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Holy Bubbles Batman, Where’s The Batcave?

I have been deeply disappointed with paintings three times in my life.

First comes Leonardo’s Mona Lisa. I would have an enigmatic smile too if I was worth millions and was the size of a magazine cover for Miniatures Monthly.

Secondly, arguably the most famous painting in the world, The Last Supper. Spit and Swallow visited Milan so well researched that we didn’t even know it was there. Okay, not strictly the paintings fault but we turned a corner and got engulfed by the Gay Pride parade happening in the city. A bit like James Bond in that Day of the Dead scene in Spectre, but more scary. By the time we managed to prize ourselves free from the hordes we had to return to the airport and home. All our friends asked if we had seen it. Then they noticed the glitter on our faces.


And lastly anything that Nancy Kaminski (Google her!) painted on her TV series in the 70s. She used a knife, like others butter toast, and, watching her fat hands spread oil paint on canvas as thick as any army blanket, it was TV at its finest. 30 minutes of fascination - not.

So, imagine my deep pleasure when our love child/tour guide Patrick (not his real name) suggested we visit some caves in the village of Rabisha to, wait for it, see some paintings.

However, my mood cheered up when he mentioned there was a Magura Winery in there as well.

We did the tourist bit but will leave that for other bloggers, so let’s go straight to the winery.

It was here we met the charming Daniela, at the time, the wine-maker-in-waiting, who ushered us through a modern winery to an ominous set of gates which would not look out of place in a prisoner of war movie.

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The sign of the bloody obvious

Photo by Maria Gray

My wife asked, “what fiendish motivational statement for poor downtrodden workers is that above the gates?”

Daniela replied, “it says tunnel”. 

We nodded in complete agreeance.

So, we walked about 100 meters along the aptly named tunnel, the temperature dropping like Mary Poppins with an umbrella malfunction.

Suddenly it went dark.

Now, dear readers, this wasn’t just a little bit dark, this was very dark, remember how dark your room seemed when you were little? 

A voice from the impenetrable blackness reassured us the electric would kick in again in a minute. 

A minute is a long time in an aptly named tunnel inside a mountain in pitch black and I would be lying if I said we were not scared at all. But that, dear readers, is what laundries are for.

We continued another 100 meters and suddenly the aptly named tunnel opened out into a large cave - the so-called Bat Gallery. We hoped the electricity in the Batcave stayed on long enough for us not to discover how apt this name was.

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The Batcave, Robin!

Photo by Maria Gray

Daniela took us over to a piece of steam punk machinery, seemingly straight out of a Jules Verne novel.

“Euro funded?” I asked.

Ignoring me, Daniela explained they had bought state of the art equipment but it had broken down within weeks due to the damp and cold conditions, swiftly being replaced with this ancient but reliable museum piece.


It was at this point she noticed my gaze drifting to the upstanding wine barrels in the corner - the wine tasting area.

“Let’s taste.” She said putting me out of my misery.

Five fine wines followed: Riesling; Vrachanski Misket; Gamza; Cuvee de Sud - a well-crafted blend of Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon; and the one I was particularly looking forward to, the naturally sparkling Magura Brut made in the traditional French method champenoise, the same as Champagne and Spain’s Cava producers.

I don’t know whether it was the cave atmosphere, or that brief sensory deprivation in the aptly named tunnel, but this 2009 bottle was wonderfully refreshing, dry as a witches tongue, and as memorable a moment as tasting some vintage Dom Perignon in the caves of Epernay.


I pointed to a man-made wall in the corner. What is behind that, I enquired.

“Tourists!”. The reply came back in an instance.

Seemingly in Communist times the cave was separated from the main cavern and its tourists and prehistorical paintings.


Long may this wall stand! The tourist paintings were not a disappointment, but the wine was much more of an experience!

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Jules Verne, circa 1890

Photo by Maria Gray

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The Batcave gets interesting

Photo by Maria Gray

© 2018 VinoZona / Tom & Maria Gray

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