A few blocks away from downtown Merlo, and old summer town lives, rests and breathes fresh air next to a wood and a creek that provide an oasis during the hot summers.
We walked towardsEl Viejo Molino
ecological reserve. Its name stands for 'the old mill' in Spanish, as an old hydraulic flour mill used to work at this venue. Wheat and corn used to be ground there in order to supply the population with food.
Immersed in the shade and surrounded by irrigation ditches, old carob trees and espinillos
, we toured around the venue until we reached Piedra Blanca Creek. The volume of the creek depends on the rainfall regime in the high summits and its bed shows the rocks dragged by the floods. To both sides, huge white quartz and mica rocks co-exist with pepper trees that provide shade and protection.
As we returned to the wood, we walked on the dry carob tree fruit. They had formed a soft thick mattress that feeds the ground. We also discovered a life-size sculpture that represents the native woman handing her offering to Pachamama
, a burial mound forming an altar that is known as apacheta
Farther ahead, a huge natural rock has been placed as a comechingón
ceremonial altar next to a circle made with stones. It seems that the community members used to gather at this spot in order to make decisions and develop sacred mythical rites. Therefore, it is considered as a highly-valuable archeological site.
We left the reserve behind and walked along the quiet streets that border the square. We saw several handicraft stores, inns, swimming-pools, beer restaurants and tea houses. All of them featured the typical hustle and bustle implied by the presence of tourism.
On a side street, we stood before a picturesque house from the early twentieth century. Made of concrete with a long gallery in front, it displayed a sign announcing its condition: Villa Altube, year 1929. we imagined that family sitting at the wicker armchairs, enjoying the fresh air without any haste at that pleasant and comforting site.
That first encounter with the past urged us to keep on observing other grand houses from the same period. We confirmed that mansions, grand houses and hotels with lawns, swimming-pools and lush vegetation were settled down in this old summer village.
Amidst the oak and pine trees, some curious foxes approached us for food. It looked like a fairy tale!
After this amusing tour in which we had plenty of rest and fresh air, we left the hidden nearby scene to go back to the unceasing movement of the city