Skip to content

Posts from the ‘Argentina’ Category

Giant Easter Egg and Mountain Bike Tour around Bariloche

For today I had a mountain bike tour planned. There were several bike rental shops in Bariloche but I chose the most convenient option which was hiring the bike directly from the hostel. Therefore, the bike wasn’t of the highest quality e.g. only one of the two brakes was actually working.

My first destination was the center of Bariloche. This town is said to be the chocolate capital of Argentina. There are numerous chocolate shops in town and you can enjoy strolling around and tasting the free samples they are giving away. Especially for Easter a massive Easter egg was build up in the central square of the town. I read 27 bakeries worked for two weeks to produce 4,000kg of chocolate to make this giant Easter egg. It’s 8.5m high, 5m wide and weights over four tons. The egg is so huge that it was expected to be certified by Guinness Records as the world’s largest.

Today is Easter Sunday and around 10am the big Easter egg will be broken up and distributed to the crowd. When I arrived at 10:30am this process was already under way. Two guys were standing on a small crane and using a hammer to break the egg into pieces. Everybody in the crowd was keen to get a piece and a long waiting line formed within minutes. Since I didn’t want to wait two hours or so just to get a piece of chocolate I decided to continue my mountain bike tour.

The weather was beautiful and sunny and I really enjoyed my ride along the lake. The terrain was a bit hilly and so I got a good exercise going up and down the many small hills. I covered maybe 25km on tarmac before I hit the dirt road. Riding a mountain bike on a busy street in South America was actually not bad at all. Everybody, with the exception of bus drivers, was driving very carefully and I felt save at all times. The dirt road was much more fun since there were significantly less cars and I could use the whole road for riding my bike.

The next stop was Colonia Suiza which is a tiny Swiss-style village. Every Sunday they have a small market here selling all kinds of Swiss specialties such as cheese or tortes. The village also features a brewery where you can sit in a beer garden and enjoy a cold beer.

On the way back I wanted to take a small circuit route but I somehow missed the road I should have taken for it. Instead I ended up on the larger circuit driving about 70-80km on that day. The route was very scenic leading me through forest and along the lake so time went by quickly.

I was back at the hostel in the late afternoon. Most of the other people were already back from their activities and chilling out in the living room type of area of the hostel. My British fellow travelers Mollie and Ian were playing chess against each other and Mollie won. Jurie, my fellow traveler from Japan, came back quite late. On the way back from the bus station to the hostel a guy tried to attack her. Luckily she managed to walk into an Italian restaurant and the owner of the place asked one of his guests to drive her home after dinner. These are actually the situations you need to be aware of that they may happen. When being far away from home you can be easily identified as a tourist and become a target for attacks. Therefore, you should be more careful and always keep in mind you should behave differently than back home.

For dinner the couple owning the hostel prepared a barbeque for us. It was served quit late around 10pm and many people were already starving at this point in time.


Kayaking in Bariloche

Today I wanted to go on a full day kayak tour on the lakes in the area of Bariloche. Unfortunately there wasn’t a full day tour offered since the wind in the morning was too strong. I also heard due to the strong wind people couldn’t go kayaking at all during the last five days. I used the free time to have a sleep-in which I really enjoy on non-travelling days like this.

Around 2pm I was picked up for my kayaking trip by the operator called Nobody else of my travel group wanted to join since many people were simply too exhausted from the activities of the last days and wanted to have some more relaxed time in the town. When arriving at the lake I met two couples from Venezuela, who are on a two week vacation in Argentina and will join me kayaking.

First you put on your funny outfit consisting of a life jacket and a neoprene type of thing avoiding water is splashing into your kayak and you getting wet. Then you grab your paddle and your partner, sit down in the kayak and here we go. I was kayaking with a local woman who was guiding us around the lake. It all remembered me on one of my first self-paid vacations in teenager age when I went on a two week canoeing vacation in the south of Finnland.

