South America Blog
About this blog
Wayne Bernhardson is the author of Moon Handbooks to Buenos Aires, Chile, Argentina, and Patagonia. Here he shares his vast knowledge of South America and its people.
- The Papal Cumbia
- The Uruguayan Sacraments: Tango & Mate
- Taxing the Tourist: Argentina's AFIP Aims Low
- Fortress Falklands: A Book Review
- Pope Argentinus I, The Musical: Ragtime Meets Tango
- Credit Where Credit Is Undue?
- ¿Adios Hugo?
- When "No" Is A Positive
- Chile and Its "Crazies"
- The Oscars: A Post Mortem, So to Speak
- Sacrificing the Atacama? A Chilean View of Dakar
- Chilean Oscar Faceoff? "No" v. "Kon-Tiki"
- Friday Digest: Southern Cone Nuggets
- Dancing in the Mud? The Andean Aftermath
- Floods & Mud: Summer Storms Hit the Andes
In southern Buenos Aires province, about 350 km south of the city of Buenos Aires, the town of Tandil and its surroundings offer literal relief from the unrelentingly flat Pampas. Nobody will mistake this area for the Alps or the Andes - its summits top out around 500 meters above sea level - but their barren pre-Cambrian granites create a deceptive illusion of high country in what, along with Sierra de la Ventana, serves as the nearest hill station for residents of the Argentine capital. It's particularly popular with hikers and mountain bikers, and its cheeses and salamis are famous throughout the country.
Tandil’s downtown, where cobblestoned streets still surround the central Plaza Independencia, exudes real charm, as do open spaces such Parque Independencia, with their panoramas of the city and its countryside. For centuries, though, Tandil’s top attraction was Cerro La Movediza, a geological curiosity about three kilometers northwest of the plaza, where a 300-ton boulder had wobbled in the wind for millennia.
According to legend, the so-called Piedra Movediza even resisted the efforts of General Juan Manuel de Rosas’s draft animals to pull it down, but it finally tumbled on its own in February of 1912. In 2007, local authorities with perhaps too much money to spend placed a hollow 12-ton replica, created by engineers at the Universidad Nacional del Centro de la Provincia de Buenos Aires, in its stead, but many locals deride it is as the “Movediza Trucha” (Bogus Movediza). Unlike the original, the pseudo-Movediza does not even teeter in the breeze.