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PatagoniaBeyond the Edge of the World

On 18 December 2007 from Ushuaia, Argentina | comments closed

After spending some days in Ushuaia and checking out various travel agencies, I have decided to go for the once-in-a-lifetime adventure. It is quite expensive, but it is not likely that I will get another chance to go there anytime soon. After all, the End of the World is not next door, and going there any other time would require the extra cost of the flight from Europe to Ushuaia. Also, this way I am certain to have a white Christmas 😉

From 19 to 29 December I will be on the Antarctic Dream visiting the white continent: Antarctica. There will be no communication during this time, as it is either impossible or very very expensive. I will be back in Ushuaia for one day after the trip before continuing on to Punta Arenas and Puerto Natales.

PatagoniaHorse & Hike Weekend

On 17 December 2007 from Ushuaia, Argentina | comments closed

This weekend I enjoyed the unusually good weather in Ushuaia. On Saturday morning Thomas, Nora, Rahel and I went horseback riding for 2 hours. It was great way to explore the beautiful scenery. The horseback riding was pretty easy as well, although I got the horse with quite a strong character, who clearly could not be bothered too much with my instructions. Luckily he was also very careful and gentle, getting me dry through a 1 meter deep river at the end. If only sitting down afterwards could feel better…

Saturday afternoon Willem, Nora and I walked around the harbour a little bit, before I spent hours waiting at travel agencies to try to book a bus that I could not book from Ushuaia. That means I am still planning the rest of my trip. Discussions with fellow travellers here are helping a lot because most have already been north. It is therefore much easier to make a realistic schedule over here.

On Sunday Rahel and I went to the Tierra del Fuego National Park, and we got dropped off at literally the end of the road. From there one can travel 17.848 km by road to Alaska (still high on my destination list as well). It was also the starting point of a nice 5-hour hike through forests and along bays and lakes, with always snow-capped mountains in the distance.

PatagoniaBig City Party & Southernmost City

On 15 December 2007 from Ushuaia, Argentina | comments closed

From my last post you may have gotten the idea that I am not all that positive about Buenos Aires, which is not entirely true. The city is just too big for me. But the last night was really great. By an ex-colleague of my girlfriend I got invited to a big (1500 people) party of the TV-station Canal Trece. That was a lot of fun: live artists, good music, nice people, lots of foods, Champagne-Red Bull mixes, need I say more?

I almost got no sleep that night because my flight to Ushuaia was leaving Thursday morning at 05.45. I was able to sleep a little bit in the plane, but I was still quite beat Thursday night. Luckily I am staying in one the nicest hostels in Argentina, with a very good atmosphere.

Ushuaia really has an end-of-the-world feel. Surrounded by snow-capped mountains, it is a long way from anywhere, and relatively close to Antarctica (only 1000km). Therefore I spent Thursday afternoon looking into last-minute cruises to Antarctica. Unfortunately there is almost no availability because the Explorer (one of the larger ships) sank at the beginning of the season. That also increased prices again, so the last-minute prices are not the good deals of the previous seasons. It is not making the decision any easier though.

On Friday Nora, Rahel and I made a hike to the Glaciar Martial, a glacier quite close to the city centre of Ushuaia. However, it still took us some 4,5 hours to get to the glacier through a very muddy forest. Not feeling like doing that again on the way back, we took the chairlift, and did not even have to pay for it because they closed the checkout 😉 Not surprisingly, I did get slightly sunburned, but that was because of this darn weather here with clouds and sun alternating every minute, and the snow on the glacier.

PatagoniaDaytrip to Uruguay

On 13 December 2007 from Buenos Aires, Argentina | comments closed

Buenos Aires is one of those cities where you can see the main tourist sights in 2-3 days. A lot of travellers hang around for a lot longer, but that is usually to take an extensive Spanish course or tango lessons, for which BsAs is the place to be. If you are not into those things, or simply do not have the time for it, and if you are not really a big city person (that would be the third reason to stay), then it is nice to get out of the city after some days.

That is pretty much what I did. On my arrival day I checked out the nice suburb of Recoleta and a bit of the city centre. On the morning of the second day I toke in most of the sights of the city centre. In the afternoon I met up with an ex-colleague and we had some coffee on the Plaza de la Mayo (his office is on the square, quite nice). Afterwards I walked a bit through the San Telmo area, and went to the suburb of Palermo in the evening, but most things were actually closed by then.

After waking up early again (that is the only disadvantage of sleeping right in the city centre with the window on the street side), I took the fast boat from Buenos Aires to Colonia del Sacramento on the third day. Colonia is an old, small, attractive little town in Uruguay, only one hour by fast boat from BsAs. I explored the museums and had a big late lunch at the quiet main square, before going back to busy, noisy, polluted BsAs.