After our tour of Northern Patagonia we drove at a leisurely pace back North to Santiago to return our now very dirty little rental car and to get ready for another chapter. On the way back we stopped off in several interesting spots.
The first was an area of five beach towns including Bahia Mansa where we got to camp on a bluff over the beach. This area is interesting in that many of the indigenous people have clustered here after being forced off of other lands.
Actually the indigenous people of Chile are interesting in that they were very effective in resisting the Spanish colonization despite the fact that the Spanish had guns and horses. Around 1550, the Spanish leader Valdivia had
enslaved may Mapuches. One of them, Lautaro, behaved very cooperatively and gradually Valdivia began entrusting Lautaro more and more, and teaching him how to be a soldier. Eventually Lautaro used everything he’d learned from Valdivia to capture Valdivia and torture him in horrible ways that struck fear into the rest of the Spanish. Later the Mapuches recaptured 7 southern Chilean cities from the Spanish. Even today there is an ongoing Mapuche conflict.
Our second night was in an area called Araucanía Andina where we camped at a beautiful horse ranch/lodge in the mountains and managed to help the owner. He is involved in a campaign to fight a dam which is proposed for the valley’s river. He needed photos of tourists exploring the river and its environs. We were glad to help him.
The last night we paid a repeat visit to the lovely Vina Chillan where we’d stopped on the way south. A couple of Swiss hospitality experts were there trying to determine how to increase visitations to the vineyard’s hotel and restaurant facilities. Over wine of course, we discussed possibilities with them and helped them come up with all the answers! The next day we took the opportunity to wash our filthy car (one more reminder that all travel is not glamorous).
Other favorite photos from this section: