Spending Easter on Chiloe Island

After spending the night in Puerto Montt we got on an early bus to Ancud, the first city of Chiloe, and made it there a bit after noon. We found Mimi and her hospedaje just opposite the bus terminal, and after checking out a couple more places we returned to Tia Mimi’s place, impressed as we had been by her sweetness and also convinced by the great price she had quoted – 5000 pesos a night, including breakfast. This was the lowest price we were paying for accomodation since in Chile.

We had come to Chiloe primarily to see the pinguins, and also to experience chillaxed Chilean village-like life in the South. With Mimi’s help we found out very soon that the pinguins were not there anymore – it had become too cold for them so they migrated at the beginning of the month. ‘Too cold?’ we asked surprised. We always thought pinguins were cold weather animals, but yes, the things you learn when traveling! Apparently most of them are warm weather animals and they move around acording to season. Together with this interesting piece of information we were also told we could see pinguins further South Patagonia, around Punta Arenas. That was comforting, as that was exactly where we were heading next!

We were unsure about how much time to spend in Chiloe and when to board the 33 hour bus to Punta Arenas. It was the Thursday before Easter, so in the end we decided we’d spent a peaceful and relaxed holiday with lovely Tia Mimi and start South fresh on Monday morning.

When we had first arrived we had asked Mimi whether we could cook at her place, and she had spent 10 minutes explaining why the regulations didn’t permit. She then spent the next 4 days cooking for us almost 3 times a day, with her own ingredients. She also washed our clothes, showed us pictures of local festivals, explained the local traditions, made sure she helped us figure out our plans, and generally took such good care of us that we felt we landed straight into the house of the perfect and caring aunty. When we left, she gave us each a gift: a hat she had knitted with her own hands. We could not believe how much love, care and goodness could exist within only one person.

We were excited about spending Easter in a ‘very’ Catholic country and in a rather rustic place too, as we hoped we could really participate in their celebration and have a genuine feel of the Chilean beliefs and traditions. A procession was going to take place on Friday evening and culminate with a Mass at the church in the city centre. The weather was kind enough to allow that (which was quite special, as it rained 60% of the time we were in Ancud) so Silviu and I did not miss the opportunity to join in (Boca stayed home for a Spanish lesson with Mimi). Even though i’m not a Catholic I simply loved being part of that procession and was extremely happy we had decided to go for it.

We spent most of the 4 days we were there indoors – we wouldn’t even send our enemies out on that weather. On top of the rain there was strong wind, and every night we would go to sleep in what seemed to be a concert of scary storm sounds. The first night Tia Mimi warned us to be back in the house by 6pm as they were announcing great winds – 90 to 140km/hour. ‘But that’s normal around here’ she said. We nodded and struggled to smile. We were definitely going to make it back by 6!

Easter day was the first sunny day we experienced there and we took advantage of that to go out a little bit. Before that though we all had breakfast together and ate the eggs we had died the previous day, according to tradition. We then went to church with the locals, did some shopping for the 2 day bus ride we were embarking on the next day, and ended the day climbing on the hill near by, something Tia Mimi really wanted us to do. It was good exercise after 3 days of being indoors, and the view was pretty indeed.

We got up at 6am the next day and said good bye to our special host. If you ever get to Ancud, make sure you drop by her place. She will treat you with all the love you can imagine!

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