29-03-2007 – Day 7 – Elqui valley + Observatory

Blogged by Twan as Chile 2007,Education,Human Technology Interaction,Travel — Twan Thu 29 Mar 2007 6:03 pm

I slept pretty tight and got up at 8.30. With the other commission members we wanted to get some breakfast but there was not really a restaurant. We went to the reception and they explained us that we were going to get brekky in our Cabana’s. So we waited a bit and yes, there came a maid with a plate with fruit juice, bread, cheese and ham. We also boiled some water for the always good tasting Nescafe.

At 11.00 we got in the bus for a drive through the Elqui valley. This valley runs from the Andes to La Serena and is a place which is very fertile. A lot of vineyards for both wine and the very nice and strong alcoholic drink Pisco are grown there. The guide told us you can see the difference in the way they grow. For wine, the plants are visible in nice rows and for the pisco they are more like a roof of plants.

We stopped at a very big damn. It was nice to see the huge lake with the mountains on the background and on the other side the big difference in height  We continued our way through the valley and stopped after a while because some people were hungry. I used the opportunity to walk around a bit and shot some pictures. The next stop was the little town called Vicuña. Some got a pretty big appetite. We went to a restaurant and I ordered Lomo with papas fritas. It ended up in a big plate covered in fries with a rather big steak beneath. Completely full we got in the bus again to go to the Capel Pisco Brewery.

A nice lady lady told us everything about pisco. From the kind of grape to the part where the drinks get bottled. The tour was a bit touristic and short but funny to see how that drink that we discovered already back home is made. In the end we got to taste one of the already mixed pisco drinks and we had the possibility to buy some bottles and souvenirs. I went for the most expensive bottle ( 4690 pesos ) which should be more like a brandy instead of the harsh taste we were used to.

Back in the bus we drove to Vicuña again. We had to wait a bit before we could go to the observatory. We sat on a square where a lot of locals were sitting. Some of us got attacked by some stray dogs that wanted to play a bit. Nobody got hurt but it was a bit scary when they started to growl. Then at 17.00 we started driving to the observatory. We got there a bit too early but we could walk around a bit and make some pictures.

Then a guide took us inside and explained us something about star signs, milky ways and the universe. It was a funny guide that told the story on an interesting way. Then we went upstairs to have a look at the telescope. We watched at the sword from orions belt and at Saturn. It was really cool to see it for real through a telescope. We then walked outside and he showed us the southern cross which is only view able from the southern hemisphere. We then could make pictures of the moon through the telescope.

We then drove back to the cabanas. It already got pretty late. Some still wanted something to eat, others including me went to bed to have a nice sleep.

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