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Facing my Fears – Caving in Budapest

I am petrified of being in confined spaces. Cole knows this, but he still insisted we go caving in Budapest to face my fears. It was a terrible idea.

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Cole caving in Budapest

The idea of caving in Budapest is akin to my kind of hell. And Cole’s dream adventure.

Squeezing through chest tightening gaps 20 meters underground in the pitch black? Silence surrounding you while being covered in dirt? No thanks.

Cole caving in Budapest

I guess being claustrophobic does not really help my case but caving in Budapest was not high on my to do list. So when Cole told me that’s exactly what we were doing. I was petrified.

However, being the stubborn adventurous and competitive person I am, I wanted to overcome my fears. I smiled, nodded and told him I would be fine.

How wrong I was.

Caving in Budapest

I woke up with a deep feeling of dread in my stomach. Breakfast tasted like sandpaper. Coffee did nothing to ease the nerves, and Cole’s excitement and attempts to lighten the mood with terrible jokes about getting trapped were no help at all.

My nerves were rattling more than the ancient bus as we trundled up to the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Before I knew it we were at the caves and suiting up. With every layer of protective gear I strapped on I felt more and more trapped.

Four Jandals Caving in Budapest

Putting on a brave face for the camera.

I tried to make small talk with the others on the tour but when I told them I was claustrophobic they looked at me like I was insane for coming caving. Maybe I was.

All too suddenly we were at the entrance. I had expected a big opening that would get gradually smaller so I could at least see some light coming in. Wrong again.

It was just a door. A locked door.

As I stepped through the void I started thinking maybe I can handle this.

CRASH!

The guide slammed the heavy door and locked it with a resounding clank that still haunts me in my sleep. To me it was the sound of fear. I was trapped.

Irrational thoughts flooded my mind.

What if I lose the guide and I can not get out because I don’t have a key? What if we need to get out in a hurry and we lose precious seconds while the guide unlocked the door?

As the guide went over the safety talk I gazed blankly into the darkness. I took nothing in. All I could think about was the door and my uncontrollable shaking.

Shaken out of my inner nightmares as everyone begins to move I see the guide is pointing down a 10m ladder into a hole no larger than 1 meter square. “I thought we were already in the caves!” I exclaim. They all laugh as he confirms that is exactly where we are going.

It was the last straw. I had to get out.

Backing away I grab hold of Cole’s sleeve. He has already noticed my anxiousness though and is hurrying me out with the guide close behind.

With every step towards the door my stress levels lowered.

I cannot explain how good it felt to walk out of that cave.

I gulped fresh air as relief, happiness and freedom washed over me.

As quick as it had begun my caving experience was over.

For Cole it was just beginning as he left me with my eBook on the surface 2 hours as soon as I was free! Can’t say I blame him.

Caving in Budapest

Extra Travel Information:

Try caving in Budapest with the awesome guides at Caving Under Budapest.

Fly to Budapest easily from pretty much anywhere in Europe with Jet2.com and we recommend staying at Marco Polo Hostel as they are quiet and have a brilliant breakfast buffer.

This is a post from a series called Facing my Fears. It helps us to step outside our comfort zone, in comfort. Check out the rest of the series here.

Disclaimer: We were invited to step out of our comfort zone by the Visit Hungary Tourism Board for our trip to Budapest. As always our thoughts, recommendations and fears are always our own.

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30 Comments

30 Comments

  1. Laurence

    September 7, 2012 at 3:10 PM

    You know, sometimes we just need to say no to things. You totally made the right decision here – I’m actually amazed you made it inside 😉 I can’t imagine how scary that would be if you suffer from claustrophobia!

  2. Tom @ Waegook Tom

    September 7, 2012 at 4:41 PM

    Adela, I totally sympathise with you here. I freaked out when I was almost at the top of a mountain (I have a terrible phobia of heights) and had to sit down and wait while my partner and his family made the last bit up to the top. I felt sooooo relieved when I realised that nobody was forcing me to do anything that I didn’t want to do.

    Also I LOVE your facial expression before going in the cave, it is priceless haha!

    • Cole Burmester

      September 13, 2012 at 6:04 PM

      Cole hates heights too Tom so at least I have him beaten there haha. I am just lucky he didn’t mind going on without me.

  3. Ele

    September 7, 2012 at 5:19 PM

    Bookmarked both the post and service provider. That’s the Budapest I want to see.

  4. Karen @ Trans-Americas Journey

    September 8, 2012 at 12:14 AM

    We’re proud of you! At least you tried. Caves aren’t my favorite thing in the world either and I’ve never been in one with a locked door which is just extra creepy. Maybe try a doorless cave next time…

  5. Arti

    September 8, 2012 at 3:44 PM

    I would have the exact same feelings as you had before you set out on your adventure. The photos are wonderful, give a feeling as if I was down there in the dark space with you!!

    • Cole Burmester

      September 13, 2012 at 6:03 PM

      Thanks Arti 🙂 It was lucky Cole continued on so that we could get the photos haha.

