Updated: Mar 10, 2019
5th - 10th December 2018
Getting to Ushuaia was our biggest mission. We spent all day on busses, getting off at borders (I think we did 3 million border changes in and out of Chile UGH) and hopping on and off ferries. Sarah had taking doze-inducing travel sickness tablets so was not loving life at all. My saviour was Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone Audiobook - Stephen Fry ftw.
The bus was also the smelliest and most cramped one we had experienced through the six countries we had explored. HOWEVER, though the worst, it was the last (</3)
We arrived into Ushuaia around 11pm, soooo much later than anticipated *crying face*. But our hostel, Hostel Cruz del Sur, was a little warren of retro loveliness. I thoroughly enjoyed our stay here. Ushuaia is obviously a very expensive place to stay so we picked the cheapest place we could find. Turns out it was a'ight! AND had a giant, resident FLOOF to boot.
The next day we slept very heavily and a long while. Ushuaia was not what I was expecting. A town at the edge of the world, in my mind, was small, ramshackle and full of wooden houses; a very silly image. In actual fact, it was a large town, buzzing with restaurants (a Hard Rock Cafe), touristy shops and a large port, of course, because the gateway to Antarctica would have to have a decent port. The majority of tourists who flock to Ushuaia are there to head to Antarctica. But not us... we had toyed with the idea of either trying to save up enough to go and book a last minute trip for cheap, but we hadn't the time (or the funds obvz). Because of this, it was slightly painful to be there. It's like everyone is excitedly preparing for a huge party, which you are aware of and want to go to, but you just never get invited. MOVING ON.
We headed out for brunch to Ramos Generales, a romantic, old, converted store. Overpriced, but charming. We pottered around the town, ended up bickering for the FIRST TIME on the whole trip (be impressed) and ended the argument by heading to Tante Sara for Gin and Tonics. It was brilliant, and Tante Sara became our regular hangout in Ushuaia <3
We tipsily headed on our merry way and booked a boat trip for the following afternoon, did a supermarket shop, bought wine and olives (SO WEIRD), made a stew in the small hostel kitchen, then headed out into the chilly night for a few more beverages. It didn't last long.
The next morning, we did very little. Our boat trip was postponed (booooo) because the wind was too strong... so the skipper (it definitely wasn't the skipper but whatevvs) told us to go up the Martial Glacier instead... So we did...........
The wind was so strong, it blew me halfway down the bloody mountain. I should have photographed my injuries as proof. Bruises, EVERYWHERE. Sarah said she turned round at one point and just saw legs. It was crazy weather. Needless to say, we didn't quite make it to the top.
After a blustery, woodlandy walk back into the town, we stopped off for a delicious, comfort-food dinner of lamb, cod and smashed pumpkin mmmmmmm and red wine. Yummo.
After a trip to Tante Sara for croissants the next morning (I'm dribbling at the memory) we headed to the port with our fingers crossed, and boarded the boat - Tolkeyen. We navigated our way through the Beagle Channel, passing the famous Les Eclaireurs Lighthouse, seeing many species of sea bird, being terrified by the enormity of a male sea lion (srsly those guys are HUUUGE) and finally coming to rest on Penguin Island (Tierra del Fuego). These precious, little beings are a delight to watch.
On the return journey, the winds picked back up and between the waves we napped in the dappled sunshine on the boat. It was a beautiful day indeed.
When we got back to the hostel, we met Killian, an Irish babe heading to Antarctica (UGH) and Biologist Barry who lectures on boats and had come from Chicago (UGHHH). We enjoyed olives and wine and pasta.
Our final day in Ushuaia was a special one. We knew it would be painful to bid Patagonia goodbye, but we managed it with a beautiful walk to Lago Esmerelda with some beautiful people. Killian, Josie and Susanna accompanied Sarah and I on a gorgeous, woodland and scrubland walk to the glacial lake. We investigated a beaver dam, came face to face with a Patagonian Fox and picnicked by ice-blue water. It was divine.
We also enjoyed a final meal at Tante Sara with Susanna. Delicious darlings, AND got caught up in the excitement of the football (South American league and the team that won had never won or competed before?! I cannae remember...The winners wore red). Susanna and I also headed back out into the fray for a few more beverages and met a crazy Australian family and also a drunk, Argentinian fan called Miguel Eduardo Ponce Coriolanus (might have made his last name up) who decided we were all friends and one day we would meet again and have a BBQ with our respective families.
Our flight away from Patagonia (to Buenos Aires) was sad, and tense. I was so upset and tired and Sarah said I was hungover which I was NOT but saying I was, made me grumpy so we had our second bicker of the trip... You can so tell it's the end of our travels and we don't want to leave.
Goodbye beautiful Patagonia, light of life. I miss the mountains, the woods and the sunsets so much.