Tierra del Fuego, el ciudad fin del mundo

Trip Start Sep 23, 2010
Trip End Jul 13, 2012

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Flag of Argentina  , Patagonia,
Saturday, December 4, 2010

Ushuaia in the land of fire, the southern most city in the world

4th Dec

We arrived in Rio Gallegos about 09.30, 3 ˝ hrs later than we should have, which made us an hour late for our connection. We then had to rush off one bus, get our tickets checked at the bus company´s office and were told that a bus would be there at 10.00 to take us to Ushuaia. We wait patiently, and it arrives. We board and this bus had a semi-cama service so the seats were a little more cramped but then this should only be a 10hr journey! To our surprise we were given a snack although we had been told that no food would be provided on this trip. Around an hour later we arrived at the Argentinian border, filled out the usual paperwork, got our passports stamped and headed back to the bus, after the sniffer dog had finished. 20 minutes later we are at the Chilean border, repeating the process. We settled in to the movie, The Other Guys and an hour later comes the bad news. We arrive at the ferry port to find the port was closed, no crossings since 08.00 this morning. Now what! I guess we sit tight, pray to the goddess of wind again and hopefully we can get across later. Now the wind down here is breath taking and at the moment we have winds of 70mph. Luckily we got here at 2pm so only had a 3hr wait so we decided to go for a little walk down to the port to see how bad it was. Shielded by buses and lorries we were fine. The gaps in between were lets say a lot of fun and you nearly got blown off your feet. We didn´t hang around long and safely back on the bus Cat sat and watched a film dubbed in spanish while I amused myself going through all the photo´s we'd taken of the whale watching trip on our netbook. At 5pm we boarded the ferry and crossed the now calmer waters and once on the other side headed south along dirt roads towards the next set of border crossings. The scenery changed some what and went from flat scrub land to hilly green farming land with cows and sheep and also a few lakes dotted around with pink flamingos and other strange looking birds with long necks. It wasn't long before we reached the next and final set of Chilean/Argentinian border crossings.  These passed without too much of a hitch except for the fact that none of us on the bus could find the volume control for the dvd player and therefore decided to eject the noise making disc. The rest of the journey passed without too much excitement.  We changed buses in Rio Grande and 4 hours later, approximately 2.00am, we arrived in Ushuaia.

5th Dec.

We decided after such a long two days traveling that we'd have a nice lie-in to catch up with some much needed rest. After just catching breakfast at 9.45am we had a wander down the hill to the port to get some information on tours (booked a boat trip down the Canal Beagle for tomorrow) and the basics and got some shopping for lunch and dinner on the way back. Apparently today is not normal weather with brilliant sunshine and clear skies so we get the full benefit of such a beautiful landscape surrounded by snow capped mountains and boats in the harbour. We spent the afternoon catching up on email, banking and research for the next leg. After dinner we got an early night to get some sleep ready for our trip in the morning.

6th Dec.

Woke up to rain and cloudy skies, so we wondered whether to cancel and go tomorrow, but quicker than you can say good morning (well, in half an hour) the clouds started clearing and it looked a much more positive (the weather changes quick here). So we headed down to the port and boarded the catamaran (after paying the port tax and buggering around with tickets etc.) and soon motored on down towards Isla del Pajaros (bird island) and Isla de los Lobos (Sea Lions island) where we saw plenty of Sealions and Cormarants. The good weather seemed to be staying our way which made the scenery so spectacular with plenty of wildlife to keep us amused including Petrels and Albatros. We then stopped at (Isla Gable) Gable Island with a big group of Magellan Penguins after passing Puerto Williams (the southern most town in the world) on the Chilean side. At 12.30 we arrived at Haberton estancia for a tour of a disused sheep farm and an Oceanianic Museum that collects data from the Whales and Dolphins and other mamals in the area and has a very impressive collection of mammal and cetacean skelletons. The trip back was a bus ride through the mountain roads and narrow bridges over rivers large and small. Once back in town we headed back to the hostel for a rest then around 6.30pm headed back to town to get a fish dinner where Cat had the Cod el Roman, (battered fillet) and I had Trout with cheese and tomato (strange combo that looked like a pizza but was rather tasty) a very nice end to a busy and enjoyable day.

7th Dec.

After a tiring day yesterday we had a lie-in and got up around 9.30 for breakfast, Cat wasn't feeling to good so we stayed in for most of the morning. In the afternoon we walked down to the Maritime Museum that was in the old prison and was also a penal colony. The exhibits ranged from models of ships that either founded the islands, brought and helped escape prisoners and also ones that ship wrecked there. There were also stories about certain prisoners, their lives on the island prison (there was minimum security, as there was no where to escape to) and as well as art exhibitions there were exhibits on Antarctica and the indigenous Yamana tribe. On the way back we bought steak to cook for dinner and as there was no oven I tried to make chips from a couple of potatoes which ended up as just fried potato but was equally delicious. We got an early night as we wanted to go to the national park in the morning so after watching Tropic Thunder we got to bed.

8th Dec.

Got up at 8am for breakfast and as the day was looking good we ordered a seat on the 9am bus to the national park. By 10am we arrived at the park and we decided to walk the 6.4k 3hr coastal path, which ended up being 8k and 4hrs, partly from me taking lots of photos and it was a bit longer than we thought. The land scape in the park was absolutely stunning, ranging from snow capped mountains around an inland bay, a walk through woodland where we saw woodpeckers and more of the strange orange mushrooms hanging from the trees, then finished at a lake where we had lunch at a picnic spot and caught the 3pm bus back to town. The bus dropped us off in town so we popped into the supermarket to pick up a few things for the bus journey tomorrow as we were told that there was no food or water on it and then headed back to the hostel for a quick snooze before making dinner, tuna pasta with 4 cheese sauce.

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