This week we went exploring 2 more places in la Huasteca Potosina, the first one by Edward James, a British poet and all around cool dude that liked surreal art, erecting in the middle of the jungle a weird yet beautiful construction with a fascination for snakes and snake like morning cereal.
Our trip started from Ciudad Valles at 9 am, again in a tour bus, this time it was better since the walk was somewhat heavy on the legs this time. It took us around an hour and a half to reach Xilitla, a small town in the middle of the huasteca, a few minutes later we arrived at Edward James’s Garden, the heat is quite abrasive here, so keep your all natural sun lotion at hand.
The whole construction is quite large and easy to get lost as most of it is being reclaimed by nature with giant plants growing on every side, this is made more evident since the buildings are lacking walls, but what they lack in privacy they more than make up in majestic views, it’s like walking inside an M.C Escher painting with an abundance of stairs and hidden paths every which way, hidden along the construction lies large waterfall with a small stream that feeds the natural pools where you can take a small swim, they have a small restaurant as well just in case you build up an appetite after the walk .
Our guide told us about the life and eventual death of Edward James, how he came to be one of the richest men alive (pretty much he inherit it all from his parents and uncle), after losing what seemed like a few kilos in sweat we took the tour bus back to Xilitla to have the meal of the day and rest for a while as the real test of stairs was still luring around the corner.
After the meal we drove some 30 minutes before stopping for some well-deserved ice-cream, we got the always delicious coconut and the newcomer litchi flavored ice-cream (though the litchi one was not as great as we thought it could be), an hour and a half later we were arriving at the entrance of the Sotano de las golondrinas (Swallows Basement) which contains a whopping 0 swallows, as they are another bird called the Swifts or Vencejos.
Some 500 steps and some leg cramps later we were arriving at the basement which is 400 and some more meters deep, for a small tip based fee you can get tied up and get closer and stare in the eyes of the abyss as hundreds of Swifts whoosh by you at 150 km per hour on free fall, it’s an amazing spectacle worth the walk, which you must start before the darkness sets in, as this place is haunted or so they say to make you climb faster, take your time as it really is a tiresome ordeal to get back to the top and end the tour with a nice shut eye before arriving back at Ciudad Valles.
Given the fact that we lost some weight and gained some leg muscle, plus the amazing views i would recommend it to anyone willing to endure the walks, if only to face the leg numbing height at the edge of the 400 meter drop.