On the way to Big Bend NP we passed some spectacular countryside and stopped off in a very interesting small town called Marfa. It is the county seat and has an enormous court house built in 1850 which looks a bit like a French chateau.(we wandered in and climbed all the way up to the top of the dome and didn't see a single person) also in the town was a small cafe which had the best hot chocolate I have ever tasted. One of the owners is Swiss and her brother has a chocolate factory in Switerland from where they import their chocolate. Some of his chocolate even went up in one of the space shuttles to the Russian space station and was presented to the Russians in there as a gift. Another claim to fame for the town is that the classic film Giant was filmed there in the 50s. Liz Taylor, Rock Hudson and James Dean were in the film and all stayed in a beautiful 1930s hotel there called the Paisado hotel. The last interesting thing is that just outside the town some nights, mysterious lights appear and float around, noone has come up with an explanation but they sound exactly the same as the Min Min lights at Boulia in outback Australia. those lights too have no explanation although there is one theory that it is luminesant gas escaping from pockets beneath the ground.
We drove on southwards and then turned East at the Mexican border and drove along the Rio Grande river which forms the border. A little way along we came to a old restored fort. The original structure was buuilt as a Spanish garrison in 1773, It was abandoned by them and re built in 1848 by a trader called Ben Leason and was called Fort Leason. He used it as his home and trading station and rebuilt it in the original fort style to protect against Indian raids. It was again abandoned in the early 1900s and now belongs to the state who have restored it. We were shown around by 3 lovely local girls who are in their last year at school and do guiding in the school holidays.
The road along the river was magnificent but very remote. There are no border patrols because the area is so remote that anyone from the Mexican side would have great difficulty getting through (see photo) Next update Big Bend NP