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Delightful 18 hours in Chiloe or time to say goodbye to Chile

I had traveled over 22.000km by the time I left Pucon  to my next destination – Chiloe. Despite the fact that I was moving pretty fast changing my location in average every 3 days, I was not feeling any tired of being on road. Night transfers became a regular time saving routine for me, I could perfectly estimate distances, my energy and my budget. My journey was flowing very smoothly without huge researches or planing efforts, I hardly ever had any delays or plan changes. Long story short, I had zero travel stress, particularly due to the great infrastructure in Chile. All these symptoms were witnessing, that I was in perfect travel shape – absolutely on a roll, very agile and careless. Such a delightful feeling!

Archipelago Chiloe was going to be my last station in Chile.

18-19 February 2016: Day 68-69

Chiloe: saying goodbye to Chile

Frankly, I don’t think Chiloe is high on top on backpackers bucket lists (which is great). But it is a very popular destination among Chileans. They love spending there holidays on Chiloe and highly recommended me to put it on my itinerary, especially after reaching the Lake District far in south. So I decided to make a quick loop to Castro (the main town of Chiloe) just before taking the bus to Bariloche, Argentina (already booked the tickets).

I had less than a day to spend on island and traveled 12 hours from Pucon to Castro on bus and ferry. Doesn’t really sound very efficient, but this is what I mean saying “being on a roll and agile”. Arriving in a new place became so exciting and rewarding, that I was kind of comfortable about traveling 12 hours for an 18-hour stay.

The island welcomed me with beautiful sunshine, which was more than surprising. It was pouring heavily as the ferry left the harbour of Puerto Montt less than an hour ago. Not even a trace of rain on islands!

No high tide for little Tat?

The sun went down by the time I reached Castro. I checked-in in a lovely palafito-hostel. Palafitos are typical Chiloe stilt-houses, raised on piles over the water surface. These charming colourful houses are Chiloes distinctive landmark.

It was a low tide that evening, which kind of disappointed me. I had just few more hours there, the forecast was not really promising a higher tide any time soon enough for me. “You can’t have everything, Tat!” I told to myself. The light changed fast, got a low battery on my camera and my iPhone, got ultimately annoyed with myself. Perhaps I was just tired after the long journey. So I decided to slow down and call it a day after some decent food – nothing exciting, no further expectations.

Memorable, delightful and absolutely delicious…

Then it happened – I found a little Palafito-restaurant right next to my hostel serving the most delicious food I had in whole Chile! In fact looking back I can say, it was one of the best meals I had during my whole round the world journey. I mean it!

The seafood was a piece of art, that wine  – never had a Rosé of that taste, rich and subtle at the same time (damn, I should have photographed the label). Just when I thought nothing can beat that, the desert came – the fig cake of unbelievable taste end texture. Man, what was that? That dinner in Castro was just unbelievable and absolutely worth traveling 12 hours and back. Just Amazing!

You might ask

“why just 18 hours?“

Chiloe is definitely worth staying much longer. I would awfully love to dissolve in that laid back mood of Chiloe, that soft landscapes with shabby fisherman little villages, taking daily walks to explore those numerous nordic looking wooden churches scattered around the islands – the Unesco churches of Chiloe. I could spend there weeks writing for my blog, living a slow life (what a wonderful thought) and enjoying little craft markets and ocean views, talking with locals about the rich mythology of the Island… and that amazing sea food – the wonderful comida Chilota, extremely delicious and cheap at the same time.

As much as I would love to stay longer in Chiloe, I needed to get going. I had sort of a time pressure, as I already had booked my ticket to Argentina, where I was going to travel to South Patagonia. I had another week and over 3500 km ahead to get to the southern most point of my journey – Torres del Paine National Park. February is pretty much the end of summer there, I needed to speed up a bit in order to get some decent weather there for my multi-day trek (although you never have any weather guarantees in Patagonia).

One last surprise

I left Chiloe  with a very contented happy feeling in my heart, as if I was suddenly rewarded with something very special. Castro had indeed one last surprise for me. Right before I left the town I was able to appreciate the high tide, which I was absolutely not counting to get to see. Those little shabby palafitos remained in my memories of Chiloe in their most beautiful appearance! Thank you Castro!

The end of careless traveling

The ferry took me back to Puerto Montt in early afternoon. I was about to collect my large backpack at the bus station. It was crowded. A young mom with a kid on her arms was standing annoyingly close behind me in the cue. I turned back a couple of times asking her to step a bit back. Then I pushed my small backpack back to collect my luggage which just arrived at that moment. She managed to unzip my backpack and pick my wallet within a second. I felt that happening, when I turned around she had already disappeared. Sure enough she was not in that cue waiting for her luggage.

There was not much of cash in the wallet, just a few bucks (hope she bought something nice for the kid) and my ticket to Bariloche, which I could recover at the same bus terminal. But both of my credit cards were gone. I called my banks and blocked them immediately, no losses there so far. But something very important was lost for the rest of my journey – the sense of careless traveling.

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