Hooray you sexy readers! How are you? Check my adventures in Chiloé island in Chile - this is part III.
Absolutely amazing your support and enthusiasm while reading this adventure series, thank you readers! Let's leave Dalcahue to explore Quinchao in Chiloé island - Chile. This hitchhiking adventure started on a post released many moons ago. Keep in mind that not reading the previous posts doesn't influence the understanding of this story, however, it does contain explanations about the island of Chiloé and how to get there.
If you'd like to see how I got to Chiloé, check out below.
If you'd like to read the previous part of this hitchhiking adventure, below are the links.
In part one you read about my arrival in Chiloé and how my friends and I managed to get to Castro, the capital. After sleeping by the road and eating blackberries like a maniac I had to say goodbye to Lois and Juliet. In part two I got on the road again, this time alone, to reach a city called Dalcahue, where I slept inside a stall. In this part I'm going to do an island hopping trip to Quinchao where I visited some historic Churches and feared for my life when the Tsunami siren turned on. Enjoy part III.
Click any of the images to enlarge!.
Obs.: This story is part of a bigger journey that I plan to tell you one day. Since it would be incredibly long I've decided to release parts of it, featuring the most crazy bits. It'll not follow an order of events, but I'll put it in a way that you can read as parts of a book. Hope you enjoy.
This happened when I was hitchhiking Argentina and Chile in summer 2017. Carrying only the essentials and little money for the journey. I had left Buenos Aires in early January with the main goal to reach Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the Americas. Plan was plain an simple: Work if needed, camp, hitchhike all the way, have loads of fun and let my desire guide the way.
February 16th, 2017. After wasting partially my morning waiting for Maria, I finally decided to leave her stall unattended to go do my own stuff. The last two days in Chiloé had been rainy and I was without a shower since Puerto Cisnes, which I had left 4 days ago. Four long days without a shower. The faster I could explore that incredible, yet humid island, the better.
If you ever come to visit Chiloé, one of the coolest things to do is well known between the backpackers as 'island hopping'. As you can see on a map the main island is Chiloé. Around it there are several smaller islands, all of them reached only by boat, some of them with boats only on especific days and hours. The further you go, the wilder it is, the more receptive the proble. Island hopping requires spare time and patience; it's easy and, for the most part, free to get to the smaller islands, just keep in mind that returning may not be whenever you want, as they may cancel the boats or there might not be boats returning soon.
That being said, I found out that I could hitchhike the ferry to get to Quinchao island where I planed to visit from tip to tip, afterall it's only 35 km. Why going there, you may be asking. Well, just because I've heard they had some pretty impressive wodden Churches from XVIII century that I really wanted to see by my own eyes. All those Churches are actually part of the tourism in Chiloé and nearby islands, people from all over the world go there to do the Church circuit, which contains 16 wodden buildings from various centuries. I'm not a religious person, but knowing that something from 1700 was still there pretty much impressed me.
Here's the first ride of the day.
First ride to wilderness.
The first hitchhike was perfect, only a 20-30 minute ferry crossing. On the other side of the channel I managed to find a ride with Roni, who lifted me to Achao - the main commune. The funny thing is that he also lifted a woman, whose tourist bus had forgotten her at the ferry ramp. Laughts.
Achao is one of those places that you remember by the smell, the rain and the incredibly low tide; this combination creates a remarkable memory that you'll never forget. The first place I visited was the local marketplace, where they sell all sorts of sea food and strange algaes, like any other marketplace in the world you'll see people trying to sell you stuff that you don't need. The fast talking Chilotas negotiating and loudly speaking. From what I could understand the algaes are used for cooking, something that I didn't feel very comfortable about, maybe next time.
Eating that? Ãmm, next time maybe.
Strange looking algaes.
Walking from the market place after crossing the park I found the oldest Church of them all - the Church of Santa María de Loreto de Achao. From the billboard it said.
Church of Santa María de Loreto de Achao, built in 1740 when Chiloé Archipelago was still a part of the Spanish Crown possessions.
