Garzón, Francis Mallmann chosen town
That morning I woke up at 5:30, I heard the birds singing and I knew that if I went back to sleep I would woke up at noon. I went up de stairs and to watch the sunrise from the terrace that had an amazing sea view, the sky was cloudy so I couldn’t see the sun rise but the clouds started to paint in wonderful colors. By 9 a.m. I had almost all my work done, so I decided to go on a road trip to Garzón town, located 22 miles from José Ignacio, all by myself.
Before arriving to my final destination, when the road turns into a dirt road, I was surprised by a big black bird on the side of the path. As I got closer and stop, with all the intention of taking a photograph, it flew away but I could clearly see its red head and black feathers, it was a vulture that was feeding from a crushed snake that was run by a car.
I resumed the trip and a few miles ahead a new surprise was awaiting, a 30 feet tall sculpture from the artist Piero Atchugarry, I did some research and that open sky sculpture park surrounds the art gallery of the artist where you can also see sculptures from other artists that visited the area.
At 10 a.m. I was finally arriving to my destination and a wooden sign welcomed me to this picturesque town. It wasn’t my first time there, I visited the town before to have lunch in Garzón Restaurant by the Argentinian chef Francis Mallmann where Sebastian claimed to have tasted the best “milanesa” ever (breaded meat), a thick loin medallion with mollet egg, shoestring potatoes and arugula salad. I chose a rib eye with “chimichurri” (a mixture of species, oh sweet delight!) with the smoked flavor of the firewood oven that I am fan of. One of the places I enjoyed the most was the patio, with emerald green wooden armchairs surrounding the firepits that the chef loves so much, bushy vegetation, a small swimming pool and a bar to drink a cocktail or glass of wine while we waited for our table to be ready.
When I got to the main square, I parked my car and as I seemed like there was no other sign of life except for the deafening sound of parrots that flew from one tree to the other. The tourists hadn’t arrived yet, just a Garzón Restaurant employee stepped out to fan the fire from the clay oven and a woman was working in the square plants. I started to walk and taking pictures when I got to the church, the door was open so I stepped in to have a look, despite my VERY religious name I’m an atheist. When my eyes got used to the semidarkness, I discovered a simple church with a black and white floor, wooden benches and altar and peeling ocher walls, I also sensed the characteristic church smell and the spiritual silence that surrounded me.
I kept walking around the square and run into the Garzon’s Recreational and Social Club, a simple building where I pictured the few souls that live all year round in the town gathering to play cards and spend some time with friends. There are many art galleries, which is surprising for a town of 200 inhabitants, but is a clear indication of the kind of tourism that visit it every year. A few more steps and I found an open coffee shop with a sing at the door “Good coffee, made with love”, the perfect invitation to go in.
As in every old town grocery, it has a light green counter with weathered Paint, light lavender walls and old furniture, which I’m sure was bought at auctions, and they display their own sale prices, since everything there is for sale. A young barista took my order: coffee late with toasts and jam. In a table behind mine 3 American women were chatting joyfully and she approaches with the order while she said: “Here´s a funny anecdote” and she told them something about a dog that I couldn’t fully hear but it made them burst into laughter.
When she brought my simple, yet delicious breakfast, I spreaded the toasts with the homemade blueberry jam and as I tasted them they crunched so loud in my mouth that I could hardly hear the background music (My Blue Heaven was playing from the album Le Quecumbar International Gyspy Swing Guitar Festival) and the taste of the jam took me back to my childhood when my dad and I went on excursion to pick blueberries and then got back home and made blueberry pie and jam with my mom.
When I finished my breakfast I kept touring around the desert streets thinking how this writing path that I’ve recently chosen has helped me awake all my senses, senses that were numbed as I sat on a coffee shop alone and the first thing I did was to use my cell phone without noticing everything that was going on around me. So that concluded my short road trip, and as I hit the road, a sign wishes me a Good return and I said see you son because I’m sure I’ll be back to this small town that appears to have nothing to give but it sure has everything.