Friday, April 8, 2011


After getting our kicks in the big city of Lima, Lydia and I were ready to go a little off the grid and head south to the town of Lunahuana. Why does one go to Lunahuana, you ask? There are three answers to this question: 1 - pisco (South America´s 40 proof wine); 2 - wine (although we later found out that this wasn´t a reason to stay in Lunahuana); and the 3rd answer is ADVENTURE!
Lunahuana is about 3 hours south of Lima. It´s nestled in between deserted mountains, with a great river barreling down through its core. It somewhat reminded us of a post-apocalyptic version of Gold River (Lydia´s home town). Further to our post-apocalyptic Gold River metaphor, our hostel in Lunahuana had a bird shed, just like in Lydia´s parents yard!
Let's not kid ourselves, however.... Lydia and I were not in Lunahuana for bird watching.... we were there for PISCO! What better way to try this potent grape hooch than to go on a tasting tour. For a ripe old price of about $10, Lydia and I spent the day getting driven around in a hired car, going from bodega (Spanish for small vineyard) to bodega, taking shot after shot of pisco and wine. As an added bonus of Lunahuana, they are also known for chocolate coated pecans. The bodegas were nice enough to not only dish out shot after shot of free booze (don´t worry, we also bought a couple of bottles to make up for their expenses), but there always seemed to be lovely ladies shelling out chocolate pecans as well (pun intended)!

Honey is another commodity of Lunahuana. At one of the bodegas we visited, we were shown a hive where the honey is produced. This picture is really cool in that it shows the royal guard of the hive protecting the all-mighty queen. The hive was 100 times what is depicted here, with only 1 queen, so you can appreciate just how cool this is!

After a couple of piscos, I tend to pick-up Lydia a lot. Don´t ask me why.

One of the granjeros teaching us about his pisco puro.

Unfortunately, going hand in hand with venturing off the beaten track in a developing nation is food poisoning. After a night of sampling pisco and food, and making friends with a 70 year old ex-Italian Mafioso (who had a 20 year old fiance and admitted to carrying a gun in his Hummer, and who kept buying us drinks and inviting us to swim in his hotel pool the next day), I found myself to be a wee bit incapacitated for about 3 days. Luckily, our hotel had about 6 different HBO channels, so we were able to easily pass this time watching TV with Licky. We also didn't particularly want to venture outside, since we didn't want to run into the Mafioso again and be forced to drink 10 more pisco sours!

In our last day of Lunahuana, we made use of Lunahuana´s final commodity: adventure. Tour companies in Lunahuana offer all sorts of rafting, horseback riding, and atv adventures. We decided to take them up on a white water rafting trip, and had an absolute blast doing so. Unfortunately, the person who was supposed to email us the pictures of our rafting adventure never came through, so you are just going to have to imagine just how great it was!

Leaving Lunahuana was a bit of an adventure, as we intended to head towards the town of Pisco (the namesake of the deadly beverage); however, our bus driver had other ideas, and forgot to let us off in Pisco, and instead took us an extra hour south to Ica. As it turned out, this worked out for us as we were able to spend more time in the bordering town Huacachina (probably the most fun and unique town I have ever been to). Also, from what we heard, Pisco has had a lot of trouble since it went through a devastating earthquake in 2007, which practically destroyed the entire city, so it may have been for the best that we gave it a miss.

Although our Lunahuana experience took a bit of a hit with food poisoning and shitty wine, Lunahuana made up for it with good, cheap pisco, and wicked-fun rafting! Would we go back.... probably not, but the small town definitely had its moments!

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