Our last day in South America was supposed to have an early start. However all these late night dinners are messing with my early morning wake up and we didn’t hit the streets until after 8. A quick march through town, with a short stop for brekkie and we were at the ecological reserve.
I thought it would have a few more vistas than it did, but the cyclist and runners clearly enjoy it. By reputation it used to be a bit of a beat, but they now have security cameras around the place.
At the ocean side we saw the shore and it was a bit sad to see how much junk, plastic bottles and the like, washed up.
My most exciting sight was a tiny humming bird. No pictures as it didn’t hang round, but from tip to tail it was smaller than my thumb. Dark in colour and I have no idea what species, but oh so delicate and sweet. Also black bees, for which I had the wrong lens (2nd theme of this holiday is always having the wrong lens on for whatever presents itself. 1st world problems).
The best photo op was on the boardwalk outside the reserve where the red capped cardinals hang out. Truly stunning little birds.
Next was the Cabildo museum
where we jagged a English speaking guide who was just lovely.
The Cabildo building has changed its look, shape and size since it Was built in the 1700’s. It was originally Spanish colonial, then revamped to have Italian features when BA tried to become the Paris of South America. It had a tower, then no tower, then a bigger tower, and so on. Arches were removed from one side to make way for a new boulevard, and then from the other side for another street. Many contemporary buildings have been demolished so it was great to see this one, and the photographic history of its transformations over time.
We learned that the British tried to take BA twice, holding it for 6 days in 1806 I think. The locals put up arms and defeated them on both occasions.
The local government, junta, was established in 1810 as a self governing body within the rule of the Spanish King, and that all relates back to what Napoleon was doing back in Europe where he had invaded Spain a few years before. News traveled little slowly in those days.
A petition was presented by some of the high ranking citizens of the town to form a government that did not include the Spanish viceroy and that was debated and accepted on May 25 1810. Most citizens were illiterate and two of the petitions wrote above their signatures that they represents up to 600 others.
Independence came some years later following a civil war ending in July 1816. They will be celebrating their bicentenary this year. The original Argentina
did not include the indigenous territory in which Ushuaia now sits, or the regions where Iguazu Falls is.
Our guide was keen to tell us about one of the nine men of the new government had some pretty radical ideas including rights for women and slaves. Sadly I have forgotten the name so will have to do more research to figure out which one. Either way, there was concern around the place that women were openly discussing politics and that was something he encouraged.
Another devised the new flag, using the blue that was the colour representing the Spanish royal family.
A quick lunch then back to the hotel where we had arranged a late check out for 400 pesos. That meant a shower, clean traveling clothes and a short nap for Kingsley. We had a remise booked to the airport for 500 pesos plus, as it turned out, tolls of 72 pesos.
You can’t change Argentine pesos back to USD so the last remaining went on the worlds soggier the sandwich and a couple of drinks.
Checking in for our flight took ages as there were two open counters, one taken up by a family with five enormous bags, one large screen, three small children and a dog. I was just glad not to be them. One of the small children did a runner into a secured area and dad had to go racing off after him.
The other count had two Aussie guys and about ten bags and boxes. Clearly video or photographic gear of some sort.
Being us we were there with time to spare so we just chilled out and watched the entertainment.
We are flying LAN again and expected to get the traditional snack box containing 5 stale crackers, an soft lemon cream biscuit and a chocolate. I was going to take a picture as we are both thoroughly bored on the same snack on all of our internal flights during the trip. However we have just been served a bland cheese roll and a chocolate Bon Bon.
The flight to Chile is only two hours, then we waited until around until midnight for a longest leg of the trip home. At the Santiago airport we had the nicest feed we’d had in ages, a big dish of fresh guacamole, tomato salsa and corn chips. It was lovely to have some spice. Overall my experience of Argentine food, including ship side, was meh. We did find while eating out on our return to BA that cold rice, potato, peas and carrots is considered a salad, so I may have judged the food on the Ushuaia harshly by not knowing the local cuisine well enough. It’s a bit weird though.
Kingsley managed to attract a weird collection of neighbours on these flights. The first was a very nervous guy who clearly had some kind of travel induced OCD. He kept going taking things in and out of his bag.
The second was a Brazilian guy who after much maneuvering shrouded himself head to foot in the travel blanket provided tent style, went to sleep and didn’t emerge until the announcement about our descent came over the speakers. The downside of this was there was no way either of us were getting out to go to the toilet on that leg.
The third was very broad Maori man. He wasn’t odd, but between the two of then there wasn’t a lot of shoulder room on our set of seats.
I don’t know how many hours it took us form leaving the hotel in BA to arriving in Perth, but it was at least 24 and we lost a day in transit due to the direction of travel. All in all everything went smoothly. We managed to find the QANTAS shuttle between international and domestic terminals in Sydney which no meant lugging bags on trains.
Our experiences with LAN was very good throughout the trip. The in flight entertainment system on the flight from Santiago to Sydney (via Aukland) was the best we’ve seen on any airline. Instead of a pull down blind on the windows, you press a button and the window darkens. Very cool. The stop over in Aukland was bit of a pain, I’ll be making sure we travel direct if ever going that way again.
In the 16 hours since getting home Kingsley has had the leaf blower out to tidy the back yard and vacuumed the house, his usual way of acclimatizing. We managed to stay up until 7:30, after a dinner of 2 minute noodles, and slept nearly a full night so fingers and toes crossed we can limit the impact of jet lag.
The dogs we delivered home to us yesterday, and were only a bit excited to see us and much more interested in going for a sniff around the back yard. That’s a good thing I suppose, but everyone likes to think they will be missed. A bot of gate surgery to get us through until we get a new gate installed to prevent Sausage making any more visits to neighbours. We’ll be dropping off boxes of chocolates to some of her new friends over the next few days for us I think. So thankful there are both happy and healthy.