Sunday, September 7, 2008

South America Trip - Day 11

Day 11 - Sunday 8/31

Our guide, Antonio, picked us up this morning at 9:00am and we began our drive out to the Casablanca wine country valley.

We stopped at two different wineries. The first was on a small hill overlooking the vineyard. We took a tour (totally in Spanish), but got to see the huge vats that they keep the wine in, which we had never seen before. After the tour, we got to try 3 different wines. Unfortunately we didn't think this new winery had gotten their formula correct yet.

Next we went to Vina Mar winery. This tour was in English, lead by Fransisco, and we really enjoyed it! We learned about how the white wine, red wine and champagne are made. He showed us the huge containers and oak barrels that they were stored in. He said that wine is all suggestive and just because a wine is expensive, it doesn't mean that it is good.

After our tour he had us try their Gewurztraminer/ Sovenigon Blanc combo. It was so sweet and yummy! He also let us try a Chardonnay, 2 red wines and a champagne! I don't think we were supposed to get that many tastings, but I think Fransisco liked us! We each bought a bottle of the Gewurztraminer and a bottle of Champagne. They were only $5 each!

After the wineries, we headed out to the beach city of Vina Mar. It was previously the only port in South America before the Panama Canal was opened. We stopped along the water to check out the still active port and to take a look at where we would be stopping next.

Chile also had a lot of European influence, but Antonio explained that since Chile has very large earthquakes, many of the buildings have been destroyed throughout the years. There were still quite a few old building down by the beach though. We stopped at what used to be a large town square and saw the old building which is home to the Navy of Chile.

Our next stop was further along the coast to a restaurant called Sietes Mares. By the time lunch was over, it was about 4:30pm and we were ready to go home! It was about a 2 hour drive back to Santiago.

We didn't feel much like going out to eat, so we ended up ordering a hamburger from room service!

By this time I think we were all ready to catch our flight home. We were keeping our eye on the news about Hurricane Gustav. He was supposed to hit landfall the very next day.

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