It took us 2 days to get from Pucon to a little town called Vilches where Becca’s mom’s Aunt Anneke lives. The first day it rained hard the entire day and our bed got pretty soaked. We took shelter at a gas station to watched some movies, and barely managed to cook a meal for ourselves now that Ivan has left us.
The next morning we drove into Talca (a day earlier than Anneke was expecting us) after a brief stop at a local waterfall and then did some groceries. After driving to Vilches which is about an hour from Talca, we found La Leona which is a NGO that provides a place for activities and relaxation for women in the surrounding towns. There are cabanas that are rented out to tourists to help finance the organization, and Anneke had been living there, managing La Leona for more than 10 years. However, three days before we got here, she moved into her new house which is about 1km down the road from La Leona.
Our instructions for when we found La Leona were to yell “Allo” until someone heard us, and then they would call Anneke and she would drive us to her new house. However, after some yelling we were getting ready to just spend the night in the van on the side of the road when a car pulled up behind us and low and behold it was Anneke! Perfect timing! She directed us to her new house which is through 2 gates and tucked back in the forest. It’s beautiful, the perfect place to relax half way through our trip!
The next day we hung a curtain in the guest room for Anneke, to start earning our keep, and helped her move in a bit more. We explored her property and enjoyed a relaxed afternoon before heading to the best BBQ I have ever been a part of. The medieval torture device looking barbecue was cooking bread when we arrived (Churrasca bread) served fresh off the grill. It was so good! Then the chicken, pork, sausage and beef went on the grill… yes that is every animal from the farm. The cook would take bits of meat off as they finished, so we were eating meat the entire night, in sample doses. The beer and wine were served as well; it was basically a free for all and it was perfect.
The other great thing was that no one except Anneke spoke English, so we tried our best with google translate, hand actions, and some very broken Spanish. At around 10, the BBQ was shut and everyone was ushered inside for actual dinner (at this point Becca and I both think we’d already consumed about a pound of meat and were not prepared for an actual meal).
I was even shown a method for getting into wine, though I’ve definitely had more wine this trip than I’ve had in my cumulative life so far. They mix wine and Coca Cola (and call it jotae [ho-tay]), and I’ll be honest, after a couple beers it wasn’t too bad!
The next day we slept in, and after rising from our Meat-induced hibernation we spent the day doing some work on Alfonso, mending curtains etc, that evening we sampled some of Anneke’s homemade liquors, we had the raspberry liquor and it was amazing! The next day we went into Talca for groceries and ice cream. We had an amazingly cheap meal in a small town called San Clemente, which is between Talca and Vilches, and it was one of the best restaurant meals we’ve had out so far! After getting home, we spent the rest of the day getting ready for a horseback adventure (though I don’t think that anything could have fully prepared us for the marathon that was our horse ride)!