Thursday, November 23, 2023

Night at the batcave headquarters

What a wonderful experience, pre-Xmas party with my caver friends, in a Lava (angled shelter by the fire) and Palju (a barrel of hot water). What could be better? Oh yeah, we had also interesting talks about explorations in Norway, Turku, and ... also our own Käsivarsi exploration in the summer.

If you're interested in these experiences, join the caving club here.

But back to the Laavu. It is the bat cave headquarters. Or.. wait is this the Darth Vader helmet?

I see it at least as such. But that as it may, we needed to grill some sausages and the Dark Helmet is perfect for that :-)

And there was a Palju, the hot water barrel. You fill it with cold water and then heat with fire underneath. Wonderful experience in the minus degrees, darkness, and the Laavu lights.

But the truly amazing thing of course was that my managed to not break down on the way here (4 hours) or back (6 hours, via skiing)!

Read more urban exploration stories from, and other underground stories from Read the full Planetskier series at, or all blog articles from Blogspot or TGR. Photos and text (c) 2023 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved. 

Thursday, November 16, 2023

Day of caving but no luck

I had great plans, but they all failed. Either the caves I visited turned out to be man-made, they were too small and I had to let them go, I didn't find them, or I arrived to late and they were already closed. So much for my effort to visit five new caves on my way from the conference to the airport. 

There's also some wonderful areas, full of holes in rocks... and look at some of the houses built in these areas, e.g., in the picture above.

Below are the caves that I visited, in what I think was sandstone in all cases:

Jeskyné Klemperka, in Kokořín, Czech Republic. This is likely an originally natural cave that was significantly enlarged by man. The nice thing about this cave was that you needed a ladder to reach the entrance. One was provided. Nice! Coordinates: N 50.437637 E 14.554619.

The cave is on a crack in a ledge, but the cave continues directly into the cliff by one room which is probably man-made. The ledge was probably enlarged by man as well. Then there's stairs to a lower level which has one very large room. And apparently some bats, at least according to the sign.

Jeskyné Klemperka underground hole. A small pit, a hole under the cliff and under the ground level. Looks natural, not man-made. Maybe 2 meters long. Coordinates: N 50.438349 E 14.554954.

Jeskyné Klemperka side apartment. This fifty meters further north on the road and on the other side. It looks mostly man-made, though perhaps there's been a crack that they started enlarging. This is like a ground-level apartment with few small rooms. There was also a second level hideout inside the crack. Very small. Coordinates: N 50.438382 E 14.554900.

Kokořín shelter cave 1. Well this is entirely natural, but it is tiny, maybe 6-7 meters across and 2 meters under the roof. Coordinates: N 50.442271 E 14.552615.

Kokořín shelter cave 2. This is also entirely natural, a roof that has formed in front of a cliff, roughly half-way up but easily reachable. This is also maybe 6-7 meters long, and perhaps 3 meters under the roof. But a bit more open. However, there's a nice separate bolder sitting on the ledge, and holding the roof up. Coordinates: N 50.442155 E 14.552186.

Jeskyné Rozbořenka. This is entirely man-made I think. A magnificent set of massive stone blocks, and then they've turned the lowest level of the blocks into apartments :-) Interesting, but definitely weird. And ... someone was living in there. Coordinates: N 50.443150 E 14.551614.

Jeskyné Wernerovka, Medonosy-Libéchov. Again, entirely man-made (except maybe for the little horizontal crack in the second level. A smallish rock outcrop made into a two-room apartment. Coordinates: N 50.502520 E 14.529695. Some articles: KudyznudyNavylet.

Wernerovka firepit shelter cave. There were a few cave-like things but too small near the Wernerovka cave. This one is a nice camping spot and a fire pit, right under a very high but shallow negative rock face. Not that I'd necessarily put any fire under any rock, even if the rock is high... rock cracks with heat. Coordinates: N 50.503227 E 14.531643.

Wernerovka mini cavelet. A little mini-canyon between two rock outcrops and some boulders on top makes for a small cave. Maybe 5 meters long. Access on a very steep dirt face covered by half a meter of leaves. Difficult to get in. Coordinates: N 50.502543 E 14.531230.

