El Vino, Horses and 2° separation to Arms Dealer

Trip Start Nov 17, 2012
Trip End Jun 12, 2013

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Where I stayed
Ian Garrett's Apartment

Flag of Chile  , O'Higgins,
Saturday, December 1, 2012

The trip from Valparaiso to Santa Cruz on the public bus was generally uneventful provided you ignored the movie about being kidnapped in a foreign country and the Irish drama complete with hardcore sex scenes of every type you can imagine. It got weird when the 50 year old Chilean next to Paul was staring at the screen and kept touching his leg... (joking).

We arrived into the sleepy little town with only two main streets and met up with Ian, our temporary landlord, who showed us our apartment and also introduced us to his young family.

The following day we took Ian up on his offer to go horse riding through his family property just outside Santa Cruz. We got geared up and rode for about an hour or so to an amazing view across the Colchagua Valley (one of Chiles main wine regions) and the town of Santa Cruz. We stopped here for cheese and wine before heading back down. As we were riding down Ian (an American now turned Chilean) pointed out the location where his future father in law took him to set him straight about the relationship with his daughter. While he couldn't speak English and Ian couldn't speak Spanish after an hour ride - in silence - he stopped the horses and drew his pistol and shot the nearby cactus three times and stared at Ian for more than 30 seconds. No need for a translator on that one...

In the afternoon we visited the local museum which turns out to be the largest private collection in South America. The museum was super impressive and is owned by former arms dealer Carlos Cardoen - a family friend of Ian's but from all reports a great guy, very articulate with a pHD (whether he is a criminal depends on if you believe the US or South American side of the story)...!

On our last day in Santa Cruz we visited a few of the wineries which were spectacular with tasty wine including Camenere - a grape now unique to South America. We also had a great chat to a few people in the wineries particularly at Mont Gras. After a few too many el vino tintos it was back to town to pack up and head off to Pucon.

As a side note it turns out that Whitney Houston has a way of connecting with 47 year old taxi drivers in rural Chile - like it or not that was the soundtrack we got to our trip through the wineries...
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lyn carter on

I think the father in law to be has the right idea!!!

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