The pandemic has engulfed us with emotional turmoil for the past two years. However, after multiple vaccine rollouts, things have gotten better. I decided to revise the memory of visiting a bizarre underground landscape and plan my next trip to other unimaginable landscapes on earth.
My mom and I loved to travel to Europe every summer, and so five years ago, we embarked on a twelve-hour flight to Slovenia. With no particular purpose except our passion for exploring new destinations, we would stroll along shops selling traditional pottery and admire the traditional architecture. However, we did not know we would discover one of the most bizarre Adriatic Sea caves in the world.
The Postojna Cave Park is in Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, and close to Predjama Castle. We were escorted to a train at the beginning of our journey in the caves. The yellow and red paint on the train sprinkled it with child-like innocence. As the train carried us forward, our existence shrunk in size. We were like dolls looking up at a big and bizarre dollhouse with droplet-shaped rocks hanging from the ceiling. Our vision was immediately captivated by the remarkable geology that existed in the caves. Those rocks are known as Murano-glass chandeliers, they were opaque and narrow at the tip, filling the top of the cave with texture and patterns, painting the cave sky with wonder.
As we stepped out of the train, the instant chillness got to me. I was so deeply immersed in looking at the rocks I did not realize the drop in temperature. I hugged onto my coat and exalted
a smoke. In the underground, things are different here. Without the sun, these rocks thrived in the cold. Rocks grew up on the cave floor as the ceiling rocks melted, every melted drop of water built up a pointy rock at the bottom of our feet. They named these ceiling rocks stalactites and grounded ones’ stalagmites. As bizarre as they looked like, throughout time, some stalactites connected with the stalagmites, forming thin stripes of standing rock.
The famous stalagmite in the park, ‘Brilliant’, was iconic and required creative imagination. On the outside, it looked like a collision of two gigantic stalagmites, one taller than the other. Nothing special. But once you exercise your imagination, you would think of the impossible. I thought the ‘Brilliant’ looked like a huge vanilla ice cream in front of the leaning tower of Pisa, except that it was not leaning. How bizarre!
After this nostalgic run through of the Postojna Cave Park, I want to travel again and uncover other bizarre landscapes. Mountain Vinicunca, also known as the Rainbow Mountain in Peru, is a new spot on my travel bucket list. From a documentary aerial video of the mountain, I fell in love with the stretching of mauve and turquoise colours across the mountain’s exteriors. It is hard to believe this bizarre landscape was only discovered seven years ago, and now it has become a national treasure and a hiking destination.
By visiting the astonishing geology in Mountain Vinicunca, I can experience nature at its finest on the ground but also challenge myself in snapping a photo at an altitude of 5,200 meters. A rainbow on a mountain is a bizarre phenomenon worth capturing.