The End of the World
The alarm hisdeously woke us up at 2:30am to get our bus to Ushuaia.We avoided a barking pack of about 50 dogs and made a major detour.Especially as the hostel's dog had followed us.We got the bus and slept all the way to Rio Gallegos.When we got there we changed buses and headed South.The bus journey was certainly not a favourite - we had to go on bus normal, 12 hours during the day, 2 border crossings and a childrens football team being very loud in the seats infront of us!We also had a ferry crossing and made sure we got out of the bus - you never know when Kulaks will do something silly.We had to change buses again in Rio Grande, and thankfully left the children and their noisy coach there.We arrived at 9pm in Ushuaia absolutely exhausted.
We were met by people trying to get clients for there hostel so we quickly abandoned the dorm idea but were back to Bariloche prices.This did not please us especially as the room was very crispy indeed.The following day we did our favourite search and visited all the cheap hostels in Ushuaia.We finally found one almost half the price but had nicer rooms and was only about 100m away.We moved much to the chagrin of the hostel owners but tough they charge too much.
Ushuaia is the southernmost town in the world and is quite beautiful too.The front of the town faces the Beagle Channel and snowy mountians shelter the rear.It was these snowy mountains that almost caused our deaths a few days later.The hostel search day did not go well for Lisa as it had rained the night before and frozen so all the pavements and roads were covered in ice.This slippyness made Lisa almost unbearably cross and Charlie did sterling work keeping her from not killing herself.
In Ushuaia we found evidence to institutionalise the entire Argentine public.Big government poster were displayed stating how the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas) and South Georgia and other islands and parts of Antarctica are Argentinian (please see pic).First we found this hilarious and were astounded by the seriousness of it all.Kulaks obviously don't quite appreciate that you can't claim the spoils of war if you lose.We were also quite saddened as it was disrespectful to the memory of all those felled in the war - especially the Brits.All this stopped us wanting to give money to any institution in Argentina.When we found a museum that was 35 pesos each for us and only 10 pesos for Argentinians it was enough to make us very angry.There was a guided tour but only those that pay 10 pesos can appreciate it as it was only in Spanish.For this lack of respect we decided not to visit it and instead found a cafe to laugh at the Argentinian propaganda again!
The day we nearly became Inuits
Not having had enough of glaciers we decided to visit the Martial Glacier in Ushuaia.We got a taxi to the chair lift and took the chair up to the top of the ski slope.We had to walk further up on the slippy snow to get to the glacier.The slope just kept going so we followed people's tracks in the snow.Lisa slipped on snowboard tracks and dislocated her knee but soldiered on.We got to the top of the slope to find out we had gone the wrong way to the glacier (the signs were wrong) and that the glacier is dangerous when covered in snow.So we made our way back down in a mixture of jumping and sliding on our bottoms.A few snowboarders were making their way up when we were at a particularly good icy bit for sliding on.We crabbed along on all fours to move across the slope but the camber still took us towards them.Lisa set off at a rapid pace and didn't break with her feet so she tumbled over and smacked her face into the hard icy snow right infront of the snowboarders and thus causing a very big scene.She smiled at them and quickly ran away dabbing the blood droplets from her face.Charlie sniggered a lot.Lisa now felt like she had a Bo selecta face that was all swollen.
We descended on the chair lift and decided to take the path that was shorter than the road.Lisa was apprehensive as the whole area was icy and wanted to stay on the road.We crossed a bridge covered in ice and walked down the path in the forest.The snow here was very deep and the compacted snow in the central path was very icy.Lisa chose the deep snow and kept sinking down to her knees and sometimes the whole leg would disappear.Lisa was unhappy but we decided to keep going 2 Kilometres until we reached the road again.These Kilometres got longer and longer as we followed footprints.We never found a path that went downhill and just kept going straight round the hill.The snow got worse and soon we were sinking on every step.Our energy (which is usually at a very low level) sapped away quickly.Charlie enjoyed the forest walk for a short while but even he began to get frustrated.The time was also kept going and we feared that we would have to stay in the snow overnight.We walked on ice over rivers, crossed rickety bridges, fell in metres of snow and waded through boggy swamps.We were tired, cold, wet, muddy and starting to panic.The panic increased when we saw large footprints that looked distinctly like Quirqui's (the Mountain Puma).We kept soldering on for hours slipping and falling but pressing on.The sun was starting to go down behind the mountains and we were still far too high up.Eventually the path stopped and turned downhill but we could see no evidence of Ushuaia and felt utterly lost.
The downhill path eventually led to a small crispy dwelling with vicious dogs and so hop increased especially as we started to see vehicle tracks in the mud.We felt happier going downhill and we were tired but we didn't slaken the pace as we were now racing the sun.The path eventaully became more road like and we got to more dwellings and finally met two people who told us it was only 1 Km to the town.We finally reached civilization but not until Lisa had one last spirit crushing fall on the ice into the muddy road.
We started to walk into town and hobbled exhaustedly hoping a taxi would come by.After another kilometre or so we looked at the map and found we had trudged in the wrong direction and it had started to rain.Finally a taxi stopped and we were so relieved that we went straight to the supermarket to buy treats.It turned out we were on the totally opposite end of Ushuaia than we should have been if we were on the right path.
We then had a day in bed and hobbled to the supermarket.The hostel's dogs, Pippin and Wanda (Beagley) came into our room and cheered us up by being naughty.The next day we planned to go on a husky sledge ride but when the alarm went off at 7am it all became less important so we went back to sleep.
The next morning we got a taxi to the airport to catch our environmentally unsound flight to Rio Gallegos.
Final Thoughts:A lovely hilly picturesque town.Not too cold even in Winter.Paths need better signage and flights are necessary.
Mark out of 10: 7
Next Time ...................... Puerto Madryn