Our adventure began at the Prague train station, where we eagerly awaited the arrival of the international researchers. We greeted each other with warm smiles and enthusiastic conversations, eager to embark on this incredible journey together. Although it was a rainy morning, as soon as we disembarked from the train, the rain miraculously ceased. It was as if the universe was conspiring to make our trip even more magical.
To reach the Koněpruské Caves, we hopped on a bus and a short 10-minute walk led us to the ticket counter, where we acquired our entry passes. Our guide led us into the enchanting caves. The moment we stepped inside, we were mesmerized by the breathtaking decorations adorning the cave walls. It felt like stepping into a hidden world of wonder considering that the caves` history dates back million years ago.
We went through various passages, domes each leading us deeper into the mesmerizing depths of the caves. Along the way, we stumbled upon the remnants of ancient life. In the Barren Dom, we saw the skeletal remains of animals that had fallen into the underground chambers through chimneys connecting the caves to the surface. Our guide challenged us to identify the bones, and we excitedly guessed the origins of each skeleton. From deer jaws to horse leg bones, the cave held a treasure trove of ancient secrets.
Among the skeletal remains, we were astonished to see the skull of a woman. According to surveys conducted, she was believed to be the oldest person to have lived in the area, dating back 45,000 years. Our guide, always eager to entertain and educate, shared a spine-chilling tale of a daring explorer of the caves who had ventured too far into the depths of the caves. The explorer had fallen and remained trapped for days before being rescued and he claimed that he heard some people walking. But when people saved him, they said that there was nothing but him. This story added an extra layer of excitement to our expedition. In the final leg of our journey, our guide surprised us by turning off all the lights, plunging us into complete darkness. It was an opportunity to experience the caves in their original lighting. The absence of light heightened our senses, allowing us to appreciate the true essence of the caves. After bidding farewell to the Koněpruské Caves, we embarked on an educational trail, eagerly searching for fossils. As we walked through the depths of the educational trail, luckily, we have found the amazing fossils. As we rested and enjoyed a delightful picnic, some of our fellow travellers successfully unearthed these ancient treasures. The excitement and joy on their faces were contagious, making the experience even more memorable.
Leaving the trail behind, we made our way to the bus station, ready to explore Beroun. Our first stop was the clock tower, offering a panoramic view of the city. Though the climb was tiring, the breathtaking vista made it all worthwhile. Unfortunately, luck was not on our side, as the symbol of Beroun, the bear, remained elusive. Only one bear remains until today and it did not want to show its face to us by staying hidden in its den due to the warm weather.
Undeterred, we ventured towards the city centre and were pleasantly surprised to stumble upon a wine tasting festival. The atmosphere was filled with joy and laughter as everyone indulged in the flavors of Czech wine. To add to the festivities, an enchanting concert featuring Czech music, including the captivating sounds of the Cimbal band, filled the air. The melodic tunes transported us to another time and place, leaving us in awe of the rich cultural heritage. The harmony of the Cimbal music and the comforting atmosphere in Beroun made us feel like we were in a movie.
After enjoying some free time in the vibrant city centre, we reluctantly made our way back to Prague's main train station. Our hearts were filled with cherished memories of our trip to Beroun and Koněpruské Caves, an adventure that had brought us closer to nature, history, and each other.
Author: Nurhayat Aka