Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Luray Caverns

This long weekend, we decided to head down to Luray Caves. And no, I have not tied the knot or come across kids I never knew I had. The 'We' is Mom, Dad and I. Yeah, parents are visiting, and they have been here for over a month. Dad was rather keen to check out Luray Caverns in Virginia, I had never ever explored them, and so we set out.

The drive was a rather pleasant one, since it heads into the Shenandoah Valley. Lush green fields, horses running around, cows mooing. A clear sky. All in all, a perfect summer.

Now, when I say caves, if you are under the impression that you will be coming across a set of caves as your entry point, think again. The entry point to Luray caves is the building you see below. And after a $19 entry fee, you walk down a stairway, probably 3 levels and come upon your first glimpse of the caves.

The caves are essentially a wonder of Stalagmites and Stalactites. Formed by seeping mineral water, the structures are mighty wonderful.

What you see below is one of the most beautiful sections of the cave. The formations are on the top (stalactites), and what one gets to see below is their reflection in water. And yes, thats my Mom and Dad, and usually, they do smile.

What follows is called Saracens Tent. It appears as a smooth curtain folded by hand, a perfectly formed stone drapery structure. The translucent sheets appear to have been parted, tent-like, for an entranceway.

This was a random snap I took as we walked through the caverns. Yeah, they can get scary. I wonder if there are any snakes or lost civilizations in them?


* There were at least 60% Indians. It felt like going to Jersey City, or walking on Oaktree Road in Edison. Minus the food.
* The cavern has a wishing well, which has so many quarters flipped in it, I could do free laundry for a lifetime if I could lay my hands on 'em.
* They have guides at certain points on the tour (the tour is rather like a walk through the caverns). The guides do not walk with you. They will talk about the significance of that particular area in the cave and then you walk on till you come across the next guide.
* If you are not fast enough to get to the next point of interest, you will miss out on what the guide there has to say. Even if you get there on time, but have a noisy kid with an even noisier kids Mom shouting at him to shut up, behind you, you will not be able to figure out what the guide has to say. Both these obstacles can be overcome by asking the Guide to repeat what s/he said :)
* Do not stand behind Indian lady wearing salwar-kameez with dupatta. She will swing the dupatta around her shoulders and it shall land on your head, causing everyone to break into uncontrollable laughter. Exceptions: Lady is a hot chick!
* Ladies, keep your pointy heel shoes back home. The terrain is such that it would take an amateur trekker to task. The temperature is maintained at 54 F, so dress easy. You anyways dont wanna end up looking too good, else some caveman could get desperate! Heh!
* They have a cafe as you enter the ticketing area, or when you get out of the caves, however, nothing in the caves (during the tour). So, if you get hungry, have some mineral formations. They are pretty yummy. Just make sure you are not licking the same one I licked!

And as you can see, my Mom does smile!

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Blogger Zee said...

i'd thought i'd never hear the word stalagmites and stalactites ever again after class 8...but a yr ago a friend of mine got similar pictures from switzerland and i almost died when he used the twin words!!!

so is this all ice or just...errr...rock??

September 04, 2007 3:47 AM  
Blogger Iyer Education said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

September 04, 2007 7:18 AM  
Blogger Iyer Education said...

plijj not to show the blown up plugs and sockets in the house... they are not attractions or any historic monuments...

give my regards to dad n mom bhai :)

September 04, 2007 7:19 AM  
Blogger APOO said...

@Zee: Haha! You know.... when I first heard about Luray having these Stalagmites and Stalactites, I thought the same thing... class 8. :)

And they are just rock.

@Iyer: LOL! Worry not Iyer, your secret is safe... in my camera!

September 05, 2007 1:13 AM  
Blogger Still searching said...

Noooo waayyyy!!! I spent the long weekend sooo close to Luray Caverns! We even saw it on our drive from NJ to Virginia Shenandoah Valley! Cool! :) Sounds like a really nice place.. I wanted to see it, but there wasn't any time to stop on our way..

Btw, is that you in the pic - sticking your tongue out at the icicles and more importantly, with SHORT hair?!!! :) So your hair is not actually a mop?! Haha!

September 05, 2007 7:57 PM  
Blogger APOO said...

@Searching: Wow! Everyone I know seems to be @Shenandoah. You should have stopped by to check out Luray. Its not worth a miss.
And ummm.... yeah. You should have seen my haircut 2 months ago. It was a hair-shave. Now the tall-dark-handsome-bald makes sense?

September 06, 2007 12:52 AM  
Blogger Still searching said...

Haha! NOW it makes sense! I was looking at your snap and wondering what u were talking about!! :) Hmmm... Looks like Virginia was a hot-spot for Labor Day weekend...

September 06, 2007 9:41 PM  
Blogger Sense said...

oh dear! anotgher desi convention? Kinda like here. feel homesick? just hop over to southall and ewe shall be in jalandar's twin city1

September 08, 2007 11:59 AM  
Blogger Di said...

He he..i am proud to say i successfully managed to teach dad to smile at the camera..if only i cud get my mom to do the same now....hmmm...

and they are just rock!! :O wat a rip-off :-/ i thought more like loads of ice!

September 12, 2007 8:58 AM  
Blogger madame.mahima said...

your dad is too hot!!!

September 24, 2007 9:00 PM  
Blogger APOO said...

Someone is impersonating Mahi!

Mahi, if you read this - you are famous (almost)

September 24, 2007 10:19 PM  
Blogger Madame Mahima said...

you dodo it's me yaar..i dont know why my blogger profile pic isnt showing up
pfft. giving me hope that im famous and all. you SUCK!
i still stand by what i said - your dad really is too hot!

September 25, 2007 10:41 AM  
Blogger Madame Mahima said...

ok i know what happened..i used my gmail account to sign in..but still..so weird :S

September 25, 2007 10:42 AM  
Blogger rads said...

haha, yes, Luray's like THE most popular destination for desis :) I've been there say 4 times already. Nice stuff though :)

September 28, 2007 2:57 PM  

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