Thursday, 29 January 2009

Journey to the End of the World.

So it's a rainy day here at the end of the world and I'm sitting in a small kiosk, using the internet for free, well not exactly for free, I just handed over a not-so-crisp five pound note for the owner to add to his immense currency collection. I am in Ushuaia - southernmost city in the world and it's beautiful. The town is surrounded by snowcapped mountains on all sides and our dormitory has a view straight down the Beagle Channel. It's a shame about the rain, but it's been fun sitting and talking to Roberto and being plied with coffee and dulce de leche.

Our journey here has been immense - travelling little by little overland from Buenos Aires, stopping off for a few days here and there, seeing different aspects of the country. I loved taking a trip in the Vald├ęs Peninsular to see the wildlife - energetic sea lions hoisting themselves in and out of the water; lazy seals lounging on the rocks; and very cute penguins waddling about a beach. An afternoon spent on a deserted beach with a CouchSurfer, sheltered by chalk cliffs from the rain was also a real highlight, watching the cormorants nesting on a nearby cliff when swimming in the sea and a lone sea lion coming up close to say hello.

Getting to Tierra del Fuego had several complications - not least the fact that you have to cross out of Argentina into Chile and then back into Argentina again. What this means is four sets of border officials, much stamping of passports and much waiting around, but we made it in the end. We sat down in the no man's land between the countries and ate up our supplies of cheese, salami and dulce de leche - products which cannot be transported across the borders. We were joined by an Italian motorbiker who has been on the road for four years and sharing our little end of the world adventure with us.

The hassle was well worth it as we travelled through the national park, seeing the clear blue lakes with a backdrop of beautiful mountains. Much of the terrain we have seen in Argentina has been flat and quite desolate, but this is a treat for the eyes. It reminds me a lot of Scotland and the town itself seems quite Scandinavian. I always enjoy travelling towards a point and it feels like quite an accomplishment to be here in this beautiful place.

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