At the end of the world in Ushuaia
Trip Start Oct 06, 2010
79Trip End Jul 30, 2011
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Ushuaia, the most Southern city in the world accessible by road, is the 'end of the world.' Beautiful, surrounded by the Andes on one side, with islands in the Beagle Channel that separates Argentina from Chile, Ushuaia was like a little paradise. We wandered the streets, organized a boat trip, and generally just chilled, enjoying our surroundings and reveling in the fact that we were farther south than most people will ever be. We also spent some time dreaming about a last minute Antarctica cruise, but the cheapest those go for is about $3500 ea
We spent a considerable amount of time at the Naval museum, which was built inside the old prison. Ushuaia was originally settled as a penal colony, and the prison was really interesting. On top of learning about the history of explorers in the region, we also learned about the situation of prisoners kept there, read about some of their stories, and saw pictures and reenactments of prison life. The cells were TINY, and at one point they had more than two prisoners per cell, with over 720 people incarcerated. The heating, the organization, the stories about the guards and prison wardens, everything was fascinating. There was also a display about the Yamana people, one of the three indigenous tribes in the area. They had unnaturally long arms as they paddled everywhere, and Darwin was noted to have said that they couldn’t naturally stand up straight anymore. They also were well known for always being naked, putting seal fat on their bodies and always having fires going. Hence where the name Tierra del Feugo come from, it means land of fire because when the first European explorers found the area they could see hundreds of fires going on the mainland and surrounding islands all night long.
I would be loathe here (aka Josh would kill me) were I not to mention dinner our second last night
Our last full day we did a trip of the Beagle Channel to see flying penguins (aka cormorants with the colouring of penguins) and a sea lion colony. We also saw the famous lighthouse and stopped for a little walk up on an island facing Ushuaia, with a lovely 360˚ view of the area. The island was also home to ruins from the Yamana tribe. We saw clearings where the nomadic tribe set up their tents, as well as a hole where you could see shells, bits of charcoal, and sharpened bones that they used as instruments.
Our bus for the next day left at 5 am, arriving at Rio Gallegos at 6:30 pm. We were then booked on an 8:15 bus for Puerto Madryn, due to arrive the following day at 2:30 pm. Smooth sailing? Not quite…