Ushuaia: the end of the world – “fin del mundo”. As my grandmother quickly pointed out, the world is round and therefore has no end. However, as the southern most city in the world, Ushuaia has been nicknamed “Fin del Mundo” or in English, the end of the world. And that is where we have gone to start our journey through Patagonia.A three and a half hour flight from Buenos Aires and a huge temperature difference of around 25 C later, we found ourselves surrounded by snow-capped mountains and the Beagle Channel. It almost looked like home, minus the city lights.
We hadn’t booked too far in advance and all of the hostels online were fully booked so we ended up at one of the last available (reasonably priced) Airbnb’s. For those of you who don’t know, airbnb is an online service where you can rent out either your entire apartment/house or a room in your house to others. There is a verification process and you always have to pay online. It is becoming EXTREMELY popular around the world. Anyways, we are at Monica’s house – essentially a Bed & Breakfast. She has three rooms she rents out and provides a typical Argentine breakfast (un-toasted bread, jam, butter, coffee). Monica is a fellow traveler and very friendly; however, she only speaks Spanish and it makes communication a bit difficult.
We were starving when we arrived. We had heard from others that the king crab in Tierra del Fuego was a “must have” so we searched out a restaurant that served it. We came across La Cantina Fueguina de Freddy. Jokingly saying that anything with “Freddy” in the name has to be good, we decided to try it. On top of that, the restaurant was packed and had live king crab in a watertank in the front. For the rest of the day, we walked around town (it’s main strip is starting to slightly resemble Whistler) and checked out the port.
When we finally got back to our room we were exhausted. I bet the stars are phenomenal here; sadly, we were not up late enough nor earlier enough to enjoy them. Around midnight we looked out our window and could still see light in the sky.
What people seem to forget is how much “work” is actually involved with travelling. Booking bus tickets, plane tickets, tours, hostels, hotels, etc. It is not as flawless and easy as one might hope – buses are full, or don’t run that day; hostels aren’t available; the prices are jacked up for high-season or festivals/holidays; everything is closed on Sundays; no one speaks English; booking online doesn’t exist; lineups are painfully long; and the list goes on… (Not to mention uploading photos and blog posts!) We spent a good half day booking buses further on and tours for El Calafete, knowing they would book up in the next few days.
The national park would have cost us 60$ to go to and walk around for 4 hours, hearing that there was nothing exceptional here we opted for a free hike to Martial Glacier. We had the option of hiking for 2 hours (each way) up the road to the trail-head and then completing the hike or cabbing that portion. We opted for the 5$ taxi. This would be the equivalent of walking up Capilano Road from Marine drive before starting the Grind… really not worth it. Unfortunately, clouds and haze fell over the town and straight by the time we got to the top and we didn’t get the best view. While it felt as though it was going to pour rain it held off until we were safety home minus a few minutes of drizzle.