The End of the World – 2012

Fin del Mundo – End of the World

“Fin del mundo” – Ushuaia, Argentina

February 23, 2012 ~ After two very long days of traveling from our home airports, meeting in Washington DC with a 10-hour layover, an overnight flight to Buenos Aires with a change of airports and another long layover, we finally arrived in Ushuaia, Argentina around 9:00 p.m. as the sun was setting behind the mountain backdrop. It was a beautiful sight; but, we are both partial to snow-capped mountains anyways.

So here we are in Ushuaia embraced with mountains on three sides situated at the end of a small bay off the Beagle Channel. Ushuaia is located at the southernmost tip of South America, the southernmost tip of everything in the world as this is the last stop before Antarctica. Population is approximately 58,000.

Penguins on a field trip

A relatively short taxi ride from the airport, we arrived at our delightful accommodations, the Hotel Austral http://www.hotel-austral.com.ar/hotel.html. We checked in, went directly to our room and proceeded to eat our dinner which consisted of nuts, dried cranberries, cookies and protein bars we smuggled into the country in our backpacks. Oops… should have declared these at the custom checkpoint. Oh, well… they sustained us until breakfast. Since this is our base for four days, we unpacked, organized, figured out the electric outlets and hit the sack! Adventures begin tomorrow!

 

Summer in Ushuaia, Argentina
Summer at the end of the world

The weather was variable to say the least. During the day we walked the town and the day we hiked in Tierra del Fuego National Park, it was fairly warm when the sun was shining although a breeze constantly came in off the water. Evenings were downright chilly. The day we were supposed to visit the Magellanic penguins on Martillo Island, turned nasty. Check out the picture to the right and see what summer in Ushuaia can be like. Sad to say, we spent 8 hours inside a van, ate our “hot” lunch between two slices of cold bread, and never made it to the penguin rookery. And, not even a pit stop! Total disappointing day as we knew we would not see the Magellanic in Antarctica. But, we made the most of it by chatting with our fellow travelers.

Ushuaia, Argentina
Ushuaia, Argentina

Patty and I are farm-raised Americans expecting three meals a day at regular intervals with snacks in between. What we found hard to believe was the meal schedule in Ushuaia. At around 6:00 p.m. we began our dinner search of acceptable restaurants – good food but not too pricey. We walked from one end of town to the other and all the restaurants were closed. What was going on, some holiday or something?

Summer flowers everywhere

Finally about 8:00 p.m. we found a delightful little place on a side street. The lights were on, waiters were standing around, but no one was in the restaurant. Yup, it was completely empty of customers. We gingerly opened the door and asked if they were serving dinner. “Of course,” they pronounced. So we proceeded inside and selected a table near the window. “Where is everyone,” we asked. “Oh,” said our waiter, “people around here don’t start coming in until 9:00 or 10:00 p.m.”  Golly, we are usually in bed by that hour!

I can’t close this journal without a couple more pictures. One little restaurant we stopped by for lunch was a challenge as we didn’t understand exactly what we ordered, nor did we know what we were eating. Even a cup of coffee was a disaster. I ordered ‘Cafe Americano’ and ended up with a tiny cup of strong coffee and glass of seltzer. Hum… strange.  However, the trip to the restrooms was a chuckle. Click on the picture to enlarge and see what the small pictures have displayed!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Time to close and move onto our hiking/canoeing adventure – Tierra del Fuego National Park. But, one last picture of Ushuaia, the little town we absolutely adored!