Dreamscapes Travel & Lifestyle

Fall/Winter 2017

Dreamscapes Travel & Lifestyle Magazine

Issue link: http://read.dreamscapes.ca/i/889690

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Page 55 of 63

DREAMSCAPES FALL/ WINTER 2017 56 B ut within minutes of arriving at La Casona del Molino, a Spanish-colo- nial mansion in the provincial capital of Salta, my new Argentinean amigos made sure our candlelit table got a lot more crowded. First came the skewers of blood sausages (morcilla); then a platter of Argentina's world-renowned steaks. And to top it off, a dessert of goat's cheese smothered in the fibrous jam of a cactus fruit called chayote. All the while I listened to a man wearing a black-rimmed hat who propped himself against a stucco wall in the corner of La Casona's interior patio to wail zamba folk songs at a crowd eager to sing along. For them, it was a night like any other at the peña. Personally, it was my first glimpse at why this remote corner of Argentina is cap- turing the hearts of international visitors like never before. Peñas are folk-music clubs characteristic of the towns along this dusty Andean fron- tier where Argentina bumps up against Chile and Bolivia. Salta is the largest city in these parts and it's famous among Argen- tineans for its folk singers, as well as its crumbling colonial architecture. Spanish conquistadors founded this city in 1582. Its cobblestone plazas, soaring man- sions and pastel cathedrals are a testament to its glory days as a strategic outpost halfway between Lima and Buenos Aires. Yet, I didn't come to Salta Province for its architecture. And the fabulous folk music? That was a happy coincidence. I came to this forgotten corner of Argentina to leave its capital city in my rear-view mirror. MY FIRST NIGHT UNDER THE DESERT SKY OF NORTHWESTERN ARGENTINA BEGAN SIMPLY ENOUGH WITH A BOTTLE OF MALBEC AND A PILE OF NUGGET- SIZED EMPANADAS. An Unlikely Pairing of WINE AND ADVENTURE EDITORIAL & PHOTOGRAPHY BY MARK JOHANSON TOP: Piattelli Vineyards sits on the edge of Cafayate overlooking the arid hills of the pre- Andes. OPPOSITE CENTRE LEFT: La Merced del Alto is a boutique hotel located on an old alfalfa farm near Cachi. OPPOSITE CENTRE RIGHT: The vineyards of Cafayate offer spectacular scenery. OPPOSITE BOTTOM: Shell Gorge is packed full of bizarre rock formations.

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