Exploring, partying and preparing...

Trip Start Jan 19, 2006
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Trip End Jan 19, 2007


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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Saturday

Weather is glorious today and about 18 degrees which we werénīt expecting. I imagined the southernmost city in the world to be cold, windswept and grey. Complete opposite all day! We head out for a walk north out of town to find a viewpoint of the city. Get great views of the place, port, bays and mountains. Then go into a forest which is very mysterious with spindly trees covered in wispy moss. Cross over some streams and try not to get bogged down in mud. Despite having a map and directions we canīt find the ultimate viewpoint we are looking for. Allegedly there are signs to show the way but we canīt find them and find another couple in the same position. Give up and try and find our way home which is pretty hard given its miles of trees around us. Find our way out and back into town.

In the afternoon we go shopping for some jeans. Yes at last some normal clothes. Decide that they will come in useful now on in and that they are cheapish here too. Spend ages in shops trying some on and eventually get some ready for our night out tonight. Remember that shopping gets boring after a while, havenīt done proper shopping for a while!


In true Argentinian style we dont go out to eat until gone 21.00 and are given a key to our hostel by the owners as they lock up at 24.30. We are not convinced we will make it that late though as we are such lightweights! In the restaurant get a bottle of wine for one pound fifty. If only you could at home! Finish off there and try to find the club we want but end up somewhere else at about midnight. It is empty and we are told it is closed for another half an hour or so. Find a bar and then head back to a still pretty empty club. Fills up slowly until there is a power cut. Eventually power is back on and Dave is asleep with his feet on the table next to me. That will be of no surprise to anyone that knows him! Manage to drag him on the dance floor, as this was the main reason to come out. We havenīt danced since La Paz and I miss it esp as we no longer have an ipod. After embarassing ourselves sufficiently and not caring we head off home at about 3.30 which is not too early really not that we can really remember it all!

Sun
No prizes for guessing how we feel today. Are relieved that we donīt have to feel guilty for doing virtually nothing all day as it is raining and very dreary. Watch a film on telly and feels like home sitting in doors recovering while its miserable outside. Broach the outside with trepidating at about 18.00 to find a restaurant none of which are open yet. Go to Estancia as soon as it opens which is a tenedor libre (buffet place) and is excellent, fantastic lamb melts in your mouth. After lots of food and dare I say it a bottle of wine too (its too cheap to refuse, can no longer just blame Daveīs dad!) we head home content.

Mon
Up early today as hire a car instead of booking serveral tours instead. Weather is still miserable but improves as we head north. Go towards the massive lakes and forest and Tolhuin. Lakes are beautiful and very picturesque with lots of inlets and little cabins around them. Shame about the weather. Further north lakes are filled with dead tree stumps which make for great photos.
As we head towards Tolhuin I expect a quaint little town with touristy arty shops. How wrong am I is a little town and has about 3 shops the biggest being the great bakery but everything else is pretty minging!

Back on the road the weather is improving and we head back the way we came able to take some decent photos of the lake and then head east down more of a dirt track. After a bumpyish road through forest, fields and along some of the stunning coastline we arrive at Estancia Harberton "Built by the Anglican missionary Thomas Bridges in the XIX century, it's the first estancia in Tierra del Fuego." Sorry more copy and pasting!

We have a little wander around before having tea and great cake and reading all the newspaper articles about the place and family. Is pretty interesting stuff. Back down the road have a picnic in semi sunshine before heading back along the coast into another tiny village. Is a very isolated, but beautiful place to live. Can see Puerto Williams, the southernmost town in the world, on the Chilean side.

See some foxes in the forest on the way back to the main road and head back to Ushuaia, weather gradually improving all the way. Stock up in the supermarket for our Antarctica trip before driving up towards the glacier just out of town here but weather deterriorates rapidly (as bad as it does at home!) so turn around and come back and head west which looks better towards the national park but still no joy. Canīt believe how far this town extends out. Head to another island connected by a road where the runway is. Wandering around the sailing boats and try to take photos of our red boat, Explorer, in port which is being dwarfed by a very posh blue and white one. We try not to be jealous of the other one!

Later on go out for dinner for King Crab, local speciality and delicious and Dave has scallops. Try to ring Daveīs mum to wish her a `happy birthdayī but they are out celebrating.

Today we have had lots to get ready boots, ski trousers, etc. Took our bags down to the port this morning and spent the rest of the day doing bits and bobs and bought a navigational map of Antarctica which hopefully will be of some use on the boat, although we have no idea what to do with it. Canīt believe we are really going. Hope the weather is ok, we can land on the peninsula and that we arenīt too seasick. Fortunately weather is quite clear today but who knows what its like out there?

We are obviously incommunicado for the next 10 days as we head further south but will be updating as soon as we get back, hopefully with some great photos. Details of our trip are at: http://www.gapadventures.com/tour/xvacs and no we arent paying as much as it is on there!!

Right better go now as we are just off to Antarctica!
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