Greetings from fall. Yes, fall. It is autumn in Chile and with said season comes brisk cool days, colored crunchy leaves and an internal confusion. I think my body and mind set are fairly confused to this season change as I have gone from winter in Chicago, summer in a beach town and now fall in a Chilean city. Many of the foreign exchange students have recently realized that Chile and particularly Valpo, may be the coldest location in South America (relatively speaking) and sadly we quickly ran out of time to visit the wonders of del sur and Patagonia. Yet I refused to let mother nature stop me (as I am from Chicago) and dared to make the trek (at least to Northern Patagonia). It took a 14 hour bus ride, another 2 hour bus ride and 30 min ferry ride to get to Castro, the capital of Chiloé. It is the 5th largest island in South America with a population of a little less than 150,000. It is known for:
-palafitos (wooden houses on silts)
-church architecture (which we actually did not see very much of):
-Parque Nacional Chiloé (and bomb sweaters?)
This island is full of little fishing towns, that I believe and one of my traveling companions also thought to be true, which made it looks like we were in Japan. Neither of us have been to Japan, but from my impressions of amine cartoons, Chiloé seemed very similar to Japan without the Japanese. Anywhooo, our first stop was Acund, an quaint fishing town with an interesting regional museaum that had a blue whale skeleton:
I tried a South American delicacy here called ceviche which is seafood (apparently cooked) in lime juice with obviously a ton of onions and cilantro (for those of you who know me and my love for onions/cilantro, I'm a different person in Chile...in fact you may refer to me as an "adult" at least in my food choices). It does not actually look as delicious as it is:
Oooh, you can see pobre in this picture. Its the salsa looking thing at the top left of this picture. This delicious concoction is onions, cilantro, tomato, lime juice and salt (Chilean-style) and is the most flavorful thing in all of Chile.
On a random note, Chile (mostly southern) has these trees called monkey puzzle trees (scientific name), which I found to be quite interesting looking:
Anyways after this delectable meal, we hopped on another bus and went to the capital of Chiloé, Castro, where we spent the night in a hostel. The next day, bright and somewhat early, we walked around town and ventured to a ferria (obvio). This was probably the most awesome artesenal market I have come upon during my travels. They not only had things from Chile, but to our dismay, Ecuador, Peru, and other parts of Central and South America, including alpaca clothing. After trying on like 20 sweaters 12910 times each I found the bombest sweater there ever was (see above photo) and socks (which are now full of toe holes).
We ended up spending a lot more time than we anticipated here before heading to Chiloé's National Park. Parque Nacional was beautiful. It was a mix of swamp, prairie, beach/dunes and rain forest.
This was taken from our dune campsite (next to the cow pasture) where we survived a biblical amount of rain.
It was actually a bit surreal to see the ocean as the backdrop of this pasture.
We are still confused about the herd of cattle we found?
The next day we hiked around a bit (met a friendly horse) and headed back home. THE END