The driver along the Huillinco Lake was the perfect long and zigzagged introductory path to Cucao.
Green hills accompanied the road at the left side, and the peaceful water at the right.
The exuberant green of the road was a beautiful aesthetic contrast with the blue transparency of the water. The road was narrow and full of jungle green so much that at some points the double road turned into one.
The zigzagged path kept our attention focused on the next picturesque view, like when we encountered a group of curious cows in the road.
We drove and drove, on the jungle road, so close to the water that it seems we could almost touch it. It was lunch time and hunger was gnawing at our stomachs. So, we were constantly looking for a place to stop and grab something to eat, but there was nothing. Without imagining it, this absence of choices was indeed a good thing.
We finally arrived to the end of the lake where we got to another contrasted view, the narrow zigzagged road ended in an open flat space, with a view of a small town in the middle of nowhere. I felt that I was in a remote place at the end of the world.
We stopped for some directions to restaurants. We started to follow them but had to stop again, now, captivated by a senior couple walking by the street with a calm peace and smile in their face of someone fully enjoying the moment, without screams of joy, just a firm slow walk.
Although we were hungry, we had to stop to talk with them to find out who they were. Briefly they told us their story, both 82 years old, a couple in love from Castro (Chiloe’s capital) enjoying their vacation house in Cucao. They seemed taken from a movie that portrays the senior years as idyllic, nothing to worry about, just enjoying their walk on a sunny day. And we went back to the car, with their smile in our faces, feeling I guess -or perhaps hoping- that we will be happy like them in our senior years.
We continued driving down the narrow main street (yes, narrow like the lake street) and around a curve. We drove by something called Parador de Darwin (Darwin’s Stop). My sister said, drive back! We did and there we found that the creative name was the name of a cute little restaurant by the road, where we ate the best meal we have ever tried.
The owner, a native from Germany, was friendly as you would expect of someone having such a beautiful place at “the end” of the island of Chiloe (it was really at the west side of the island, but it felt like at the end). When my husband asked her about a business card and internet page or something so we could promote her excellent cuisine, she proudly responded, “no email, no web page.”
After an excellent lunch, full of salads, different types of cheeses and salsas, and a wonderful pizza with a thin homemade crust, we decided to go in search of the Pacific. For me it was a must since we crossed the island from east to west and the drive by the Huillinco Lake made the drive feel like a journey to the unknown.
We opened the windows to listen to the powerful sound of the Pacific. We parked behind the dunes and we walked to see the ocean. There it was, with its waves breaking and the unmistakable sound of nature reminding us of its power, in a beach that expanded interminable from east to west, endless like the horizon.
There were just a few people besides us and we all looked so finite on that infinite beach. I cannot speak for my trip companions, but I felt free in that vast landscape. I also felt to stretch my body, aiming to get some of that endlessly feel of freedom. I looked at my sister’s and husband’s faces and they looked contented. My son was running happily in all directions, perhaps enjoying the unusual lack of adult’s supervision.
We almost didn’t talk to each other. There was no need.
It was a time for the ocean to show its splendor.
It was a time for us to just enjoy this untouched, remote, and isolated place out on the island of Chiloe, in the Southern Cone.
As the Chilean’s slang for remote places describes it, Donde el Diablo Perdió el Poncho (Where the Devil lost his Poncho).