Bottom of the world (ish)

Trip Start Sep 20, 2010
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156
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Trip End Dec 18, 2011


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Flag of Argentina  , Patagonia,
Thursday, November 17, 2011

Our original aim when hiring the car had been to drive all the way to Ushuaia, the world's most southerly city. The problem is that to get there you have to drive through Chile and given our passport situation we couldn’t do that. We still really wanted to go and decided not to let the borders stop us and booked a return flight from Rio Gallegos and just hop the borders. It was tough work repacking our bags after we’d been able to spread ourselves out in the car the last couple of weeks and we also now had the extra luggage of the tent and camping equipment we’d bought. A little overloaded we headed off on the bus to Rio Gallegos.

The flight to Ushuaia was on a tiny little prop plane and was more like a bus than a flight. It arrived with people already on it, we stopped on the way in Rio Grande for people to hop on and off and people were still staying on to head off to El Calafate when we got off. The approach into Ushuaia was really cool with the low lying snow covered peaks all around. It must be an incredible place to visit during winter. As we were coming in from the airport in our taxi the roadsides were lined with police. We asked the driver what was going on and he told us the president was arriving just behind us to visit the town. We should have waited in the airport to say hello.

After checking into our hostel we went down the docks to check about the prices of boat trips on the Beagle Channel, and ended up going out on a sail boat that day as the weather was so nice. Well it started nice. There wasn’t really any wind to even get the sails up as we sailed out to our first stop of H island. But as we got off to have a walk around a storm hit us. Freezing wind and rain pounded us for the whole hour or so we walked around Argentina’s most southerly piece of land. We were glad most of the tour was spent cowering in the very same spots the indigenous people had used for thousands of years to protect themselves from the weather. Almost the minute we got back on the boat the storm passed and the wind stopped. Great timing. We headed on to another island that had a large sea lion colony and bobbed in the water beside it for a while taking photos and videos of them before heading back to Ushuaia.

The next day we went on a couple of walks. We headed north of Ushuaia for a walk up to the … glacier. There wasn’t a huge amount of snow and ice around and there were lots of people spread all over the valley so we climbed as high as we could to find some snow to make a snowman. Unfortunately it was a bit icy for rolling so Liz drew one instead. Very proud of herself she was! She also tried to give herself frostbite by doing cartwheels. We head down and then got a bus out to the National park for a walk along the shore. It was a nice walk but a bit too much of it in the trees so we didn’t get many views of the mountains and hills around.  They did have a museum about the indigenous people there with one of the best translations yet as you can see in one of the pics!

In the end it probably wasn’t the worth the effort of flying to make it all the way to Ushuaia. It’s probably more interesting in the winter when you can go dog sledding and other winter sports, and would have been cool to drive there. But if you were only in Argentina for a holiday, unless you were heading to the Antarctic, it’s probably not worth the effort. Having said that we did have some nice dinners, our hostel was really great (we bumped into Zara from our Salt flat tour again there!) and the boat trip was cool so it wasn’t all bad!
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