Monday, October 01, 2012

Will This French Village Escape Doomsday?

Anyone who wants to see the birthplace of a new civilization has to travel to what seems like the end of the world. At the foot of the French Pyrenees, among twiggy bushes and dusty rocks, lies Bugarach.

Just getting there alone is torture. A traveller must endure narrow, winding roads, offering little protection from the ravines below. All of a sudden, 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) from the destination, the pop song "Blow My Whistle" disappears from the radio and is replaced by a quiz show for housewives. The station is called "Nostalgia."

There are many reasons why the village, population 200, is a popular travel destination these days. Some come to go hiking, others to relax.

And some come for a reason that lies completely beyond the earthly sphere. This year on December 21 the ancient Mayan calendar ends, and so end-of-the-world hysterics are once again obsessed with the idea of making it to the other side of the apocalypse.

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