Chile is positively bursting with grapes. As a result wine is much cheaper to purchase than soft drinks and is wonderfully woven into daily life in a high quality, low quantity manner. We were reminded how liberating Latin culture is regarding life’s little pleasures when we drove through the vineland region of the central valley. The heart of the area is Santa Cruz where we had planned an estate tour but we ended up being so captivated by the amazingly well done regional museum that we ran out of time for our tour and had to be satisfied with whizzing past endless rows of grape vines among the green hills of the area.
The museum was wildly ambitious, starting with fossils of the Earth’s earliest life forms all the way up to a hugely detailed exhibit on the riveting 2010 rescue of 33 miners trapped 700 meters deep underground. The various exhibits were housed in a set of single storey buildings arranged around a sunlit courtyard which was sprinkled with pleasant vegetation, interesting artwork and historical artifacts. The displays captured all of the major historic periods of the nation’s emergence and separation from Spanish rule. It went on to detail the how the multiethnic mix of Europeans from Spain, Germany, Croatia, Italy and Poland forged a new life in a land once occupied in the north by Inka and in the south by Maputo people.
We left the museum with a firmer grasp of this great country past and present and enjoyed our twilight bus trip back to our temporary home away from home. We loved looking out over the rolling hills of the wineries, enjoying the rosey, organge hues splashing on the small mountains encirling the verdant valley.