The day starts with a late breakfast before heading into the Vicuna Unimart for the daily ritual of bleeding my bank account still drier - this time to settle our penultimate accommodation bill as Alfa Altea has no credit card payment facility.
We walk around the town square spotting for a suitable coffee and cake stop before driving on into the countryside back to Pisco Elqui for a very late lunch. We stop at Monte Grande, the resting place of Gabriel Mistral, the first Chilean Nobel laureate (5 points if you can name the other) and the site of the oldest church in Chile. The locals clearly think so highly of Ms Mistral that her tomb is locked preventing our visit, so we hot foot it along to Pisco Elqui.
This is a hippy stronghold as well as the centre for pisco production in Chile, and the world. Just don't mention this to a Peruvian - there might be an outbreak of handbags! Alfie and I try a 3 year old Mistral brand pisco. Largely tolerable, but would be much improved with a shot of lemon juice, a little sugar and egg white and a trace of nutmeg, but I'm being picky perhaps. I don't buy a bottle as they are glass and I'm worried that all my clothes will be soused in pisco after the 3 flights home. Perhaps I'll get some in duty free after all as the prize for my 'guess the email' competition ...
We return to the restaurant we stopped in post horse-riding for an excellent late lunch before heading home for a dose of olympics and the evening astronomy tour at our lodge.
We see Jupiter, Saturn, Mars, Omega Centuri and the moon through the in-house 40cm telescope.
Jupiter presents with 3 moons - Titan, Io and Gannymede in view. Mars is orangey and is waning while Saturn with its ring moves quickly through the field of view. Note that it's one ring that has broken into what appears to be multiple rings and not multiple rings.
Omega Centuri is a web of galaxies, but the star of the show is the Moon. The brightness, magnification and detail visible is incredible - today's photo was taken by Jude though the telescope eyepiece by Jude, so big-up to him!
Tomorrow is an earlier start to drive to Cerro Tololo, the site of the 4m optical telescope that provided the data for the winner of the 2011 Nobel prize for astronomy. This was won for proving that the universe was still expanding and would continue to expand and therefore not end in a Big Crunch, the opposite to a Big Bang.