Wednesday, July 28, 2010

In the Mouth of the Cave!

The entrance of the Grottes de Vallorbe is close to the source of the Orbe, a very clear and refreshing river. Since 1964 hundreds of thousands of visitors - small and tall - have been dazzled by the splendor of the stalagmites, stalactites, pillars and intricate lacework formations entirely created by nature.

In 1962 divers tried to dive the siphon of this spring and discovered the cave behind it. It took 12 years until it was opened to the public; the cave is now accessible by an 80 mile long artificial tunnel. The cave is a long and winding tunnel leading to the subterranean river Orbe. It contains beautiful straws and calcite crystals. In this picture is both diving gear from the past (left) and modern diving gear (right). 

The water of the nearby lakes Lac de Joux and Lac de Brenet  flows through the cave as well. The river, which springs from the cave, gave its name to the valley (Val d'Orbe) and the town Vallorbe, which is just a short form of Val d'Orbe.

My “family” and I walked through an entangled network of galleries above the underground part of the Orbe river. For those like me, who have never been in a cave before, this excursion will be very remarkable!

After visiting the caves, I had the opportunity to experience a unique and breathtaking spectacle: set in rock domes, a superb exhibition of minerals to be discovered in all their transparence and colors, like treasures waiting for you at the end of a rainbow... These stones were from all over the world, including Brazil, the Congo, the USA and more. 

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