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The moment I realised I'm not a fan of caves...

Tuesday 2 July 2013
"We're now at the lowest point on the tour. And we're about 50 metres underground."

My stomach did a little flip. Above me, there was fifty metres of rock. Behind me, a narrow pathway which I'd had to squeeze through while bent double. In front of me? Some kind of monster in the shadows, presumably.

I was in the Cueva de los Verdes (Green Caves) in Lanzarote. Prior to entering, I hadn't given too much thought as to what this would actually entail. I'd been in caves before. I'd never gone caving, which always seemed like a ridiculous and horrifying thing to do. I knew that, if I knew nothing else. But I didn't think that this would be much like that - we'd walk around, pretend to know the difference between stalagmites and stalactites, or whatever they are, and then have some tapas and a nice chilled glass of wine.

Little did I know that I would be terrified not twenty steps into the hour-long tour.

It's not right, being that far underground. The constant threat of collapse seemed to echo in my mind, as I'm sure my heartbeat was echoing through the cavern. What would happen if there was an earthquake? We were in the middle of a volcanic island. It's been a while since I sat in a geography class, but earthquakes and volcanoes were similar enough, aren't they? Something about tectonic plates? Doing something?

I couldn't be sure, and there was no time to think my theory through properly.

"We're going to die in these caves."

I didn't realise I'd spoken aloud. Everyone thought I was joking. I was not.

I realised I had barely heard a word the guide had said since we entered the pit of doom. I was too busy picturing my demise. Faces had started to appear on the dimly lit cave walls. They were leering at me, mocking me, and starting to resemble The Joker.

It was then I realised: I don't really like being in caves.

I was wish I could tell  you more about them. I wish I could be more enthusiastic. Everyone else loved them, as I'm sure I would have had they been overground, with natural light and a clear escape route. There was one fantastic moment, where the secret of the caves was exposed (which I'm not allowed to divulge). They hold concerts in the amphitheatre, which is at the deepest point, and would be great were you not palpitating in fear throughout.

But I, alas, was. However, I did learn a valuable lesson about myself, so there you go. Every day's a school day.

The entrance. To HELL.

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