A year in the life of a Marbelli (Week 34)
This week was all about the underground – A day trip to Nerja exploring the famous caves closely followed by an outing to St. Michaels caves in Gibraltar.
Having visitors to stay encourages me to do the things that a Marbelli would never usually do and that is sightsee! So as my sister was staying for the week, I thought it was about time to get cultural and visit a few places, that for the last 28 yrs. of living here, I’d never reconnoitred!
The caves in Nerja came to mind- educational, historical and enlightening –adjectives not normally associated with the coast, buy hey – there’s always a first time for everything!
So we set off early in the morning on our 1½ hr. journey to the east side of Malaga. Nerja itself, although viewed here from high up is a small pleasant coastal town, popular in the summer as a quieter place to holiday.
The caves are situated on the hillside about 4 km outside of the centre and overlook the town and the Mediterranean bay. Originating millions of years ago, the caves were discovered in 1959 by some local lads and stretch over 5km.
We were put into a group and sent into a room to watch the welcoming video. I opted for the English-speaking hand recorder (big mistake), listening to Dr Schmitt reeling off it’s history in his pigeon English and trying to pronounce the different stalactites that could be found became too much, I started to giggle.
A slightly disgruntled group guide was not amused; and I did think he was going to pull me aside and tell me off as we progressed down the stairs into the first gallery. Although I was feeling nervous of going below ground level, I was pleasantly relaxed as to how large and high the caves were, I always imagined a cave to be a small dark space about head height, filled with bats and Morelocks, so it was a pleasant surprise.
The first chamber was brighter than I had expected, and all the minute details of the rock formation could be seen a lot clearer than in other chambers. I don’t know what you think, but in the photo below, that definitely looks like one of the seven dwarves winking at something – maybe fairy tales are true after all!
The next chamber was a lot more scary, old uneven stairs with missing parts and very few barriers, sweep down into the concert gallery. Here there is seating for approximately 100 people, who are either mad or have a hefty life insurance premium, because they willingly go to attend concerts. Don’t expect an A list group though, carrying equipment down those stairs would put off many an artist or group, not even Simon Cowell’s rejects would risk that!
Moving on, the hall of the Cataclysm is the most impressive gallery, housing the tallest central column in the world, which stands at 32 metres high. My only problem was I couldn’t look down to see the bottom of it, only up towards the top.
After 45 minutes of rickety stairs, skeletons in glass cases permanent darkness and a slight scepticism of Spanish health and safety, this was my happiest moment – the exit sign! “Explorer Anna” doesn’t have a good ring to it and now I know why; I’m claustrophic, scared of heights, hate the dark and I’m hopeless in group situations.
Anyway next week I will give you more of an insight into the touristic side of Gibraltar, a close up with the monkeys and a quick look at the other cave I visited.
Anyway, bye for now and see you next week. xx
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