After Shakira ably negotiated our dragging her through dusty rocky roads for the sake of a brief 30 min walk in the mountains near to where Uruguayan Rugby players had taken to eating each other we arrived in a nice little river-side hostel in Talca, a city in the Chilean wine-growing heartland. Some very tasty fish and a nice bottle of Carmenere sent us to sleep, preparing for a full day of sampling, supping and inevitably snoring the next day.

We headed off into the depths of the Ruta del Vino the next day to Villa Donoso. This was a very exclusive vineyard/hotel, alongside wine production (almost exclusively for shipping overseas) they offer full retreat type holidays, including wine baths (why this is a good thing I don’t know, seems like a waste to me!). In the evening we headed off to a local wine festival which was much better value – 8 samples for 2500 CLP (about 2 quid 50). Met up with some fellow travellers heading south the next day, a garrulous Irish woman (I’m sure there are other types of Irish women) called Alice and a quiet swiss girl called Andrea who is soon to spend 4 weeks on a cargo ship from Valparaiso to Holland. As adventurous as this trip has been, that’s a level far beyond what I’m prepared to commit to, so fair play to her!

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