Beagle Channel in the Patagonia

Beagle Channel in the Patagonia

April 13, 2013

THE MAGIC OF THE ELQUI VALLEY, A TRANSVERSE VALLEY OF CHILE




HULLO!



This `post is a FTSF Blog Hop post, using the following prompt:



“If I could live anywhere I would live …..in the Elqui Valley in the north of Chile”



This was a difficult choice indeed! In the first place, I like Chile’s Lake District which is in the south; my personal passion is the Ranco Lake. Just so long as I could combine the actual living in the north with some periodic visits to the south, I think that would work for me. I’d need a private plane, of course; otherwise I’d spend too many hours sitting in a car, not an easy thing for me to do at present. Well, I can always dream, can’t I?



WHERE EXACTLY IS THE ELQUI VALLEY?



Chile is a long, string-been sort of country that runs from north to south hugging the Andes Mountains, and its shape and position determine some extraordinary geographical features. 

It is sometimes difficult to comprehend that the northern boundary of Chile is some 400 miles north of the Tropic of Capricorn and the southernmost point is just about 800 miles north of the Antarctic Circle.


For a better study of its varied geography, the country is divided into several “natural regions”. 

The first of the “natural regions” is the Norte Grande that is home to most of Chile’s great mining concerns and also the terrible deserts of that area.


The next “natural region”, still harsh but more benign, is the Norte Chico. The main characteristic is the fact that the Central Valley disappears and is replaced by the “Transverse Valleys”.   

There are several of these short valleys that lie between minor chains of hills that join the Andes Mountains to the Coastal Range, and that run for East to West. 

Each of these “Transverse Valleys” has its own main river that also flows from East to West, down from the Andes and into the Pacific Ocean. 


The Elqui Valley is a “Transverse Valley” and is the home of the Elqui River, which flows into the Pacific just to the north of the town of La Serena. All the area is a famous international tourist attraction.


MAP OF THE ELQUI RIVER




 Source: US Agency, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons







THE ELQUI VALLEY.



The valley has been inhabited since prehistoric times. The first to settle there were some groups of the Molle culture who were hunter-gatherers who combined these activities with some rudimentary agriculture.


Then came the Diaguita, a more advanced culture that is famous to this day for its magnificent pottery.


The Incas took over the valley a few hundred years before the arrival of the Spaniards, and they in turn took the agricultural processes to a higher level of technical development. They also installed the first astronomical observatory. 


Finally the Spaniards arrived and founded the city of La Serena in 1544. They also planted the first of the famous vineyards that are now known on an international level. The area produces excellent Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Chardonnay.


The Valley continues to be a highly developed agricultural center, with water provided for irrigation by the Puclaro Dam, that was constructed to create a reservoir that covers over 700 hectares.  The place is a now a famous attraction for kite surfing and windsurfing.


THE ELQUI VALLEY





Source: Fabian Fivaz, CC BY 2.0.Flickr






Source: nelsonbertetti, CC BY 2.0. Wikimedia Commons



SOME FEATURES OF THE MODERN DAY ELQUI.



The hot dry climate, combined with good irrigation, has contrived to provide the best production of Pisco, the national alcoholic beverage that has made this area justly famous. The famous Capel distillery can be found here in the Elqui Valley. The cocktail called Pisco Sour, which mixes pisco, ice, lime juice and sugar, is a Chilean treasure! Delicious!


The Elqui Valley is also famous for owning one of the clearest atmospheres of the world. This is a star-gazers heaven for that reason!  On a moonless night, the details of the starry skies can be seen with the naked eye, hence the astronomical observatory that was installed so many years ago by the Inca.


Modern day technology has also taken advantage of the clear skies and there are several international observatories installed in this valley:  Cerro Tololo, La Silla and the SOAR Telescope. This last is the most powerful telescope in the world, second only to the Hubble which is a space observatory. 


CERRO TOLOLO INTERNATIONAL OBSERVATORY





Source: David Walker, CC BY SA 3.0. Wikimedia Commons


Another interesting fact about this place, is that is contains one of the Earth’s magnetic centers, similar to that found in Tibet. The magnetic charges that emanate from certain hills in the valley have given rise to numerous health centers based on alternative medicine, such as Reiki, meditation and the like. And of course the dry climate would be a great help for certain afflictions like arthritis!








THE FASCINATING SOLAR OVENS OF THE ELQUI VALLEY.



Last but not least, the restaurants that provide meals that are entirely produced with solar cooking, make this a “must visit”, and in my case, the place I would choose to live for what remains of my life.



See the interesting video!


