Talca is a center of Chilean agriculture and wine. The city was close to the epicenter of the 2010 earthquake (6th largest ever recorded), and was devastated. We didn't stop in Talca for long, and changed buses to go to a smaller town by the name of Constitución.
Constitución isn't listed in any of our travel books. Its a straight shot to the Pacific from Talca. We headed to Constitución with no plan or conception of what was there. The town turns out to be an industrial center for timber, coal, and paper manufacturing, and is separated by a big hill from a giant timber plant. On the other side of town, a river meets the ocean, sheltering pine forests from the ocean in a quiet cove. The scene reminded me a lot of Maine or Oregon.
Tsunami warning signs added an ominous note to the solitude, harkening back to the 2010 tsunami that killed 350 people in Constitución after the quake. We climbed up a hill to get some great views of the timber plant, the ocean, and the town in all its splendor. A hilltop park provided an afternoon of enjoyment from tree climbing to factory watching.
We asked locals about nearby hotels and walked in circles until we found them, eventually happening upon a "hostel" for a good price. As the only guests, we had an entire house to ourselves, including several plasma TV's. One of the TV's displayed all of the security cameras on the premise, which was somewhat disconcerting.
Patience in Blue on the Security Cam
A walk to the market, town square, and along the cove rounded out our day in Constitución.
The next day, on my 20th birthday, we partied on a 5 hour bus ride back to Santiago, and collapsed in the apartment, eventually rallying and eating food with friends for dinner.
That's all for now, stay tuned for mystical tales from EASTER ISLAND!