Konépruské Jeskyné, Konéprusy. A massive commercial cave. But I arrived twenty minutes after they had closed the entrance for the day. Oh well. Maybe next time. Coordinates: N 49.915136 E 14.067413. Read more about this from the official site or Wikipedia.

(The above photo is by Zp in Wikipedia)

Kodska Jeskyné, Srbska. On a very steep hill with thick bushes. I was unable to find it, despite circling around both of the coordinates that I knew about. Oh well. I might have found it with more time, but I felt uneasy about the hill and my descent from there; the whole thing was too steep really to safely be there, at least in the rain that was coming down. Slippery leaves. Coordinates: N 49.933078 E 14.125004 (Wikipedia) or N 49.932939 E 14.124656 (Google Maps). However, later I realized that the Tourismato site points the cave to a different side of the valley. Maybe those are the right coordinates?

Read more urban exploration stories from, and other underground stories from Read the full Planetskier series at, or all blog articles from Blogspot or TGR. Photos and text (c) 2023 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved. Konépruské photo by Zp, CC BY-SA 3.0.

Prague lounge shower

Good basic lounge, and with a shower cabin & with towels. Nice.

I was at the Erste Premier lounge. At the PRG airport.

They had basic warm food (pasta) and cookies. Coke and wine/beer as well. Nothing fancy but ok.

They could have had toothbrushes and combs to give out, too, for the shower-goers, but that wasn't absolutely necessary.

For more flying stories, check out the website! And of course the Planetcaver, and Planetskier blogs for other stories in Blogspot and TGR! The photos and text (c) 2023 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved.

Kauniainen-Prague by train


Yet another business trip by train! Had lots of fun, stopping at the head office in Sweden, riding the night train while hacking software with my colleagues... and much less CO2! Need to do this again.

My route was Kauniainen-Leppävaara-Turku by train, then bus to the Turku harbor, boat to Stockholm, bus to the center, then underground to my office in the northern Stockholm suburbs. After the day of meetings, back to the center and then hop on a night train to Hamburg. In a first class cabin! (With two of my colleagues, was very nice but also a bit tight, no real space for luggage for instance.)

Leppävaara, VR above as the opening picture.

Then the bus to Turku harbor:

And Viking Grace to Stockholm:


Bus and subway to the suburbs for the office:

Back to central Stockholm for the Stockholm Central station :-)

And our night train arrives here:

Nice cabin, three beds, good seats. Seats not usable though while beds are out:

We had shower! I think everyone's first shower on a train :-)

First class included breakfast. A bun and a juice. And tee/coffee, much needed for the way too early wakeup. We didn't realize the train would have continued to Berlin, we could have slept beyond the 6am stop in Hamburg. 

But in Hamburg we did get off, for better or worse:

The next train would be going all the way to Prague (6h). Or even onwards to Budapest. We kept hacking all the way:

Nice to see the Elbe and the countryside hills and cliffs on the few last hours of the trip:

Success, arrival at the conference hotel:

Costs for this trip were roughly equal to flying, about 200-300€ per direction. Of course we spent more time, too, but in our case that was working time that we much needed together. So all good, can recommend! But next time I'd sleep until Berlin :-)

Of course, the costs and feasibility depends on the details, like in our case we were able to share a cabin and use the first class. For a single traveller I've previously booked a 2nd class cabin for myself. IIRC that one did not have a shower, though, but did have a toilet.

My approximate calculation of the CO2 produced on this trip was 30 liters of fuel by airplane, 1 liter by train. Whatever that is in CO2 terms, but there's clearly a difference. However, I was unable to find out what the fuel or CO2 impact of my boat ride was. The Viking Turku-Stockholm boats are reputed to be environmentally good, but not sure how good boats in general are. Maybe less horrible than other boats? If anyone has numbers, I'd be interested to hear!

Read the full Planetskier series at, or all blog articles from Blogspot or TGR. Photos and text (c) 2023 by Jari Arkko. All rights reserved.