Monday, January 28, 2019

Not Eating Chili in Chilly Chiloe Chile

Bahahahaha. In a prior post, my spell check worked against me, for when I wrote Chile it came out Chili. And I got some serious feedback on that. My bad. I do know the difference, by the way, but apparently my review skills are lacking. I went back and fixed everything, I hope.

But back to Chiloe, Chile. This was our next stop. And it was a spectacular day!
Thirteen of us went out to the National Park for a hike with a company called Chilespots Travel.

A view of Castro, the city on Chiloe. Castro is the 3rd oldest city in Chile.  Its inhabitants are descendants of the Spanish and Moche cultures.  Chiloe is known for its over 200 types of potatoes that are grown here, as well as elephant garlic.  It rains a LOT here - over 100 inches per year.  My kind of place!!

The National Park is located about an hour's drive from the city of Castro, where our ship tendered in to, from the little bay where it was anchored.  The park was created in 1984, and is about 165 square miles.  One border is on the Pacific Ocean, the other is a lake called Cucao.  Much of it is a rainforest, and there are a number of endemic flora that can be found in South America.  One is a tree called Arrayan.  It is a VERY COOL tree, both literally and figuratively!  It's a type of a myrtle tree, and its bark is smooth, red and cold to the touch.  Cold like an ice cube!!

Image result for arrayan tree chile cold trunk

Our drive out to the Park was pleasant and quite picturesque, as we passed by Lago Huillinco and then Lago Cucao before reaching the main entrance to the park.  There are a number of trails and a nice visitor center there.  Our trail hike took about 90 minutes.  We listened for birds, saw a woodpecker, and passed by lots of interesting trees, sponges and flowers.

View of a farm along the shores of the lake.

Hey, it's Woody!!


A sponge plant. Very vital to the ecosystem here, as it helps keep the area from flooding with all of the rain that falls here

We passed by the first lake early enough in the morning that the fog had not quite lifted.

After we finished at the park, we went back to the little town of Cucao and had a nice lunch of empanadas, salmon, potatoes and wine.  Then we visited a local cemetery.  The cemeteries are kind of unique to this area in that they build little houses around the graves.  When people die here, the family must sit at the burial site for 3 days.  The houses are built to keep the families out of the rain, among other reasons.

Following lunch, we went back towards Castro and visited one UNESCO world heritage church, one of 16 UNESCO churches in this area, the church of Conchi.  All of these churches are made entirely of wood.  

Finally, we visited the stilt houses, called palafito.  We even got to go inside one of them, which was a real treat. Back in the day, fisherman lived here, but today, many of them have been sold and then converted into hostels.

The ceiling of the church

Colorful boats in the harbor

Inside one of the palafitos.  This is a kitchen counter.

Stairway in the palafito.

It was low tide (tide changes every 6 hours here) but the view of the palafitos is still pretty

The other side of the palafito houses, street side.

Dining room

Looking out from the terrace

The cemetery

More inside the church

The outside of the church in Conchi

That's a snow capped volcano in the background!

Travel quote:  "Once you have traveled, the Voyage never ends, but is played out over and over again in the quietest chambers.  The mind can never break off from the Journey."  Pat Conroy

Stay tuned for more Pig Tales!!