The wind in the afternoon wasn’t strong and so we had a gentle trip on the lake. We were paddling for a duration of approx. 3-4 hours which was a good exercise for my arms. About half way we stopped for afternoon tea and Argentinian style of cake containing lots of Dulce de Leche, a caramel type of sweet. I also used the time to chat with the guys from Venezuela. We talked about the route they are travelling in Argentina and their difficulties to change their local currency into US dollar. When they go and see a bank in their home country they only get a certain amount of US dollar for their travel which is 800 USD or so. This makes it a bit more complicated for them to travel since often it’s impossible for them to directly change their local currency into the one of the country they are travelling in.

In the evening I was again cooking in the hostel and chatting to the people surrounding me. My fellow travelers Jurie from Japan and Canning from Canada went horseback riding today and not just enjoyed the horses and landscape but also an all-you-can-eat lunch with unlimited wine.

Most of the other people have walked around in town. Bariloche is famous for its Swiss-style of architecture and for its chocolate. People who have been to town today told me they have seen more chocolate shops in one street as in no other place before. Some of them have also bought chocolate and let me sample it. The locals are even so crazy about their chocolate that they have built up a massive chocolate Easter egg in the middle of the central square which is supposed to be broken up and distributed on Easter Sunday.

Night Drive to Bariloche

It was a long night in the truck. Next to me was Sue-Ann a fellow traveler from Australia. The both of us watched a movie on my notebook until we got sleepy. I actually had a good sleep since I can more or less sleep anytime, anywhere and in any position. Sue-Ann had more difficulties to find the right sleeping position and ended up leaning on me which was quite cozy.

In the morning we stopped at a service station where everyone could buy hot coffee and any type of snack they desired. In addition my cooking group served yoghurt and fruit as soon as the truck was moving again. It was quite a long drive to Bariloche and so we continued driving until the early afternoon. For lunch we stopped at a less scenic spot right next to the road. Mollie, Diann and I prepared a selection of tuna salad and egg salad which people could have with their sandwich. The eggs were kind of suitable since it’s Easter Friday and there aren’t many other opportunities how we can celebrate Easter while being on an overland truck.

We arrived in Bariloche at 2pm and checked into our lovely Alaska Hostel which is situated 7.5 km out of town. The funny thing about Bariloche is that the town is very long and whenever you give directions you use the number of kilometers the place is away from the center of the town, e.g. the supermarket is at kilometer 8.5 or you can rent a bicycle at kilometer 19. You also have street signs which tell you exactly at which kilometer you are.

Staying in a hostel is always an experience since all hostels are different and reflect the enthusiasm the owners have put into it. The Alaska Hostel is owned by a young Argentinian couple who was very hospitable. After we arrived they provided us with maps of the region, information about the activities we can do during the next 2.5 days and showed us the special features of their hostel such as living room type of area with a TV and a movie selection. Another feature of the hostel was its large kitchen and instead of eating out in a restaurant I decided to cook my own dinner. I went to the next supermarket and bought ingredients to prepare a pasta dish. Staying in a hostel also requires participation such as washing your own dishes or putting the bed linen on and off your bed. You are also required to share a dorm style of room, furnished with bunk beds, with a number of other people. In this case I was sharing a room with eight other women. Most people wouldn’t like to share a room with people they are not related with since it takes a piece of their privacy away. This is true but on the other side you meet so many fascinating people which make me really enjoying it.

After dinner I took time to make some bookings for my future travel. I booked a flight from Beijing to Seoul returning to Xi’an for 332 EUR (432 USD). I also looked very hard to find the perfect ticket for my planned trips to Africa and South America. After trying different flight combinations and airlines I found the perfect one on the British Airways website. It’s one ticket containing nine flights: Duesseldorf to London to Nairobi, Victoria Falls to Johannesburg to London to Madrid to Lima, Panama City to Madrid to London to Duesseldorf. The total price of the ticket is 1,875 EUR (2,438 USD) which I find a very good deal for a ticket covering my travels in two continents. The main secret for finding such a cheap ticket is you try connecting over different cities. In my case I didn’t just try to connect over Frankfurt, the major German airport, but also via London, Amsterdam, Paris, Madrid etc. including the use of different airlines serving these airports. You also want to try different websites such as flight brokers or directly the website of the airline you want to fly with. While I was able to book the mentioned ticket directly on the British Airline website I wasn’t offered this ticket on flight broker websites.

