Sunday, November 3, 2019

Maipo Valley Wine Country

In the morning we were up and out at 8:30am
 The plan was to get some breakfast before we were picked up at 9:40am for our tour of the Maipo Valley wine region on the wine bus.
We saw some buildings damaged from the protests: broken street lamps, advertisement signs, broken windows and graffiti all over the place. Some of the buildings facing Plaza Italia had erected tall metal barricades at street level to try and prevent damage but many of the windows above the barricade were broken.

Every place was closed, even the Starbucks. Fortunately we found a guy selling a few fresh fruits and vegetables so we each had two bananas for breakfast. Our host later told us that cafes etc do not open on the weekend until 9-10am. 

The wine bus arrived right on time. It was actually a wine van that carried two couples from Lima, a couple from Australia, our guide Christian, the driver and us.

Within a half hour we were out of the city and heading into Maipo Valley.  Our first stop was at an artist's home and studio where we had a homemade breakfast with fresh squeezed orange juice, straight from her orange trees. We then were given glasses of wine while we looked at local artists work.

This is the first time I've had red wine with breakfast and as it turned out also the first time I've drunk four glasses of wine before lunch. Cheers!

We then checked out another winery, Forgotten Wonders, that has been making wine for over two hundred years. The wine was delicious as was their home made cheese.

We checked out another local gourmet place before going to a beautiful country estate for a locally grown, farm to table, al fresco lunch,  with wine of course!

Our final vineyard, Robba Rossi, was beautiful and I had a few very delicious reds which I sipped while walking around the estate. 

We stopped at one more Winery.
Too soon, it was time to go back to the city. I thoroughly enjoyed this wine tour.

When we arrived back in Santiago the  protesters were already gathering in Plaza Italia when we were dropped off near our accomodations. A cloud of tear gas hung in the air at the end of our street.  We just made it into the door of a cafe in time to buy ourselves muffins and juice for breakfast tomorrow.

A Peruvian restaurant on our street was open so we went in for an early dinner.  As we were sitting by the window some police cars sped towards the protest and some policemen in riot gear with machine guns ran past us down the street. The TV in the restaurant showed an armoured police van driving around Plaza Italia dispersing tear gas at the protestors.

Most people we speak to are in favour of the protests because there is so much corruption in the government. They do not support the opposition party either because its leader is another person from the wealthy class (he is also the cousin of the current president). They want fundamental changes to the constitution, access to education and health care and changes to the social welfare and pension system among other things. 

 I feel very blessed to be a Canadian.

After supper we went back to our apartment. The protests went on for awhile longer, then all was quiet.

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