Trip Start Jul 12, 2009
Trip End Aug 18, 2010

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Where I stayed
Vinas de Cafayate

Flag of Argentina  , Northern Argentina,
Saturday, October 31, 2009

We traveled south along the Calchaqui River to the village of Seciantas which is renowned (what you didn't know) for its paprika, chili peppers and ponchos. We stopped off at a couple who knit ponchos on a very simple loom using sheep, llama and vicuna wool. Now our budget would not extend to the Vicuna wool which is unbelievably expensive and after Ian modeled about seven ponchos we actually settled on one. If he fails to wear it in London it will make a marvelous table cloth - it is massive.

We then literally popped our heads into Molinos a charming silent 17th century town with a stunning Colonial 18th century house which is now a hotel opposite a lovely church.

My highlight of the day was to follow. I had been chewing the ear of our agent, Nick, to ensure that we went to James Turrell Museum at the Bodega Colome and after a thirty minute jaunt along the dusty road of the Ruta 53Km we drew up to an electric fence and ventured into a picturesque wine valley. Purchased by the Hess family eight years ago for a $1m dollars, he has built up this winery and now added his private collection of James Turrell (a big contemporary art collector he had purchased many of Turrell's earlier work) Now for those who do not know Turrell he uses light to create sculpture. I had seen some of his work in London and found it really inspiring especially with regards to working on our house. Well this installation beats anything I have seen in London. It was incredible.

After a fabulous meal and a gorgeous bottle of Colome Torrontes Ian and I were driven to the gallery, a contemporary symmetrical building at the edge of the winery. It is double the size of the white cube, and there, in the middle of this Argentinian landscape was the modernist of art galleries - we had a private tour walking through Turrell's magical use of pure light . Really surreal.

We left Colome very excited after seeing the Turrell museum. My only sadness was that the children could not go as I think his art is really stimulating and fun for children too.

Feeling sleepy we then drove through the Quebrada de las Flechas (arrow gorge) to Cafayate.

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