Friday, 3 June 2016

Driving South

We had a long drive today - in time and distance. Our plan is to quickly head South and then to meander back North towards Santiago, which is where we fly out from.

Our journey today took us out of Vina del Mar on a road that overlooked the Vina and Valparaiso - a perfect way to say goodbye. We took secondary roads,  winding past Quintay, a small fishing village. What we didn't  realise is that Quintay is home to the Santa Augusta golf course. We saw a sign and both thought we recognised the name... and it is so.

It was a steep drive down to the little dock, where we admired the clear water, a glimpse of a nearby wide beach and the cliffs that drop into the sea.

A second-gear drive got us out again and on a wonderful road bordered on both sides by pine plantations. It is a different type of pine to what we have and a different style of plantation - lovely too.

We stuck to the coastal road, passing through really pretty scenery. Going through Turquen, we saw the most incredible log cabins. I use the word 'log' loosely. Think modern, stylish, big glass panels. Certainly all eco constructed with great views and definitely expensive. So many of them that looked like pages in House&Home magazines.

Then followed holiday coastal towns through  Algarrobo and on - think Margate. Loads of apartment blocks that didn't  look occupied. The towns must rock in the summer when holidaymakers descend on the coast. All neat and tidy and fresh and well presented.

And then we arrived in the major town of San Antonio. We didn't go to the harbour but it certainly looks to have a much, much bigger harbour for shipping than Valparaiso. Big cranes were clearly visible and on the road out we passed dozens of trucks with containers on their trailers heading for San Antonio and trucks on the road with us heading to other parts - presumably with cargo loaded.

With time passing way too fast, we decided to head straight on Route 66 for the highway South - the Panamerican Highway.

Google maps had said that it would take 5hrs from Valparaiso to Chillan (around 500km), our pre-booked overnight stop. Even without our sightseeing it would have definitely taken more. We were on the road for a good 10hrs today.

Route 66 is a great drive through farms. There is massive agriculture all around. Huge, huge fruit farms. The size is mind boggling!  Strawberries, raspberries, grapes, plums, citrus and the like. We saw huge farms with big trees - we don't  know what they were. A bit like mango trees - but I think not. The expanse of the farms was totally incredible.

The trucks. So many both on our side of the road and oncoming. And then, once on the main highway, we had a steady flow of traffic in both directions.

Fortunately  Celliers has a lot of experience driving on the right from Canada, US and Europe so he took the traffic in his stride.

Tonight we're in Chillan and staying in a beautiful home, which we found on AirBnB (as with our other accommodations). Modern, stylish, large and comfortable it is a treat. Until now we've  been in small city apartments (modern and new to old) so it is nice to see the other side. We'll explore a bit of Chillan in the morning before we continue our journey South.

I didn't take many photos today - despite some great views. It has been overcast the whole day with light rain late afternoon. The temperature is cooler here and certain to get colder as we drive South. Our bags have been bulging with down jackets and sweaters, which we look forward to wearing.

Photos show:

Panoramic view from above Vina de Mar looking over Vina.

Houses viewed from the quaint fishing (and scuba diving base) harbour at Quintay.

Excellent quality road winding from Quintay to sweet holiday towns. Pine plantations on both sides for many kilometres.

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