Seeing its large green spaces and its active cultural life unveils more details about the local denizens and their daily life in the city and its surroundings.
Our visit to Villa Mercedes
was brief. We did not have a clear notion of what kind of place we would find. The car was our ally, as the long distances made it difficult for us to go around the city on foot.
The downtown showed us its avenues lined by shady trees, where old buildings co-exist with modern apartments and offices.
'Mercedes', as its inhabitants usually call it, has a great cultural and sport life. We were advised to see its famous Calle Angosta (Narrow Street)
, Molino Fénix Cultural Complex and the House of Culture.
We headed for Calle Angosta
, which lies next to the today abandoned railway station. That nook inspired musician José Adimanto Zavala a while ago to write the famous cueca
he would later sing in the company of Alfredo Alfonso. Tribute is paid to indigenous music at this spot and its amphitheater has hosted the Calle Angosta
National Festival for 25 years.
The old general stores referred to by the cueca
have long gone. Guitars and glasses of wine sounded in unison at the classic bar. Today, there are venues where the local cuisine continues to rescue the identity of this site.
Molino Fénix Cultural Complex occupies a block along with the old rails. Old sheds and cereal silos have merged with modern buildings and squares with water fountains. All this gives origin to a matchless set. It is amazing to know that these silos -painted green today- have been turned into restaurants.
A cinema, the House of Music, coffee stores, restaurants, pubs and discos are concentrated in Molino Fénix, a fashionable place indeed. Music presentations, spaces for learning and recording studios with the most cutting-edge facilities are also present.
'Motivating, analyzing and orienting musical work is one of the premises, as well as making contact with the interpreter of the genre which as far as we know becomes adapted to the piece of art' is the basic idea that prevails in this innovative project.
We approached Parque Costanera Río Quinto, the largest green lung in town, where outdoor sport activities are enjoyed. It is known as 'the Lake' and it features a swimming-pool, football pitches, eucalyptus wood and sites to enjoy asado with the family. In the same circuit, we visited Los Filtros swim resort, where we dived into the river.
Back in the center, we drove along busy Mitre Avenue and parked in front of the Town Hall in order to visit San Martín Square and that area of town.
Then we went to the House of Culture, located in the former market on Pedernera and Urquiza Streets, where Santiago Betbeder Historical Museum and its temporary shows may be seen. We entered the auditorium, where presentations and festivals are attended by the community and outside the venue, we let ourselves be lured by handicrafts stalls.
At one small square, homage is paid to the aviators who took part in the Malvinas War with the presence of a Douglas A4B Sky Hawk that operated in this military conflict.
So far, everything we saw and admired in a city that is worth a more generous visit. We left in the knowledge that we would remember its broad avenues and its narrow street.