel, restaurant, tacky gifts shop etc – but I’m looking forward to taking a train into the bowels of the earth. We numbered in the hundreds us grockles (or tourists) and there was even several photographer taking pictures at the entrance barrier, just like when you step onto a cruise ship. I gurned at my photographer and I noticed he didn’t bother to print it out.
We all piled onto the train – which looked exactly like the one entering the ghost mine at the fun fair – with the added bonus of a health and safety film about a cave man. We were instructed not to wonder off, not to take selfies on the train, not to touch stalactites or –mites and not to use flash photography in the caves. All of these injunctions were ignored by just about everybody.
The cave system was enormous and easily swallowed up the visitors. I took lots of photographs of the rock formations– all of which look similar. My favourite stalactites were the ones that looked like translucent curtains, draped and hanging down from the cave roof. There were spot lights everywhere to show off particularly lovely features. This meant that there was also green algae growing in streaks. We were down under, trailing around the cathedral high spaces for well over an hour, before piling back onto the trains to take us back out. At the exit, you can see a huge river flowing inside the mountain which no doubt paid a huge part in forming the cave system. It was expensive – but possibly the biggest caves I’ve ever seen.
A lot of fuss has been made about the birth of a ‘proteus’ or ‘human dragon’. This is a small, weird, singularly unattractive, pale, hairless and naked, eyeless creature that likes to live in cold ponds in the dark. They were even selling stuffed furry ones in the gift shop. Ugh.
After the cool drippiness of being inside the hill, the heat of the afternoon was pleasant. However it soon built up again, and I made my way to a café once more, to sit out the heat of the day while getting some serious blogging done.
As the evening wore on, I watched the results of the referendum start to roll in and realised, once again, I would be on the losing side, as a narrow majority of the UK voted to leave the EU.