We were drawn to Chiloe as we had heard that it had a uniqueness quite unlike anything on the mainland despite the close proximity of the island. The inhabitants of Chiloe maintain a distinct culture with a unique belief system as well as comida. We were able to experience curanto al hoyo - a meal prepared by cooking chicken, pork, potatoes and shellfish in the ground on hot stones covered by palm leaves and soil. While Dale was in heaven eating all that shellfish, Bek put on a brave face and suffered through it, and unfortunately continued to suffer for 3 days afterward with food posioning (it is not all kittens and sunshine on the tourist trail :). At least we held a mutual interest in Chiloe's religious beliefs.
The natives had/have a history of mythology: witches, gnomes, ghosts and pirates are all alive on this island. And the Jesuits who came to Chiloe to convert the inhabitants many centuries yonder decided to minister to them by melding together the Christian beliefs with those of the natives. Hence the churches have many interesting quirks such as paintings of Jesus surrounded by these mytholigical creatures, and a wood carving of a Saint defeating Satan, in the form of a goblin. Quite unexpected. The churches themselves were quite beautiful as well, some built as early as1740 and others as late as 1912 Some were quite plain on the outside, just weathered wooden shingles, but absolutely stunning on the inside - amazing hand carved woodwork. While still others were bright and engaging on the outside yet plain and simply functional on the inside. And the largest church, in Chiloe's capital city ofCastro, was amazing on the outside and in; gothic in style but created completely out of wood. It was a very tranquilo ten days we spent on the island but by the end we were ready for our next adventure.


Leave a Reply.