We just returned home from 3 weeks in Cafayate! We had a wonderful time and although the weather is “nice” in Calgary, we are missing the sun, warmth, and lifestyle available in a milder climate.
We were very excited to be meeting Tonya and Calvin (who are on their year long trip). Typically we only have a long weekend with them so it was a great opportunity to spend more time together. We met up with them in Salta on December 29th, overnighted, and headed to Cafayate on the 30th. We rung in New Years at the newest winery, Piattelli – which was spectacular. We were happy that about 12 other friends and neighbours were also there. The evening was a lot of fun. For about the equivalent of $40US, we had champagne, wine, festive New Years drinks, a beautiful meal (a beef tenderloin ROAST on everyone’s plate!), dessert, musicians, and a dance….and fireworks at midnight of course. Piattelli is up on the hill so we could see fireworks throughout the valley. It was a wonderful way to bring in the new year.
On the 3rd we drove to Colomė. The hotel at Colomé is only opened if you rent all 9 rooms, or a member of the owners family or organization is there. On my last trip to Cafayate I was lucky enough to meet the new manager and she told me of a couple of days that were available as someone from Switzerland would be there. We jumped at the opportunity and it was maybe serendipitous because it was my birthday. Colomé is one of the highest vineyards in the world and is a totally self-sustaining area. (in other words they have to grow all their food, make all their wine, etc as it is really in the boonies). We had explained to Tonya and Cal that it was a long and bumpy ride, but I think they thought we were exaggerating . The path to Colomé is a rocky washboard “road” which often is so curvy and narrow that you play Russian Roulette on the curvy corners. We were lucky in that we missed big trucks flying around the corner in our shared lane by about 3 seconds. Every bump along the way was worth it as the scenery is spectacular. From Tonya’s blog…she described the road like this “while only 120 kms from Cafayate, it’s about a 3 hour drive on what was termed a ‘gravel road.’ I called it a donkey path, Calvin called it a wagon trail.For the most part, it was little more than a single lane going through river beds and cliff edges?….”. Colomė was fabulous- the service, the food, the wine, the rooms and the art museum! There is the world’s largest collection of James Turrell art installations in the world. When the artist was told by Donald Hess that he was creating a museum in Argentina James Turrel said “Great, I love Buenos Aires”. When Donald Hess told him that it would be in Colomé and what it takes to get there, James replied, “Since I suffered in creating my work, it seems only natural that people should suffer to see the work.”
Tonya took a video of a drive through ” Las Flechas” which is on a GOOD part of the road. If you go to you tube and search for “Drive to Colomé” you will see Tonya’s video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DUgInPRx4uo&sns=em
My birthday was wonderful….thanks to everyone who sent emails and cards! In addition to my special trip I received some artsy gifts! Tonya sang me the birthday song in German (which was actually in English with a very strong German accent), Calvin’s alter ego, Norbert, made a video appearance for me, and Bevan wrote me a poem….which was so awesome it made me cry. I know he is a super talent in his field but he could quit and make a living writing for sure. I won’t share the poem as it will make all you gals jealous and make all you guys feel like inadequate schmucks.
We survived the bumpy trip back to Cafayate and spend the next couple of weeks just enjoying our home and the great weather. Thanks to Tonya and Cal – we ate at home several times. Bevan and Cal handled the parilla and Tonya and I prepared veggies and salads. The four of us played some golf (Tonya’s first time – she did great!), went on the “El Paso” hike, and did some horseback riding (sin me!) It was Cal’s first time ever on a horse. Although I literally had to force him to go he absolutely loved it and found it exhilarating. I love that word! How often in life do we feel that??? Trying new things is great – makes us feel like a kid again and keeps us young. We made a visit to our favourite potter in San Carlos. Senior Mendoza LOVES Bevan’s Defender and has had his photo taken with it. He wants Bevan to drive him up into the hills to collect his special clay. Watch for future posts on that adventure!!! (the Defender LOOKS tough, but looks can be deceiving!)
It was sad to say good bye to our wonderful house guests. The house seemed empty without them.
I have been asked several times to go to “Sewing Circle” in our neighbourhood. For those of you who know me, I take after my Mom not my Auntie Alice when it comes to sewing. If it weren’t for my husband’s “one hand surgical knots” and sewing abilities I would most likely throw out any blouse if a button came loose. I decided to go just so I would have the opportunity to say hello to some of my neighbours that I hadn’t seen. Jane was knitting a hat for her first grand-baby that is on the way. Deirdrie was making a sparkly bead. The other 6 women were just sitting at the table. ALL of us were drinking Pisco Sours!!! It was great! Who knew that I would like “sewing” so much!
On our way back to Calgary we spent a day in Buenos Aires so that we could have super with our friends Brent and Julieta. They are babysitting a little dog that is super cute – although he bite me in the face. Luckily the bad luck streak seemed to pass and although it took us 4 hours to get to the airport, check in, go through security and passport control, our flight did leave ?relatively on-time? (Argentine time) and we arrived home safely.