Well folks, this is it. We have arrived in Ushuaia, the End of the World – and really, it looks like a cross between rural Alaska and a small town in Norway, with the chaos and architecture of Russia. The town is a clutter of reckless traffic and Antarctica-themed tourist shops, surrounded by bleak, snow-capped peaks, and a cluster of cruise ships. Tomorrow will be a city day – today we spent our time hiking in Tierra del Fuego National Park.
It’s almost worth going to Tierra del Fuego just so you can say the name as much as humanly possible, with an extra emphasis on the FUEGO. However, it was stunning, and about as far away from fuego as you can be. Our hike took us along a beautiful shoreline that we wanted to say looked like Norway – but couldn’t. The rocks lining the shore were swirling green serpentine, the vegetation unlike any we had seen before. The trees were ancient, twisting, moss-covered giants frequently decorated with peculiar orange fungi that resembled sponges. Beautifully feathered geese, young horses, curious foxes, and skittish rabbits accompanied us on our walk. Great, grey mountains loomed in the distant clouds, still partially covered in snow.
Tomorrow, we board our ship for Antarctica, and will be gone for a total of 20 days. To our surprise, we learned this evening that the internet service on the boat is incredibly expensive, basic, and only to be used under the most extreme of emergencies. Therefore, this will be my last blog post for quite some time, although I will keep a journal of the trip to upload later. Although “inconvenient”, I think it will actually be good for us to be isolated from the rest of the world for a little bit and loosen our dependence on constant communication. So, to all my readers (thanks for all the Freshly Pressed comments, by the way!!), have a wonderful Christmas, New Year, and whatever other holiday you may celebrate. I’ll write again when I’m back on shore.