However, we went on our way and took the train to the middle of nowhere. Luckily there was one taxi waiting at the station with the driver sleeping inside. The station attendant asked us if we were heading to Hiraodai and once we said we were, he asked another question that we didn't catch. ("Are you going to ________, too?") We smiled and got in the taxi as the attendant shouted something at the taxi driver and we were on our way!
The taxi driver wasn't inclined to chatting and took us directly to Senbutsu Cave. (Thousand Buddhas Cave) Later we realized that this was the question the station attendant had asked us that we hadn't understood. Luckily we smiled and nodded because this was the best place he could have taken us as it was seriously awesome. Here we are standing outside the cave. It was a really warm day, but we could feel a cool breeze coming out from the cave.
Here are some tiny moss and plants that grow in the cave. They only grow where there are lamps are lighting our way, otherwise there aren't any noticeable plants or animals in the cave.
The whole cave was cold and damp and there was water dripping on us the whole time. Besides the fact that the flash on my camera is broken, the dripping water also dissuaded me from taking many photos. I wish we would have brought our rain jackets.
Jon kept telling me to slow down and admire the rock formations. I wanted to charge ahead and just fly through, but I'm glad he made us stop and smell the stalactites.
About halfway through the cave we started wading through water. I'm glad we brought sandals. The water was freezing and occasionally we tried to climb up the walls to let our feet warm up a little bit. I felt like a real explorer. I've been in caves before, but never caves this extensive. Also, in other caves I've explored in, there are strict walkways and they ask you not to touch the walls or the stalactites. In this cave, nothing was off-limits.
After the cave, we walked around and admired the karst landscape. It was a really beautiful and relaxing hike. Between the cave and the karst, it was the most exercise I've gotten in about 3 months, and I felt great. We decided to skip the taxi ride back to the train station and just walk down the mountain, but about halfway there a gruff old man stopped and offered us a ride in his van.