The City of Villa de Merlo
appears as a joyful town hanging from the beautiful San Luis mountains, where rest, peace and natural environment become one. We started touring around this destination at the Foundational Shell, made up by Marqués de Sobremonte
Square and the chapel Our Lady of the Rosary, dating from the early eighteenth century. The white and simple walls of the church and the reconstruction of the community well in the center of the square recreate its historical origins.
After that, we moved about the ample avenues in the center and started discovering the local charms. The most popular is Avenida Del Sol
(Sunshine Avenue), which features hustle and bustle all through the day. In the evening and night it is more colorful and lighted up by a great deal of stores.
They usually offer handicraft pieces made of pottery, leather and onyx or precious stones that reassess native art. Afterwards, on Becerra Street at the old bus station, we found the handicrafts and productive market.
The habit to eat a delicious and novel snack during the vacations is specially satisfied at the stores located on Avenida Del Sol
and Avenida del Reencuentro
(Reunion Avenue), at the access to the city. Excellent steak houses, asadores
and restaurants serving local delicacies add up to the wide array of homemade alfajores
Were we asked where to have the best goat and the best alfajores
, we would answer that it is necessary to try, try and try and then draw one’s own conclusions.
Very close to the downtown, just 3 kilometers away, we visited the 800-year-old carob tree known as Algarrobo Abuelo
(Grandpa carob tree). This species used to be considered divine by the Comechingones
, who used it as food and drink when they settled down in these lands.
It is viewed as a natural monument and it feeds through many branches that have made contact with the soil and formed new roots. Tillandsia specimens grow romantically on the carob tree branches and they have inspired a famous local poet called Antonio Esteban Agüero
’Father and lord of the woods,
grandfather of vegetable beards...’
We toured around the nearby neighborhoods, true tourist destinations welcoming three times their population in the summer. Rincón del Este, Piedra Blanca Abajo and Piedra Blanca Arriba
are but some of them and their houses with red-tile roofs are neatly scattered here and there.
No sooner is this area visited than tourists can find themselves in the middle of the mountain woodland surrounded by native species: chañares
co-exist with a great variety of aromatic and medicinal herbs.
At Rincón del Este, we visited Jorge Kurteff Museum
, where varied fine pieces made by this well-known sculptor and silversmith endowed with great sensitivity transmit a singular life philosophy.
As soon as we accessed Piedra Blanca Arriba, where the vestiges of the original summer village still remain, we recognized the famous micro climate of Merlo
. We visited its creek and its forest at the foot of the hills, perfect sites to rest and enjoy doing absolutely nothing.
Nightlife at Villa de Merlo boasts two casinos whose traditional games are combined with shows performed by guest artists who cheer up the nights. The Flamingo is in the very center of town and the Dos Venados is known for its sundial called El ojo del tiempo
(the Eye of Time), made by plastic artist Pérez Celis.
Villa de Merlo is one of those sites where it is advisable to park the car and walk about its spacious sidewalks in order to appreciate beauteous summer residences and breathe in the healing fresh air full of good vibes.