Chiloe!

by Stephane Alexandre / Jan 27, 2017 /
Stephane Alexandre's picture

Visiting Muelle de Las Armas, Chiloé

Chile is one the narrowest countries in the world, stretching approximately the width of the United States. Fortunately, this skinny land is home to such diverse and distinct environments and atmospheres. One of my friends and I decided that it would be a wonderful experience to visit Chiloe! Chiloe is a small island in southern Chiloe famous for its awe-dropping brick churches and its rich religious history. One Thursday after class, we took the shuttle to the airport and got on a plane to see what the buzz was all about.

Spoiler Alert: It was worth it!

I would get motion sickness all over again if that meant going back to Chiloe. Our time there was mostly spent in Dalcahue, Castro, and Puerto Montt. Firstly, we did not even have plans to go to Muelle de las Armas - our hostel owner told us about it and we knew we had to cancel everything and visit. He told us the hike took about thirty minutes to complete.

 Visiting Muelle de Las Armas, Chiloé

The next day, it was pouring outside and we contemplated even going. One of the many lessons that I am still learning in my traveling is that sometimes, the weather is not your friend. But what’s a girl to do? We laced up our rain boots and zipped up our rain jackets and got to trekking. We were NOT going to lose a whole day, especially since we had less than a week in Chiloe. We took a long bus ride from the station to the next town. We stayed on the same bus that made its way past a vast dryland and up many hills. Then our driver pointed us to the way while he waited. “Oh, he’s waiting, so it must not take long at all,” I thought.

Oh, to be young and naive.

 Visiting Muelle de Las Armas, Chiloé

The duration of the hike was over two hours. We kept walking and walking and we could not find the end. Thankfully, the deep green hills and the beautiful sheep and horses eating took our breath away. It was that scene from The Sound of Music where Maria was singing “The Hills Are Alive,” but stretched out for miles and miles. Just when you finished climbing one hill, you stood at the top and looked down at more horses and sheep, and of course, more climbing. Muelle de las Almas is located in Pirulil, on the west coast of Chiloe. I am still unsure of how to describe it: it is just green space that is to be cherished. If it is a park, it is the best one I have been to in my whole life. The luscious mountains border the deep blue Pacific Ocean, making it the best of both worlds. On either side, the colors echoed as far as the eye can see.  Every few meters, we would stop and do a 360 and whisper “wow.” We looked around, and other hikers were standing in awe as we were! None of us could believe that this sacred, green, life-giving space was actually real.

 Visiting Muelle de Las Armas, Chiloé

Finally, we arrived at the wooden sculpture at the end of Muelles and we just stood in awe of how close the waves came to reaching the land. It was worth everything we had muscled through up to that point: the rain, the tiring flight (I hate flying), and even the rough bus ride to the park. It pays to persevere through some obstacles, because there is always an uncertainty factor to broadening your horizon. What if I don’t like it? What if the pictures come out blurry? What if it is all just a waste of time?

 Visiting Muelle de Las Armas, Chiloé

And sometimes, a trip can be less than expected, but that should fuel you to see more of the world! It should fuel all of us to say “well, it can always get better from there.”

I have never been on such a trip, and if that malediction comes, then I am ready for it because I have seen far too many places that take my breath away than to let one bad trip kill my insatiable passion to meet our grand world!

 Visiting Muelle de Las Armas, Chiloé

I hope your time at Chiloe exceeds your expectations, as it did mine. I hope it encourages you to explore the world, because there is so much out there waiting to be discovered.

Three Things To Remember

1. Pack a lunch and hiking food: it might take the whole day to get to Muelle and back.
2. Bring at least one full water bottle. Dehydration is never funny. And it never will be.
3. Bring your camera, you’ll want to remember this.

 Visiting Muelle de Las Armas, Chiloé

 

Stephane Alexandre is the Intercultural Immersion Editor for Wandering Educators. A Tufts University student, she just returned from studying abroad in Chile.

All photos courtesy and copyright Stephane Alexandre