As I've mentioned in my previous posts, the little towns dotting the Cordoba hills have stolen my heart. Nick and I spent the better part of last week tooling around more of these little gems with my parents, who came all the way from Madison, Wisconsin (bearing 4 flights!) to visit us! And they of course were captured by Cordoba's charm, just like us...
In a shiny Fiat rental car, my dad and Nick navigated through the winding, hilly, provincial roads and led us to towns with names like La Cumbre, Capilla del Monte, and Villa General Belgrano (maybe it's because I'm infatuated already, but even the names seem to ring with loveliness...). Each town had its own flavor (like Villa General Belgrano's deliciously orange-flavored micro-brewskis), but perhaps the most intriguing flavor of all was the slight hint of a UFO presence in Capilla del Monte. Let me explain.
Here is what Lonely Planet writes about Capilla del Monte:
It's not just the freaks and hippies. Even normal-looking people in Capilla del Monte have stories about strange lights appearing in formation in the night skies over nearby Cerro Uritorco [a near-by large hill/small mountain]...[One time] 300 people witnessed a ship, which left a burn mark 42 meters in diameter. And in 1991, another burn mark was found. This one measured 12 meters in diameter, with a temperature of 340 degrees Celcius. Geologists were called in and they claimed that nearby rocks had recently been heated to a temperature of 3000 degree Celcius.
Now, however you explain it, I think we can all agree that is some freakish activity. As I'm sure you can imagine, there are some prettty interesting explanations for these occurrences. One theory is that Cerro Uritorco holds the Holy Grail. Another explanation is that a hidden city called "Erks" rests underneath the mountain. And this isn't just any city. No, Erks is rumored to be the very place where "the future regeneration of the human species will take place," according to Lonely Planet. This is all pretty heady stuff, wouldn't you agree? Well, Nick and I certainly thought so, and there was only one way to confront such heady stuff: hike up Cerro Uritorco.
So that we did, with glee, on a gorgeous day last week. We rolled up our jeans, Nick bared his pecks, we armed ourselves with bottles of water, and finally we began our ascent. The sun was shining beautifully that day, and as we climbed higher and higher, we had the most magnificent views of the towns and valleys laying below. The path was narrow and we felt pretty hard-core as we manouvered over rocks and over steep inclines. I have to admit, I got pretty darn winded at times, but Nick keeping just a few steps ahead of me was great motivation to keep up. And, finally, 2 and 1/2 hours later, we made it to the peak of Cerro Uritorco.
I feel like I am letting down a great legend when I say I didn't feel any special energy, despite a guide stopping us on the way up to warn us into paying attention to the vibes emanating from the earth there on those slopes. But, alas, the only energy I felt was the excitement from having ascended a really big hill/a pretty small mountain. My legs were toast, but my heart was beating with the enthusiasm that comes after doing something a bit out of character and a bit challenging. But, hey, that energy was enough for me! I was pumped up to be on this great peak looking out from so far up over such beautiful countryside. (And let's face it, I'm just probably not in-tune enough to pick up on those other-wordly vibes!)
So, the lack of UFO vibes didn't get me down. Rather, at the top of Uritorco, I was happy as a clam. Nick and I were smiling away, eating our pack-lunches atop a rock on the peak when all the sudden we heard, "Sarah Maxwell!" Now, what the heck--we were on top of a hill/mountain in the middle of Cordoba. Who the heck was calling my name? Well, it was none other than Laura C., our friend from Buenos Aires! What are the chances? Okay, I have to admit, it's not THE most outrageous thing--I knew that Laura was in the Cordoba province that week, but I did not know she was in Capilla del Monte on that particular day, on the top of Cerro Uritorco at that particular hour. So perhaps the UFO rumors are true... :-)
Minutes after seeing Laura and finishing our much-needed lunches, we rose again and stretched out our semi-shaking legs. After some mental prep, we started down on our weakened legs, slow and steady, paying attention to each step and taking care not to twist our ankles on the moving rocks. Almost 3 hours later, we made it, back to the base, back to where we had started, a little enlightened by the Cordobesa UFO's...