Monday, November 25, 2013

My Journey to the End of the World

(Trip Date: January, 2013)

Situated at the southern tip of South America, just a thousand kilometers away from the icy land of Antarctica, lies Ushuaia…also knows as The End of the World. Ushuaia is in the Patagonia region of Argentina, right along the Chilean border, and is known as the most southernmost city in the world. 

As we emerged from the small airport we were greeted by strong winds, sunny skies and giant, snowcapped mountains. We spent our first evening walking through the city, checking out the shops and enjoying some of the delicious seafood that Patagonia has to offer. The city is beautiful, situated right on the ocean, surrounded by mountains and crisp, fresh air. We were there during the southern hemisphere’s summertime, which meant long days, cool temparatures and unpredictable weather.

The next day was a day I had been waiting forever for…visiting the penguins! It was an hour long boat ride along the rough waters of the Beagle Channel and included a stop at Bird’s Island, where hundreds of penguin-look-a-like birds cover a giant rock shared with sea lions, plus a quick stop at the famous Les Eclaireurs Lighthouse. My excitement was overwhelming as our boat approached Penguin Island, coming to a halt as it reached land, and the penguins came waddling up to our boat to inspect the new visitors in their home. We went out onto the cold and insanely windy deck of our boat to enjoy the view of the penguins, taking photo after photo of the cute pudgy black and white creatures. Hundreds of penguins covered the island, rolling around the ground, diving into the frigid ocean and waddling around from group to group.  Two King Penguins stood in the distance watching us suspiciously and keeping an eye over their clan of adorable creatures. It was all I had imagined and more!

The next day we took a bus to Tierra del Fuego National Park and hiked through the forest. It was the first time I’ve ever done a hike in a lush forest wearing a coat, scarf and toque! Situated by a lake and surrounded by mountains, the scenery is stunning every way you turn your head. Through the maze of trees and along the sandy beaches we journeyed, enjoying the sites of the Patagonian forest and silence of the quiet land. There were many different types of plants, ones we had never seen before at our end of the world, accompanied by the sounds of new creatures mixed in with the roar of harsh winds.

Traveling to the End of the World was truly a unique experience. It’s a rare opportunity to venture across the hemispheres, through the harsh climates, and experience a land so foreign and far away.  With its rich history, rustic land, distinctive creatures, delicious seafood and stunning scenery, Ushuaia is a place I’m so thrilled to say I’ve visited and land I’ll never forget. 

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