A few days at the end of the world... Ushuaia

Trip Start Apr 12, 2011
Trip End Apr 01, 2012

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Flag of Argentina  , Patagonia,
Tuesday, May 3, 2011

So over the past 18 hours on our bus (which was not quite up to the usual Argentinean standards), these are the highlights:

  • Our bus has been stopped several times at Argentinean checkpoints to check ID for some unknown reason (maybe the Argentinean government are trying to track our progress as well, we should give them the blog site...)
  • We went through Argentinean customs
  • We went through Chilean customs
  • The bus went on a ferry as the road abruptly ends at the sea
  • We went back through Chilean customs
  • We went back through Argentinean customs  

The rest of the journey was spent sleeping or staring at the desolate rural scrubland around us.

Not exactly a painless journey but we hoped it would be worth it!

We are now in Ushuaia, end of the world. At the lower end of Tierra Del Fuego, Land of Fire.

Staying at Cruz del Sur hostel which is a couple blocks from the sea, basic but again friendly and clean.

Pretty hungry after the bus, as we weren't quite sure what food we could take across the borders, so food today has been pretty sparse.  So we head out for dinner with a couple of people from the hostel (Ava was in our dorm in the previous hostel but popped up in Ushuaia before us, she flew down so had a much quicker journey – not jealous at all.... and Bryan from Canada).  We find a restaurant  (Bodegon Fueguino) serving local food so between us we try the lamb, breaded veal (milanesa) and fish, all specialities and very welcome after a long journey! 

Ushuaia is a working port town so not quite as pretty as we expected but again the setting is beautiful, set on snow-capped mountains facing out to sea.

The next day it's looking like our good luck with the weather is continuing so we sign up to do the boat trip around the islands at 3pm (did I mention that it’s around the islands at the end of the world!?)  Now there is a photo taken at 2.45pm at the Fin del Mundo sign, notice the blue skies in the background.  By 3pm we could see that the weather was turning and someone had mentioned storms coming in on Wednesday.  But our boat is leaving so off we go and hope for the best. 

It was nice for the first ten minutes and then we hit the sea (ironically we had deliberately chosen a smaller boat to get closer to the islands).  The journey is rough, so much so I spend most of the time outside on the deck trying to keep down my complimentary hot chocolate and biscuits.  I did feel a little better as I managed to remain standing while the man that was standing next to me outside had to resort to his hand and knees with his head over the side of the boat.  I may have been a slight shade of green but I stayed standing upright!  Jonny faired up better than me and enjoyed the hot chocolate, biscuits and coffee liqueur on offer inside out of the rain.  I think I can safely say that we were both glad to reach dry land again having seen some sealions, birds, a tour of the island where the natives lived and the view of the town from the boat.  

The staff felt pretty bad that we had gone out in that weather and mentioned something about a refund to Jonny when I was outside... so the next day we head to the office to ask about any chance of a partial refund – getting into the backpacker spirit of things!  Despite the weather conditions being completely out with their control, they gave us a full refund for the trip.  The honesty and up front manner of the Argentineans has always pleasantly surprised us.  Despite the fact that we are visiting quite touristy areas, we have never come under the impression that they are trying to scam money from tourists and so I have only positive things to say about the Argentineans we have met

With the money back in our pockets my memories of the boat trip are much more positive!

It’s snow storms today so we have lazy day and taste the local cakes, hot drinks and then beer and wine, not a bad little day! We go to a great cafe called Ramos Generales – set in an old general store it has a lot of character and the perfect place for a snowy day.

Our last thing to do in Ushuaia is to taste the local seafood, the specialities are king crab (Centolla) and extra big mussels, Cholga (although we have to make do with normal size mussels as the big ones are out of season).  We have king crab with Roquefort sauce and mussels with parmesan, both delicious and pretty reasonably priced.

With the main sights done, we head back North (a bit too cold to hang about).  Twelve hours on the bus to Rio Gallegos.  We cross Chile again, it’s a painfully slow journey as our bus drivers seem particularly incompetent dealing with everyone’s ID but we make it only an hour late to Rio Gallegos.

 Full photos here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jonnymillar/sets/
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dmillar1952 on

Can't see you getting a refund if sea rough on a boat trip to the Skerries!!!!!!!!
Another brilliant blog. Keep them coming!!!!!!

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