The drive from the coastal delights, granted us many landscape changes ranging from rocky ocean turf to enchanting green hillsides of vineyards and palm trees. Reminiscent of home in Northern California, this exotic land offers bounteous beauties. Isla Negra, home of late Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, is phenomenal. Set on the edge of the icy Pacific Ocean, this ship on the shore embraces an abundance of art, culture, literature, and politics. It is a fantastic tribute to the passionate man and his exuberant taste for the rainbows of life. Touching on the turbulent history of Chile, his association with President Allende and the communism party are highlighted here along with his questionable death at the hands of Pinochet’s people. Most importantly, is the love that he shared with Matilde Urrutia that still covers the walls of his quinta by the sea.
Majestic snow-capped mountains adorn the rugged roadways along the Maipu Valley. The drive around the periphery of Santiago city, from one side of the country to the other, took around three hours. The contrasts, shockingly painful to witness, offer a stark reality to contemplate. While modern condos gift some barrios, many other areas blaze all but shantytowns for the locals. Our three-day stay just outside the small village of San Jose de Maipu, granted us a totally different view of Chile. Winding up the Andes via the Camino Al Volcan, through mounting vistas and rough Rio Maipo crossings, as big rigs from the rock quarry hog up the lane, can wrestle up even the most audacious of drivers. At Banos Morales near the Argentine border, we climbed into Monumento Natural El Morado and trekked 6km through some snow and up to Laguna Morales. The day closed with a tasty empanada and Pisco Sour under the bike laden tree at Antiquo Sueno.