“Uh, hey, how much further do you think it is to this cave?” I asked.
“Well, either fifteen minutes or a half an hour, it’s not clear which trail we’re taking…”
As I heard this I made the mistake of looking over at Pandelis while he was crouching on the side of a ledge in order to take photos of some of the prettiest scenery I’ve ever witnessed. In my mind’s eye it was clear that he was going to be blown off the side of the mountain any second by an errant wind… I had to sit down with my eyes shut.
“Okay, I’m really sorry to do this, but I’m going to have to sit and wait for all of you here, my fear of heights is kicking in- big time.” I looked up at what we were supposed to tackle next, and if anything it was somehow even steeper and more exposed to beautiful sightlines than anything on the distance we’d traveled so far.
Pandelis saw this as an opportunity. “I couldn’t just leave you here. Let’s wait together until Marek and Ania come back, or we could head back down and wait for them at the foot of the mountain.” I saw images of tiny cigarettes dancing in his eyes.
“Oh, we should all head down, it looks like it’s getting cloudy anyway and we don’t want to be stuck on the mountain if it starts to rain.” Ah, Ania being the total diplomat, someone get her a job at the consulate!
“I feel really bad about this, everyone came a very long way to get to this cave, but I’ve got to say that I didn’t consider that the cave would be inside the top of a mountain, I kind of pictured it as below sea level…” I stood up slowly and kept my eyes glued to the stone path, trying to imagine that no one was anywhere near a ledge that could give way and plummet them to their tumbling death, and took advantage of the chance to escape back down hill. When we got to the bottom via the iron chain I made a crack from “Young Frankenstein,” “Well, it could be worse, it could be raining.” And pretty much at that moment, as though directed by Mel Brooks, the thunder, lightening, and rain began. After driving back to Krakow Pandelis and I got our luggage together and got on an overnight train to travel to Germany, end stop, Ilmenau. A nice time trying to sleep in the lower bunk with visions of stone chasms while the passenger above me got up every thirty minutes for TWELVE HOURS straight…
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