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Published: February 9th 2009
On an ice bridge
Day 663 (21.01.09)
What a way to spend a birthday, 14 hours on a bus! Sadly for Mark that's exactly what he had to endure for his big day. Luckily the buses here are comfortable.
Although we'd realised there would be a ferry journey as we crossed from mainland South America to Isla Grande, the southernmost section of the continent shared between Chile and Argentina, we weren't prepared for how good it would be.
As we left the bus to walk onto the ferry we could see some movement in the water around the boat and before long we realised that it was some small black and white dolphins. We later found out that they're called Commersons Dolphins. Up on deck we were thoroughly entertained as lots of these cute little guys played around in groups beneath us. The sky looked huge as we crossed over the short stretch of water looking out for more dolphins and we were amazed when we spotted some little penguins also using the water here as their playground. That ferry ride certainly brightened up Mark's birthday trip!
Not too long after crossing the Argentine border we arrived at our destination of
Ushuaia which although not technically the very end of the continent it is proud to be the southernmost city in the world and stakes it claim as being 'El Fin Del Mundo', the end of the world.
Day 664 (22.01.09)
We'd heard that at times it's possible to pick up some last minute bargains on boats to Antarctica and, as this is a dream of ours, we thought that since we were here we might as well find out a bit more. It turned out that the 'bargain' prices were still almost 4000 pounds a ticket (or a little cheaper if we could wait a month - last minute huh?!!) and so were a touch out of our reach at this point!
We wandered around enjoying the views of the snowtopped mountains serving as a backdrop to the coastal town and looking with envy at the cruise boats waiting in the harbour. We escaped the afternoon wind with va lazy afternoon at the hostel and then went out for Mark's birthday meal which we'd been too tired to go out for the previous day.
It's pretty pricey to eat out (or do anything really) in Ushuaia
but we found a place with all you can eat parilla (grill) and settled in to do some damage! There was masses of stuff to choose from and we tucked into some excellent starters from the buffet table, chewed our way through vast amounts of delicious meat cooked over a fire pit at the front of the restaurant and finished it all off with some ice-cream and fruit. Of course we toasted the occasion with a bottle of Argentinian wine too! Thanks very much to Mum and Dad Smith for Mark's birthday money which paid for this extravaganza!
Day 665 (23.01.09)
We'd planned to do some walking in the Tierra del Fuego national park just 12km away from town but the bus and entrance price at 20 quid each was, we decided too much for a day's walking - normally a free pursuit.
We wandered around town sorting out onward bus tickets and looking into boat trips into the pretty Beagle Channel. On the way we found a sign noting the number of km we now were from La Quiaca, the border point where we'd first entered Argentina from Bolivia several weeks ago. It was pretty cool
to know we'd travelled from one end of this huge country to the other and finished at the end of the world as we know it!
We eventually opted for one of the only free/cheap activites in town and went for a walk up to the local glacier. We climbed up high into the valley for great views back over the channel and the town far below us. The views were beautiful but to us the 'glacier' didn't look any different than a large patch of snow - we think it was hiding!
We walked the couple of hours back down to town for a late lunch and another lazy afternoon of movies.
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