Monday, May 3, 2010

Леденика (Ledenika)

Do a Google search for Леденика (Ledenika) and you’re likely to turn up hits for one of two things: the cave or the beer. I drank a fair amount of the beer during my time in Boychinovtsi, but I never got around to visiting the cave, which is located near Vratsa. That changed this weekend. Fittingly, the cave is on a par with the beer. On a grand scale, neither compares favorably to the competition. But when there is no competition, they are more than tolerable. In this regard, I came to the conclusion that most easily accessible caves are like most available beers – there is little about them to distinguish one from another, but they both bring a certain amount of enjoyment to most of us.

In the case of caves, tight passages and slippery rocks make them more accessible to the small and spry than the large and lumbering. They are universally cold, damp, dark places virtually devoid of plant and animal life. By contrast, they are full of stalagmites and stalactites which create strange formations that invariably resemble (at least to those with vivid imaginations) real or mythical creatures. Ledenika, for example, has an eagle, a falcon, a witch, Santa Claus, a giant, an elephant, a frog, and numerous other imaginary residents. Despite significant effort, I never saw any such things. Perhaps this is the reason all but a few of the caves I’ve visited have seemed more or less the same.

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