After our spout with nature in Torres Del Paine Patagonia, we traveled to Chiloe, a tiny island in Southern Chile famous for seafood, colorful wooden churches, and houses on stilts.
Our first stop was Tenaun. It is a small seaport town on the coast of Chiloe. It used to be the main port for fishing and clamming exports, but about one hundred years ago, Castro put in a railcar that made exporting easier. This caused mass emigration from Tenaun and now it kind of resembles a ghost town.
Our view; Ceviche; Dahlia and Husband; Our room
It was here that we found Daliah and her beautiful hostel. Daliah and her Husband are retired and with their retirement they have turned their large wooden house into a sort of bed and breakfast/hostel. We were given (for the first time in our trip) large warm clean beds, fluffy towels, and hot showers. Daliah has also studied cooking, so upon arriving, we were treated to a three course meal that included crab mint ceviche, salad of the sea with tomatoes, and native potatoes with grilled salmon right out of the bay. I could go on and on about all the food we ate at Daliah’s but instead I’ll just say that everything, bread included, was homemade, local grown, and delicious.
The Church & Town Square
The town, though ghost-like, was charming. While the rest of my weary group took a nap, I went out exploring. The town consists of two streets down by the water, a huge blue wooden church, and tons of farms that stretch out into the hills. I walked around the town square, gave myself a brief tour of the incredibly old cemetery, then followed the road into the hills. The fascinating thing about the town was the number of abandoned buildings that lined the streets. One in particular (which I got the story about after my walk) stood right in the town square. It was huge with a wrap around porch, wide bay facing windows, and plantation like front steps. It used to be owned by a prosperous family that controlled a number of clamming ships, but was abandoned when the town dried up. There is a massive organ piano that takes up an entire wall on the downstairs level. It is one of three of its type in the world, and it is sitting beneath a caving roof worn by mold and weather and time. The whole town felt this way as I walked around. Eerie but somehow beautiful.
At night, Daliah, her husband, a Chilean couple who were also staying there, and our group sat around a bon-fire. We sang and talked about the dictatorship and socialism and world issues while we drank port.
Our Boat Ride; Cooking; Cooking; Food
For the second day we were there, Daliah organized a trip to the nearby island of Machuche. The island is famous for a dish called Curanto. Basically, they put clams, pork, chicken, sausage, potatoes, and flour tortillas over hot coals in a pit. Then they cover the whole concoction with leaves that come from the island and smoke the food. We took a boat to the island, watched the process, then ate like kings with every kind of meat imaginable and endless muscles.
Staying with Daliah in the ghost town was by far my favorite part of the trip. A little bit of history, a lot of great food, and a warm welcoming home.