Viking Cruise: Ushuaia, The Southernmost City in the World

We spent the past 2 days here in Ushuaia, Argentina, in Tierra del Fuego (land of fire), the southernmost city in the world.

It reminds me of Alaska or Norway only upside down 🙂 There is lots of water all around. It sits on the Beagle Channel (named after Charles Darwin’s ship) just north of Cape Horn, the Straits of Magellan (1st man to circumnavigate the world), and Drake’s Passage. We are about 600 miles from Antarctica, with nothing between here and there besides the S. Atlantic.

It is a bigger city than I imagined, with nearly the same population as Erie—over 100,000, although 40 years ago only 5,000 people called this place home.

It actually started as a prison colony—a place where you would ship the worst of the worst and put them in a prison where, even if you could escape, there would be nowhere to go.

It is cold here most of the year, but luckily we are in late spring here so it stays light til 10pm and when I wake up (still get up @ 4:30 each day) it is already daylight. Midnight sun sort of thing.

We took a raft and a long hike through Tierra del Fuego National Park, which was absolutely beautiful.  Different than forests we have. For one thing, the trees are not as big (short growing season and very cold, dark winters).  Not many bugs or insects of any kind (again, too short a season). No ants. So all the trees that fall (strong winds knock them down) they don’t decompose and can lay there for 50 years or more. So, that is a bit strange looking.

But the park is beautiful

This is where we rafted.

And this was our rafting group. This is actually the end of the “highway” that goes all the way down North and South America from Alaska, which is 17,500 km away.

The hike was about 6 miles long and was much more than a simple “walk in the park”.

When we got back to the city, Hallie and I went to an Ice Bar, where she was attacked by the bouncer. (Big, ugly guy)

He didn’t scare me at all though.

And the owner then made me an honorary bouncer and put my pic on his Facebook page.

(Actually that’s just a good hair day for me 😀)

Tomorrow we go out to see sea lions and penguins in the Beagle Channel before heading onward around the Southern Tip of the world to the fjords of Chile and the Pacific Ocean.

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