La Romana, Spain: Six years ago, a now 20-year-old Andres Canto, got into a small argument with his parents when they told him he couldn’t wear a tracksuit in the village.
To get back at them, he decided to grab his grandpa’s pickaxe and used it to angrily attack the ground in the family yard.
Little did the then 14-year-old know, this would become his new obsession, and six years later, Andres, who is now an actor, was able to dig his way into creating an underground cave, with steps leading to an underground space with its own bedroom and living room.
Andres says that he can’t recall where he got the bizarre idea from, but he started using the cave as a way to keep busy in the evenings after school, working on the project by hand for a number of days each week.
Andres eventually enlisted the help of his best friend Andreu, who brought with him a pneumatic drill, and the two spent up to 14 hours weekly digging almost 10-foot into the ground.
Regarding the process, Andres said:
“Sometimes I came across a big stone and it could be frustrating after hours of digging that I had done almost nothing.”
At first, Andres was removing the soil by using buckets, but as he went deeper underground, he started learning excavation techniques and eventually created a pulley system that would help him to take rubble to the top.
To construct the rooms, he reinforced the ceilings with arched entrances and vaulted ceilings with reinforced columns to prevent the structure from falling apart.
In his own estimate, the project cost him a total of €50 ($60).
Andres is planning to go even further, with the underground area currently consisting of two rooms, a heating system, mobile phone Wi-Fi that transmits from the entrance, and a music system.
The cave even provides a great place to relax when it’s hot outside, with Andres explaining it stays at a constant 20 or 21 degrees in the most scorching period of the year.
However, he also said that it does occasionally flood during heavy rain days and often attracts insects and snails.
He says his parents didn’t have a problem with the cave – but that authorities did drop by to check if it was legal.
Thankfully, they found no problems as it couldn’t be categorized as a basement, extension or storage structure.
“It’s great, I have everything I need. It can be tiring to work here as it is wet and there is not much air going around, but I have found my own motivation to keep on digging every day.
“I have always liked to build little huts. I live in the countryside and often when I found abandoned wood there, I would build a nice house.
I was a kid with a lot of imagination.”
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