Day 7/Part 2
After breakfast, we continued toward the wine store. Of course, we stopped plenty of times along the way to take pictures of the town. Stray dogs seem to be a country-wide problem in Chile, and San Pedro de Atacama had more than we could count!
We finally made it back to the wine shop, and we could see that it was open. When we stepped inside, we quickly realized that it wasn’t a store, but rather, a place to sign up for a wine tour. The woman behind the desk greeted us, and then explained the tour to us. We learned that El Toconar is the only vineyard in the entire Atacama Desert region, and that it’s run with clean energy and is 100% organic.
Pierre has never been on a tour before, because the idea of being crammed into a bus or van with lots of other people is a total turn off for him. I’ve been on tours before, but as a traveler, it’s not typically the way I like to explore a new area. The tour included lunch, a tour of the vineyard, the production and bottling areas, and of course, a wine tasting.
It sounded interesting, and although I knew Pierre probably hated the idea, I asked, “Do you want to do it? We could buy Tyler a bottle of wine at the vineyard.”
‘Yeah…if you want to do it. I’ll do it.”
I looked at him with surprise, but I knew that there were two major factors playing to my favor. Pierre is very interested in solar energy, and the woman had mentioned that it was ‘off season,’ indicating that very few people would be on the tour with us.
I decided that it sounded fun, but if I’m honest, the tipping point was the wine tasting! We signed up for the 1:00 p.m. tour, which was still about an hour away, so we decided to walk around town again. When we got back, Elena greet us warmly, but I could instantly tell that something was wrong. She told us that the van had broken down, and that they needed to either fix it, or get a new one.
I was waiting to hear that the tour was cancelled, but instead, she told us that the vineyard owned a restaurant in town. Her new plan was for us to eat lunch in town, and then leave for the tour. She walked us to the restaurant, and as she left, she called out, “Enjoy your meal and relax!”
“What time do you want us to head back?” I inquired.
“Take your time–there’s no rush.”
I’ve never signed up for a tour, with the guiding mantra, “Don’t worry–relax. We’ll leave when you get here!” It’s probably going to be a great tour!