19.02.2010 10 °C
The most painful thing about travelling through this part of the world is the border crossing. Leaving Chile and entering Argentina was a neverending story. A 12 hour bus ride on muddy secondary roads, getting off at the Chilean border, stamping your passport, getting back on the bus, going to the Argentinian border and getting the passport stamped again...at some point of course, because the guy behind the counter was paying more attention to the soccer match on TV than to the person in front of him. It took us around 2 hours just to do this insignificant procedure, and by the time we got to Ushuaia it felt like we had travelled for 24 hours straight.
The moment we went inside the hostel we booked, Patagonia País, one of the guys hanging around greeted us with a "Shalom". For one moment we were confused, isn't Ushuaia in Argentina? Apparently, the hostel is very popular between Israelians, even the hostel's dog name was hebrew (Balagan i.e. Quilombo in Argentinian). Our two roomies were two Italian girls who are travelling through South America, Maria Antonietta and Sara. Hope they're still enjoying their travels around Chile!!
Apart from Port Williams in Chile, Ushuaia is the furthest South you can ever go, and for one good reason it's called "El Fin del Mundo" i.e. World's End. Right on the Beagle channel, in front of Chile, surrounded by mountains and right next to the park Tierras del Fuego, it's a singular place...and it definitely makes you feel you're far away from home. You see the tiny port invaded by massive cruise ships that bring thousands of tourists ready to spend on anything they can, and the Argentinians ready to increase their economy.
One of the places we remember best from Ushuaia is the restaurant "La Rueda". It serves a salad buffet and asado argentino, and just for 50 pesos you eat as much as you want. Veal, lamb, chicken, sausages...and great dessert! That's where we tried the famous "bizcocho escocés", vanilla ice cream covered with a frozen layer of chocolate and dulce de leche inside it...with dulce de leche on the top plus some warm chocolate sauce...absolutely delicious! So good we ended up going twice there...
Unmissable in Ushuaia are the national park Tierras del Fuego and a boat tour. During the boat tour not only you're floating on the Beagle channel between two countries, you also get to visit the little islands inhabited by sea lions, cormorants and sea elephants. We also stopped at a desert island where the indigenous people (Yamaníes) used to live, and saw the mythical World's End lighthouse, which still works. On that tour we got the chance to talk about the situation with the UK about the Falklands-Malvinas Islands. The Argentinians seem frustrated about the nonsense war that took place and apparently it's too early to stop hating the Brits.
When we went to the park Tierras del Fuego, we didn't expect it to be so green, well, we initially thought Ushuaia would be colder since it's so South, but again we had a wrong perception. We did the trekking along the coast, quite short, just over 8km, but enough to spot some wildlife and great beaches...although the water wasn't exactly warm enough to take a swim! From North to South, in Chile and Argentina, the Patagonia will be impossible to forget for its incredible landscapes, endless glaciers, exclusive wildlife and of course its welcoming people. Our favourite? maybe it was the sense of conquest after such a hard day, but it has to be the Fitz Roy. UNFORGETTABLE.