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wineryfarview

Hidden Valley Winery from up on the hill walk

vineyards

Some of Hidden valley’s vineyards

olives

Some of the olive trees

On our last trip to South Africa we were lucky enough to visit a number of wineries we’d never been to before (see Idiom Winery here https://viviennemackie.wordpress.com/2019/04/01/idiom-lunch-with-a-stunning-view/).

Hidden Valley was another one. We’d driven past the entrance many times before on our way up to the end of the road at Uva Mira Winery, but never got around to stopping. Thank goodness our sister-in-law, who lives in the area, decided this was a good lunch place, as it’s another gem, in a stunning location.

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Winery buildings from The Deck

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The lake

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Path along the lake to The Deck

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The Deck from the path

This winery is high up on the Stellenbosch Helderberg, just below Uva Mira Winery. After driving up the steep entrance road, you park and then can choose to either walk up the ramp to the large modern tasting room and the fancy Overture Restaurant (reservations and many $$ required!), or take the path along the edge of a small lake, surrounded by lovely indigenous gardens, to The Deck. We chose the latter.

The Deck, a casual eating place, is a floating deck on the lake. The view up to the mountains and the vineyards is spectacular, and it’s an unusual experience to eat and enjoy a bottle of wine while rocking ever so slightly on the water. We had a burger and wine—seems like a strange combination but it worked.

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Us on The Deck

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The Deck and lake from hill walk

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Classic Fragment (Face)

Along the path we passed two large bronze outdoor sculptures; one a face (called Classic Fragment) that has become the icon of Hidden Valley and is now on most of the wine labels; the other is called Ramona, an attractive young female figure. These pieces are only some of the “hidden” gems that one can find around the farm. The same bronze face, just smaller, greets visitors as they walk up the ramp to the tasting room. We also found a gorgeous big cat in a slivery metal (we think a Cape leopard, but there was no identifying plaque) near a parking lot above Overture Restaurant.

 

 

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Ramona

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Wine label (stuck in my travel notebook)

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I pose with a smaller Classic Fragment

You can take a walk on a circular loop from The Deck up the hill behind, winding through the fynbos, past some of the estate’s vineyards and olive groves, getting a great overview of the estate and across to the mountains. Rod did it while I sat with our sisters-in-law and just enjoyed being on the deck.

In 2015, banker Riaan Stassen (who has been involved with wine for many years) became the new owner of Hidden Valley and oversaw numerous new projects and upgrades. The cellar is still surrounded by vineyards, olive groves, almond orchards, and gorgeous fynbos gardens, but there is now a sculpture studio run by sculptor local Willie Botha

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What we think is a Cape leopard

(1958-), and some luxury accommodation next to the Overture Restaurant.

To get to Hidden Valley, take the R44 towards Stellenbosch. At Mooiberg Farm, turn right into Annandale Road, which is quite narrow. It splits after a little bit, so follow the road up, past Guardian Peak, towards Uva Mira. An even narrower road turns off that, and winds upwards.

 

 

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Her happiness was palpable

Taking Time to Stop and Smell the Roses Flowers

We had a lovely walk in our local park’s herb garden with our three-year-old granddaughter over the Memorial Day weekend. She was so excited about all the flowers and herbs, and wanted to stop and smell them all (no roses though!). It was a wonderful experience to watch and be part of, and it made me think about the famous saying “take time to stop and smell the roses”. Her joy in this actual activity was certainly an example of the truth of this.

The saying “to take time to stop and smell the roses” is attributed to Bernard Kelvin Kline in Your Dreams Will Not Die. The actual quote is “Today, just take time to smell the roses, enjoy those little things about your life, your family, spouse, friends, job. Forget about the thorns—the pains and problems they cause you—and enjoy life”.

smelllambs

smellpeonyThese days “Stop and smell the roses” may be a cliché meaning to relax; to take time out of one’s busy schedule to enjoy or appreciate the beauty of life.

But, new research by Rutgers University psychology professor Nancy Fagley, published in the Journal of Personality and Individual Differences, suggests it’s sound advice for finding satisfaction in life. She found that appreciating the meaningful things and people in our lives may play an even larger role in our overall happiness than previously thought.

 

 

Chicago: Horse Re-visited

general

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Taken from the bridge connecting the Art Institute and Millennium Park

closeThis will probably be my last post on Chicago for a while, as I want to focus a bit on South Africa next before we visit Glasgow, Scotland, in the summer.

The Gift Horse is a special exhibit at the Chicago Art Institute, up on the third floor of the Modern Art Wing out on the open air plaza linked to the Terzo Piano restaurant. We first visited this special horse exhibit in November last year, which I wrote about here.

https://viviennemackie.wordpress.com/2018/12/03/gift-horse/

It was really cold in Chicago at the time but we did our best to take photos out in the open air.

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Weather was warm enough to take off sweaters that day

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A good look at the ticker tape

When we were back in Chicago in April this year the weather was briefly better one of the days (snowed the other days) so we returned to see the horse again.

