Mendoza and Ruta del Vino

Mendoza & Cafayate, Argentina

January 2013

Dear Amy,

Okay, so did a little drinking….(just a little bit).  Truth is, I hit up as many wineries as I could and put them in my winery spectrum.  Being from right near Napa & Sonoma, I couldn’t help but make a comparison.  The biggest difference being the fact that Mendoza does NOT have any rolling hills.  In fact…it’s darn flat…and it is a desert.  I learned that they pipe in the water they need into the dry Andean region, and pump their grapes up and then crush when the sugars are just right.  No wonder they are able to perfect so many of the wines in this area…everything is measured and filtered and balanced just how they want it.

My favorite wine:  Torrontés.  Of course.

Cheers Ms. Wine Talent!


Stretching the Gams….Patagonia

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Patagonia, Argentine & Chilean sides of the Andes–January 2013

Dear Samuele,

You once noted that all I need to summit a mountain was a cup of coffee in the morning.  Well, here in Patagonia, your words still haunt me because they are TRUE!  Outside of Bariloche and El Bolson, I took many a good walks, up up up in the mountains.  It feels soooo good to stretch out these legs of mine–give them space to move.  Reminds me of hikes in Montana, Colorado, Santa Barbara and other areas with those big UP-hills.  I burned through 15-25 km of trail per day, adding in the 1000-1500 meter + gains on so many of these days.  (feel da burn, feeeeeel da burn!!)

Mostly, like you noted almost 20 years ago, I start with a cup of coffee and set out.  Nibble on some nuts at the summits, sip some water, and head back down (okay, so maybe I take a nap at the summit too).   Go & go, and walk, empty the mind step after step upwards and towards some viewpoint and turn around.  I just love these wide open spaces.

You & I have hiked so many different places, and I can say…you & your Pops would love Patagonia;  there are LONG walks to be had, that challenge both the mind and body.  Here are some snaps from some of the walks…..enjoy!

for the love of the hills,


End of the Earth

20 December 2012, Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina

shadow play

Shadow Play

To All who love Penguins and Cold Weather,

So here I am, at the “End of the Earth” on the “Longest day of the Year” which is also the date that is supposed to be the “Last day of the World“.  (<–funny isn’t that?)  AND who would have thunk, this is my SECOND SUMMER solstice of the year?  That is a first for me!  The sun rises at 4:30pm, and sets at around 11:30pm.  Giant lupine, and Icelandic poppies are bursting through this town, and though it was a high of only 41ºF, this height of summer makes for smiles on the faces of locals enjoying the ‘good’ weather.  Ushuaia is a cramped little polar town that boasts it is the southern most city in the world.  Chile, on the other hand begs to differ as they claim “Port Williams” is THE most southern city in the world.  I’ll let them duke it out, because I have seen both cities and I like Ushuaia better.

Penguins, sea lions and glaciers oh my!  This area has glaciers nestled in throughout the tip of the world, these Andes mountains just don’t stop!  What an amazing mountain range.  I took a nice boat cruise down the Beagle Channel and while moving toward the South Atlantic Ocean, we had Chile on one side, and Argentina on the left.  Such a nice viewpoint.  And then there were the penguins.  Gentoo and Magellanic penguins hovering in large beach colonies enjoying the good weather.  Come on now…who doesn’t LOVE penguins?  So darn cute.  (If you said you don’t love penguins, there is something seriously wrong with you….)

Love from the End of the World,