  6. bronwen burmester

    September 9, 2012 at 9:46 PM

    Great post Adela and neat phtos and I would have been just like you adela, brave Cole….but not me!

  7. Mike

    September 9, 2012 at 11:27 PM

    You don’t look afraid on the pictures. You were really having fun and overcoming your fears. Congratulations to you Cole.

  8. Jess | GlobetrotterGirls

    September 10, 2012 at 5:21 AM

    I totally get this. I never knew I had a fear of caving until I was deep inside of one! Turns out, I’m claustrophobic! I’ve done some caving since, but I know all that build-up dread. Good on you!

  9. D.J. - The World of Deej

    September 11, 2012 at 12:01 PM

    Totally feel you on this one…I hate the dark and enclosed spaces…You made it further than I would have!

    • Cole Burmester

      September 13, 2012 at 4:40 PM

      We can hang out on the surface next time then D.J. 🙂

  10. Suzy

    September 12, 2012 at 6:22 PM

    Wow – good for you for even tryng! It looks like Cole had a great time, though. Caving isn’t the first thing I’d think of when I think of Budapest. That’s why travel blogs are so great – always new ideas for traveler! Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • Cole Burmester

      September 13, 2012 at 4:45 PM

      We didn’t even know the caves existed until just before we went. Was such a unique experience. It is where all the hot water comes from for the hot baths.

  11. Callie

    September 13, 2012 at 5:16 PM

    That sounds scary! No shame in sticking to the surface 🙂 I hear you – I went with a group to rappel down a waterfall in Ecuador once and backed out once I was all strapped in and literally hanging over the ledge. The guide had to pull me back up as everyone was watching…

    • Cole Burmester

      September 14, 2012 at 3:37 PM

      The rappling sounds awesome (sort of). I might freak out because I hate heights haha.

  12. Ali

    September 15, 2012 at 11:24 AM

    Caves are NOT my thing at all. I didn’t realize it until recently, but I don’t like the enclosed spaces and extreme darkness. Doesn’t help that I whacked my head on the stone when I was in there.

    • Adela

      September 15, 2012 at 12:20 PM

      Ali I totally know where you are coming from – I can not think of anything worse than enclosed spaces and extreme darkness. Some of us are just not meant for caving

  13. Nat

    September 16, 2012 at 7:17 PM

    I would be exactly the same, I don’t think I could have even gone through the door. Looking at the photos too things certainly did seem to become tight. I notice Cole is wearing a GoPro. Have you managed to edit the video? It would be great to see 🙂

    • Cole Burmester

      September 17, 2012 at 9:37 AM

      The video is quite grainy actually. Need to learn a few more editing techniques rather than just using Windows Live Movie maker. We have had ours for a while and do love it. Just need to use it more. Going to check out your review now.

  14. Jemma

    September 17, 2012 at 4:11 PM

    Awwww you can totally see the fear in your eyes in that picture! Well done for having the guts to turn back, I think having the guts to do that is commendable. Caving is my worst nightmare too, can’t think of anything worse than being in a tight tunnel like that. Just thinking about it gives me the heebie jeebies, so kudos to you for even suiting up. If my boyfriend suggested it to me I’d tell him to go play in traffic! 🙂

  15. emma@greenglobaltravel

    September 18, 2012 at 3:24 PM

    Well done you for trying anyway! A lot of people wouldn’t have done even that much.

  16. Stephanie - The Travel Chica

    September 20, 2012 at 12:40 AM

    I’ve seen the movie The Descent and could never ever do this.

    • Cole Burmester

      September 28, 2012 at 6:17 PM

      Haha we luckily didn’t encounter any flesh-eating monsters 🙂

  17. Adrian

    September 26, 2012 at 12:20 PM

    I would say, This was one of the awesome adventurers you had. I can understand how terrible it was for you but that’s the real taste of life.

    • Cole Burmester

      September 30, 2012 at 5:22 PM

      Pushing yourself past your own limits is what makes life so interesting!

  18. Trudy

    October 30, 2012 at 11:17 AM

    Wow. Love your face in that pic. Sounds amazing but I just don’t know if I could do it. You are awesome for trying!

    • Cole Burmester

      October 31, 2012 at 10:43 AM

      Adela gave it a good go! The problem was the slamming of the door. But at least she decided to stop at the start and not halfway through when we were crawling on our bellies 🙂

  19. Craig Makepeace

    March 1, 2013 at 11:43 AM

    Yeah, this freaks me out! I could never work in an underground mine or anything. Let me see light 🙂

    • Cole Burmester

      March 1, 2013 at 4:42 PM

      It was an awesome experience Craig! Well for me, Adela not so much haha.

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Storing Extra Fuel

When you are far away from anywhere, fuel stations are, obviously, few and far between. This means that you need to think carefully about how much fuel you will need as running out in this environment is extremely dangerous. You could think about installing a long range fuel tank or bring jerry cans of fuel just in case.

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California, United States.

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Meet Cole and Adela

Cole and AdelaWe have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...

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