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Full Circle

Day 166: Castro, Chiloé

Castro, Chiloé 
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How the horse's jawbone is played.
Michael Palin - Full CircleThe town of Castro on the island of Chiloé. Rain drumming hard on the roof of my turreted room overlooking the bay. Fishermen in wet suits unloading catches of mussels, conger eel and octopus from boats with vivid yellow hulls.

Inside the hotel the gloom is total, as there has been an early morning power failure and the staff are knocking at the door with candles.

'Mal vente,' says our driver, at breakfast. The wind has indeed changed. The dry, cold, settled mountain weather has been replaced by the prevailing maritime depressions that make this island one of the wettest places on the long Chilean coastline.

Into the bus and out through the streets of Castro past a metal-sheathed, lilac and orange cathedral, and plain but pretty wooden houses with shingle tiles covering the walls. Nearly pushed into the ditch by two coaches hurtling out of town on their way to Santiago, seven hundred and fifty miles north on the Carretera Austral Longitudinal - the highway that is southern Chile's lifeline.

Turn onto an unmade road. Each pothole is a small pond after last night's rain, and on either side stripped-down cars lie about in untended gardens. Amongst a motley collection of domestic outbuildings is the home of Felipe and Sonia who are hosting a curanto - a sort of Chilean clambake - cooked outdoors in the traditional Chilote manner.
Castro, Chiloé 
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At the curanto on Chiloé.
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Full Circle
  • Day: 166
  • Country/sea: Chile
  • Place: Castro
  • Book page no: 224

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