Edit Blog Post
Published: February 4th 2008
Lighthouse at the end of the world
inspiration for Jules Verne - I think
We arrived in Ushuaia to be met at the bus stop by people from the apart hotel we were staying at for the next five nights. A good and unexpected start. The hotel was a mere three blocks from the seafront - three uphill blocks, but they got easier with repetition.
First evening we just went out for a drink and bumped into a Brazilian couple we had seen on our day trip to Peninsula Valdez. Back then we had hardly exchanged a few greetings , here we had a good chat.
For those of you suffering the dark winter evenings at home you probably do not want to know that it was light until nearly midnight.
The first full day here happened to be Susan's birthday. It also happened to have beautiful blue skies to help us appreciate what a marvellous setting this town is in.
The birthday was spent doing some organisational things and some birthday things. Went in search of bus tickets for next week to Punta Arenas in Chile. Avoiding the 5.30am bus we opted for an 8am Wednesday. The spotty youth in the Comapa office, reminded me of John Gordon Sinclair in
Gregory's Girl but without the charm or intelligence, told us yes he could do that, and then proceeded to write out tickets for 5.30am with a change at Rio Grande - until we walked away.
Tolkeyen Travel down the road were able to sell us the right tickets and the right time at the right price. As we walked along the main street we kept having to walk around or through groups of bemused or confused cruise ship tourists who had landed for a day. Got used to this after the first day. Quite fun to see some very botoxed Americans of uncertain vintage trying to eat icecream!
We strolled along the seafront in glorious weather, much warmer than expected. We found out about trips to Estancia Harberton by boat and arranged that for Monday. Somewhere along the line we also managed to book a very nice restaurant for dinner and buy some chocolate, icecream and nice wine and stock up with some provisions at the local supermarket - where we seemed to be the only people using argentine pesos rather than US dollars. In the evening we went along to the restaurant and had the special tastes
of the sea menu. Great stuff and with different wines with different courses. The restaurant, Kaupe, has fabulous views across the Beagle Channel and to the mountains.
Next day we went to the Tierra del Fuego National Park for a walk along the sea coast path, a nice walk of about 10km. Weather was pretty good again.
Then we took a whole day trip to Estancia Harberton, going there by catamaran along the Beagle Channel sailing close to various small islands to see cormorants, penguins and the lighthouse. The weather was fine but out on the sea it was bitterly cold. Hence the particularly fine new fleece hat collection.
The estancia itself is now just for tourists but until a few years ago it was a 20,000ha sheep farm. I think it was the first white man´s settlement around here, started by Thomas Bridges (from Liverpool) in about 1886 and still in his family. Beautiful setting and a very peaceful spot - if you ignore the constant chatter of the Italians. We came back by bus, on a road built by the Argentine military in 1978 as part of preparing for a war with Chile - a
on the coast walk
in the national park
war about a couple of small islands - the war never happened as the pope mediated a settlement!
On or final day here we went up the chair lift above Ushuaia and then walked the rest of the way up to the Cerro Martial Glacier. Great views. In the afternoon we went to the huge museum in the former prison. Lots of good stuff on the prison itself, maritime exploration in this area and early antartic explorers. Hardly anything on Scott.
All too soon it was time for us to get up early to get that bus to Chile. As we did the rain started...
Tot: 0.065s; Tpl: 0.016s; cc: 14; qc: 63; dbt: 0.0199s; 1; m:saturn w:www (22.214.171.124); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb