Reaching the remote mountain town of Xilitla, in order to experience the strange jungle world of Las Pozas really was a labour of love. We had seen Las Pozas on a TV show many years previously and had dreamt about visiting ever since. Instead of heading south after our visit to San Miguel, we headed north to San Luis Potosi. We broke our journey there for a couple of nights and took a look around the city before taking the early morning bus to Xilitla.
As soon as we left the city, we found ourselves in the mountains. Rain and mist obscured any view we may have had. The bus stopped every few kilometres either to pick up or drop off village folk, many of whom were attired in woolly hats and scarves to keep out the chill.
Eight hours after leaving San Luis Potosi, we arrived in Xlitla. A friendly policeman pointed us in the right direction for Il Castillo, our home for the next of couple of nights.
Las Pozas was created by eccentric Englishman, Edward James in the sixties and seventies. It is a surreal sculpture garden located in the heart of the jungle a couple of miles away from Xlitila. His friend and project foreman, Plutarco Gastelum designed and lived in Il Castillo with his family. Edward James lived with them for many years. The surrealist home is now run as a guest house by the Gastelum family.
We were greeted by Luisa, the granddaughter of Plutarco, who gave us a tour of the fascinating house. Many of the architectural features reminded me of pictures that I had seen of Las Pozas and it was clear that the two men had similar artistic inspirations. There were quirky touches everywhere and our room was no exception. We also had a fantastic view of the mist shrouded mountains.
The next morning it was, as predicted, pouring with rain. It was our only chance to visit Las Pozas, so we donned our rain gear and set off. We were first to arrive and made our way past the concrete snakes representing the seven deadly sins and into the depths of the jungle fantasyland.
We wandered through mysterious gates and along paths that led us to bizarre towers. We passed strange sculptures that blended in with rock formations. A neo-classical pagoda stood by a seventy foot waterfall, reminiscent of a scene from Atlantis. We climbed up floating stairways and scrambled over rocks. We look down on concrete mushrooms and up to weird concrete shapes. Nothing made sense, but then it's not supposed to. I felt like I was in a psychedelic dream, but one I didn't want to wake up from. This jungle was addictive and I wanted to keep making new discoveries.
Despite the adverse weather and the long journey, Las Pozas was worth it. It is one of the most unique places on the planet and the fact that it is so difficult to access is somehow fitting. It is the kind of place that makes one grateful for the eccentrics of the world, those whose legacies make the world a slightly more magical place.
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