It has transcended the fact that it is a clock that strikes the hours and shows a huge bird coming out of the upper trap door in its sphere: it has become a tourist icon in the village and has caused controversy as far as the beauty of the bird is concerned.
Before getting to the City of Villa Carlos Paz
, we had already heard about the famed cuckoo clock in a small downtown square. We were so intrigued that we wished to have a look at it, to learn why it has been standing there for so long and why it amazes all visitors. Strolling about like typical tourists, we headed for this icon carrying our cameras on a fresh morning that was inviting us to amble down the streets of a city that charms all visitors.
From a distance, we saw the classic wooden case of the Germanic cuckoo clocks, with large carvings that ornament the sphere. A deer head on its top, oak tree leaves and a red tiled roof, everything in scale but large enough for all the details to be observed.
All around, shuttles and lots of people were waiting for the small trap door to open and the bird’s dull voice to announce another half hour. We were just in time to see it. We quickened the pace, but we could not get close enough to catch a good glimpse for our first picture. Then, we had to wait for it to come out again and get a better shot.
In the meantime, we walked about the small square where several steps elevate the clock. We observed the details and inscriptions that read that it was inaugurated in 1958, and that all the pieces were made in Argentina by three German engineers who used to live in the village in those days.
With the accuracy typical of Swiss clocks and a fashion that started in the German Black Forest in the seventeenth century, the cuckoo clocks were created and have remained for centuries as art and engineering masterpieces at the same time.
We were standing right in front of it and from that perspective it looked just as if it was made of chocolate: milk for the sphere and white for the Roman numbers and the hands. It was entirely carved in raulí
wood and it is a hundred times larger than a regular home cuckoo. Its mechanism is completely automatic.
Was it set right? Why was it designed as a cuckoo clock? Those were the questions we asked ourselves as we waited for the minutes to pass. The first answer was not that important because we were on vacation. The second had to do with the fact that after the Second World War many German people settled down in the village and the clock was a gift from them to thank local hospitality.
Young students, senior citizens and honeymooners were parading in front of the small square and all of them were taking the mandatory picture to certify their stay in Carlos Paz. The cuckoo is visited both during the day and at night.
At the Right Time
When the colorful cuckoo finally came out, we had more time to observe it and confirm that it calls while striking the hours and half-hours at the same time a gong is heard. Cute or ugly? What was our opinion? The answer will have to wait. Whoever visits Villa Carlos Paz may give their own opinion as an answer to such a question that is so usual among tourists.
Bear in mind: Located on the corner of Sarmiento Avenue, José H. Porto Street and Route 38. From the downtown area, this spot is also reached through Uruguay Avenue, after crossing the bridge over the San Antonio River.