The horse hasn’t changed but the photographic chances were better, so I’m posting a few more pics of this special outdoor sculpture before it moves on to another venue at another institute.

Benches: An Artistic Mystery

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By the Light of the Moon, by Cynthia Archer, in Chicago Children’s Museum

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Money Bench, by Hedda Salz and Ray Pawley, in Chicago Children’s Museum

Chicago: We’ve often seen some painted benches in Terminal 5 at O’Hare airport; they line some of the passageways as people walk towards immigration. They are colorful and many have a Chicago theme, so they fit in well with the banners that greet arrivals, “We’re glad you’re here”. But, we never took photos, as photography is not permitted there.

Then we found some more benches at the Chicago Children’s Museum, each with the name of the artist who painted it. The descriptions are very interesting and the paintings on the benches really colorful and innovative.

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Secrets Bench, by Cynthia Weiss, in Chicago Children’s Museum

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In Chicago Culture Center, artists Lorna Hymen, Cathryn Mann and judy O’Connor

And recently, I found two more at the Chicago Culture Center in the Renaissance Room. So, I decided to try and find out more about them. I asked at the Information desk at the Chicago Culture Center, but they didn’t really know much, except they thought the benches series had been organized by an art gallery just over the road from the Center. Was it Chicago Public Schools Gallery 37, 66 E. Randolph?

Lots more sleuthing hasn’t helped. There was a chairs-on-parade in Chicago, two years after the famous cows-on-parade in 1999. But, no-one seems sure if the benches were part of that.

https://www.jaehakim.com/lifestyles/style-lifestyles/chairs-on-parade-city-is-furnishing-them-as-street-art/I followed this link and it seems that parade was about sofas, chairs,

renaissance2

The other bench in Chicago Culture Center, by the same artists as above

ottomans, and televisions, but it did not actually mention benches.

Any ideas?

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A wildlife bench, by Joe Hindley

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IMG_4473

IMG_5059Over the years, we have seen a number of Animals on Parade series in different places, which I’ve written about a few times. Here’s an example.

https://viviennemackie.wordpress.com/2016/03/18/animals-on-parade/

The lovely dark blue and white horse mentioned in that article is in a garden not far IMG_5060from us in Urbana, and whenever I walk past I stop to admire it. As the owner explained, it is not part of a series, it’s just a one-off. But, it’s the same kind of fiber-glass animal done in the same sort of style and it’s great that this horse is still around for us to admire.

So, a few weeks ago I was dismayed to see that the horse was on the ground, probably blown over by really ferocious winds we’ve had recently, linked to really abnormal weather here (much colder, wetter, more windy).

The other day I walked that way again and am happy to see that the fallen horse is back on its feet.

Long may you stand horse!

More Chicago Murals

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Rush More on west wall of Chicago Culture Center

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One side of Rush More

Chicago is famous for wonderful public art of all kinds, including murals. I’ve written about some of the murals before (see here https://viviennemackie.wordpress.com/2018/10/23/butterfly-mural-chicago/And here https://viviennemackie.wordpress.com/2018/10/17/chicago-murals/).

On our last trip two weeks ago I was excited to find a couple more.

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The other side of Rush More

The Chicago Culture Center commissioned a huge mural on the west wall of the building by Kerry James Marshall.It occupies a 132-foot-wide by 100-foot-high  space along Garland Court, one block west of Michigan Ave. Marshall is an American artist, born in Alabama, who now lives in Chicago. He completed the mural, called Rush More,in 2017 featuring 20 influential Chicago women in arts and culture. It’s a lovely mural and I love the play on words for the title: not Mt Rushmore, but Rush More, with the women’s faces painted in a similar way to the sculpted heads.

Here is a list of the 20 women:

https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-kerry-james-marshall-rushmore-mural-women-htmlstory.html

The other one is a mural I found listed in the Concierge Preferred Social Media Issue under “Most ‘grammable street art in Chicago.”According to them, this is one of the 8 most Instagram-worthy  shots of street art (murals) in the city. So interesting how Social Media has “invaded” even tourist brochures!

It is the Flamingo Rum Club Mural,by JC Rivera@jcrivera, at 601 N Wells Street. It’s also a lovely mural and does brighten up that wall.

flamingo

 

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IMG_4824We Will

By sculptor Richard Hunt, 2005, welded stainless steel

As people know, I love public art of all kinds and Chicago is famous for its outdoor public art. So, whenever we are in the city I try to find a few more pieces. This sculpture is on Randolph Street, very close to the Culture Center. The form is interesting, both angular and rounded, with the suggestion of reaching up to the sky. The name is a teaser: “We Will” makes one wonder what it is we will do.

Richard Howard Hunt (born 1925) in Chicago has over 125 sculptures on display in the USA, some in Chicago. He studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and still lives and works in Chicago. He has received many awards.

 

 

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