After visiting the Perito Moreno glacier, my friend and I headed South on a jet plane to Ushuaia, the Southernmost city in the world and gateway to “The End of the World”. We landed in the spectacular mountains-meeting-the-sea scenery, the best combination. As it’s spring here in the Southern Hemisphere, temperatures were fresh to say the least.
After checking in at our hotel, right on the beach, we went to explore the town.
There’s not a whole lot there besides restaurants, bars, and many many shops selling the famous sweets of the area – Rosa Mosquita and Calafate jams and jellies, both local berries. Southern Argentina is also famous for chocolate production – I recommend checking out Laguna Negra on the main street for truffles and hot chocolate.
But the real meat of the area is the nature. The next day we headed out to Tierra del Fuego national park, named “The Land of the Fires” from the smoke which used to rise from numerous bonfires built by the natives. We started by taking “The End of the World” train, on a railway built by prisoners, which winds through the park and gives you a history lesson about the prison of Ushuaia. Receiving it’s first inmates in 1896, it was modelled after the prison in Tasmania, and most prisoners were dangerous criminals or re-offenders shipped from Buenos Aires. They did hard manual labor in the harsh conditions and taking the train ride through the landscape, it’s easy to imagine why working outside here in the winter would be a substantial punishment.
After the train ride, we continued through the rest of the park, visiting Lapataia
Bay and the Laguna Negra, giving the namesake to the chocolate shop back in town. The scenery is mystical and beautiful, and gives a sensation of being totally untouched.
After a cold chilly day we warmed up with local beer – Beagle, highly recommended, and a steaming bowl of seafood stew, with some of the largest and gnarliest looking shells I’ve seen. It’s definitely wild in the water down here too.
The next day we were off to visit some sea lions and penguins – more on that soon!