Currently spending a year in Buenos Aires, as the new year kicked in I decided to explore. My curiosity led me to the north-west province of Córdoba, home to many of the Argentine clichés, and being a similar if not slightly less hectic version of Buenos Aires, my attention was drawn to the surrounding areas.
This is where I discovered Capilla del Monte, a couple of hours drive to the north. This place is like nowhere I have ever been, nor ever will! On the surface it could be the Peak District (despite the 40 degree January sun), but as soon as the nature of the town captured me, I realised that there was something quite different going on here. And nature is the right word; the town is immensely eco-friendly and its people on the whole are rather spiritual. With the Cerro Uritorco acting as a back drop, this particular mountain is a focal point for the lifestyle of the townspeople.
Firstly I found a bed in a hostel. I was greeted by the smell of incense and a group of very relaxed travellers lying on the floor reading books on the development of the soul. On top of the hostel was a very prominent glass dome, in case of alien contact. This is the point in which I remembered seeing this town on the news last November. In recognition of the 11th November 2011 (11.11.11) at 11.11am (126.96.36.199.11) there was a pilgrimage to the Cerro Uritorco, where thousands of people attempted a huge spiritual connection in the expectation of a greater force making itself present at this exact moment. In fact, later that day I came across three travellers from Buenos Aires going around in a beautiful old VW, who had arrived on the 11.11.11 and had stayed there ever since.
And so, with this as an introduction, the atmosphere of the town seemed to fit this entirely. With many healing places, health food shops and almost all the hotels including the word 'natural' in some way, this place was unique.
What had initially drawn me to the town was the countryside around it, so the next day I went for a stroll by the river. This in fact turned into a seven hour hike up the Cerro Uritorco, which claims (and is fully believed) to be home to an energetic epicentre serving as a portal to the first intergalactic cosmic communication centre on Earth. Now there's something you don't get in the Peak District. The presence of aliens in the region is completely believed and accepted, and many sightings have been reported.
Spending a few days in this town certainly made me leave with a sense of wonderment - perhaps due to the amazement of such a strong sense of belief and spirituality, or perhaps due to my own resulting questions of the cosmos! This place is one of a kind, and everybody is most welcome here. Forming a part of my entire Latin America journey so far, this has been one of the highlights, and was certainly an interesting start to 2012!
Starting the new year like no other, I spent this new year's eve in Buenos Aires. Expecting a casual night on my terrace with a barbeque, this turned into an unforgettable party experience.
After doing the ritual midnight celebration, we then ate dinner and drank fernet (a herbal Italian spirit which has been adopted by Argentines) until around 3am. At this point we decided to head to the planetarium which lies in the Bosques de Palero (the Palermo forest). Here there was an enormous crowd of all ages, dancing with their fernet by the beautifully lit planetarium. I was unsure as to why everybody had sunglasses at the ready. When it got to around 7am it hit me, the blinding sun rose from above the trees and the crowd went wild! Slowly the crowds headed towards shade as the night turned into a hot summer's day, and at 9am we went home on the bus with the commuters. During this journey we narrowly avoided being struck by a flying bin which had been loaded with dynamite, but explosions aside it was an amazing experience and a brilliant start to 2012.
Send your feedback or queries to email@example.com