December 22, 2012 GMT
Ushuaia

Blog Backtracking...... our time in Ushuaia before we leave for Antarctica.

We are pretty excited to be in Ushuaia, we have heard so much about this place from our fellow motorcycling friends over the years. We find the Freestyle Hostel with no problems, secure parking out the back after negotiating a building site, throw our gear into the room, for tonight we have to share a dorm room with two Italian ladies but tomorrow we get to move into our own private room. We then head out for a king crab empanada and Quilmes beer. The Hostel is a busy place with many nationalities coming and going. We spend the rest of the day sussing out down town Ushuaia, finding the supermarket, before heading back to the hostel for a few drinks and managing to cook dinner in the hostel kitchen.


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View from Hostel


The following day we move into our new room and spend the day chilling out in the upstairs lounge of the hostel, trying to catch up on emails and blogs. We also hunt and gather and discover that empanadas and BBQ sauce go really well together, that evening we fight for a space in the zoo like kitchen, it is a mele. I also share a few gin and tonics with an older Italian lady and proceed to have a 2 hour chat, me in English and her in Italian, surprisingly I think we understood nearly everything that was said. Skill had to intervene a few times with google translator, but I think it was the G & T s that really did the trick.

While the hostel is fine, in fact it is great, we are here for another 10 days and we don't fancy having to stay here and battle for space in the kitchen all that time, so we ride out to Rio Pipo the overland motorcyclists campsite of choice but there is not a sole around and it is bleak. We then go to the tourist office and later look on line at our cheaper cabana options. After that we go for a ride and suss them all out, we finally chance upon Ona Shin Cabanas owned by Mariano and Nancy, little did we know how lucky we were. This little oasis proved to be our home away from home, and Mariano, Nancy and their gorgeous cleaning lady (whose name we never got) could not have been more helpful.

That evening we tried to go to a family run Chilean seafood restaurant (yes I know we are in Argentina) for dinner but were told we would have to reserva, so reserva we did. Oh well Pizza it is instead. We return to the hostel after a fantastic calzone, it is midnight, we are finally getting into the swing of eating late.

The following day we spend all morning trying to find somewhere to do an oil change, in the end Skill gives up and buys some oil, he then heads out to the supermarket to buy a bucket or bowl to drain the old oil into. He returns quickly, very chuffed with himself, he has found some old water bottles in a bin that should do the job.


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Skill happy with his bin find


A speedy oil change ensues at the back of the Hostel. After several goes at trying to find a proper place to dispose of the oil and being told to just put it in the bin, we regretfully do.


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Oil Change at the back of the Hostel


We head to Chkos restaurant where we enjoy a sumptuous king crab dinner and watch the sunset over the Andes at 10.30 pm.


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Phone photo Skill at Chkos Retaurant


On Saturday we get ourselves and the bike packed and at midday we move to our beautiful little Swiss style cabana, it is a glorious day, we settle ourselves in then head off to the Carefour supermarket to shop, the top box is absolutely chock a block. It is so nice to have our own space, our own kitchen and our own fridge. The first thing I do is fill the ice cube trays, yay finally G & Ts with ice. It is such a beautiful day we proceed to sit in the sun and have a few wines. Our life is pretty much perfecto.


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Skill drinking red wine outside our Cabana


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Our red wine of choice costs less than $2.00 AUD


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View from our bedroom window


To be honest our time in Ushuaia goes quickly, people say what did you do for nearly two weeks, in a word not too much we seem to be very good at filling our days with doing very little. We wander down into the town each day (it is about a 20 minute walk), walk around the harbour watching the myriad of cruise boats come and go.


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Boats in the Harbour


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Lan and Skill at the Harbour


Then hunt and gather at the supermarkets on the way home.


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Going to the Supermarket


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Coming home from the Supermarket


One morning a couple of days after we move into the Cabana I wake up and look out the window (I can see the mountains without lifting my head off the pillow) to see that we have had a considerable snow fall over night. After breakfast we wander into town in the sleet and snow.


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We have had a fair amount of snow overnight


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Coming home from the Supermarket after the snowfall (Compare this to a couple of photos above to see how much snow we had)


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A cold and windy day in Ushuaia

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Down town Ushuaia, the weather is cold.


From then on in the weather takes a turn for the worse and most days we have rain, sleet or snow, sometimes a combination of all three, and there is always the wind ranging from a gentle breeze to gusty cyclonic conditions. I am so glad we didn't camp.

On one day we head to the Museo Maratimo which is located in an old prision that held up to 700 inmates in 380 small, cold cells. Many of Ushuaia's first non indigenous inhabitants were convicts. Many similarities with Port Arthur. This prison was not the original and housed criminals and political dissidents up until the 1950s. (I think) The museum was a hotchpotch of Ushuaia's history but interesting none the less.


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Lan talking to some pretty notorious inmates


After nearly two months of Argentinian food we are hanging out for something with a few more vegetables in it. On one occasion it takes us three days and three supermarkets to hunt down enough ingredients to make Burritos (couldn't find flat bread had to make do with pocket bread) but we are eventually successful, even finding plain natural yoghurt is a challenge.


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Yay Burritos for tea


One day while out having our daily hot chocolate at Laguna Negra -our cafe of choice- Skill spies this notice in the window.


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Motorcyle Rally Poster


When we get back to the cabana he does a bit of a search and emails the organiser (with the help of google translator) who insists that we must join them at the meeting which will be held at the airport. The weekend of the rally arrives (we are still in two minds as to whether we should go) and we decide we will go for a quiet ride out to the National Park, we must pass at least 100 bikes on our way out, and when we return to refuel at the YPF service station two local motorcyclists accost us and insist that we must join them and show us the way to the meeting. We are pleased they did as we would have had a bit of trouble finding it as it was at the old airport.

We had a lovely weekend with these guys and although our Spanish is still hopeless and very little English was spoken we still felt very welcomed. We thank them for their hospitality. On the Saturday afternoon we had official photographs on the runway at the airport and then a police escorted ride through the streets of Ushuaia before parking up in the middle of town, there were probably about 200 bikes of all sizes, types, and makes. The riders aged from 4 to 80+. Later in the evening we venture back to the airport for an Asado dinner, slide shows and a local entertainer who was pretty damned good. We leave early at 1.00am.


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The ride onto the runway

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Lan and Skill at the motorcycle rally

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Bikes, bikes everywhere

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The bikes assemble on the runway

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Our Police Escorts

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We assemble in the main street


The next day we meet at 10.00 and it is off for more police escorted rides up to the glacier and then out into the surrounding countryside before another asado lunch. We decide we need to leave the meeting early so we can get back to the Cabana to sort out our gear and the bike before we leave for Antarctica tomorrow. We do eventually get ourselves sorted out and that night as I go to sleep listening to the rain on the roof and wind through the trees I wonder what we will do with ourselves till 4.00 pm tomorrow. Oh well I am sure we will think of something.

Posted by John Skillington at December 22, 2012 10:27 PM GMT
 
 

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