My first visit to Cerro Tololo will still have to wait a couple of days, as there is some road-damage from the last storm. Meanwhile, I continue on the “Ruta de las Estrellas” – the ‘route of the stars’ leading through this region. The region has a long and rich tradition in mining – especially in copper and gold. I find that to be an interesting contrast to the astronomical observations here – into the sky and into the earth… Today I visited the mining-town of Andacollo, close to Cerro Tololo, where many so-called pirquineros work. Pirquineros are independent miners (often the men in their family have been for generations), not affiliated with any of the big mining-companies. They dig their own small mines way up in the mountains, where they search for gold alone or together with their sons. I had the true pleasure to meet Hèrnan today. This is “his” mine, where he works 7 days a week – 40 meters below the ground.