Between the devil and the deep blue sea

Trip Start Jan 19, 2006
Trip End Jan 19, 2007

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Flag of Chile  ,
Monday, October 23, 2006

Have breakfast at the hotel before we get the metro and then the bus to Concha y Toro ( winery in Pirque, south east of Santiago. We arrive early for our tour of the huge site.

First start our tour in the blazing sunshine by walking around the grounds and villa of the family which are beautiful. Sadly they don´t live there anymore they just use the house as offices it overlooks a great lake and fantastic landscape gardens. Then for the proper bit, we toured around the cellars with row up on row of oak barrels full of red wine. They are all medium toasted which is the degree to which the inside of the barrels have been ´burnt´ to add flavour to the wine, never had heard of that before.
Tried Carmenere to start which is only really grown here having been wiped out in Europe during the phloxora outbreak but was only rediscovered here about 15 years ago or so. Then went into the proper old brick cellar which was very dark and cavernous and heard about the story that the old owners used to keep locals from stealing the wine by telling people about the devil that lived down there. Apparently it worked. Hence some of the wines are called ´casillero del diablo´ after the legend.
We then tried some of the posher ´Don Melchor´ wine which was also very nice. Were a bit disappointed that we only got to try 2 though! Then had a mooch around the shop and resisted buying lots of wine for Tony to take home esp as its probably cheaper in the supermarket. Also got a free glass each which we posted home (have just learnt that only 1 made it intact which is not the end of the world as Joyce and Tony already had 1 so no have a pair!) Went back into town and picked up a bus to go out to the coast at Valparaiso.

This was about 2 hours away and the weather was still good as we arrived. This is a huge port town but is famous for being quite art decoish and has lots of acensores/lifts to take people up the hill side which is pretty steep. We promptly jumped on a trolley bus which looked like something from the 1950s and headed to the customs area before we got our first miniscule and slightly deteroriating lift up to the most picturesque viewpoint over the whole town and coastline up to Vina del Mar, a resort further north. Each lift costs about 15p to go up and they are of varying states and sizes! We then went around the port debating whether to get a boat trip or not but decided they were overpriced so got another lift up and did a walking tour around the streets and alleys with pretty multicoloured houses, some with amazing views over the coast and sea. Opted for twilight dinner and drinks at Hotel Brighton overlooking the bay and pretended it was still hot despite being a bit cool by now! Got another lift down before we headed back to get the bus home. Got home after 23.00. Tony is keeping us out a lot later than normal, already. A bad influence, clearly.
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