The only ticket which I haven’t purchased so far is the one from Cartagena to Mexico City. The cheapest suitable ticket I could find for this connection was around 650 EUR (845 USD) and since the flight isn’t before November I hope with time I will find a cheaper one.

The Cave of the Hands

It was another early morning start since for the next two days we have planned a massive drive covering approx. 1,400km between El Calafate and Bariloche. Parts of the drive need to be done on dirt roads on which the speed we are travelling with is limited. This will even extend the time needed to travel between both places.

We basically drove all day. You more or less sit in the truck, look out of the window and see the world passing by. The Patagonian landscape is so amazing that some of us do nothing else but look out of the window the whole day. Others spend time sleeping, playing cards, talking to each other, reading or listen to music. During the extensive travel during the last days I have discovered some albums on my iPod I was rarely listen to in the past and now catch up on it. I also experience my life is slowing down a bit, even when I’m not in the same place for more than 1-3 nights. It’s more the feeling I don’t need to do something / work on something at all times but can just be and enjoy my life.

When stopping for lunch there was such a strong wind that all our food and cooking equipment was about to be blown away so we needed to drive a few more meters and park between bushes slowing down the wind. It’s really incredible how strong the wind is here in Patagonia and how quickly the weather can change. It may happen you experience all four seasons in one day: sun, wind, rain and snow. There is even a street sign existing warning vehicles of exposed areas with strong wind. The sign is yellow and shows a palm tree which is bent by the wind. Nobody knows why they have chosen a palm tree since there are actually no palm trees in Patagonia.

While having our lunch we noticed one of our tires getting flat and our driver / mechanic Ross spent some time to change the tire. Since we couldn’t really help him Jurie, my fellow traveler from Japan, and I went for a walk ahead of the truck to get picked up by it a few minutes later.

At 5:30pm we arrived at the “Cueva de las Manos” (in English “Cave of the Hands”), a UNESCO World Heritage Site we have planned to visit. There are hourly tours and we managed to get on the one at 6pm. During the tour we saw a large number of hands painted at the wall of the caves in the area. The paintings are actually negative images meaning the hand was put on the wall and the paint was sprayed over it leaving a negative image on the wall. Most of the hands are left hands and this is most likely because the people making the painting used their strong right hand for spraying the paint. The painted hands are kind of interesting to see but are nothing I personally would get too excited about.

Since the slower travel on the dirt road and issues with the tire during lunch time we were running late. After we finished the tour around 8pm it started to get dark and we neither had dinner yet nor were we at the destination we were planning to camp in tonight. Our leader Anki gave us two options: either we drive two more hours to our planned camp, spend the night there and continue travelling the next morning or we drive through the whole night directly into Bariloche. All of us decided for the last option and so we got ready for a long night in the truck.

Before continuing the drive, Mollie, Diann and I had to prepare dinner for everyone. We had already expected a long driving day and therefore had not planned anything fancy. We prepared ravioli with tomato sauce and the challenging part about it was one of the cookers running out of gas so we needed to improvise a bit and serve people in stages. Luckily, we had a number of people helping us so we could cook, eat and be back on the road as quick as possible.

The breathtaking Moreno Glacier

The Moreno Glacier is part of the Los Glaciares National Park which we already visited a few days ago from El Chaltén. Now we return for a second visit, this time from the El Calafate side. The Moreno Glacier is probably one of the most well-known glaciers in the world. First of all because it’s very much intact and it’s one of only three glaciers in Patagonia which is actually growing. Secondly the Moreno Glacier is quite large and it’s fascinating to observe its blue ice calving. And thirdly the glacier is very easy to access. While for most glaciers you need to go on a hike or cross a lake, here you can simply drive on a road right to the front of the glacier.

