A Day in Ushuaia

“Wherever you go, go with all your heart”

                                                                                                                                     Confucious

Ushuaia (pronounced Oos-why-ya, or Oosh-why-ya, with the accent on the “why”), is the southernmost city in the world. That said, any geography buff will tell you that Ushuaia is no further south than Belfast is north. Regardless, it kind of sounds badass to be the southernmost. Add the fact that some penguins live here, it sounds downright frigid.

Unlike Belfast, Ushuaia is not easy to get to if you care how much you spend on a flight. I tried my best to find a great deal, but the best I could come up with was $1200 from Miami to Ushuaia. This consisted of a layover in Santiago Chile, and an airport change in Buenos Aires. After I booked my flight with LATAM (a great airline by the way), things changed. A two-hour layover became a seven-hour layover, and a three-hour layover became a five-hour layover. All told, it took 27 hours to get from Miami to Ushuaia.

I arrived at 6:00 pm, famished, gross, and tired. After my shower I felt a bit more human and went to the hotel restaurant, drooling for some steak. “The restaurant does not open until eight”. So I responded to the desk clerk “I’ve had nothing but airport food for the past day and a half, please direct me to a steak that I can eat now”. So she sent me down the street where I devoured a strip loin. Then I came back, a little buzzed from the wine, and I passed out for 10 hours.

Day 2: Feeling clean, fed, and well-rested, I decided to spend the day just wandering about with my camera. It’s the middle of summer right now, and I enjoyed 17c. Wind is forecast for later today, and rain tomorrow. But there’s just something about weather and stormy skies that gets me excited.

Ushuaia

A Dock at the Edge of Town

I’m happy with the hotel I chose (even though they make you starve before you can have dinner). It’s directly across the street from the tourist office and the bay where all the Antarctica-bound cruise ships dock.

Hotel Albatros is mainly wood construction. This explains why it burned down twice. But that was back when the train transported prisoners to the town, and sparks from the stack would ignite the building. I’m sure we’re ok now. My room is on the first floor with windows I can escape from just in case.

Ushuaia

Hotel Albatros

Back to my wandering. I spent the morning near my hotel. Very nervous that 3 banks had declined to give me money with my debit card. I finally saw an HSBC and felt comforted. Waiting in line for the ATM, I noticed a machine that would only give you balance updates. Since the wait was going to be a few minutes, I decided to feed my debit card into the slot. My heart sank when it read “this ATM does not accept your card”. Discouraged, I waited anyway. When it came my turn, I put my card in while I practiced conversations with TD in my head. But then I heard the flick-flick-flick of the money being counted. Eureka!

A Nice Day for a Stroll

This rescue boat was sent out to help a cruise ship, but never made it. It remains in the harbour as a tribute to those lost at sea. Or is it a warning to not take chances.

I was surprised to see a casino in the town. It’s that grey building that looks sort of like a whale’s tale

The Naval Base. One of the ship’s engines was running when I walked by. I hope they aren’t planning to raid the Falklands again. That would suck.

A beautiful little church in the heart of the town. 

Only a 15 minute walk from my hotel, and this is where I ended up.

With some money in my pocket, I wandered back to the Tourist Office and purchased a city bus tour. (250 ARS or about $17.00 CAD). I love the bits of information you get as you drive past. Unfortunately, I sat on the right side of the bus, and some of the most interesting things were on the left. Like “Devil’s Lake” – the only lake in the town. It got its name because in the winter, the local animals would go missing whenever the wandered near the lake. Given a little bit of common sense, perhaps the lake froze and the animals wandered onto some thin ice?

I was impressed by the large stock of government housing in Ushuaia. Even more impressed to see they are constructing some new properties. Sorry for the woman’s head in the way.

Our bus let us off at this spot so we can get some pictures.

Obviously someone’s beloved pet, this dog became immediate friends with one of the tourists, and enjoyed several minutes of fetch.

My final picture is dedicated to my friend Jason. One day he’ll make it to Fin del Mundo, and when he does, he shall dine on crabs.

Apparently THE place to get crab. Sorry, but you’ll have to find out for yourself – I don’t eat seafood.

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