Ushuia - As south as it goes!

Trip Start Feb 14, 2006
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Trip End Mar 19, 2007


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Flag of Argentina  ,
Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Arrived in Ushuia in dramatic fashion, flying a figure of eight around the strip on runway on the sea and rocking from side to side with the winds...pretty scary stuff. The first thing that hit us was the cold....a drop of about 20 degress from Buenos Aires so it was a slight shock to the system.

Ushuia is famously known as the southernmost city in the world ....first of all its not a city and second of all its not the southern in the world. Still we got the passport stamped anyway, just to have it for a souveneir.

Treked around town searching for a hostel and ended up choosing Cruz del Sur, a hostel run by an Italien guy who was a seasoned travelling himself. The hostel wasnīt the cleanest but Luca the owner was so entertaining and helpful it made up for the grottyness of the place. He lives in the hostel himself in a living room right off the pokey reception, sleeping in what could only be described as a mattress on a big shelf! Its also where the free internet was so he gets absolutely no privacy during the day. Dunno how he does it.

As soon as we got settled we started to hear the horror stories of hard it is to get out of the place so we spent the whole day trudging around in half a trance trying to get info from the bus companies on how to get out of there. Between phonecalls, emails checking adn dounble checking and with Paddys Day and the Ireland v England Rugby game all throwing a spanner in the works it took us all day to finally decide on a flight ensuring we would get both part of Paddys day and the Match! Luckily we met a couple in the very same predicament as us, so we didnīt feel like complete eejits planning our trip around the match!

Next day we planned to get out and actually see something of Terra del Fuego national park which is very close to the town. of course we decided to start our treking season with teh hardest one in the park, Cerro Guanaco. Its about 970 m so not too short of Carrawntwohill. We set out and it was beautiful and actually warm. And we got abotu half way to the top and the views were still amazing. Then slowely the rain moved in and we started to meet people comnig down from teh top adn they were telling us not to bother going any further. But undeterred we kept going more for our pride at that stage. Eventually after a fairly gruelling climb (which we took at a stupidly fast pace) we got to the top and couldn{t see past our noses. It was freezing, the wind was gale force and there was sleet. We literally posed for a photo to say we were there adn then tore back down practically running most of the way with our fingers gone completely numb from teh cold.

Tadgh did a bit of damage to the knees probably due to the pace we came down and we were feeling pretty cold wet and miserable by the time we got back to the hostel. Luckily the town (as with a lot of places in patagonia) had a really nice chocolateria.....home made chocolate and the most amazing hot chocolate. None of the powdered stuff here, this was warm milk with a big lump of melted chcoclate it in it. It was almost worth the pain of the climb!

Headed to one of the Irish bars,Dublin that night for a few pre-Paddy's day drinks....and if you{re starting to think that this is becoming a habit (the Irish bars), well a lot of the time its because the ony pubs in some towns are called Irish bars. Generally they don't serve Guiness or Kilkenny, or play Irish music or have anyone who speaks English in the bar!

Next day we decided to do a boat trip in teh Beagle channel which is the channel running between Usuahia and Chile. Unfortunately we didn{t have time to do the tour to the penguin reserve so we had to make do with the seal lions and a few birds! The boat trip tok abtou 4 hours and most of that we spent inside the boat drinking their free coffee and eating their biscuits trying to keep warm.
Also got to try some Mate for the first time. This is a type of tea that is really popular in Argentian and Uruguay. It tastes somelike stewed ciggarette butts in tea! Pretty nasty and I have no idea how they are all addicted to the stuff.

After the trip it was straight to the airport where we had to catc our flight to El Calafate.
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