Our hostel had arranged a full-day trip to the glacier for us also including a local guide. It was an approx. two hour drive from El Calafate and we didn’t choose the main road but a smaller one which led us through beautiful landscape. Since it had snowed last night the mountains of the area were covered in snow which happens seldom at this time of the year. The mountains also had an interesting shape because they used to be glaciers many years ago and the moving ice has shaped their surface. On the way to the glacier we also stopped on a small farm where I fed fresh milk to the animals.

Shortly before the glacier we went on a small hike on the shore of the glacier lake. Unfortunately it was cloudy and raining so we couldn’t enjoy a nice view at the glacier but got wet instead. When we arrived at the glacier we had lunch in the restaurant right in front of the ice wall. In the meanwhile it stopped raining but the sun didn’t really want to come out.

After lunch we went for a walk along the different circuit routes which take you along the ice wall. We could admire the ice wall from different perspectives including the bottom and the top of it. It was also very fascinating to hear the booming sound of calving ice or actually see the ice falling down into the lake. In the later afternoon we went for a boat trip on the glacier lake where we again came very close to the ice wall. I found it quite breathtaking to be so close to such a massive ice field and experience how powerful nature actually is.

Unfortunately I also need to mention the area around the glacier is very touristy. You have a road leading directly to the glacier, a restaurant right in front of the ice wall and the circuit routes made out of metal walkways. In my eyes this destroys the atmosphere a lot and I would rather prefer hiking to the glacier than being dropped off right in front of the ice wall.

Back in El Calafate me and my cooking group needed to go shopping since we are up to prepare dinner tomorrow night and breakfast and lunch the following day. Unfortunately this ended-up again in a tiny conflict with Diann. She had the ideas to buy a special type of yoghurt for breakfast. I would have had no problem with this if the price of the yoghurt alone wouldn’t have been more than one-third of the budget we had for breakfast, lunch and dinner all together. However, this time I had the feeling Diann understood my concerns since she didn’t walked off as last time but continued shopping with us.

Stormy Night and Glaciarium in El Calafate

I will never forget last night. The wind down here in Patagonia can be very strong. Last night we camped in an area which wasn’t really protected thus there were no large bushes or trees which could have slowed down the speed of the wind. In the middle of the night a storm came up which had such a power that some picks of my tent got pulled out by it. I needed to get up maybe 5-6 times in the middle of the night to put the picks back in. I also put stones on top of the picks hoping the additional weight would avoid the wind to pull them out easily but unfortunately it had little effect.

When I woke up in the morning parts of the tent were again fallen down on me. It wasn’t really a pleasure to get up in the dark with lots of wind and the risk everything simply gets blown away when I remove my body weight from the tent. And this is actually what happened. I opened the tent which due to the wind was sticking very close to my body and as soon as I got my mattress out it got blown away. Unfortunately I couldn’t run after it since this would have resulted in my tent and sleeping bag getting blown away as well. Diann, a fellow traveler from Australia, saw my challenge and came to help me packing my tent and sleeping bag. I couldn’t really do so since the bag, I store the covers for my tent, mattress and sleeping bag in, was blown away too. This must have happened earlier since I usually keep it between the flysheet of the tent and the inner tent so the wind must have blown it away from there.

I started to get frustrated about the situation and just crabbed my tent and sleeping bag and put it loosely on a seat in the truck. Then I went out again to look for my mattress, the covers and the bag holding them. A handful of people helped me searching and luckily we found everything in the small bushes except for the bag which was the smallest loss. This saved my day since it would have been a real kerfuffle to have no covers anymore to keep my camping gear and to sleep on the cold ground without the soft and isolating layer of a mattress.

Due to the strong wind we couldn’t prepare and eat breakfast outside why we cancelled it and just hopped onto the truck and started driving. Later on we stopped at a service station where everybody could fill their belly with a hot coffee and a sandwich.

