Before we went to South America, Sven estimated to arrivé in Concepción after about 15.000km in order to chance filters oil and a set of new tires. It's exactly right on a few kilometers.
We visit the Toyota dealer without an appointment and the car can be service immediately. The new tires must be sent from Santiago, so they will be changed the next day together with a new packing on the handbrake.
In a day and a half the car is ready and we can continue our trip.
From Concepción we drive to Constitución. In the south it is still fairly quiet and we can find beautiful spots on the beach to spend the night. But as we get to the north, the beaches become busier until they are packed. Finding a quiet place is difficult and we decide to leave the coast and go inland.
We drive through one of the many wine regions, the Maule valley, and look for a "Viña".
We knew that there was “something" and after a lot of searching and asking we found the winery in a village far from everything. Only there was no one. Eventually a grandmother came from her house to take a look. This turned out to be the mother of the winery. They were closed but after a short conversation we could park on a nice spot along the river and do a tasting in the afternoon. In the end it was so nice that we stayed for 2 days.
This is the beginning of many visits to wineries. Which is not only very tasty but also very interesting. Everyone has his own ideas and ideals but the same passion for the profession.
At Balduzzi we have been talking for a long time to Monique Balduzzi, the lady who controls the export. She learned us lot and gave many tips.
In the Colchagua valley we visit "Vui Manent". For the start of the tour we have a delicious lunch under the big tree and because after wine it is not wise to drive and look for a place to stay we stay overnight in the vineyard.
Via the Cachapoal Valley and the Maipo valley we leave the wineries for what it is and go to Santiago.
We thought that Santiago would be very busy and chaotic. Of course it is a big city but the wide roads and quiet traffic make it easy to find the way.
We are right in the center but in a nice quiet place. Here we can get a break from the sleepless nights. The life of the Chileans (and Argentinians) does not start until after 22.00 including their huge music installations that are a permanent part of their "parilla" (bbq).
Santiago is a beautiful city with old and new buildings next to each other. There is a relaxed atmosphere.
The city is also very green. There are parks everywhere. Children play in the fountains and people seek the shade of the many trees.
Although we are not city people, it was nice to eat somewhere in the evening and be part of city life again. Hair neat, nice clothes and no dust.
Via the Trans Andes route at more than 3800 meters we drive to Argentina. It is a nice ride. The view is difficult to photograph. There are many volcanoes and mountains above 6000 meters. The environment is impressive and dry.
The Mendoza is one of the most famous wine regions of South America. In relation to Chile, it is a lot more touristy.
With the Andes in the background it makes a very special wine area. In the province of Mendoza you have different wine areas. Of course we have to visit them all. We have a tasting at Salentijn a Dutch winery.
It goes a bit far to mention all wineries we visit but these are our favorites.
At Canepa Martin they are busy with bottling. Betiana takes time to tell everything about their house and to have the wine tasted, despite all the activities. We would have liked to stay longer but we have to be on time because the road to the campsite is closed due to a celebration of the church.
From Mendoza we drive "even more" to the south to go to Laguna del Diamante and the Maipo volcano. The lake is above 3000 meters and the road to it is unpaved and quite steep. Very worthwhile.