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wineryfarview

Hidden Valley Winery from up on the hill walk

vineyards

Some of Hidden valley’s vineyards

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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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moonbench

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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secretsbench

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

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renaissance

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,

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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?

wildlifebench

A wildlife bench, by Joe Hindley

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rushmore

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_4823

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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long walk

cell

Replica of Mandela’s cell on Robben Island

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Shebeen

Mandela exhibit

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (1918-2013), also known as Madiba

We were very recently in Cape Town Airport a couple of times and noticed that there is a rather nice pictorial exhibit, stretching along the upper wall, about Nelson Mandela and his life, work and achievements in the long passage way after you exit the international arrival hall. There’s also a replica of his cell on Robben Island, and one of a shebeen (local African bar) from the time before he went to prison.

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The cell, and a space for you to sit and think about this man

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Details in shebeen

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The collage/mural starts here and flows from right to left , roughly chronologically, as you head for the airport exit

There are many other pictures and information about other parts of the Cape and South Africa too—all very nicely done—but the Mandela one really caught our eyes. Why?

Many people, both in South Africa and around the world, regard Mandela as a great man and a wonderful human being. He wrote a couple of books that are well known, (for example, Long Walk to Freedom, Conversations with Myself, Dare Not Linger) and there are a number of books and movies about him, his life, and his legacy. He was the first truly democratically-elected leader in South Africa in 1994 and approached that role in a way that tried to calm some of the troubled waters there were South African politics at the time, even though he himself had suffered terribly under the previous regime—Apartheid, the Nationalist Party, his incarceration on Robben Island (for 18 of the 27 years he was imprisoned), etc.

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collage4We moved from South Africa before he was elected, but we visit as often as we can. It seems to us that lots of South Africans today miss Mandela and what he stood for, especially when compared to all the corruption that is rampant in politics these days. He was a decent man, who tried to do the best for his country, and he is honored around the country in many different ways—statues of him, squares and schools named after him, and even the UN Nelson Mandela International Day, on July 18 (his birthday) each year. On this day people honor Mandela through volunteering and community service. It started in 2009 in South Africa, on Mandela’s 91stbirthday, but was declared international by the UN in 2010, so he lived to see some of the ways that his values were appreciated. I, and I’m sure millions of others, am very glad about that.

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viewstatue copy

The big setting for the statue at Idiom—you can just see the statue at the far corner of the lawn

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How’s that for a setting?

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legOutdoor Sculpture at Idiom Restaurant, by Anton Smit (born 1954 in Boksburg, SA)

We first came across the work of Anton Smit at Idiom Winery and Restaurant, where there is a huge sculpture of a naked man, arms stretched behind him and face upturned to the sky, on the edge of the lawns in front of the restaurant. There was no plaque describing the piece, just the word “Anton 2015” engraved on the sculpture’s leg. So, it took a bit of sleuthing to track down the creator.

It’s a powerful work in its own right, but made more so by the setting: The figure on tip-toes, maybe worshipping the sun or the mountains, with a backdrop of vines and mountains; a huge figure in a grand landscape, but not dwarfed by it. If you view it from the garden by the parking area, the statue is in the foreground and, way behind, you can see across False Bay to Table Mountain.

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The statue at Lourensford

Interestingly, there is a similar (?replica) statue outside the yoga studio and art shop at Lourensford Winery. Also a beautiful work but, in our opinion, the setting is not nearly as dramatic, and doesn’t set off the figure like the setting at Idiom does.

This South African sculptor is well known for his towering human figures, nudes, impressive heads, masks, hands, angels, floating and stretching figures, and warriors, as well as abstract works. Anton Smit works mostly with steel, metal, fiberglass and bronze. He tends to imbue his work with an illusion of movement or gesture, bodies curling up or limbs reaching out to the onlooker, like a call to movement. Many people say that this is why his sculptures, even the more abstract ones, seem to communicate with the viewer. Anton’s works are in public and private collections in South Africa and internationally.

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At Lourensford

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At Idiom

Anton works the first three months of the year in his Cape studios in the Strand (on False Bay, very close to Somerset West), and for the rest of the year in his studios at Bronkhorstspruit Dam, where he has a dedicated work force of 16 people.

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At Lourensford

 

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gate

Entrance to Greyfriars Kirkyard

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Greyfriars Bobby’s grave

An unusual sight in Edinburgh, Scotland, that we made a point of finding

This is the second animal story that I mentioned in the previous post about the Hoover Dam dog.

Say Greyfriars and most people think of Greyfriars Bobby. Greyfriars Bobby (May 4, 1855-January 14, 1872) was a Skye Terrier who became known in 19thcentury Edinburgh for spending 14 years guarding the grave of his owner (who died in 1858) until he died himself on 14 January 1872. The story continues to be well known in Scotland, through several books and films, notably one by Walt Disney (“Greyfriars Bobby”, 1961) and a newer one called “The Adventures of Greyfriars Bobby” (2006).

The details of parts of this story are sometimes disputed, especially whether Bobby’s master, John Gray, was a shepherd, a farmer, or a nightwatchman for the Edinburgh City Police. What is true is that John Gray was buried in Greyfriars Kirkyard (Church Yard), the Kirkyard surrounding Greyfriars Church in the old town of Edinburgh. The little dog spent the rest of his life, the next 14 years, sleeping on his master’s grave. The Lord Provost of Edinburgh, who was also the director of the Scottish SPCA, paid for Bobby’s license and collar. And many people brought food for the dog.

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Greyfriars Bobby statue

What is also true is that the city buried Bobby just inside the gate of Greyfriars Kirkyard, not too far from John Gray’s grave. The little dog’s grave is now quite a tourist attraction, as is a nearby sculpture of the dog. A year after Bobby died, an English philanthropist, Lady Burdett-Coutts, was so charmed by this story that she commissioned a drinking fountain topped with a bronze statue of Bobby.  The sculptor was William Brodie. It’s at the corner of Candlemaker Row and the George IV Bridge, opposite the entrance to the kirkyard and a pub called, of course what else?, Greyfriars Bobby. It’s said that this is the most photographed statue in Scotland. We were no exception!

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Greyfriars Bobby pub

The actual Greyfriars Kirkyard is also interesting. It was once the garden of a Franciscan friary, and in 1562 Queen Mary of Scots made it a cemetery for the overflow of corpses from St Giles graveyard in another part of Edinburgh. Greyfriars Kirkyard is supposedly the most haunted site in Edinburgh, in Scotland even. Some evening tours of “Haunted Edinburgh” come here, but we never did that.

 

 

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