Torres Del Paine to Ushuaia
Our last day in Torres Del Paine we walked up part of the last leg of the w-trek and met those who had done the whole thing coming down, all in good spirits and pleased with their achievement but in various states of repair with strains and a particularly nasty toe injury to report. A few quiet days will be welcomed. Plus a couple have decided they won’t be doing the Machu Pichau hike opting for the train instead – along with yours truly!
Interesting drive down from Torres Del Paine you have to take a ferry across the Magellan Straights to the island of Terra del Fuego. Looking at a map it is strange this little corner should be Argentinean – it so obviously looks like it should all be Chilean.
We made better time than expected so crossed the ferry and then bush camped, nice site with a glorious sunset not done justice by the photos.
The Argentinean piece was founded and maintained originally by Argentina as a penal colony, the train used to transport the convicts to the colony from Ushuaia still exists but is now of course a tourist attraction. Interestingly the steam trains are maintained on site and there is a working machine shop you can view – quite took me back to my engineering days. A lot of the equipment and the original engines being British of course.
Talking of founding things the Falklands still a hot topic, particularly around here – there was a protest going on as we arrived and road blocked for 10 mins. Ho Hum. Ushuaia has been declared the capital of the Falklands (Malvinas here) and there are lots of stickers proclaiming it so and a major plaza dedicated to the 30 anniversary with a plaque that basically “says under Argentinean law the islands are Argentinean, p.s. United Kingdom has illegally occupied them since 1833”. Discretion definitely best part of valor on this topic.
Arriving in Ushuaia Monday evening set up camp and had a delicious camp cooked meal – have to say food has been one of the plus points on the trip. Everyone chips in to help prepare but Pete does the cooking and its excellent, curried lamb last night and barbecued chicken tonight.
Tuesday we took an excellent boat trip in the Beagle Canal, which connects Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, visiting Sea Lions, Shags and Cormorant colonies on the various islands in the bay / channel. This managed to combine two of my favourite pastimes photography and beer drinking as they serve a complimentary glass of the local brew on the return leg and very good it is too.
One lighter moment, literally about to step in the shower and a Robins face appears at the window and says I need to choose my secret santa name out of the hat. Which I proceed to do my putting my arm out of the window to Vanessa’s proffered hat. Quite surreal and much giggling all around the reason for the urgency? It was cold and she wanted her hat back ………..
Quieter day today around Ushuaia, a busy tourist town, got some munchies for our next leg north, a blanket for Karen and a nice lunch at the fantastic cafe ” Ramos Generales” which we had found in 2008. Yesterday the onion soup was off and today there was onion soup but the pea soup was off. Beginning to suspect the soup of the day alternates between pea and onion!
Going to be strange spending Christmas and New Year without friends and family but best wishes to all for the coming festivities. Extremely unlikely we will have internet connection in the period so next update will be in the New Year. Season’s Greetings to all.
Steve and Karen, Ushuaia 19th December 2012
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