Have you ever gotten out of bed after a long night out and felt like you’d spent 500 days alone in a dark underground cave? Beatriz Flamini can now tell us whether or not that feeling is correct.

The 50-year-old athlete from Madrid said goodbye to the outside world as she descended 70 meters below the surface to her new home for the next 500 days.

Beatriz Flamini Dark in Underground Cave

Beatriz Flamini Dark in Underground Cave

Consider the date 20 November 2021. You probably don’t remember what you were doing, but a lot has happened since then, including the invasion of Ukraine, Rishi Sunak’s elevation as Prime Minister, and the iconic Will Smith Oscars slap.

Throughout it all, Flamini was alone underground, on her way to what is claimed to be a world record for the longest period spent alone in an underground cave.

She hoped to learn about how the human mind and body cope with great seclusion and deprivation, and when she emerged on Friday (14 April), she was ready to communicate her discoveries.

She didn’t even get a chance to shower first.

Flamini stated during a press conference that she’d lost track of time after 65 days and spent her time reading, painting, knitting, and even working out, all while filming her adventure for an upcoming documentary.

“I got on very well with myself,” she said.

The 50-year-old – who was 48 when she entered the underground cave- never spoke out loud to herself, and focused on living in the present.

She told press: “I was where I wanted to be, and so I dedicated myself to it.

“For me at least, as an elite extreme sportswoman, the most important thing is being very clear and consistent about what you think and what you feel and what you say.

“It’s true that there were some difficult moments, but there were also some very beautiful moments – and I had both as I lived up to my commitment to living in a underground cave for 500 days.”

A fly infestation and a tremendous longing for roast chicken with potatoes were among the hardest moments, but Flamini refused to give in, not even keeping up with what was happening in the outside world.

Her crew supplied food to a collecting site in exchange for her excrement being picked up. Not the ideal trade, but it’s all for the sake of knowledge.

Flamini was bewildered and partly sleepy when her crew came down to the cave to notify her that her time was up.

“I thought something had happened. I said: ‘Already? No way.’ I hadn’t finished my book,” she said.

Even when she emerged, Flamini didn’t experience a rush of delight over seeing the sunlight because it felt like she’d ‘just gone in’.

With her mission accomplished, Flamini added: “I still haven’t showered. But then, I’m an extreme sportswoman. I could go another 500 days.”