Pisco Elqui and Pisco Distillery

Trip Start Jan 08, 2014
Trip End Jan 25, 2014

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What I did
Pisco Elqui
Monte Grande - Gabriela Mistral lived and taught here
Fundo Los Niches Pisco Distillery
Pueblo Artisanal Rural - Horcon

Flag of Chile  ,
Saturday, January 11, 2014

I got up around 9 am.  Astrid had already been up for awhile.  We went to breakfast and ran into the young Russian couple, Nellie and Vlady, and Astrid invited them along on the drive to Pisco Elqui that we had planned for today.  She told them they may have to make their own way back to Vicuna.

We agreed to meet in 15 minutes to drive off and they were a bit late...setting a bad precedent and some tension.  We drove off and made it out of Vicuna onto the right road.  We didn't turn off on the road that went to Argentina but continued on the right way along the Elqui River.  We stopped once or twice for photos maybe.  The last time we had almost made it to Pisco Elqui but saw a church that happened to be in the village that Gabirela Mistral, Nobel winning poet, taught in.  We decided not to pay to visit the school she taught in but visited the church instead.  It was a nice simple church with a wooden bell tower and blue ceiling with stars painted on it.

After that we passed Pisco Elqui and headed on to Horcon, a village with traditional crafts - or maybe not so traditional crafts.  There was a collection of thatched open pavilion type buildings housing the craftspeople along side a little stream.  To get there you had to drive down a very steep hill.  This was after we had tried to go to the end of the road and I got on a hill I had to back down because I couldn't seem to get up it in 1st gear.  But we made the steep road down to the shops.  Interesting things, but not that much there for me to buy.  Some felt angels but they were too pricey.

After that we returned to Pisco Elqui to check it out, but first to have lunch.  We picked an outdoor cafe near the church - my receipt is from "El Ranchito de Don Rene."  Astrid let the couple know that they were now on their own and we had our lunch - some humidas - a type of corn tortilla with fresh corn and we each had different drinks - Astrid had the special wheat -peach drink - I opted for a mango juice.  After that we tried the pisco distillery down the street but it was too expensive so we drove back 4 km to another one.  This one was organic and had been in the Rodriguez family before being sold.  Our guide was very passionate about the operation.  There were only 4 people in our group and the guide hadn't intended to speak in English.  He said he could, but very little, when Astrid asked.  As it turned out, he ended up only speaking in Spanish.  Astrid would give me some recaps but he spoke for great lengths of time and her recaps were necessarily short.  Consequently, I understood pretty much nothing and began to get very frustrated.  We had a tasting of some pisco and some sweet wine.  We found out that there were avocado trees planted in the valley.  Astrid tried to fill me in but I didn't get all of it.  It was disappointing but I will live.

After that, we drove back to Vicuna, stopped and got some groceries, had a man park too close - like 6 inches away from out car.  I didn't want to risk damaging the car, but Astrid tried backing out and finally the man came out and gave her instructions but no apologies.  We came back to the hostel and had a light supper with our goat cheese.  I uploaded my photos and plan to try to get to bed now - I guess it is around 11 pm.  Not too bad and I have caught up a bit.

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