Saturday, June 30, 2012

Argentina: Ushuaia

“Ushuaia es muy feo - Ushuaia is very ugly” – I recall a local from El Calafate saying. Ushuaia, our final stop before making our way back north (homeward bound), is the capital of Tierra del Fuego and regarded as the southernmost city in the world. (wikipedia)

In winter, it's looks may not flatter or scintillate. Cute baby penguins are long gone, no more ferry trips to Antarctica…it’s harbor, commercial and cluttered with unglamorous containers, the overpriced and tourist-hyped downtown area along Avenida San Martín and yet...

Mountains around you.
Water before you.
Feet planted firmly on snow.

Who am I to be standing here at this moment?

Ushuaia glistens in my eyes - not so much as a place, but a vision of possibilities, how far we can go when inspired...

With shining eyes,

ps for more pics, checkout C-man's blog


Can you just breathe in that fresh morning mountain air?? View of "downtown" Ushuaia from the apartment window...

Our Mitsubishi 4X4 aka Boris

The sunny side of the harbor...

Ready for walkies??

Do not eat the yellow snow!

Biela the snow fox mama

Purple tree mist

A beautiful day in the neighborhood.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

On the Go: El Calafate - Rio Gallegos - Ushuaia

Final stop - Ushuaia, Fin del Mundo - the end of the world. 2 days, 17 hrs, 880 km (541 mi). On the way, 2.5hr wait for gas, ferry crossing over the Magellan Strait, gravel roads, sunset in Tierra del Fuego, total of 4 border crossings Argentina - Chile - Argentina, fat snow flakes, icy bridge @ Punta Justicia, mind blowing, ultra violet rays over Tolhuin, the Garibaldi pass...finally, the sweetest reward as our eyes gazed on the christmas lights over Ushuaia @ midnight.

Still doing back flips folks! So, so amazed, humbled, grateful. We had no idea we could go so far.

Enjoy the photos.


ITN: Day 1 El Calafate - Rio Gallegos (RN 40 / RN 3). Day 2 Rio Gallegos - Ushuaia. RN 3 (Argentina) RN 257 and Y9 (Chile). Ferry @ Punta Delgada, 110 km gravel road to Rio Grande. Snow in mountain pass before Ushuaia. (phew!)

A sign leaving El Calafate on Ruta 40...

v for veni or vidi or...?!

Next day AM, leaving Rio Gallegos...the madness begins. Welcome to gas shortage! At the only Police controlled gas station (the first time I am happy to see an Exxon), we wait 2.5hrs to fill up. We also beg the pump man to fill a 20 L jerrycan as backup, plus our spare gas tank. Not wanting our missing bodies found like popsicles somewhere in Tierra del Fuego, we come prepared.

On the road, 1 hr later, first border crossing - bye bye Argentina (at least for a several hours)...

Hellooo Chile, we meet again!

nice to be back in Chile :)
if there was a beauty contest for guanacos - she'd win!

Ferry crossing @ Punta Delgada...

just beyond is tierra del fuego...the "land of fire"

Crossing the Strait of Magellan

20 mins later...

Gravel roads for another 110km

did i mention it was a little bumpy?

Freezing fingers off figuring how this jerrycan contraption works. We rig a plastic bottle as a funnel to pour the nuclear "green" gasoline into the tank. (C-man is sorta shouting right now that I'm pulling a paparazzi move - my bad).

after the last of the honey, temperatures begin to drop drastically 
even wombers is feelin a little chilly
wintry tierra del fuego magic

Final border crossing, out of Chile (bye bye), back into Argentina @ San Sebastian (howdy do), we see the first fat droplets of snow pouring down like rice on a wedding day.

Approaching Tolhuin, the night sky turns into deep shades of violet crimson. The name Tierra del Fuego refers to the ubiquitous beach fires Magellan saw the natives build as means of cooking and keeping warm, yet I wonder if this night phenomenan is truly the reason for its name...

under cloak of night, the violets burn red hot
finally ushuaia @ midnight - body is drained, but the soul's doin back flips

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Nothing Can Cure the Soul

"Nothing can cure the soul but the senses, just as nothing can cure the senses but the soul." - Oscar Wilde (Portrait of Dorian Gray)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Argentina: El Calafate

3pm - El Calafate in winter...

Perito Moreno Glacier

The day we arrive in El Calafate, Manuel the owner of the cabin, informs us that tomorrow is the last day to see the Perito Moreno glacier, then it is closed for the winter until August. Cedric and I look at each other - our jaws dropping to our socks. Talk about synchronicity!

The full day excursion (7:30-5pm) at the glaciers leaves us completely awe struck - "this is the last day!!!" we seem to be saying every 5 minutes like 2 crazed teenagers. "This is awesome!" From the crimson red sunrise, the cobalt blue majesty of Perito Moreno, the boat ride, the mini trek on the actual glacier itself - the day beautifies and inspires our souls. This is a lifetime experience we will never forget.

Enjoy the photos chicos!

first rays of sun around 10ish
first sight of perito moreno 11ish
perito moreno glacier

culpeo fox

crampon style

guide slash bartender
whiskey + 500 yr old glacier water - salud!


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