If you’re careful enough you’ll see the old rusty sign pointing toward the cave. The path enters the forest. In a short while you’re standing in front of the large round entrance. The limestone is white but inside it’s dark. It’s hard to convince yourself to step into the unknown. But in the end you turn on your headlamp. You try to adjust your sight and look around. You go deeper and you begin to hear a strange noise, like a whizzing. It seems you’re getting closer and closer to whatever lies ahead. As you enter another room, you look up and there they are. Hundreds of bats flying around, passing right beside you. You silently retreat into a corner and just watch. Other bats are hanging from the ceiling. The hairy little things seem so fluffy and you can almost touch them. You can’t believe how close you really are. You get an idea. To turn off the headlamps and just listen. Now it doesn’t seem so scary anymore. In complete darkness this whizzing in the air lets you know you’re not alone. And every now and then you can feel a bat flying near. It’s like they’re putting on a show for us. Inside the cave it’s quite warm and we did feel a draft. Meaning that it must communicate with some other holes or perhaps there is another exit. We leave the huge room and the bats behind and continue along a tunnel. Shortly after we see a glimpse of light ahead. We climb a slope and return to the outside world, under the sun light.
The Bats’ Cave (Peștera Liliecilor) lies on the Ampoiţa Valley in Apuseni Mountains. It is about 6 km away from the village of Ampoiţa, famous for its three rock formations now bolted with sport climbing routes. I talked about them in Climbing in Romania: Ampoiţa. The cave is hidden in the woods, on the right side of the valley. There is an old sign pointing to it near the river. From there the path begins to take shape. Visiting is made under your own responsibility and with your own equipment. However, it has no difficult parts.
The Bats’ Cave is an underground passage to a world we cannot fully understand, where life is lived in complete darkness and yet in a well organized community that found protection away from the sun.