Solo Travel for Women

Sometimes a girl just has to...getaway

Here is my story of a Solo Travel adventure I experienced. Maybe it will inspire you to give it a try...

Back in 1997, my husband and I decided to build a house in the Mexican town of San Miguel de Allende (SMA). This is a beautiful artist colony of about 100,000 people, in the central highlands, at an elevation of about 6,000 feet.

Anyway, my husband was working full time in Chicago, and I decided to take on the challenge of General Contractor for the building of this house. Well, sufice it to say, I was a bit unprepared for the frustrations involved in such an undertaking in a foreign country.

At some point about at 80% completion, I reached the point of exasperation such that I just had to getaway -- fast.  I rented a car and just drove.

Sometimes fate -- or is it serendipity -- just takes over.  And in this case the result was wonderful!

I had heard of this surrealistic town carved out of the jungle in Central Mexico and I set out to find it. Nearly 6 hours later, and after a harrowing drive up guardrail-less serpentine mountain passes...and police drug trafficker checkpoints, I finally reached Las Pozas and a fairyland beyond my imagination.

I leave it to you to read the description of the architect of this wonderland and his creation below -- courtesy of Wikipedia.

But this was a Solo Trip I shall never forget!

From Wikipedia:

Edward James is best known as a passionate and early supporter of Surrealism, a movement that was born from the political uncertainty and upheaval between the wars. Rejecting the bourgeois' dominating rationality, surrealists escaped into a world of fantasy and irrationality. He sponsored Salvador Dalí for the whole of 1938 and his collection of paintings and art objects that subsequently came to be accepted as the finest collection of surrealist work in private hands. He also provided practical help, supporting Dalí for about two years, and allowed René Magritte to stay in his London house to paint.

Las Pozas ("the Pools") was created by James, more than 2,000 feet (610 m) above sea level, in a subtropical rainforest in the mountains of Mexico just outside the town of Xilitla. It includes more than 80 acres (320,000 m2) of natural waterfalls and pools interlaced with towering Surrealist sculptures in concrete.

Between 1949 and 1984, James built scores of surreal concrete structures with names like the House on Three Floors Which Will in Fact Have Five or Four or Six, the House with a Roof like a Whale, and the Staircase to Heaven. There were also plantings and beds full of tropical plants, including orchids - there were, apparently, 29,000 at Las Pozas at one time - and a variety of small casas (homes), niches, and pens that held exotic birds and wild animals from the world over.

Massive sculptures up to four stories tall punctuate the site. The many trails throughout the garden site are composed of steps, ramps, bridges and narrow, winding walkways that traverse the valley walls. Construction of Las Pozas cost more than $5 million. To pay for it, James sold his collection of Surrealist art at auction.

In the summer of 2007, the Fundación Pedro y Elena Hernández, the company Cemex, and the government of San Luis Potosí paid about $2.2 million for Las Pozas and created Fondo Xilitla, a foundation that will oversee the preservation and restoration of the site.

Below are several photos of the site:

If you think you might at sometime in your life succumb to the urge to Travel Solo, a book you should read is Fly Solo - The 50 Best Places on Earth for a girl to Travel Alone by Teresa Rodriguez Williamson. Read our review of this book.

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