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a hidden paradise

Urique Canyon is a magic place, sheltered and warm, and as I descend towards the bottom the notion of a white Christmas suddenly recedes. Entre Amigos offers a range of accommodation options, guest houses, a dormitory and camp sites. Initially, 90 pesos a night to camp seems steep, especially as normally I pay nothing for that option. Keith is happy to take me to a neighbouring property with provides cheaper camping options but after I view Keith’s extensive garden and citrus orchard the prospect of access to limitless greens, fresh string beans, grapefruit, tangerines and herbs makes 90 pesos seem pretty worthwhile.

I have no idea when Cass and Jeff will arrive so I set about making myself at home. I start by setting up my tent and then address myself to picking a range of salad greens, Swiss chard and green beans. Keith donates some pesto to my repast in exchange for a dinner invitation and Cass and Jeff arrive just in time for me to include them in the feast and so we end up eating Christmas dinner together.

Havesting from Keith's abundant green gardern.

Harvesting from Keith's abundant green garden. Photo: Jeff Volk.

The next few days are spent in a positive orgy of eating. Fresh grapefruit juice for breakfast is a daily highlight.

Fresh grapefruit juice for breakfast - one of the treats available at Entre Amigos if you are willing to put the effort in.

Fresh grapefruit juice for breakfast - one of the treats available at Entre Amigos, if you are willing to put the effort in.

Dinner options include fresh pesto made from coriander (or cilantro for the Americans in the audience) and salads with delicious dressings of Jeff’s invention.

Jeff sets to work to make coriander/cilantro pesto.

Jeff sets to work in the communal kitchen to make coriander/cilantro pesto...

...which is a lot of work with only low tech tools at his disposal.

...which is a lot of work with only low tech tools at his disposal.

A green dinner from a green garden. Photo: Jeff Volk.

A green dinner from a green garden: coriander pesto, green beans and fresh salad with avocardo and grapefruit juice dressing. Photo: Jeff Volk.

We are so happy in our garden paradise that we barely leave Keith’s premises, eating and relaxing in the sun. When Cass unexpectedly has to leave for the UK just after Christmas leaving the plans for a trip to the coast in disarry, Jeff and I start to hatch an alternative plan to take a walk in the canyon. We decide to make our way to Batopolis, another small village in the neighbouring canyon, for New Year’s Eve.

{ 3 } Comments

  1. Kelly | January 19, 2010 at 9:48 pm | Permalink

    Anna- fantastico as always! really love the beautiful pictures of the canyon and descent from the icy realm. you truly are an inspiration! much love and respect in the new year and happy belated holidays

  2. julie | January 22, 2010 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    Sounds like paradise in Keith’s garden – nothing like browsing on fresh vegetables straight off the plant, just oozing with juiciness and flavour. I can relate to this as my own veggie patch is bursting with health and vigour at the moment after I liberally threw 8 bags of cow manure onto the patch when everything looked a bit peaky. They just took off! Great that you shared some good food for a Christmas feast. Mine was spent with friend Sue and her family, then Steve and anne and the kids and Zanny descended for a week or so, which was lovely. Had the children all to myself when Anne and Steve went off partying to Melbourne for New Year. We had the NY parade in the main street, then torrential rain, thunder and lightning and a blackout which made it all the more memorable and exciting when Marg Leunig turned up with her grandchildren and heaps of sparklers. We had champagne by candlelight on the front verandah watching the lightning, while Lily told spooky stories and had the little boys enthralled. Since then, lots of hard work getting ready for the Open Garden last weekend which was a great success but now my life can go back to normal. First time I’ve been able to catch up with your blogs for ages as I’ve had non stop visitors sleeping in the computer room with more coming tomorrow. I’m glad you are travelling with others – it must be fun. Lots and lots of love Julie

  3. zanny | January 25, 2010 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

    Hey I have not heard from you for awhile… I have just gotten back from NZ and I am around – as Blondie says: “Call me!”

    The blog is great and I hear people talk about it round the traps back here in Sydney. NZ was very cool, we went on a walk and camped out for a few nights and I, of course, thought of you ;) We had no mammals at all to consider when camping but our tent was invaded by a very vigorous Weka!


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