The photos below are what we saw.
Despite being really
serious about physical security, the tower is not a gun
emplacement, but rather a water tower. Apparently, the
only way to insure your water pressure here is to supply your
own. Water weighs a lot, so the tower is beefy.
This B&B had 4 separate structures with a 5th under
construction. Despite the extensive facilities, Kathleen
and I were the only patrons this night.
place was more than adequate, but we could have benefited from a
table and some chairs. Above, Kathleen crashes after a dip
in the pool.
was nice with polished stone floors and walls.
grossly overslept because a) we were tired; b) it was quiet; and
c) the anti-theft shutters blocked the sunlight. At least
I had the presence of mind to set an alarm as a safety but was
too groggy to do anything but turn it off. 'nuff
said. When we finally got rolling, we headed into the Alta
Gracia town square and saw some classic buildings.
square was built across from the Jesuit Estancia, one of the
oldest in the western hemisphere. Built in 1588, it is a
substantial structure with a cathedral and a walled compound.
cathedral was interesting, but much smaller than others in the
area. That said, this was the first one built in this
area, so that says volumes about the dedication of the builders.
the walled compound there was a large open, grassy area.
courtyard was large and surrounded on 3 sides by a covered
walkway that provided access to the mission's rooms.
A lot of brick and stone went into this structure. The bricks had to be fabricated close to the construction site due to the difficulty of transporting large quantities of heavy materials. The lower foundations were made from local stone. And, interestingly, the upper buildings had a water-cooled air conditioning system to prevent melt-down during the hot summers. The prevailing wind was channeled through ducts that had water and the air was then channeled into the individual rooms. The estancia's well is in the center of the photo above.
of the chapel was quite large.
small museum they had a number of old grinding stones on
stones were a matched set used for grinding wheat and corn into
flour for baking.
spiral patterns were used to distribute the grains around the
entire grinding surface for a uniform-sized flour. These
stones were quarried and crafted manually using hammer and
One of the most noteworthy aspects of the estancia is that to provide water for the mission, a dam of cut stone was needed on the local river. This was the first (known) dam built in the Americas. The lake across the street is held back by the dam.
"public clock" tower was across the street from the
estancia. The hand-crafted dam is visible at the right
edge of the photo above.
finished touring the estancia, we got in the rental car and
headed toward Villa General Belgrano in the mountains south of
Alta Gracia. En route, we passed concrete electric towers
(presumably to withstand the tropical rains). The power
lines were covered with epiphytes that need only water and air
to survive. Eventually, when the growth of the wet
epiphytes gets large enough, the added weight will snap the
highway from Alta Gracia to Belgrano was a large reservoir that
had ski boats and house boats.
highway used the top of the dam to cross the canyon. The
spillways for the dam are visible in the center of the dam.
finger of the lake we spotted this awesome mansion on the
water's edge. Beautifully designed in contemporary style,
it had a private pool and dock.
arrived in Villa General Belgrano we spotted some nice flowers
next to our parking spot.
flowers came in multiple colors and they were all in full bloom.
has lots of Germans that live there so it was only natural that
there were German restaurants and bars. They host a very
large Octoberfest each year. We chose this place for no
other reason than it was across the street from our parking
restaurant hosted live German bands on the weekends. The
statues were the advertisement. The food was good; I had
the trout fillet and it was tasty and correctly cooked.
center of the village there was a large clock tower. The
tower shows minimal weathering and therefore was built recently.
return trip back to Alta Gracia we got a real view of the
dam. This was a large structure.
outskirts of Alta Gracia, we passed this older Mercedes truck
parked next to the highway. This truck is quite old (I am
guessing 1960's), but still in service and is quite similar to
Thor, our Mercedes 1017A expedition camper: same motor, same
frame, same transmission. Two noteworthy exceptions are
the 8 bolt wheels (Thor has 10) and the lack of a front drive
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Photos and Text Copyright Bill Caid 2018, all rights
For your enjoyment only, not for commercial use.