SAM_4932

One of the dogs kept me awake with his barking last night. I’m hoping that he was barking at spiders rather than anything bigger and hairier. Mind you if Dimitri’s chickens can wander around the grounds without a care in the world then I really ought to stop worrying. Where on earth did this fear of spiders come from? And why didn’t the promise that watching the film ‘Arachnophobia’ would destroy said fear ever materialise?

After 3 nights at Refugio Tricahue it’s time to move south so we say our goodbyes and fire up Dervla.  We come across what looks like a farmers protest on Ruta 5 but despite lots of police and water cannons and one small heap of burning tyres it looks fairly peaceful and they let cars pass without issue. Rich had a moment of panic and yelled at me to lock all of the doors, but I honestly think they’d have been more than happy to share their stories and and have their pictures taken. I’m getting used to this driving through Chile lark now. The car has affectionately been nicknamed Cielo and is starting to feel like a part of me. I never, ever, ever thought I’d see the day when I talked so fondly about a vehicle, but she’s making the journey that much more comfortable, and I feel like Lara Croft in such a tank of a car, minus the big boobies.

Vina Chillan, our next stop, is a beautiful organic vineyard and small guesthouse off the beaten track near Bulnes. It has quite a large swimming pool but as we’re already running out of clean pants then the first thing I have to do is some hand washing. That I try to do it in the shower with cold water can only be explained by the fact that I’m shattered and hot, but the heat and strong breeze dries our smalls quickly, even if we do have to keep picking them off the floor because patio tables and chairs do not good airers make. There’s one other couple staying here but they seem to want to keep themselves to themselves so we settle down on the sun loungers. It’s still very early in the season in the wine region and so the pool still feels a little cool, but we’re hardy souls and used to wild swimming, which of course this isn’t, but it’s close enough. There aren’t any tarantulas here, only small black spiders, but we’re avoiding them nonetheless.

Ruedi, the owner, is extremely friendly and over dinner tells us how he came to Chile from Switzerland and established the vineyard. We’re the only guests in the restaurant but the steak and chips with a mushroom sauce is delicious, and the Vina Chillan Malbec very smooth. Unfortunately I’m starting to feel a little odd and let Rich enjoy the ice cream dessert alone. By the time we get back to the guesthouse I feel very queasy and have to lie down. The decision to eat the under-cooked pork last night is well and truly coming back to haunt me and I spend the rest of the night shuffling between the bed and bathroom. Poor Rich feels helpless as he’s had to watch similar when a migraine breaks through, but we both realise that this is food poisoning and will eventually pass. Who needs diets!

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