LUGARES MAGAZINE Nro. 57
Page. 52 - 61
By: Rossana Acquasanta
The moving boulder fell in 1912
There are still people who go to Tandil and ask where it is.
Tandil means "rock that shudders" or "moving rock". With the exception of visiting the huge boulder that used to oscillate with a sign reading "Pilsen" on one of its flanks and "Yolanda Cigarettes are the Best" on the base - confirming its effectiveness as a publicity spot - there is lots to see and do in Tandil and its surroundings. Even seeing the site where the mega rock used to be, or having a look at El Centinela,
the original rock's replacement - even though it's six times smaller!
The other local classic - Easter weekend, with the 12 Stations of the Cross and Calvary included - is still going strong, but it is precisely for that reason that it is not the best time to make your first trip to Tandil. The massive procession invading the entire city is not too alluring. That's how things are. No moving rock and no Easter weekend.
La Posada de los Pájaros is becoming a symbol of Tandil for future generations. This hotel spa was the first of its kind, built by Ricardo Giovannetti on 50 hectares of land surrounded by the magnificent hills.
Each of the 17 spacious rooms has a private balcony overlooking the rolling landscape. The massage sessions are the perfect way to shut out the cold winds and city stress. The sauna dissolves the smog and comforts the soul. The spa's cuisine quickly reconciles one to the allure of the table. The wisdom of knowing who needs what reigns in La Posada de los Pájaros. You can go there for a healthy diet week,
or to recover your energy, or to devour the wonderful breakfast down to the last home baked roll, choose a wonderful wine at night and have a cup of coffee by the fireplace.
Take your pick. Teresita Inza is the owner of the Epoca de Quesos, on the comer of 14 de Julio and San Martín, one of the icons of a visit to Tandil. It is almost in the same category as the Museo Tradicionalista, except that they exhibit - and sell - traditional cheeses, cold cuts and all sorts of goodies. Before saying "I'll take it all", you might want to sit down in the side room with a bottle of wine and try their 36 varieties of cold cuts, served with country style bread.
We tore ourselves away to visit Titi Campbell at her berry farm. It was not the right season, but we found her bottling the bright red freshly cooked jams. Titi is originally from San Isidro, but she is more rooted to Tandil than her berries. That evening, we found ourselves face to face with the ice cream made by Asunción Pereyra Iraola with Titi's berries. But this is not the only thing she does in her recently opened inn, the Ave Maria. She looks after the garden and supervises the kitchen, she painted the signs herself and personally chose the fabrics that decorate the 8 rooms of her inn.
There is a warm cosiness about the place, making one feel immediately at home. The breakfast table only reconfirms this. After the first bite one feels like asking for permanent asylum there. The bread and brioches
are home-made. The cheese and dulce de leche is made by Juan De Vega. Juan is the owner of Produlac, one of the bestknown makers of dairy
products in the region. The brand of the honey is Aleluya and is made by Albertina Pereyra Iraola and her husband. The jams are Titi's, naturally. The list goes on and on...eggs, chicken, lamb, beef, mushrooms, tea etc. Asunción put us in touch with Gabriel Barletta and his pony treks, with César Falistocco and his flying lessons, and Pablo Lozano,
the tack maker.
We visited Pablo at home, as he was busy working on tackle inspired by an 1850 model. He must have finished it by now, because it is to be shown at the Rural exhibition, competing with other tack makers'
works. He prepared a mate for us while his dog, Cascote slept lazily on the sofa. He had just finished a braid made with 12 leather strips, but he also has some with 20 and more strips. He is extremely generous with his talent, teaching the trade to whoever wants to learn. Thus he has several apprentices ranging from ages 9 upwards, who come to learn the art of tack making in their spare time. One thing to keep in mind. If you order something, be prepared to wait for it. It can take a week, or even a month.
César came to collect Gustavo at the Ave María to take him on the Trilu (a sort of paraglider with an engine). Real door to door service. I was still chatting with Gabriel about horses, and his method of
breaking them in, when they returned. We all had lunch together.
Carlos Centineo also picked us up at the inn. But without the bicycles. He knows so much about the history of Tandil, that it would have been somewhat awkward to ride a bike and take notes at the same time. So we drove to Route 226 as far as the detour to Pablo Acosta. The 226 also leads to the road to Acelain, the traditional estancia belonging to poet Enrique Larreta. They don't take guests in at the main house, but a good way of seeing it is to stay at Cerro Indio, the old school on the estancia, refurbished by Gonzalo Llambí, great grandson of Larreta, to receive hunters and tourists interested in deer, antelopes,
buffaloes and wild boars.
The roads to Pablo Acosta and Vela towns are the most beautiful in the region and the perfect scenario for Carlos to reveal his deep understanding of the surroundings. He began telling us about the fort
built in 1823 and was talking about the old days when the Basque, Italian and Yugoslav immigrants arrived to this region, when we reached the humble Nuestra Señora de los Angeles church, better known as the
A truly moving experience. On the way back, Carlos told us the story of the stonecutters' union, responsible for bringing the highest growth rates to Tandil as the main supplier of cobblestones to the capital city. They apparently organised a huge strike in 1911, followed by the mysterious collapse of the Moving Boulder the year after. Did the vibrations of the explosions cause this? Was it pushed off by the quarrymen who may have been irritated by the arrival of wealthy
tourists to visit it? A mystery worth solving.