Tag Archives: Ushuaia

Tierra del Fuego

What a beautiful place!

I went on a canoeing and hiking tour where we started paddling in Lago Roca at its Southern Point, going past the island in Rio Lapataia. We had to lift the canoe out of the water at one point and move it over to the other side as we weren’t allowed to go under the Rt 3 bridge, we then continued around the other islands before finishing.

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Beautiful is almost an understatement. The whole day was an excellent experience with nature and very peaceful. We saw various bird species and hoped to see otters but didn’t see any. IMG_9346.JPGIMG_9347.JPGIMG_9350.JPGIMG_9351.JPGIMG_9355.JPG

We came out of the water at the end of Rt 3, taking some photos with the signs there of course. IMG_9361.JPGIMG_9362.JPGIMG_9363.JPG

At lunch, the tour had us at a waterfront tent. We had some unique company – a carancho, which is a hawk, vulture, turkey type of bird. It was very calm but it definitely knew we were eating. It posed for us and stood guard outside of the tent while we ate. It was joined by a smaller one after a while. It got quite close to the opening, testing the limits sometimes before scurrying back to its perch on a log, just feet from the entrance. IMG_9367.JPGIMG_9371.JPG

After lunch, we did about a 2 hour, moderate hike up to a viewpoint where we could see beautiful peaks, including the Condor in Chile. There were various signs along the way with a tree as your guide. When we first started out, El Tren del Fin del Mundo (Then end of the world train) was just passing by so we waved to the passengers. IMG_9383.JPGIMG_9387.JPGIMG_9390.JPGIMG_9392.JPGIMG_9397.JPG

There was a beaver site on the hike as well. The beavers were introduced in 1946 by sailors and thrive in the area. They are much bigger than their Canadian counterparts since they don’t have any predators – 30 vs. 40 kilos. There were many flowers on the route, including palomitas, thin little white flowers that sprouted up everywhere. Palomitas means little doves in Spanish. IMG_9408.JPG

The Magellan Strait above Tierra del Fuego was first discovered in 1520, it took almost 300 years before the Beagle Channel was explored, with Charles Darwin on board the Beagle ship. They are separated by ~300km so they joke that only a km per year was explored!

Ushuaia – Museo Maritimo and Presidio

This museum is home to multiple mini-museums within it’s walls including: the Maritime Museum, the Prison Museum,the Antartic Museum,the Marine Art Museum, an Art Gallery, and the history of the city of Ushuaia.

It’s housed in the building that was home to the prison which was built in a spoke style with a central gathering place which appeared to be used as a gym, with basketball lines on the tiled cement floor (also a bar for the naval crew!).

In 1882, Ushuaia was developed as a penal colony, starting out with just a few dozen people and prisoners who had been selected due to their building skills. Gradually more people came down and more prisoners.

Give its remoteness there were no visitors for the prisoners and the guards lived a lifestyle similar to the prisoners in regards to meals and cold weather. Prisoners preferred working as it kept them warm and occupied versus freezing in their cells.

Given the unique layout of the prison/museum, one spoke covered the prison, another Antarctic adventurers, one with photography, and one with smaller area with nature and Darwin information.

The Antarctic section covered a lot of the Argentine explorers and also talked about how dogs were banned and had to be revmoed a number of decades ago.

The photography section was spectacular! Photos of ice formations, of penguins, the winter night sky. I wish I could just put all of it up on my walls.

http://www.museomaritimo.com/en/

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They had a special room for the visually impaired to experience. I had never seen anything like that before. img_9432img_9433img_9434img_9436img_9437img_9438img_9440img_9441img_9442img_9443

 

 

Ushuaia – El Fin del Mundo

First off – The view! Flying into Ushuaia is amazing! Beautiful snow-capped peaks. The water. And then a peak at the town as we landed. IMG_9277.JPGIMG_9280.JPG

One of the best places to start in the city is El Museo del Fin del Mundo. It’s made up of two different buildings, one what I believe is the old Post Office and another that used to be the seat of the government. It discusses the history of the area, including the artifacts found of the Yamanes, the original inhabitants of this area. They were naked people, even in the freezing land. When the Europeans came and gave them clothing to wear, they started getting sick with diseases that had never been experienced by their people before as their nakedness was more hygienic and allowed them to be cleaned naturally by the earth. img_9293img_9294img_9292

The area has had many different shipwrecks due to the rough seas and unique topography and channels. Monte Cervantes was a ship that left Buenos Aires for Ushuaia with 1,100+ passengers and 300+ crew in January of 1930. The people came and visited Ushuaia before continuing their journey. Note that Ushuaia had a population of only 800 at the time. Shortly after they left, the ship was ripped open and began to sink. All survived and eventually made it back to Ushuaia via boat or trekking. When the captain and some crew members went back to retrieve some papers, the captain was lost with the ship as it suddenly tilted.

In the town, every shelter was used and the prison helped provide extra materials and clothing to the passengers until another ship could be found to transport these people back to Buenos Aires.

The museum also houses a number of bird and mammal species of the area to help you distinguish them.

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Across the street from the museum is the famous “El Fin del Mundo” sign. Of course, everyone takes their photo with it. While my photo was being taken, a friendly pack of dogs wanted to join in on the fun. One dog is seen lifting his leg to pee 🙂 IMG_9309.JPG

Being the end of the world, there is a casino as well…IMG_9326.JPG

And a Hard Rock that was still in the process of being built when I was first there and had been completed by the time I came back. IMG_9284.JPG

Some general observations:

  • The trash cans are raised bins, basically a wire basket on top of a pole.IMG_9344.JPG
  • Sometimes it’s easier to just read the Spanish version than the English version as the translation doesn’t make it across…
  • If you stop by the tourist information center by the waterfront, you can stamp your passport with an “End of the World” stamp.
  • There a beautiful Lupin flowers everywhere in Ushuaia!IMG_9324.JPGIMG_9321.JPGIMG_9299.JPG
  • I was offered three different condiments with a meal.IMG_9419.JPGIMG_9420.JPG
  • All around Ushuaia there are references to its ties to Antarctica, with various penguin statues and paintings, and signs referencing the continent. img_9418img_9289img_9320img_9322IMG_9315.JPG

 

Mormons, they’re everywhere!

I write this headline in a very respectful way because wherever I travel, there tends to be one certainty – there will be a Mormon temple or church. I once saw 11 churches in a 2 hour drive in Ghana.

On my most recent trip to South America, I saw an enormous, immaculate temple on my way from the Buenos Aires airport to the city center.

In Ushuaia, I was wandering around town, a little off the tourist path when I had the thought – I haven’t seen a temple or church yet – and there it was! A much different style than normal with a brick exterior.

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