Slowly the empty cart moves over the narrow rails towards the mine shaft. It is a nice weather outside. A little cloudy but also a lot of sun. However, the weather forecast is less rosy. It has predicted bad weather, rain, accompanied by strong wind and perhaps thunderstorms. The train sets course towards the entrance, slowly but without stopping. I’m on it and I’m on it without actually wanting to. I have no choice. I arrived as a visitor, just now, and not much later the entrance gate closed behind me. Upon further questioning, the employee on duty reassured me that the doors would open again after the mine had been visited. This would only be briefly to regulate the influx of visitors. Too many visitors would compromise the visit to the mine. They also gave me no choice and I was not allowed to enter the mine on foot, but had to take a seat in this much too small thing on rails. Everything had been planned well, I was assured. After a while in the mine, my ride would end where I started. And so my car slowly but surely arrives at the entrance of the tunnel. It gets darker and darker as I enter it. Ultimately, there is only the sparse light left from the lamps attached to the tunnel wall. It seems to be a kind of night lights. A clammy chilly air of moist rock envelops my entire body. If only I had put on something warmer. The thin blanket that is already ready for visitors in the cart is really too thin to be able to protect for much longer against it. Grey walls pass by, endless grey walls. Of course I am very curious about what there is still to see. But I am somewhat anxious too.
The internet site praised how the management exploited the mine. Other mines had worked out the same idea much earlier and successfully and now it had been their turn to handdle a similar project. A team of experts had taken over the lead after mining operations had shut down. Both the train itself and the tour you take were carefully considered and could also be adapted ‘en route’. You would say fantastic, no?. However, it was also said that these experts had not wanted to learn much from the experiences of other sites, to be able to reinvent everything themselves. It was also told that the renovation and construction had already started before there was a clear idea of the possibilities that this special place could offer. Once it was renovated, the problems for a reconstruction turned out to be much more complicated than assumed and a lot of improvisation was made.
I now also start to doubt the correct design of all this. The cart has been driving for quite some time without any change in atmosphere, it is getting monotonous. The ride is taking too long and an increasing sense of constriction is prevalent. After having tasted the cold loneliness for too long in this dark environment, I would like to be outside again. The need grows exponentially with the passing minute to breathe fresh air and get back among people. It is fascinating how quickly, under certain circumstances that we may have chosen ourselves, we feel confined. It is an unexpected reflection of a seemingly innocent choice, a captivity chosen in freedom. I want out of here now. I am angry that I was fooled into it. I would like to tell that management what a nonsense the tour is, how you lose hope during this tour. The colourless environment, the cold wagon and the absence of other people is also killing every germ of inspiration. I notice a listlessness that has steadily overpowered me. These so-called experts were apparently in the dark when designing and executing a project like this. I’m getting more and more frustrated on this piece of iron on rails while it keeps on trudging. I’ll probably catch a cold tomorrow. An end is not yet in sight.