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A round the world trip in more than 80 days.

Why this blog ?

Our aim : travel and discover the world during 353 days and through some fifhteen countries. We are hoping that this blog will allow us to share the experience with our family and friends thanks to the posts and photos that we will be publishing and also thanks to their comments.

Currently ...

now. For the moment, we are gently readapting from nomadic to sedentary life.


Ushuaia : the end of the world (almost).

Finally we are heading for 'Tierra de fuego' (literally 'Land of Fire') and Ushuaia, eager to see with our very own eyes what the 'end of the world' (or as some Argentinians call it with Mediterranean-inherited sense of humour, the 'bottom of the world') looks like.

Being located at such a southern latitude, and taking into consideration the cold and snow that we have been suffering lately, it is hardly reasonable to expect Ushuaia to be a tropical paradise. But, what do you want? I am conditioned by the marketing of a French brand of soap that holds that name, and I can't avoid to associate, as Paulov's dogs with the bells, this name to a shower under a waterfall in the middle of a luxuriant rainforest (minus the mosquitoes).

With such subliminal expectations in mind, the return to reality was, not surprisingly, harsh : snow, hail and rain got the lion's part of the 3 days we stayed in town. Chilled to the bone as soon as we put a feet outdoors, no way was I going to look for a waterfall, and even less try a bath under it (there are enough 'Jackasses' already in the World). Once again, local people said it was not a normal weather for the season (after all, it is full spring here, it would be like getting snow by mid-may in Europe). At this rate, I am afraid they will end up spending the first snowy Christmas since the end of the Glacier Era.

The town is not particularly beautiful, but the scenery around it is quite pretty. It is bathed by the waters of the Beagle canal (one of the natural links between Atlantic and Pacific oceans) where a number of islets holding colonies of sea lions and cormorants, as well as a famous lighthouse, can be visited by boat. Then, against the back of the town raises a snowy mountain chain with its share of ski slopes. Except the trees populating the mountainsides, vegetation is mostly steppe-alike : lichens and bushes similar to those we saw in El Chaltén.

The town was founded in the last years of the 19th century, when the Argentinian government decided to install a prison in order to promote a colony in the area. The land was named 'Tierra de Fuego' by Magellan, because when he first sailed along these waters looking for a way to get to the Pacific, he could see fires burning in the coast. These were fires the Yamanas kept burning in their lodgings. These indigenous people, that had managed to survive the harsh weather conditions in perfect isolation for centuries and centuries (rather than putting on clothes they spread sea lion fat on their bodies to get insulation against the cold), went extinct on the 20th century, mainly due to illnesses brought along by the new colons.

Nowadays, Ushuaia has become a touristy center with a downtown filled of restaurants, shops and hotels. A walk along the seafront provided us with beautiful views, although now and then we were also gifted with the stench of sewers dumping directly onto the bay. Its main attraction is to be the most southern city in the World (further south there are only villages). Just in case you are the absent-minded kind there are signs everywhere to remind you of it.

It's true that for the small amount of 4000 dollars each, last-minute-super-cheap bargain, we could have left for a 10 day cruise to the Artarctic and get much closer to the South Pole. Only issue : after turning inside-out our pockets, we only managed to put together a few pesos. Since anyway we truly missed the good weather, we followed the original plan and left for Punta Arenas, in southern Chili, to wait wisely for our flight to Santiago.

We left Argentina therefore for the last time, but not without having found a rare specimen : a moroccan living there. He is a guy from Casablanca who 14 years ago found that there were not enough sheeps to shear in Morocco, and crossed the Atlantic looking for more.

As per our readings about Punta Arenas, we were not expecting to like it a lot. Maybe because of that we were nicely surprised. The town is not spectacular, but is has got quite a few nice buildings. But the best was that we found some very nice Chilean and French people at the hostel with whom we spent some time partying on Saturday night. And we did not sleep in just any hostel : ours happened to be owned and managed by ... Maradona's dentist's mother. Can you beat that?

We are finally on board of our flight for Santiago, where we hope the sun, or at least a decent temperature, will be waiting for us.