Chile: Chiloe & Santiago
I knew of Chile before I knew of many other countries. My childhood best friend was half Chilean. I grew up calling her dad Papi and wishing I would understand Spanish. Chile has been a huge motivation throughout my life and I grew up fearing I would never be able to afford to go. I studied Spanish to be able to belong and understand my childhood dream family. Now I am SO excited that my extended family (brother-in-law and 2 sister-in-laws) is Chilean and I’m forever linked to this beautiful country. I finally got to visit Chile on our honeymoon 2014. Mr Merry had promised me Argentina, Uruguay and Chile, although Chile would mainly be visiting family that he hadn’t seen in ages. We got married in June so honeymoon ended up being in July, aka winter in Chile. Not recommending winter to visit South of Chile or the mountains, it’s not the most glorious season in Chile.
We crossed the border from Argentina to Chile by bus. This was during World Cup semi-finals 2014 and Mr Merry was trying his best to listen to the radio to hear the results of Brazil vs Germany. As a hint, there is no good connection on the bus across the mountains, safe to say we missed over half of the goals. The view obviously is amazing, so who needs radio or TV there anyways? The buses in Argentina and Chile are surprisingly comfortable so I can highly recommend to take the bus everywhere. The night bus from Puerto Montt to Santiago was super comfortable with sleeping seats. Chile actually has no railway system, so bus is the way to go anyways.
First night we spent in Puerto Montt and next morning crossed over to the little island called Chiloé. Castro is the capital of Chiloé and Mr Merry had splurged on a fancy night in a hotel and then downgraded us for the rest of the nights so we would have some money to do things. He’d chosen this hotel ,Hotel de Castro, because of his Finnish wife adoring saunas. So in case you need a good löyly, this is the place to go. The first (expensive) night was great but, when downgrading, I do have to warn you that the beds had wheels. So it was extremely awkward when doing you know what on your honeymoon. A lot of laughs. TMI. Yes, yes!
Castro is a lovely little capital of Chiloé. I have no good pictures of the palafitos (these stilt houses built on top of the water that come in all different colours), but it’s an Instagram heaven! Mr Merry actually grew up in one of the palafitos. Castro also has a lovely market Feria Artesanal, where we did visit and, you guessed it, took no pictures. I have magnets to show off it! We also visited Dalcahue a smaller village of fishermen and wool artisans. Worth a visit if you’re searching for great woolen memories from the area! This church, Iglesia de San Francisco, can be found in Castro city centre and it is a beautiful wooden church.
Next I’ll write some random thoughts and things I observed:
- There’s mountain view always in the background and it is beautiful!
- Avocado, aka palta, can be found everywhere. You’re obliged to taste a completo (a hot dog with palta inside)!
- Chileans will take the mick out of your very Spanish accent (I was told as a kid that I would never survive in Chile, but the accent is not impossible. Hard yes, but you can survive even with a shittier Spanish, like mine).
- There’s quite a bit of sex workers from the surrounding countries (do not ask how I learnt this.. some bad honeymoon choices).
- Chileans are friends for life and super fun and host with delicious meals.
- Fish is the poor man’s food, so opposite to the rest of the world.
- Pisco sour is just as good as you dreamed of all your life.
We only visited the capital, Santiago, for few days and didn’t see a whole lot. This was a conscious decision because we knew we’d always go back to Santiago (due to most flights arriving and departing from Santiago) and we were putting family first. Obviously Santiago has a lot to offer, but I will have to discover that later. Please let me know if you want to hear more from Chile and I’ll bribe the 11-years-in-Chile husband to spill some details.
Child of the World. Language enthusiast. Wanderlust running in my veins. Making the world Merry.