November 19th was our first day in Ushuaia, the southermost city in the world or the end of the earth (as they like to call it). And boy do they make a lot money out of that statement. The city is packed with tourist shops, restaurants… It was really exciting though, because all the cruise ships to Antactica leave from there. We had a wonderful breakfast in our charming hostel and at that point, something really intersting happened. We were just hanging out in the breakfast room, when our hostess asked us to sign the guest book. All of a sudden, a girl from my group started to stare at the only other guy there, that was not in our group. She came over and told us, that his name was Shackleton. I have to admit, I had heard of the name before, but couldn’t really say what Ernest Shackleton was famous for. But all the English and Irish girls certainly could. We finally asked him if he was a „famous Shackleton“ and indeed, he was related to the famous Ernest. His name was Jonathan Shackleton and even wrote a book about his ancestor called „Shackleton – An Irishman in Antarctica“ (which I know own of course). He was very friendly and told us great stories about his trips to South Georgia and Elephant Island. We very ready to board the next ship to Antarctica (but could not afford it…).
In the afternoon, we took a cruise to the Beagle Channel. Very cold, but great scenery and animals (sea lions). On a small island, we could take a walk, see very strange plants and sit in ancient gathering place of the native inhabitants (the Yamana). Most of them are dead by now. They could not adapt to the „white“ lifestyle. In the evening, we went to a wonderful restaurant, where I had one of the best meals in my life: lamb with ginger-lentils and a divine chocolate cake for dessert.
The next day (11/20), we took a bus to the National Park and did a memorable walking/ canoeing tour. The weather was very unpredictable. The sun shone one minute, and the next it was hailing. Canoeing was very hard and without my Australian mate I could not have done it. The current was very powerful and the wind was blowing away. We celebrated the end of the tour at the Irish Pub (yes, you heard right) in Ushuaia and some of us (not me) could not even get up the next morning. Didn’t really matter, because our flight to Buenos Aires was not until the evening.
Those of us who could went to the Glacier Martial (with a chairlift) and we just walked around a bit, saying good-bye to this beautiful and amazing stretch of land. Technically, my journey ended this day and on November 22nd I was going to fly out of Buenos Aires to Wisconsin (for Thanksgiving) and then back home, but there was one big hurdle to overcome before I would be sitting in my plane leaving Argentina…