Grande Isla Chiloé

2011/02/22: 70 km to Dalcahue
2011/02/23: Bus to Anchao on Isla Quinchao
2011/02/24:  20 km to Castro
2011/02/25-26: Puttering in Castro

Chiloé is a unique and separate part of Chile. One of my first thoughts was that it made me think of Galicia in northwest Spain. Chris commented today, as he slurped his curanto, that it reminded him of Ireland. Perhaps the association had something to do with the dark beer he was drinking. This is a land of seafarers of indigenous and Spanish descent; it has its own cuisine, music, and mythology. My new Spanish word of the day recently was trauco — which I guessed by the gnarled creature in the associated illustration meant troll — even though it’s not in my tiny dictionary.
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One of the attractions of Chiloé is it’s churches built by the Jesuits in 18th an 19th century. These are shingled with local cypress, and have ornate wooden interiors. We rode from Ancud to Dalcahue, and from there crossed to Isla Quinchao by bus to see the main church at Anchao. We stopped at tiny Curaco de Velez on our way back, to walk along its waterfront and take in shingled cottages painted in an array of bright colours.

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Hostel Palafito at low tide

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The following day we moved along to Castro, the provincial capital, where we bought tickets for the ferry to El Chaiten on the mainland.  The ferry departs weekly in summer only, so we sail Sunday morning. This naturally led to two days of downtime at Palafito Hostel, built as a palafito or shoreline house on log pilings over the water. We’ve enjoyed chatting with other guests, and had time to catch up with maintenance tasks. There is a balcony over the water, where black-necked swans glide at high tide. Sun streams in to a front room. We feel we’ve found another comfortable gem here.

Tomorrow we leave early to catch our boat across the Gulf of Corcovado, an eight hour journey. The weather forecast is good. All aboard!

M

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