Church of Santa María de Loreto de Achao.
All built using wood - Impressive..
It's impressive to know that such a construction was still standing after centuries, especially for a wodden structure. I couldn't take many pictures because it was constantly raining and because the construction is indeed pretty huge, becoming almost impossible to feature with my small camera.
After leaving the small park area I was completely lost, as always, so I just wandered around aimlessly. All hapiness, until I heard the Tsunami warning siren. That's one feature in Chile due to the earthquakes, they've never had a Tsunami, but they have sirens just in case.
- *Wooooooooooo-ooooooo, Wooooooooooo-ooooooo* - A long air raid siren sound.
- What the heck is that? Sounds like an old air raid siren... - I though.
I started moving quickily, trying to find where that sound was coming from.
- Hold on a second! It's the freakin tsunami siren!!!!!! - I though.
Hill! Find a hill you bastard! Run to the mountains, learn how to swim, do something. I looked around, the locals were still there, doing nothing. Something is wrong, are they just accepting the fact that a gigantic wave is going to cary us all to Neptune? I approached a local woman selling some sea algaes.
- Ola señora, Why is the tsunami siren on? - I asked, trying to hide the fact that my pants were feeling heavy.
- It's midday, they use it to mark midday and midnight. - She said.
- Ahhhhhhhhh I understand... thank you.. - I said.
I'll tell you! Why in hell would they use a tsunami siren to tell the hours? I don't know... all I know is that it almost caused me a bad case of heavy pants.
The next stop would be Quinchao, the next commune on my list and, where I'd see another impressive wodden Church. Thumb up and smile on my face. It didn't take long for a pick-up to accept carrying me on the rear box, a trip I gladly accepted - nothing like enjoying the hilly roads of Quinchao island with a privileged view. Hitchhiking can be pleasing sometimes, despite the drizzle.
Pick-up box - classic.
Lovely road countour.
Quinchao Church is the largest of all the 16 wodden Churches in Chiloé and nearby islands, measuring 52.8 meters long and 18.4 meters wide, 18.3 meters high. It's unbelievable seing a construction from 1880 still standing. I'll let the pictures speak for me.
This building is huge.
Wet, tired and bestially hungry I didn't have anywhere else to go since the boats to the smaller islands were cancelled due to bad weather, also I couldn't risk getting stuck further away from the main island. I headed back to the road and hitchhiked all the way back to Dalcahue, in a single ride. Luck, I guess.
Back to my empty stall, no signs of Maria, I wondered why the hell she asked me to take care of it when she simply relegated the stall to whoever wished to use it. I shoved myself inside to cook and lay my wet clothes, I felt that the stall had just became my small little home. I even had my own candles.
I spent the rest of the afternoon chating in the stall next door, a nice fellow named Adrian, whom didn't invite me to his house because it was full. I also wandered around the city and spared a couple pesos to buy honey and a traditional liquo, called Liquor de Oro.
- Hombre, you have to buy a bottle of Liquor de Oro, it's traditional, good for cold weather. - Adrian said.
- Oh really? Is it really good? I'm low on money.... - I said.
- It's good, hombre. It's a liquor made with milk and alcohol only a few people make it. - He said.
Feeling convinced I bought a bottle for a few pesos that I could absolutely not spend. Anyway, how could I spend two months traveling around without buying anything traditional, I had to treat myself to something nice. And it was really nice, I spent the rest of the trip siping my strong liquor.
Night came fast that day, I was again in my stall and now all the handicrafters were aware of my existence due to the last night's Police rampage. None of them offered a cozy bed nor a shower at their houses, but at least I was feeling safer knowing that they were looking after me. The next day I planned to say goodbye to Dalcahue and continue up north to finish my Chiloé adventure.
To be continued...
This story is to be continued! On the next episode you'll see how many hours it took me to get to Ancud in Chiloé.
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~Love ya all,
Disclaimer: The author of this post is a convict broke backpacker, who has travelled more than 10.000 km hitchhiking. Following him may cause severe problems of wanderlust and inquietud. You've been warned.