Oh the Great Southwest
So I am halfway done with my studies. Last week I took my midterms. i was the happiest person in the world knowing they might be my last EVER! I have been in Chile for 2 months now. Happy May, welcome to full fall here! It rained for the first time today in Santiago…woah! It was a tricky slippery run dodging people and cars this evening but I survived. I must have brought some of the southern rain up with me with that leaky bus ride back yesterday.
With exams done and a week and a half off of course I took the opportunity to travel. I stayed a few days to complete homework then set off for 5, just in time to complete the homework this week!
A month since my last voyage South, I went even farther south to the images on my notebook, to the Island of Chiloe. The end of the road literally before all is disconnected, glaciers and islands.
I arrived to a sunny northwest feeling town 14.5 hours by bus from Santiago…not bad if overnight (quite accustomed). The only difference was it was the southwest, far from the north with colorful homes and boats, clearer water, more shellfish, huge jellyfish, and some drunk fishermen.
It was off season so I did not get to do some things on the list, such as see penguins….darn!!!! I guess I will have to keep waiting….The start was a bit unorganized because of the unknown facts regarding activities. I explored the City of Ancud until my roommate and friend arrived in town, they had set off a few days before me but were set to arrive on the island the same day as me…additionally another friend was set to arrive on my third day.
Ate some seafood…a bunch of local crab…there are three types here including King crab. This dish called Pastel de Jaiva was like a bowl of crab meat with cheese and some butter….yumm. That was later followed by an empanada de mariscos…octopus and something called loco…not meaning crazy, just the name of the mussels or clam or whatever it is! Yumm
Night we played ping pong and card games. The next day we rented a car. Well we thought we did but everything just started off wrong. The guy dropped off the car and forgot the keys, delay, then driver stepped in dog poo (self, ja ja ), then driver discovered deal breaker…manual transmission…BUMMMER…I guess it is time to learn, but not on the island in Chile! So we hopped a bus and went to the end of the road…Bummer again, it took us most of the day to do this because the road was under construction in various large sections! Anywho so day two felt like a waste and we only saw the end of the Pan American Hwy…which only makes me want to go to Alaska to complete the trip! BUT the long trip was finished by a great dinner, worth missing two buses and almost the last one…ALTHOUGH I had to stay in Castro, which was not on my to do for the trip.
Castro was worth a stay in the end. I walked to the hostel that I wrote down (luckily by this part of the trip I didn´t have it soaked with the addresses faded off). The hostel was great, a family with 13 rooms, away from downtown (Hospedaje Maria). My friends were at the opposite end in a more expensive stilt home on the water. I was at a decently priced house with such hospitality that they invited me for dinner, more Jaiva, and then because I was soooo full took me for a walk around the charming city by night. 😀 Happy about my situation, although unplanned!
Following breakfast (included) with a delightful jam (I later bought) I headed to Dalcahue…20 km away (loads of public transit on the island…I was quite surprised, really) WA State would never have such transit on an island! This town was one of my favorites. The hostal Lanitas was also amazing, dinner somehow was also included. Dalcahue, tiny but super charming drew me in with its proximity to the largest island (think archipelago or San Juan Islands) with a free ferry (5 min ride, frequent, but towns far from island stop…bus) and a large Sunday Local Craft Fair. I bought some stuff and my only wool purchase there was cool earrings! My other friend ran into me at the fair and we proceeded together. We ate at the local market, small but full of people and lots of seafood vendors. We had a soup with soo many mussels/clams and fish I didn´t know what to eat first or what I was eating…I did discover the red ones…not a fan! Yumm again! Then we headed over to the island.
This (3rd) day actually started similar to the other as I tried to make my way to the oldest church for a mass..only time it is open to public…but I missed my bus, and there were none for the next 5 ferry rides…how could it be so…a sign, so I instead went to the fair. In the evening I went for a run, same as the day before. I keep bringing my shoes with me on my travels and had yet to go for a run..this time I MADE IT HAPPEN…twice…impressed? I was too!
The last day on the island was intense because I had to make up for the missed things on my list and the added things. So I left early, went back through Castro, saw another town just 20 km south, saw Castro daytime, caught a bus to a waterfall 1 hr away, somehow managed to not pay, but the couple from the hostel did 10 minutes after me…then grabbed my bags in Dalcahue, headed to Quemchi (for two hours via hitchhiking in a semi truck and then a jeep), caught a few last buses in order to make it up north to the rainy city of Puerto Varas. Wooo breath. Yep did all that, should have stayed in Quemchi.
Quemchi was amazing, perfect, but I didn´t stay. Bummer. Maybe because I had it in my head to go elsewhere, maybe another couple said there were not many rooms, maybe because I am stubborn. It is what it is. Definitely recommendation, on the list if I return!
Instead my last day was spent in rainy Puerto Varas….recommend only with sun or clear skies!!!! I did the typical tourist thing there….meaning hiking to see the lake from between the volcanos…but I was so soaked I never finished and there was no beautiful lake to see. Another day…but I did hike 3 hours, that deserves some credit, without much tree coverage…SOAKED. I spent the rest of the day soaked walking around town. I did eat finally…Congrio which is like an eel fish……DELICIOUS! I read about it but for some reason I was scared to try it but then when time came to order I forgot what words were for what items and well best decision of the day. Cool! Then I chilled and caught my leaky bus back to Santiago.
Might I mention I arrived on Labor day…meaning just about everything closed…no grocery stores, hardly any restaurants, etc. I saw some mini markets, gas stations, and luckily the metro was running! Later this became a problem when hunger struck and Tarae´s fridge was empty after a week out of town (I guess I did too good in planning what exactly to eat before leaving). I ended the day with a 40 minute run, my Indian apparel (laundry done and line drying), and Indian food to top it all off…oh and a movie with the roomies!