CHILE'S SOLAR RESTAURANT





RESTAURANT'S OVENS POWERED BY THE SUN








CONCLUDING THOUGHTS



I really think I could happily finish my days in a place like this, in spite of the rather stark scenery that surrounds the valley!  At least I would be sure to say goodbye to the constant pain of the arthritis and to chronic bronchitis as well, to say nothing of the assorted aches and pains that are the afflictions of the elderly! And that would be great!

Happy days! 





SPANISH VERSION



(This blog is bilingual)



Este post es parte de un Blog Hop, que usa la sigla FTSF. Para ello se debía responder a una frase que se refería al lugar donde idealmente me gustaría vivir si tuviera libertad para elegir.


Elegí el Valle del Elqui, cerca de La Serna, Chile. 



¿DÒNDE SE UBICA EL VALLE DEL ELQUI?



Este valle pertenece a los “Valles Transversales” de la región de Chile denominada Norte Chico.  El valle se orienta de Este a Oeste y es recorrido por el Rio Elqui, que se inicia a los pies de la Cordillera de los Andes y desemboca en el Océano Pacífico un poco al norte de la ciudad de La Serena.



ANTECEDENTES DEL VALLE DEL ELQUI.



Ha sido habitado desde períodos prehistóricos. Los primeros habitantes corresponden a la cultura El Molle, eran recolectores y cazadores que practicaban una incipiente agricultura.


A continuación llegaron los Diaguita, famosos por su preciosa alfarería. Ellos mejoraron las prácticas agrícolas e hicieron de la agricultura su principal actividad.

Los Diaguitas fueron absorbidos por los Inca, quienes tecnificaron todavía más la agricultura del lugar.


Los Inca también instalaron el primer observatorio astronómico, aprovechando la claridad del cielo nocturno sobre este valle durante la mayor parte de cada año.


Finalmente llegaron los españoles, quienes fundaron la ciudad de La Serena en 1544. También aportaron con las primeras plantaciones de viñas, que en la actualidad se han hecho famosas internacionalmente. El valle produce en forma maravillosa un excelente Merlot, como también Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc y Chardonnay.


En la actualidad el valle asegura su irrigación mediante el embalse Puclaro, una enorme reserva de agua que además es empleada para los deportes náuticos.



LA ACTUALIDAD EN EL VALLE.



Las condiciones del clima, junto con la buena irrigación, ha permitido una espléndida producción del Pisco chileno, bebida alcohólica hecho a partir de la uva. El Pisco Capel se produce en el mismo valle, además de otras marcas conocidas. El trago denominado “Pisco Sour” ¡goza de fama internacional!


También se han aprovechado las espectaculares vistas del cielo nocturno. El valle del Elqui posee una de las atmósferas más transparentes del mundo, y por esta razón en el valle se han instalado varios observatorios astronómicos de administración internacional, como El Tololo y La Silla. 

El equipo más nuevo es el famoso telescopio SOAR, el más poderoso del mundo, que sólo es aventajado por el centro espacial Hubble.


Otro interesante aspecto  está dado por las características magnéticas del lugar, donde se concentra uno de los centros magnéticos de la Tierra, similar al que se encuentra en el Tíbet, razón por la cual se han instalado varios centros de medicina alternativa que incluyen la práctica de Reiki, la meditación y otros similares. 


Y por supuesto que el clima seco es una gran ayuda para aflicciones ¡como la temible Artritis!



LOS FASCINANTES HORNOS SOLARES DEL VALLE DE ELQUI.



Se han instalado varios restaurants cuyo atractivo lo constituyen los platos preparados exclusivamente en hornos solares, aprovechando la energía solar del lugar que abunda durante todo el año.- ¡Comida sana de preparación lenta y sabrosa!


No se pierda el video, ¡que está en español!



PALABRAS FINALES.



Creo que bien podría ser feliz viviendo mis últimos años de vida en un lugar como éste, ¡a pesar de la aridez circundante del paisaje! .A lo menos le diría adiós a los molestos dolores de huesos y a las bronquitis ¡que son las aflicciones de la tercera edad!

 ¡Serían días felices!




More about similar topics in a future post.      Más sobre temas similares en un próximo post.





LANGUAGE TIPS FOR ENGLISH



Words that go together!  * Great deal of time   - * Dismiss an offer  - * Take on staff   - * Tell someone the time   – * Get worried  




LANGUAGE TIPS FOR SPANISH.



Expresiones de uso frecuente: * A fin de cuentas - * A otro perro con ese hueso  - * De cara a la galería 





How is your level of comprehension?     Cómo está su nivel de comprensión?





© 2013  joanveronica  (Joan Robertson)





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