Today we left the Ecobox Andino hotel and drove north to warmer climate ( that seems really odd) and into wine country toward Talca.
The Pan American Highway stretched through more golden wheat fields, that turned abruptly to apple orchards, blueberry groves and raspberry farms. I imagine most of you eat many of these fruits every week—the shipping of Chilean fruit to the States keeps this economy rolling. We saw plastic crates piled higher than four story buildings, humongous trucks hauling produce and fruit to airports and ports.
After seeing the fish processing further south, this northern fruit exportation looks just as big. We try to buy and eat apples everyday: big, juicy, crisp ones fresh from the orchards.
As we progressed north grape vines began to appear. The vineyards stretch for miles, all trimmed, on wires, perfectly cultivated. We stopped at the first vineyard we came to, a small one by Chilean standards: 11 hectares. Tom thinks about 25 acres, but they produce all the glass bottles for the rest of the wineries in the area.
We had coffee which seemed sacrilegious, but Tom was still driving. The owner was a kind woman whose mother lived for years in Hyannis, go figure. We asked about a hotel but she directed us up a mountain 30 kil. away. When we reached the cabanas, they were in the middle of the woods with few services and no wine. So back we went to Talca, an agricultural city in the heartland, very dull. The town closes up at 9 p.m., but we found a nice hostel and a decent Friendly’s type family restaurant Chilean-style.
Tomorrow we will progress further into wine country.