What is the farthest you’ve ever been from home?
Ushuaia is a cute little town on the very southern tip of Argentina. It is the southernmost city in the world, and because of this, it has been dubbed “El Fin del Mundo” – “The End of the World.”
With the many cruise ships that come in and out of the harbor (many bound for the elusive Antarctica), it is understandably a tourist town. Plenty of restaurants can be found on the main strip – including a very familiar Hard Rock Cafe – and countless shops seek to entice visitors to buy decadent chocolates and penguin trinkets.
However, if you stay longer than a quick port stop, and if you wander beyond the main street, you might see another side to this sleepy town.
The city sits right on the foothills, making traversing the streets a workout up and down the steep hills. Many buildings appear somewhat raw and unfinished, obvious extensions almost haphazardly constructed upon old walls and storefronts.
Back yards are used for storage for parts, and totaled vehicles are simply left on the sides of the roads.
Though it’s a bit rough around the edges, Ushuaia has a quaint charm. Though not as elaborate as what we saw in Valparaiso, there was no shortage of street art, spanning historical, political, and whimsical themes.
And while dogs obviously dominated – barking from behind chainlink fences and randomly wandering into grocery stores – we were delighted to find a few friendly stray cats in the area.
Many days there were rainy, but some where absolutely beautiful, and even after our dad left us to return home, we enjoyed walking along the sunny waterfront to admire the many cruise ships while awaiting our own.
But excitement for Antarctica quickly turned to a panicked race to get back home when everything suddenly started to shut down. And pretty much overnight, we saw this friendly little city transform into a ghost town.
We were there for about two weeks – far longer than most visitors stay. And while it was delightful to visit while tourism was still in full swing, it became very lonely. Despite having been physically farther from our hometown, we never felt further than when the End of the World threatened to trap us.
We hope to return under better circumstances; next time we’re determined to reach the White Continent!
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