Chile

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The point breaks in Chile are legendary – bonfire rumors of long lefts, icy waters and uncrowded waves had both of us excited about our prospects as we rolled into Pichilemu, home to the world’s largest collection of left hand point breaks. Kels had hooked us up with a sweet camp spot, it was low season, we were with friends and there were waves to be had.

The point was roaring, I rented a 4 x 3 full-suit, got some pointers from a local and jumped in off the rocks at Punta de Lobos. It can be a bit of a tricky paddle, you have to time it between the sets or you run the risk of getting pushed back onto the rocks. Adrenaline kept me paddling until I was out of harm’s way, but after about 5 minutes I was slowing down and soon I could barely move my arms. It was then that I realised that I hadn’t been in a full wetsuit for years and that I was very unfit.

When we came back the next day the swell was gone, leaving no indication of the thundering lefts of the previous day. But I was happy, I’d caught a couple waves and we were lucky enough to see Punta de Lobos on a good day, the water is cold but the locals are friendly and the waves are world class.

we are here

we are here

Biking with wine

We left Uruguay promising to return to it’s chilled out old-school vibe and headed into Argentina with plans to meet up with our friends (and partners on drivetheamericas.com) to get a little conversation and drink a little red wine.  We hightailed it over the bleak pampas, passing flashes of pink flamingos, to the wonderfully sunny and charming Mendoza.

Wine Tour Mendoza

Since we were in wine country we felt that to really experience it we should take advantage of the nearby wineries.  Boarding a bus for about an hour and half took us to Maipu and right to Mr. Hugo’s bike rentals.  We pedaled through the spring day, stopping in at a few wineries to sample the wares.  But I think the highlight of our little afternoon jaunt was the last stop – a small shop, A la Antigua, which had every sort of homemade delicacy imaginable: olives, dulce de leche, chocolates, preserves and liqueurs from Scotch to Absinthe.  Osvaldo, our giggly and rather round host, invited us to try a little of everything all of which were ridiculously good, so good that we all left with backpacks a little heavier than when we came.

Concha y ToroAfter enjoying a week of Mendoza’s sunny days and great wine we decided it was time to head to Chile in search of waves.  But, before we could hit up the surf we felt it was only proper to pay our respects to Concha y Toro, Chile’s largest wine exporter and creator of one of our most favourite joyful finds.  After a night of free camping (people are really too generous) we arrived at the crack of 10am to take a tour and a tasting at the humongous bodega.

Wine SnobsOur tour guide, who had a very odd accent (think William Shatner’s Captain Kirk with a British accent), told us a little about the winery as we wandered around the estate, the Concha y Toro cellar and the infamous El Casillero de Diablo (The Devil’s Cellar).  Señor Concha y Toro found that wines were going missing so he created a bit of a legend that the wines were protected by the devil himself thereby keeping frightened thieves out of his private collection.  The tour includes two tastings of the medium brand wines and your own Concha y Toro wineglass…all in all a pretty good time.
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