The remaining drive to El Calafate wasn’t too long. We arrived around 2pm and had the afternoon to do whatever we like. I wanted to go and see the brand-new Glaciarium since the Lonely Planet was recommending it. The Glaciarium is a museum specialized in glaciers and I wanted to learn more about this natural wonder since we saw a few glaciers here in Patagonia. My fellow travelers Jurie from Japan and Canning from Canada joined me.  We needed to drive there by taxi since for whatever reason the museum is situated outside of town in the middle of nowhere.

The building of the museum had an interesting shape symbolizing ice blocks of a glacier. Also from the inside the museum had lots to offer. It was very well structured and had many interactive components. One of the highlights was a 3D movie especially featuring the Moreno Glacier this area is known for.

Another special feature of the museum was an ice bar. For an additional entrance fee you could spent 20min in the bar and consume as much booze as you like. Before going into the bar you had to put on a special silver coat to protect your body from the cold and gloves so you are able to hold the drinking glasses which are carved out of ice. Also the whole interior of the bar was carved out of ice and you had ice tables, ice sofas and the ice bar itself. The atmosphere in the bar wasn’t frozen since people had quite some booze and enjoyed the loud dance music and the ice walls shining in all kinds of colors.

Back in town Jurie, Canning and I went to a Barbeque place and sampled some Patagonian lamb. Although I don’t really like lamb I gave it a try and it was actually quite nice without the strong taste other types of lamb usually have.

Back on the Way up North

It’s time to say good-bye to Ushuaia. After experiencing the end of the world we drive north again towards El Calafate. In order to go there we needed to leave Argentina, cross a part of Chile and enter Argentina again, all in one day. So the day was mainly about driving and crossing boarders.

Crossing into Chile was the same procedure as last time. We first had to see immigrations to get stamped into the country and then customs. Especially the customs officers take their job very serious since we again needed to get our whole truck inspected for fresh food and wood products. In addition our whole luggage got x-rayed and we needed to show the customs officers those products we are not sure about to find out if they are actually fine, need to be declared or get confiscated. The whole procedure took approx. 60 to 90min time.

While driving through Chile we again needed to cross the Strait of Magellan which is separating the South American mainland from the Tierra del Fuego. We needed to wait a few minutes for the ferry boat to arrive and Stuart, my fellow traveler from the UK, went for a walk along the shore of the channel. When moving the truck for about 500m to get to the place where we actually board the boat we drove by him and he thought we forgot him and might leave him behind. This made him hurrying up a lot to not miss the truck and the boat.

The crossing of the channel itself took 30min. The channel is quite wide and considered the most important natural waterway between the Atlantic and the Pacific Ocean. When we crossed the channel a couple of days ago the ferry was very crowded with all kinds of vehicles but this time we were the only big truck on the boat.

After driving for a while we crossed again the border into Argentina. Then we drove until it started to get dark and set up our camp next to a place which seemed to be a natural attraction. There were a number of cars parked and people looked at a crater filled with water which honestly wasn’t too exciting.

Today’s cooking group, consisting of Stuart and Kim, had a special challenge since due to the border crossing into Chile they weren’t allowed to buy any fresh food products since they would have been confiscated at the border. Given the special circumstances they did very well and prepared some lovely pasta with tined tomatoes and other types of tined vegetables.

Boat Cruise and Light Plane Flight over the Beagle Channel

In the morning some of us went down to the harbor for a boat cruise in the Beagle Channel. The cruise lasted approx. 4-5 hours and took us to some islands with marine life and to the lighthouse of Ushuaia.

After boarding we enjoyed a complimentary coffee or tea and I had an apple pie with it. As the boat started to move we had a beautiful view at Ushuaia and the mountains in the background. Ushuaia is really a scenic spot but also very far away from any kind of big city and modern life. Quite a number of people living in Ushuaia are actually not from the area but came here for business. You can see this in the cities architecture since there is a large variety of different house styles.

