19.03.2010 - 22.03.2010 14 °C
The rest of the day after our hike was pretty uneventful we hung around the hostel and then went out for a late dinner and then hit the sac. Friday morning and its the 19th of March and its Maipu wine road bike tour day, but its raining (for a place that only gets 5 days of rain a year it certainly seems to be raining a lot!)... So we hang around the hostel until the rain lets up and head to Maipu by bus. Once there we head to Mr. Hugo's to rent a bike he is closed because of the earlier rain. So we walk around and realize that we wont be able to see the wineries (Bodegas) on foot we find someone who is renting bikes and head out. The first place we visit is a not a winery, but they do make olive oil, chocolate, green olives, and liquor. Laurel and I both try absinth, not as good as I had hoped. We then head to our first winery.
When we get to the first winery there is no one in the tasting room, and when someone does show up they tell us just to pour wine ourselves. This was really more of a wine drinking than a wine tasting. The next winery we get a tour of the facility and have some samples. We bike to and drink at 2 more wineries. By this time we are a bit tipsy and decide to have Mario the guy who rented us the bikes come pick us up. Once back at his house he serves us some snack food, and some more wine. After sitting and chatting with Mario (in Spanish, and Mario talks 100 miles an hour) he invites us over for dinner. Laurel loves this, but I am a bit nervous, wondering why complete strangers want to invite strangers over who don't really speak their language. We agree, Mario, his wife, his aunt and 2 kids provide the wine, and all the fixings and we buy the beef. We drink wine and eat asado (which is the traditional Argentinean way of preparing bbq). At around midnight its time to go and Mario and his wife and 2 kinds drive us back to our hostel.
Note from Laurel: Eric does not do this experience justice. Not only were the vineyards, wineries and surrounding scenery absolutely amazing but the time with family was unlike anything I've experienced before!
The next morning its Saturday and we wake up a bit groggy from all the wine and activities from yesterday. We pack our stuff and catch a 10:30 bus to Santiago. The bus ride is suppose to be 6 hours, but it ends up taking 9 due to road construction (not sure if it is from earthquake related damage or not), and a bike race which had cars blocking the road behind the bikes so our bus can't get by. We probably followed the bike race at around 15 MPH for about 2 hours, all the while buses and natural gas semi trucks jockey for position, at time driving on the wrong side of the road, and close enough where I could have high fived passengers from other buses. Once in Santiago we navigate our way to the hostel and we go out to a restaurant claiming authentic Mexican food. We were pleasantly surprised to see how much the nachos were like those we get back home (I think the owner of the joint is an expatriate from California). I enjoyed having some food that reminded me of home, and it was the first time in nearly two weeks that I had hot sauce! After dinner we head back to the hostel and hit the sac.
On Sunday we both need a day to relax so we don't do anything very exciting, we hang around the hostel, I skype Stephanie for about 45 minutes, I miss her , and we do a little exploring. We try some fast food and I get a hot dog with pico del gallo and guacamole, which was very good. After this we get Laurel some coffee and relax, discussing where our next destination will be, no decision is made. We enjoy a free dinner at the hostel, right up my alley, and play some spades, after our game of spades we are hungry again so we go out to try find some grub, nothing is open, although we do find a group of guys pushing around a shopping cart selling shish-kabobs. The shopping cart has half of a steel drum welded into it and they are cooking right there, just what we need! We each get 2, when we go to pay we accidentally give the guy 12,000 (a 10,000 and two 1,000 peso bills) instead of 3,000 (3 1,000 peso bills) and he gives us 4,000 back claiming they were more expensive than he said charging us $16 USD instead of $5. I hate getting ripped off!! After that I am aggravated and we head home and get some shuteye.
It now Monday morning the 22nd of March 2010, and I am sitting outside enjoying the cool morning, trying to decide if we should head south to Patagonia, and check out some glaciers, stunning scenery, ice climbing and volcanoes or head north to the Atacama desert and see, oasis, ghost towns, secluded beaches, a rainforest without rain (water condensing from the fog creates this rainforest) and the clearest night skies anywhere in the world. I'm leaning towards north because it is the direction we need to go anyway and it sounds warmer. When Laurel wakes up we will make our final decision. I a anxious to get out of the city and explore the more rural parts of Chile.
P.S - Rex we're in Santiago, Chile how are your speeds to us now? No ice cold beer on the buses, yet but I'll make it my top priority on our next long bus ride ;-)
P.P.S. - Phil we didn't take it to Montevideo, I hears it beautiful, but the beer in Colonia was pretty good, I think the best beer we've had so far was Pilsen from Uruguay, whats your vote on where we should go Patagonia or Atacama?