A hat in a night
As the bus pulled into Santa Cruz in the Colchagua Valley, it passed a genuine huaso shop. Central Chile remains the cowboy heartland of Chile even if horses have been nearly entirely replaced by tractors and bicycles.
Franco and I were spending a night here to break up our journey back to Valdivia. My lovely Spanish hat has started bio-degrading; it survived rock-climbing in a thunderstorm in Morocco, mountain biking in Brazil, horse riding in Uruguay, and a winter in the Chilean channels. It didn't take kindly to Ciro's treatment, who scrunched it up and called it 'a mosquito net you wear on your head' and the Esperanza hike with Angie was a step too far. The fibre is rotting and the rim parting. I have a pea sized head and can never find a hat to fit. It was time for some succession planning.
My old trusted
In the main square we passed the 'huaso chic' shop, it is on the wine route itinerary and off ours. We found the shop we had seen from the bus.
"Hats? said the shop keeper. "Yes, I have a few."
There were reed hats, felt hats, leather hats, straw hats and mixed fibre. My requirement was that it was made in Chile from vegetable matter. The smallest he had in stock, came down to my nose.
"I can make you a 'made to measure' hat by tomorrow 10am.”
The ‘conformateur’ (from Paris) used to measure Kath’s head
The offer was too good to turn down.
Franco also found a hat he liked.
Kath and Franco in our new hats