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Friday, March 21, 2014

Travel - Ushuaia, Argentina (Tierra del Fuego)  March 13, 2014

If there was ever a need to consult a map, this is the place! Ushuaia, situated on the Isla Grande Tierra del Fuego, “The Great Island of the Land of Fire,” with the island divided as it is between Argentina and Chile, is the southernmost (small) city in the world. To the north of this island is the Strait of Magellan. The city itself sits on the southern edge of Tierra del Fuego, on a bay just off the Beagle Channel, and farther to the south over a number of desolate islands is land’s end at Cape Horn. Confused? Look at a map.

Ushuaia city scape

view of ship in harbor

Ushuaia was founded in October 12, 1884, when an Argentine expedition arrived to establish a sub-prefecture. However, some 300 Anglican missionaries of the South American Missionary Society already populated the area. They built the first houses and took care to evangelize the natives. For Argentinean people, Ushuaia began to be known in the early twentieth century when it was decided to build there a prison. The prison of Ushuaia is part of the city’s history and the prisoners were, more or less, the “first settlers.”

Ushuaia mountain scape

Coming up from our inside cabin into the light was a complete surprise. It is cold, white and foggy. As we climb off the ship fairly early in the morning in a semi-dazed sleep we are greeted with the most charming little town, nestled at the foot of the snowcapped Martial Mountains. It feels like we have been transported to a small town like Sitka in Alaska. The mountains are snow covered, unusually shaped and gorgeous. Ushuaia is a little sea port fishing village with tourist growing pains. 

This place is a special place and should definitely be on your bucket list. It is literally at the end of the earth.  Ushuaia is the end of the road or the end of the Pan-American Highway that starts in Alaska. It is the jumping off point for some going to Antarctica, and it is one of the most expensive cities to live in Argentina.

Inside End of the Earth Post office

End of the Earth Post office

 Once off the boat we loaded into a small van and headed for a nice ride through town and up the mountain side, eventually reaching the “El Tren Del Fin Del Mundo” or “The End of the World Train”. It took us through some beautiful mountain territory and into a National Park. During the train and van ride we see a hidden lake and beautiful landscapes, flowers, woodlands, and animals.
Red Fox
Train end of line
Wild horse
We even saw a number of wild horses and red foxes. Before our trip is finished we stop at a rock and gem store to check out Argentinian stones to see what I might use for some of my creations. OH….what fun!! I’d go back to Ushuaia tomorrow, or could have jumped ship, if they didn’t keep such good track of us onboard the ship.

Next stop Punta Arenas, Chile. Stay tuned…..we have just gone around the bottom, but could not see Cape Horn due to the rough weather. Now we have gone over to the other side! We should have smoother sailing now that we are in the Peaceful Ocean, better known as the Pacific.

Tall Ship

King Crab

Happy John
Group of tall ships coming in for a festival

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