Ushuaia claims to be the most southernly city in the world…. right at the tip of the American continent facing across the Beagle Channel towards Antarctica, it feels like you’re at the end of the world (which you pretty much are). Especially when the rain is falling and the wind doesn’t just whip around you, but bites through your layers and goes straight through you. It’s an exciting place
, and I loved it there.
The mountains surround the city all with snow glistening in the sunshine (when it comes out), and you find yourself wondering which ships are heading to the Great South, where have the others come from, and why you suddenly have this obsession with penguins and Antarctic explorers… it almost seems that if you wish and hope and look hard enough, you can convince yourself that you can even see the floating icebergs in the distance… just over the horizon. The most southern city, whilst cold, is very hospitable, and I even found myself embracing the ever changing weather – the wind induced feelings of excitement and life, the sun was brilliant and made the Beagle Channel still and reflective, the snow peaked mountains shimmering under the reflections of the various boats – yachts, container ships, cruises, scientific boats, little yellow dingys, fishing vessels, and those about to embark on adventures to Antarctica or the Falklands.
Even shipwrecked Saint Christopher is anchored in the harbour.
There isn’t a lot to do in the actual town, it’s the surrounds that really attracted me. But if you find yourself with a day or two in the city, I’d suggest visiting one of the many museums. The most popular seemed to be the Prison Museum combined with Marintine history. It was huge. Set up inside the old prison, full of stories of criminals, prison life in this isolated place, how the town was built, and stories of adventure, exploration, success and failures to Antarctica and circumnavigating the globe, and even some information on the wildlife found in Patagonia and Antarctica. It was massive, containing two hallways of art, the other three double storey hallways were full of exhibitions and information. Worth a visit, and the ticket lasts 48 hours – so why not break it up over two days?
After a few hours of being cooped up in tiny prison cells, it was time to break free! Into the wilderness for the afternoon at quiet and fairy-like Playa Larga Reserve. It’s easy and cheap to get a taxi out here, walk along the track and look out for tiny pumas!
We sat on top of the hill and soaked in the sunshine, (me and my new friends; Sophie and Julian), watching ships go past and the clouds lifting behind the city, revealing the mountains in all their glory!
We hitch hiked back into town and made plans to meet the next day for the next adventure…
It felt cosy and Christmassy somehow, all tucked up in bed, the rain falling on the roof of my hostel, and the twinkling lights of the city illuminating the water and the snowy mountains behind. I think I like it here.