An expert climber spent 500 days in a cave alone as part of a study in Spain.
Beatriz Flamini emerged on Friday, telling reporters she had lost track of time in the cave.
Before going underground in 2021, Flamini said she did not want to know what was happening in the outside world.
An elite athlete emerged Friday from a cave 230 feet underground in Spain after spending 500 days alone as part of research to understand the effects of long-term loneliness.
Beatriz Flamini, 50, left her ‘home’ for more than a year and came out into the sunshine on Friday morning, telling reporters she needed a shower – something she hadn’t done in more than 16 months – and hoped to have a plate of fried eggs and french fries with his friends.
The Madrid-born mountaineer descended into the cave on November 20, 2021. In a post on social media a few days before entering the cave, Flamini wrote to his followers that they would meet again in April or May 2023.
Flamini’s feat was monitored by a team of Spanish scientists as part of a “Timecave” project designed to study how a person would cope with being underground for an extended period of time. Flamini documented his experiences with cameras and placed the recording in a trading post, and in return his colleagues would leave behind food and other necessities.
Psychologists and other researchers have studied her recordings, but have had no direct contact with her.
When reporters asked her about her experience, she said she eventually lost track of time as she “got along really well” with herself. Flamini detailed how she’s been spending her time over the past few months, including knitting, deep reading, and exercising.
“In fact,” he added, “I didn’t want to go out.”
Before entering the cave near Granada in southern Spain, he told the team that he didn’t want to know what was happening in the outside world, so he wasn’t aware of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, for example, or the death of the long – reigning monarch Queen Elizabeth II.
The Spanish state news reported that Flamini had to suspend the challenge after almost a year due to a technical problem. The elite climber spent eight days alone in a tent while the problem was sorted out, before returning underground, according to the Associated Press.
The long underground section of Flamini risks breaking a world record, but it has not yet been confirmed.
Despite calling the experience “unbeatable” and “excellent,” the seasoned athlete did have one complaint: a one-time infestation of flies.
“The flies! The flies! The flies!” he remembered, according to The Guardian. “There was an invasion of flies. They came in, they laid their larvae and I didn’t check it and so I ended up suddenly wrapped up in flies. It wasn’t that complicated, but it wasn’t healthy, but it’s just what it was.”
After the experience, Flamini didn’t even realize what was happening when her teammates came to retrieve her. “I thought something was up. I said, ‘Yeah? Surely not.’ I hadn’t finished my book,” she said, per Reuters.
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