The first stops of our cruise were some small islands covered with cormorants and sea lions. From a distance cormorants look very much like penguins and since I’m not an expert in marine life they could have easily sold me the cormorants as penguin colony. Sometimes there were so many of them that it was hard to see the island underneath their feet. I would probably go crazy if I would need to spend my life on such a small island with hundreds of other people around me. Probably these birds are much more social than I am.

Next was another small island with Ushuaia’s lighthouse on it. It looks very cute and probably due to modern technology it’s not really used anymore and kept as tourist attraction. From here it was a 1.5 hour ride to another island which is home to a colony of the Magellanic Penguins. I saw many of this type of penguins before why I wasn’t too excited. What I really want to see are King Penguins because they can get quite large and have an interesting yellow color on their head and neck. I would like to stand right next to a colony of them and feel overwhelmed by their size and beauty. But I learned for seeing them I better travel to sub-antarctic islands such as South Georgia which is mostly included in trips to Antarctica.

When we were back from the boat cruise, my fellow travelers Jurie from Japan, Sue-Ann from Australia and I went for lunch in town. Afterwards we took a taxi to the aeronautics club of Ushuaia who offers light plane flights over the Beagle Channel. It was really a small plane with only four seats, one for the captain and three for us ladies. The flight took half an hour and had a fair price of 80 USD. We had wonderful views of the channel, the mountains and the Tierra del Fuego National Park. Our captain was briefly explaining the area to us and pointed out specific points of interest such as the passage which the smaller boats to Antarctica are taking.

Back in town we ran into a special exhibition regarding the Falklands War in 1982. Tomorrow will be its 30th anniversary and the Argentine president will come to Ushuaia. The Falkland Islands are actually British Oversea Territory but Argentina is still claiming them. Especially in the Tierra del Fuego you can find many signs stating “Las Malvinas son Argentinas” (“The Malvinas are Argentine”). Also British travelers sometimes notice they are not really welcome in this part of the world. Some immigration officers stamp their passport in the middle of the page to use as much space as possible which they don’t do with passports of other nationalities or people approach them saying “Go Home”.

On the way back to the hostel I saw a stand selling Frankfurt type of sausages. As a German I simply needed to try them. They were kind of small, had an interesting fatty taste and were covered with spicy salad. Not really a delight.

Last but not least it was April Fools’ Day and I was playing jokes with some of my fellow travelers. At breakfast I made some of them believe I heard from people, trying yesterday to go on the same boat cruise as we were planning, the engine of the boat blew up and the cruise got cancelled, same as ours today. I told others they will need to leave our truck in Santiago and continue to travel with another truck which is less comfortable than ours. Funnily, with the exception of one guy, everybody believed my jokes.

The End of the World

There is a song by R.E.M. called “This is the End of the World as we know it” but where actually is the end of the world? Since a few decades we know the world isn’t flat and there is no edge you can jump off. So the end of the world is more or less a term to describe a place which is far off from everything else. This is true for Ushuaia which is also called “fin del mundo” (end of the world). And here I am. I travelled all around the world until I reached it, the end of the world.

I met with Jurie, my Japanese fellow traveler, for breakfast. Our hostel provides all ingredients for a good breakfast but you need to prepare it yourself in the kitchen and wash your dishes afterwards. While Jurie was turning the raw eggs provided into scrambled eggs, I took the oranges and squeezed fresh juice out of them. I never have been in a hostel where I needed to prepare breakfast to this extend but I really like the idea. Preparing your own food saves money which the hostel can use to provide better ingredients than it’s usually the case. In comparison most hostels have either no breakfast included or only a very basic one like toast and jam.

After breakfast Jurie and I went to see the El Martial Glacier. The glacier is right out of town and it only took us 15min by taxi to go there. When we arrived around 9am the chairlift to go up the first meters was not yet running and instead of waiting we spontaneously decided to walk up. It actually took us only half an hour to cover the distance of the chairlift since the terrain wasn’t very steep. Up on the mountain we had a wonderful view of Ushuaia or better to say we couldn’t really see the city but an impressive big cloud covering it. Also fascinating were the trees in their red, yellow and green color. Even in German autumn you are unable to admire such a blaze of color as you find it here.

