Week 8 – Fin del Mundo

As soon as we wrapped up the Tecnópolis part of our creation everybody went on holiday break: some flew back home to spend time with their families, some flew to Rio to spend some time on the beach and some went to other parts of Argentina. And us, we went to Patagonia: it would be a shame not to go, being so close to it. The only shame that stuck with me was the fact I did not bring Greengo with me, thus depriving him of seeing beautiful nature. However, as a consolation, I brought Julie on this adventure instead.

We started in Ushuaia-ya-ya as we were calling it. A peculiar city that ballooned from 10 000 habitants to 70 000 in a couple of decades thank to a tax free status for manufacturing companies and booming tourism. It turned out to be a badly planned expansion resulting in a pretty much charmless town. It has the title of being the End of the World.
Despite the town’s lack of charm, the surrounding areas are full of natural beauty.

As soon as we arrived we climbed to Glaciar Martial. The trail starts right in the city. We went as high as we could go and then some, at 900m above the sea level, which we could see down below. All the while, the weather was changing from cloudy to sunny to rainy to windy to heavy rain to sunny again.

The next day we took a boat to go to Isla Martillo, or Penguin Island as it known to tourists, located some 50 km along the Beagle Strait. On the way we saw colonies of sea lions and imperial shags, although we didn’t see them shagging. But the main attraction were the penguins. Only 80 people a day are allowed to visit the penguin colony and it has to be done by small groups of twenty people.

There is a big colony of Magellanic penguins and much smaller one of King penguins. You can come quite close to the birds, you even have to make sure not to step onto the nest with chicks in it. If it would be allowed one could pet them. Magellanic ones are small, about 50 cm high but the King penguins are close to 1 m. We spent around one hour and a half taking pictures right and left, and we weren’t even the craziest ones in terms of snapping photos.

We spent our last day hiking around Parque Nacional de Tiera del Fuego. The weather once again was all over the place but it didn’t prevent us from enjoying the nature in its unspoiled state. We hiked all the way to the Chilean border through the most amazing forest; it looked like it came out of a Tim Burton movie where anything can happen, anything…

Christmas Eve came and with it, Christmas dinner. We did our research, chose a well rated restaurant with amazing views on the Beagle strait but it ended up being pretty disappointing. Mind the price. Next year – no more such endeavors for Christmas.

Before our flight out we did a relatively short hike to Laguna Esmeralda. Although I enjoyed the view of the laguna, the hike was a mess, literally. The mud reached above my ankles and walking on marshes filled my shoes with water. I slipped a couple of times and so did Julie. We returned wet, dirty and tired.

This week in numbers:
364 – floors climbed, according to my Garmin device
102689 – steps, as the same Garmin thingy says
15429 – calories burned