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Salta-JuJuy-Colomé

Salta / JuJuy / Colomé / Purmamarca
April 2004!

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Our friend Frances orgazined a trip to the Colomé winery in the north western part of Argentina.  We flew into Salta and then took a 4 hour bus ride to the winery.  Donald Hess is an owner who purchased the winery in 2001.  They are upgrading the vineyards with modern equipment and drip irrigation.  They remodelled and built an amazing hotel of only 9 amazing rooms, including an outdoor infinity pool where you can see the Andes reflected in the waters, simply amazing!

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Donald gave us an introductory tour of the vineyard and the wine making process.  Wouldn't be complete without a tasting of course!

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The rooms were amazing!

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Ron always like taking pictures of birds and flowers!

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Beautiful gardens around the hotel attract lots of birds, bees and butterflies!

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The infinity pool is amazing in these beautiful surroundings!

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Donald explained that as they modernized the winery, they needed more electrical power to power everything, the local power company wanted a lot of money to bring in the power and Donald ask that they bury the power lines to not destroy the natural beauty of the area, the power company said that would cost double the original estimate so he decided to build his owner power plant using the water that was coming out of the mountain.

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Our chef gave us a cooking class on making bread.

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On the four our drive back to Salta our driver stopped at a very old historical town so we could stretch and see the church.

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That afternoon we played a game of lawn pool before dinner, Donald supplied wine and hors d'Oeuvres!

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Getting the kids involved keeps them quiet!

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Our farewell dinner had an introduction of the kitchen staff.

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We then returned to Salta and spent a few days by car seeing the sites.  Purmamarca is called the “Grand Canyon” of the south and it’s easy to see why they call it that.  The mountains have beautiful colored striations through them.  The one on the upper left is called the “Hill of Seven Colors”

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Trudging through dusty streets is thristy work!

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Just north of JuJuy are lots of natural hot springs, we stayed in a hotel where the entire pool was filled with natural hot spring water!

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We drove further north, almost to the border of Bolivia but the towns were small and not much to see, we stayed at this place for the night.

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The next day we took a tour of the top of the Andes and the mineral deposit salt flats.  They have a “Train of the Clouds” that goes to the top, but we heard taking a van is nicer as you get to see more, so we took the “Truck of the Clouds” or MoviTrac  "Nubes + Humahuaca" The "Safari Clouds with Humahuaca"

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Yes, they have billboards on top of the world!  This is over 4,000 meters or 12,000 feet up, a little hard to breath but we had a stop for some lunch.

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A stop to buy something...

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We’re over 4,000 meters or 12,000 feet up and these guys are biking across the Andes, GEEZ!  I’m just trying to keep my breath sitting in the truck.

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We ran across another tour group that was broken down so we stopped to help.  No service trucks up here!  You are HOURS from any help so helping out is a neccesity.  As you can see above, Ron is standing in the middle of a desert 12,000 feet up in the Andes!  You don’t want to be stranded here.

After lunch we visit a salt production facility.  The natural minerals from the surrounding mountains causes salt to form, but with impurities, so they cut out blocks of the salt and it recrystallizes in few months with clean salt, which they then cut out in blocks again, and pulverize for edible salt without impurities.

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Even at this elevation, when they cut into the hard crystallized Earth, there is water just below the surface.

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The salt flats are over 160 kilometers long, a flat mineral desert at over 12,000 feet up in the Andes!

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They’ve created a building of salt, from the blocks that they cut from the ground, since there is no precipitation this high up, they don’t have to water about water damage.

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The workers use this mirror to cook food, they say a chicken takes 4 minutes!

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The mounds of clean recrystallized salt.

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The road back from 4,200 meters / 12,66 feet is a little scary with no guard rails.

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The return trip takes us again through Purmamarca and the “Seven Colored Hills”

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Our last day in JuJuy before returning home, we visit a museum.

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We stop for a snack of media lunas and coffee and the tour guide gives the left over snacks to the kids in the park.

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