|Crossing the Andes back into Chile was quite an experience. We drove high up the andes into snow country past the highest mountain in south america- Aconcagua about 7000m
Again our driver was crazy and after encountering a 10 km traffic jam of trucks and semitrailers stopping at the toll booth our driver wasn´t scared to overtake them all. As we hurtled around blind corners and into dark tunnels on the wrong side of the road other passengers started making the sign of the cross and getting out their rosary beads. We looked at each other in fear linking hands knowing this could be it. But through some stroke of luck the oncoming traffic was able to swerve out of our way and we made it through the border crossing to Chile.
Driving down the Chilean side of the Andes the scenery was absolutely spectacular. Clear blue streams flowed down the mountains carrying the melting snow and feeding the agricuktural areas below. After reaching the plains beneath the Andes is an area where most of the fresh produce is grown. The soil is particularly fertile from volcanic activity and the region grows an abundance of avocados, corn, citrus, grapes and many different vegetables.
A few hours later we arrived in Vina del Mar another bustling city situated on the coast. We found a place to dump our bags and set out to find a feed. After being absconded by lots of sprukers trying to get our business we ended up being talked into staying by a clean cut english speaking local ´Ceasar´ who looked like he was straight of the love boat. He suggested a local delicacy that from the picture looked a little suspicious but we took his advice on food and ordered a couple of beers.
When the chorrillano arrived we were both surprised at how big it was. It was a mass of fried potatoes topped with egg and onion and some type of mystery meats. We thought we were surprised at how much food there was until the beers arrived. Thinking we had ordered standard bottles our waiter delivered to us 2 of the biggest glasses of beer we have ever seen. They must have been a litre each and the smile on Ryans face said it all.
After seeing the food and being quite skeptical we settled in for what would end up being our favourite Chilean food, not so good for the waistline but delicious. We ended up polishing off the whole mountain of food and the beers too before Caesar brought us a aged desert like wine and a couple of homemade Pisco Sours on the house. So full of food and liquids we wandered back to our hotel for some much needed sleep.
The next moring we were up early and went to a local botanic gardens and strolled around for a few hours before taking a bus to the airport in Santiago.