Chile, only not

Posted on March 2, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Hello hello! We promise we haven’t forgotten about you, its just that
internet time is precious these days. But we’re back to regale you
with the next instalment of the adventure. Bestill your beating
hearts..

From Valdivia of James’ last post we took another wonderful Chilean
bus to the island of Chiloé. It’s a large island, home to 150,000
people who consider themselves Chiloté rather than Chilean.
Interesting stuff. Our bus trip included the 40munite ferry trip that
was executed like clockwork, and we were at our first destination,
Ancud. Ancud is home to about 40,000 inhabitants and the Lonely Planet
calls it ‘earthy’. We stayed at the awesome Mundo Nueve Hostel, right
on the coast road and 5 minutes from the centre. This was the view
from our room:

We very much enjoyed the food in Ancud. Two particular highlights were
El Mundo del Papa and Pedersens Cafe.

The former specialises in potatoes (Mum, you would have loved it!). I
had a wonderful tortilla filled with several different types of spud,
and a local dish that’s like a giant potato croquette but with melted
cheese in the middle. Mmm.. We alss tried potato truffles which were
chocolate truffles with mashed potatoes in the middle! Bizarre..

Petersen’s was a whole different story. It was in our guidebook as
serving the best cheesecake in Chile, so it was compulsory visiting
material. It turns out that the cafe was in soneone’s house which is
unusual but not unheard of. The woman running the place was odd, and
told us that she was only selling takeout. Then when we tried to buy
it she told us we could only use exact change, so we could only buy
one piece, which we took out thinking ‘what an odd lady!’ But the
cake! Oh, the cake, a divine apple pie/crumble piece of heaven. As we
were leaving I asked her when we could return to sit in, and she had
answered between 4 and 8pm of the following day. She was weird but the
cake was so good we went back the next day. To even more oddness.
James had a nut & caramel slice and I had more applie pie heaven. We
also ordered tea and then discovered she had no milk! But were so
good we forgave all the oddness, just.

The island of Chiloé is home to a particular type of church,
architecturally distinct to other churches. They are large, wooden
clad buildings, often brightly painted inside and out, and are
beautiful. One of the places we visited in Ancud was the Friends of
Chiloé Churches, that pays for restoration and upkeep, as well as
marketing them to tourists. They do a great job. Their space is in one
of the buildings that used to be a church. They also create minatures
of all the churches on the island.

Having thorougly enjoyed Ancud it was time to go to Castro, the
island’s capital. It is an interesting place but is not as instantly
likable as Ancud. Here we did find a lovely cafe that knew how to make
proper tea (Whittards no less!), no mean feat in South America.

What Castro is famous for is its palafitos. These are houses built on
stilts along the shore. They were originally built there so that
fishermen could moor their boats directly to their houses. There used
to be hundreds of them all over the island but the earthquake of 1960
that James spoke about in the last post wiped mostof them out. Luckily
Castro has a protective coastline so many of theirs remain.

They’re lovely. Some are hotels or hostels, others are abandoned, but
many of them are still lived in by locals.

The days we were in Castro were the opening of the 6 Nations rugby
tournament, and being big rugby fans we were anxious to catch some of
the matches. Luckily the hostel we were in provided a very adequate TV
room to watch it. We also met an English girl Emily (hi Emily!)
watching the rugby, and she joined us for dinner that evening when we
tried a local speciality, curranto. Curranto is a huge dish made up of
mussels, sausage, chicken, ham, potato and clams. Not in sauce, just
all on a plate. Bizarre but tasty.

In Castro we also visited a prime example of the Chiloé churches that
I mentioned before, Iglesia Apóstol Santiago. It was a wonderful
building; the inside was all in pine with a gorgeous ceiling. As
always, there are more pictures if you click through on one of them.

And then we were done! We spent a night in the entirely forgettable
Puerto Montt (known as Puerto Muerte, or Port of Death by its locals)
and got a plane. And then another. And then we were in Argentina!

Till next time,
xR

Posted via email from dreadpiratesarcas

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