After a few busy days in Santiago, we needed to get out of the city. We´ve had luck in small towns, staying in hostels run by an old lady and her cat; mastering the small grid pattern of streets spiraling out from a Plaza de Armas; eating like locals in diamond-in-the-rough hole in the wall cafes. No exception here in Curico. (The boys became obsessed with the churrasco platter at Barro de Peña).
The town is tucked in between miles and miles of vinyards and is a popular launching point for several outdoorsy excusrsions. We chose to explore the Reserva Siete Tazas, of which the focal point is a series of seven waterfalls carving “teacups” into the rock below. However, as often happens with us, the focal point of our trip to the reserva was not actually the reserva.
We spent a few hours soaking in the sun and dipping our feet in the cool water, then packed up our stuff to catch the 2pm bus back to Curico. The promised bus, of course, did not exist. Nor did the 5pm bus. Or the 5:30. Hmmm. We´re in the middle of nowhere.
Around quarter to six we are rescued by Carlos and “the family”. Imagine the Latin American Partridge family, rolling around in a brightly painted retired city bus, singing songs, drinking beers, sipping spoonfuls of wine from a hollowed cantaloupe. Old ladies are brazenly hitting on Radek and Patrick. Carlos is getting thrown off the bus and is chasing it down the road. Did I mention the cantaloupe? Imagine that if you can.
And so the next day we need to hit up a winery. We buy tour tickets from a tour company and leave with directions and a map. Seems clear enough to us… but not so much to the bus driver who drops us off about 4km away from Altacima winery on a dusty, empty road. Unfamiliar with the area we get a series of really crappy directions and try in vain to walk to the winery, hoping that they will still give us a tour (or at least out 6000 pesos back) 45 minutes late.
Just when things seem hopeless, in rolls in another Carlos. Carlos II rescues us from the side of the road and deposits us in front of Altacima, where we are able to get a tour and, more importantly, our tasting. Our host Tim, a very strange and interesting British fellow, showed us a lovely time and all is well that ends well. Thanks, of course, to two Carloses.