I have returned from the “End of the World” after a six day odyssey that can best be summed up by a Nat King Cole song; Unforgettable. My spring break started during the wee hours of this past Thursday with a 5:30 (AM!!!) flight from Buenos Aires. I split a cab with another student and we met our third party at the airport. After a relatively crash-free landing (people on board spontaneously burst into clapping as our plane touched down, not a reassuring feeling to say the least) and a quick taxi ride we arrived at our first accommodations; a cozy cabin situated a few hundred meters from the Canal Beagle. We toured the town that day and made a “tentative” schedule for the next few days since the weather could change drastically by the hour.
The next day was marine adventures with a tour of the Canal Beagle that included panoramic views of the “End of The World”, after all Ushuaia is the southernmost city in the world, trekking on wind ravaged islands, seeing all types of marine life, and best of all complimentary coffee. We grabbed a bite to eat and met up with another group of students that was in Ushuaia for a few days before doing a group trip to visit possibly the coolest place I’ve ever been to in my life, a Penguin Rookery…with live penguins. There is only one group in Ushuaia that is permitted to conduct walking tours on the same island as the Penguins (Piratour) and I have to say that the hour and a half van ride on “roads” was well worth the time we spent with the Penguins. When I say we were “walking with Penguins”, I mean that I actually could reach out my hand and touch one (I did!) but be warned that if you do decide to try to touch one, they may try to bite off your finger (he didn’t). The guide on the island was very informative and the fact that it was a small group (15 people in total) made photo opportunities much easier not having to worry about people in the background or walking through a timeless pic. Needless to say if you ever find yourself at the bottom of the world, this tour is A MUST!
The next two days were spent at a lakeside resort outside of Tolhuin that offered time for relaxing and a very comfortable feeling not found in many hotels. The staff was exceptionally friendly and our waiter (we had him for both nights) would even stop and converse outside of dinner if he happened to see you. On the second night we met a group of Argentines that worked in the equivalent of the Social Security Administration that were very friendly. Two of the younger guys, Carlos and Frederico, took us up on an offer of pool (USA v ARG…round 2) for bragging rights at the “End of the World” (insert dramatic emphasis and sense of national pride). I won’t bore you with the details or keep you waiting and tell you that USA swept in remarkable fashion. Despite being bested, twice, Carlos and Frederico were friendly at breakfast and wished us well throughout our stay down South and in Buenos Aires. We also enjoyed a pleasant horseback tour of the surrounding Lake Fagnano, despite the wind being ever so bothersome. In town we visited the “World Famous” Panadaria where supposedly the best bread is baked. While it provided wonderful breakfast pastries and WiFi, I would hesitate to bestow on it the title of “World’s Best” although Top 10 would be an accurate assessment.
We returned to Ushuaia for our final two days where we visited a Glacier (very cold and a ski lift held together by duct tape) and toured the Tierra del Fuego National Park. The Park is an exquisite breath of fresh air although the trails have a tendency to be more mud than trail. Our final night we dined on local crab at the Casa de Los Marcelos (or something similar) that offered fantastic food at reasonable prices.
Now it’s back in Buenos Aires for a few relaxing days before the start of the second half of semester kicks off. Hard to believe half of my time here has already passed.