Hiking Tierra del Fuego National Park
We started the day with our complimentary buffet breakfast, which I will politely say was not the greatest, despite the variety of choices…ham, cheese, bacon, eggs, cereal, and lots of pastries. Somehow I ended up with lemon milk in my frosted flakes, and we were served our coffee after we finished breakfast, but that’s ok. We weren’t hoping for a culinary delight. Just something to fill our stomachs before we ventured to the national park.
While I had been practicing my Spanish upon arrival in Argentina, trying to figure out how take a taxi from the hotel to town where you find a bus at a certain intersection that takes you the southern most National Park in World in Spanish was going to be a little much if I misinterpreted anything, so I resorted to English at the hotel reception. It’s a good thing…there were lots of tour company buses that transported hikers to Tierra del Fuego National Park from a parking lot by a gas station. Originally, I thought we were trying to get public transportation!
For $100 pesos we boarded the van, left Ushuaia city limits, and bounced along the dirt road to the entry of the park where we paid an $85 peso entry fee. The driver took us along with several others who were vacationing in Ushuaia for a week (I’m not sure what they’ll do) to Bahia Ensenada, one of the stops in the park, where we began our 5 mile trek, along the Costera Trail.
It would have been a balmy 65 degrees had the wind not been blowing 25 miles per hour. We found the cover of the trees quickly! The path weaved in and out of the Lenga woods, along the breezy shores and through peat bogs. The ground was spotted with flowering orchids, and the views of Chile’s southern snowcapped Andes were extraordinary.
As we followed the trail, we spotted some people sitting on rock outcropping in the distance, and then realized they were giant birds! I’m beginning to wonder if brains turn off when visiting a foreign country…that was our laugh for the day!
At one of the beautiful vistas, we met a Canadian, Toni, who had been traveling eight months, and she was almost finished with her journey. She was hoping to book a last minute trip to Antarctica, so we will see if she is on our boat tomorrow. Otherwise she is headed to Carnival in Brazil before returning home and has already been to Tanzania, Ethiopia, Burma, and the Philippines to name a few!
We finished our hike at Lago Roca, snacked on an empanada, and waited for our transport back to town. While we waited, the Fuegan red fox came to visit around 3, probably because tourists feed them. They certainly didn’t look like they missed a meal!
Dinner in Ushuaia
Back at the hotel, we sat through an optional trip meeting. We probably should have opted out though as I’ve found I only pick up one piece of useful information, while listening to multiple ridiculous questions. The useful piece of info…There is a $28 peso departure tax required to leave Ushuaia. Because our lunch was so good yesterday, we decided to stay at the hotel for dinner. I ordered the king crab ravioli again, and Nicole joined me. It did not disappoint. We had the best waitress, Solange, both days! The restaurant was full of fellow soon to be ship mates…most of them above seventy, at least some Canadians, and a few Americans. I’m sure we will figure out the dynamics over the next 14 days.
We noticed a pair of couples that sat at the dinner table next to us, mostly because they wore matching shirts, but later one of the gentleman nonchalantly wandered through the restaurant, returned to the table, and promptly announced he knew what he was ordering. We decided we wanted to get to know them better…they looked like our type, not to mention, they brought down the average passenger age! We disembark tomorrow afternoon…until then! ETB