Thursday, June 14, 2012
still-sound 75. Bugarech
I had first read about Bugarech on the Huffington Post. It's a village at the foot of a mountain in Languedoc Roussillon - an area of the world where I'm particularly invested. In fact I read the article shortly before I was due to go there last summer.
There are some who believe that the mountain functions as something of a UFO portal. Apparently electronic instruments fail to work when flying over, so airplanes are forbidden to include it in their flight paths. I read how a number of 2012ers believe that a UFO emanating from le Pic de Bugarech would rescue them from apocalypse this December. The local government has called upon the French army to help contain the enormous influx of new age hippies.
Bugarech has been wrapped up in occult mysteries since, at least the early 20th Century. There are stories of people exploring the mountain and disappearing - only to appear at another location on the other side of the globe, with no recollection of how they got there. It's earned the nickname Magic Mountain.
On my recent trip to Languedoc Roussillon, Rob and I took a day off from restoring the old village house and (on my insistence) drove out to Bugarech. Rob drove. I sat in the passenger seat and three of our friends who came over from London sat in the back. Apparently there are two ways to reach Bugarech from La Redorte, our point of origin. One entails large autoroutes via the city of Limoux and ten extra minutes of twisty driving on small roads - this option takes approximately 45 minutes. The other route requires approximately two hours; a tour of every village of Languedoc and an ascent and descent of a mountain. Then another one. Then another one. When I chose 'Fastest Route' on the car's GPS I couldn't have predicted that we'd be following the latter route.
I found myself apologizing to everyone for choosing such a crappy road trip. I hoped that all would be forgiven when we entered a world of UFOs, Earth mysteries and a fascinating struggle between new age hippies and old world France.
We arrived in the village agitated and hungry (yet simultaneously nauseated). When we left La Redorte the skies were sunny and hot. We all applied sun block in preparation. The chilly mountain of Bugarech was covered almost entirely by clouds. The village was tiny; considerably smaller than La Redorte which is already tiny. No cafes were open and none of the 200 permanent residents seemed to be outside. Apart from a large tent on the outskirts decorated with Renaissance Fayre style banners there was nothing to distinguish Bugarech from any other midi-Pyrenees village. No new age bookstore, no otherwordly people beaming with an inner truth and eschatological wisdom. No UFOs. There were a few people passing by on horseback (kind of unusual and certainly unexpected) and there was a pack of motorcyclists bearing Spanish license plates riding by (again, kind of unusal). Perhaps they also came in vain to spot UFOs.
I stumbled inside the village's small church. I took a picture of a drawing depicting Jesus in a somewhat Shroud - of - Turin style. We all climbed back into the car and drove off searching for food. "If we had just explored INTO the mountain..." my mind insisted. Or "Didn't you want to see what was going on in that big white tent?" I didn't voice these thoughts however because at that point it was unanimously understood that I had lost my credibility as a capable tour guide.