La Huasteca: Pozas de Edward James
Get There: Down a dirt road about half an hour’s walk north of Xilitla, San Luis Potosi. There aren’t many signs, but the locals know it.
Cost: 50MXN entrance fee.
Bring: Hallucinogenic substance of your choice, swimsuit
Edward James was a Scot who got rich off his dead father and uncle, and decided to use his inheritance to become a patron of the arts. He was partial to a bit of surrealism and became friends with Dali, Magritte and a whole bunch of others whose names lie beyond the admittedly tight borders of Global Hobo’s cultural awareness. In the 1940s, James travelled to Mexico, bought a bunch of land on a hillside outside Xilitla and started work on a masterpiece of his own.
Inspired by the shapes he found in the jungle around him and ancient ruins of indeterminate origin, he created a surrealist garden of twisting staircases that lead nowhere, elegant columns that support no roofs and floral motifs adorning courtyards, all made of concrete. The garden is centred around a series of waterfalls, and at the bottom of each one natural rock formations have been adorned with concrete structures to create cool, clear pools in which you can swim.
In the 60-odd years since work was started – and apparently it was never finished – the jungle has begun to absorb the concrete. The structures are now coated in moss and vines and they blend into the forest as a result. For all the nerds who wish they could go sightseeing around Middle Earth, this is about as close to Rivendell as you’ll ever get.