We continued our hike up towards the glacier. It was steeper now and we walked as far as we could walk in hiking boots without the use of crampons. The glacier itself was less fascinating compared to what we saw last in the Los Glaciares National Park but it’s definitely worth coming up here.

We were back in town at lunch time and walked around in the center and in the harbor area. The center of the town is kind of touristy since Ushuaia is the main port for cruise ships going to Antarctica. There are numerous outdoor and souvenir shops as well as restaurants. It’s a dream of mine to go to Antarctica one day and I’m sure it will come true. For lunch we fancied some Sushi but unfortunately the Japanese restaurant was closed and so we shared a pizza instead.

In the afternoon more or less everyone from our travel group left for a visit of the Tierra del Fuego National Park. It has not only beautiful scenery but also a few sights to offer. One of them is the End of the World Train which goes around the national park and is considered to be the southernmost railway in the world. After we visited a station of the train we continued to a tiny post office in the park where you could send your mail with a “fin del mundo” stamp on it. Here I also got my passport stamped to document I have reached the end of the world.

Still in the park we went for a walk along the shore of the Roca Lake and visited the parks museum where we learned a lot about the local flora, fauna and the native inhabitants of the Tierra del Fuego (“Land of Fire”). We also tried to spot some beavers but all we could observe were their movements in the water. Beavers are actually a plague in the park and we saw a number of areas where they have destroyed the forest. Lastly, we went to the end of the Pan-American Highway which connects Alaska with the Tierra del Fuego, a distance of 17,848 km.

When we ended the tour our local guide told me in private I look a bit like Uma Thurman and he wants to go out for a drink with me tonight. Since I had enough local cultural experience with Pedro in Brasilia during the last weeks I didn’t join him.


Crossing the Strait of Magellan

We were supposed to leave at 7am since it’s an approx. 500km drive from our bush camp to Ushuaia. We also have to cross the border going from Chile into Argentina again which can take a while. Some people in our travel group seem to be early birds and even get up two hours or so before the scheduled departure to do whatever. As soon as they start to make some noise, like putting down their tents, my night is over as well. When I got up around 6:30am it was 12 degree which is not too cold for sleeping in a tent. Personally, I find camping in high altitude much more uncomfortable.

Breakfast was a truck breakfast again, meaning we were eating while being on the road in order to save time. Today’s cooking group served some yoghurt and bananas. The special feature of the bananas were little texts on them like “The WiFi password is: Banana” or “You have a nice bush” which we all enjoyed.

After driving for 30 minutes we arrived at the Strait of Magellan which is separating the Argentinian mainland from Tierra del Fuego (“Land of Fire”). Interestingly, Argentina mainland is not connected to Tierra del Fuego and when you want to travel there overland you have to cross Chile. The Magellan Strait is approx. 500km long and named by the explorer Magellan who was the first one successfully driving through the passage and ending up in the Pacific Ocean.

Luckily we were one of the first ones lining up for the first ferry boat crossing the Magellan Straits at 8am. The ride was approx. 30min and while hanging out on deck I met a Chilean business man who is in the tire business and had a quick chat with him.

We stopped for lunch half a kilometer before the border in San Sebastian. We had to consume all fresh food such as vegetables, fruit and meat because it’s not allowed to take it into Argentina and we didn’t want to end up in trouble in case they inspect our truck. Since it started to rain, the cooking group prepared all sandwiches for us in the truck while we were chilling out in a little café close by. The café had a very unique atmosphere since it was decorated with local antiques. One of them was an old gas lamp which was not just illuminating the room but also heating it up a bit.

We arrived in Ushuaia around 6pm. We will stay here for three nights with six people sharing a room in a local hostel.