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After a long  ferry trip from Chaiten (where we were subjected to ten  hours of horror movies), we spent a couple of delightful days on Chiloe Island, visiting the capital Castro and Ancud.

Chiloe (250km long and 50km wide) is just off the west coast of Chile,  and retains the culture passed on from the Mapuche indians and Spanish settlers.  It is known for its extremely wet climate, rich production of agriculture, and the handicraft produced there.

Church hunting seems to be a popular tourist activity, as there is a nice collection of 19th century German influenced churches dotted around the island, which  were entirely made from wood(using pegs rather than nails).  The houses are also primarily built from wood, and covered with wooded tiles. These are often faded pastel colours, creating lovely, happily aged streets. The palafitos on the shore were also interesting, standing on tall stilts above the water.

The unusual architecture, wealth of good produce in the market places, and pretty setting on the water made Castro one of our favourite cities so far. It was lovely to wander around and absorb the relaxed vibe of the little place. We found the fish markets, stumbled on stalls of delicious salmon and muscle ceviche for lunch, and walked through the covered markets filled with handicrafts and woollen knitted goods while the rain trickled down.

We briefly passed through Ancud on the way back to the main land, but it had little charm compared to the capital, so we moved back to the main land and into volcano territory.


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