Sunday, March 5, 2017

Santa Teresa Rum Factory

We joined a group trip to the Santa Teresa Rum Factory for a tour, rum tasting, and lunch. It's just a 2 hour drive from Caracas so it was a good day trip. The rum tasting served to prove that more expensive rum tends to taste better. That's exactly how they should determine which rum is more expensive. It's just weird if better tasting rum was cheaper.

We ended up buying the mid-range Selecto because we preferred it over the 1796 Solera at half the price, though price isn't much of a consideration when buying local good. So much for prices dictating tastes. Selecto seems to be a bit rare outside of Venezuela so good luck finding it. We also got an orange blended and a coffee blended rum to try even though they weren't a part of the tasting.

I learned that their basic Gran Reserva rum is blended from aged rum of 2-5 years because Venezuelan law requires 2 year aging for it to be called rum here. The cheap stuff from other countries may only be aged 6 months. If there's one thing you get from living in Venezuela, it's plenty of exposure to rum and opportunities to try it and learn about the differences. So far, Diplomático Reserva Exclusiva is our favorite. The funny business with exchange rates and locally produced goods like these rums make them pretty cheap for us.

Pictures weren't allowed in some parts of the active production areas but here's what I got everywhere else.









 

 
where it all started but no longer part of their production


 



a special tasting in the private collection room


private collection including the Los Angeles Philharmonic





Sunday, February 26, 2017

Hiking El Ávila

El Ávila National Park is the distinctive mountain view in the background of most Caracas pictures. Usually we're looking at it from the city or from the hills where we live on the other side of the city from the mountains. It looks nice from down here so why not get a closer look?

The park has many trails and you could hike all the way to the top given enough time and energy. We don't have that kind of energy so we hiked up the very popular Sabas Nievas trail. It's sad to see on the map how little we actually climbed when it felt like so much more! I saw on a map there that we went from about 1,000M to 1,300M.

It was a lot of work but definitely worth it for the views. I guess the exercise is good too. This is a nicer way to exercise and lots of locals use it as a workout. If it isn't enough to climb all that way then there's an outdoor gym where we turned around. Crazy people!

The entrance we used to the park is a tunnel under a road that runs alongside El Ávila. There were vendors selling drinks and snacks to the large crowds that run up and down the trail.


   






 










 
our Embassy! I love the 30x zoom on my camera








outdoor gym including boxing practice






















in the neighborhood where we parked the car