We pulled into Talca after a nine hour bus ride past volcanoes, grass fields, vineyards and a stunning sunset. We knew immediately that this two-night stay in a tiny quad room (with Craig in a trundle cot) would either make or break our adolescent friendship. There wasn't much arguing over what to do and we quickly got ready for bed.
We awoke to the realization that it was Sunday, and on Sundays, wineries are surprisingly left unopened. Instead, we thought we'd enjoy the uncharacteristically warm weather eating a leisurely lunch on our patio and enjoying some local blends. It took an hour of wandering through the Montevideoesque post-apocalyptic closed-up city to find an open supermarket to fulfill this dream. On our way, we were fortunate enough to see people flocking to the church with palm fronds in hand to observe Palm Sunday. We also made friends with the owner of a photography store which might soon be torn down?
Together, we assembled a lunch of roasted chicken, avocado, tomatoes, peppers and a crisp white and let the afternoon turn into an evening of card games, a few more corks popping open, dancing, sing-offs, and pushups. We really let loose once the cleaning woman told us we were the only guests spending the night in the cabins. The night ended with an answer to the earlier question, as we passed out in our respective beds simultaneously.
We'll be fine in close quarters for the next four weeks.
We postponed our bus to Santiago so we could visit the Maule Valley winery, Balduzzi, a quaint site with a full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon and lovely staff members. It felt a little weird setting an 8 o'clock alarm to ensure we were at a winery by 11 am for a tasting but it was our only option. We navigated the public transit system, were impressed again with the friendliness of Chileans, and soaked up the sun next to the grapes.
We tasted four glasses, their reserve Chardonnay, Carmenère, Cab Sav, and a late harvest Chardonnay to finish. We snagged an extra sample when they asked us to pose for their Facebook page. A few purchases later, we cozied up on their lawn next to the vines and said our appreciations for the perfect Monday morning.
After that, it was a three hour bus ride to the nation's capital where we found our Air BnB apartment and settled in for a week 'at home.'