The beautiful views El Calafate gave to me were more than a gift, every new place and person I met were reminders of how great the world can be when one feels free and happy. That was the purpose of this journey, and I knew it was about to get better. Is not that I wanted to say goodbye to El Calafate, but just thinking of finally stepping on the End of the World was too exciting to postpone it!
Arriving to the Argentinian End of the World is as difficult as you can think. You have to go to Río Gallegos (the scary ghost town I wrote about in my second post!) then get on a bus, enter Chile, cross the “Estrecho de Magallanes” by ferry, enter Argentina, and then, you are there. It was a long, long trip, only enlightened by the sympathy and politeness of the Captain of the ferry.
Minutes after leaving the bus and walking around the ferry, I was freezing and not enjoying the navigation part of the trip. So, the second official García came to say hi and invite me to the bridge, where the wind could not freeze me. I went up, met the Captain and the rest of my ferry trip was awesome, listening to his sailing stories, singing old Chilean songs I learned with my dad, and taking pictures of all the tools and instruments I could. It was a whole new place for me!
Back in the bus, I still had some time to be warm before arriving to my destination. The plan was to walk around and see the city, if late-winter snow let me. Ushuaia is a town of less than 100.000 inhabitants, with lots of small museums and squares, colorful flowers, a beautiful bay and the nicest people I’ve ever met.
A French guy I met at Puerto Madryn, Clement, offered to make a reservation for me at the hostel he was staying and, as I finally knew when I was arriving, I accepted. I ended up in a hostel full of Israelis, in fact, I was the only “foreigner” in the whole building. How could I have imagined this place would become the best classroom I ever had.
A couple years before, in Venezuela, I was studying International Affairs. My main focus was on African subjects, so when discussing Middle East and/or Israel-Palestine situation I wouldn’t pay much attention. That changed when I met three adorable guys who had been on a mission earlier that year. Hours of conversations, of questions and uncomfortable answers, of fear, anger and confusion gave a reality check on my magical journey.
During my first full day in Ushuaia I went sailing the Beagle channel, to meet up with some funny species I had seen before: penguins, sea lions, thousands of birds. We stopped by the Bridges Island and I was amazed by the beautiful flowers, so colorful and full of life in that unbelievably cold piece of earth! After a few minutes we continued to our final destination, or should I say MY final destination…The second reason I left home and flew, rode and sailed miles and miles: Les Eclaireus Lighthouse!!!!!
When you watch TV and think of a far, far away place, with landscapes and weather you have never experienced before, the first thing that comes to mind is “It’ impossible. No way”. But standing in front of the Lighthouse of the End of the World, freezing and barely containing tears, I knew for me –and for everyone- nothing is impossible. You just have to dream it, work for it and then, enjoy every second of it.
For two days I walked with snow falling over my glasses, amazed by the beauty of the town and its people, always smiling, always nice. I ate a lot, drank a lot, had the best time with my Jewish friends and suddenly, I felt the urge of going back to Buenos Aires. I knew something new and exciting was waiting for me at the end of my Patagonian journey…So I went to buy a ticket and say goodbye to the End of the World. I had hit bottom, and now it was time to go back up!