Today we got on the road around 10 a.m. We retraced our route out to Villarica, by the lake of the same name, and found Route 5, the highway to the capital.
Driving through sunny hay fields, we saw huge John Deere rigs were creating the biggest bales I have ever seen. Round pale cheeses with Swiss type holes are sold by the side of the highway, but the traffic passes so rapidly, you take your life in your hands to try to stop. So we waited until we spotted a falls reputed to be gigantic and impressive. We turned off, drove a few kilometers and found a trickle falling over a tall cliff. Apparently all the water that formerly fell is currently used for irrigation. With a disappointing $6 cup of instant coffee, we returned to the highway until Chillan, a sprawling city supporting the mega farms.
We asked a passing gentleman on a side street where to see the sights, and he pointed us towards Nevadoes de Chillan where the big ski resorts are located. An hour later we found ourselves in charming hamlets offering ski rentals and thermal pools. No snow at this season, but the thermal pools were open until 11 p.m.
We found a funky hotel called Ecobox Andino, you should look it up, it has apartments created out of containers—like the tiny houses Julia and Rachael like—they have everything: kitchens, living rooms, decks, entryways, full baths, large bedrooms. They’re amazing and very stylish. We could only get one night here as there are lots of summer tourists. So tomorrow we will push on to the wine country. Small vineyards abound here but they are for personal use, we need to see the larger wineries where we can sample wines and maybe stay the night.