I landed in Buenos Aires after my overnight flight around 11am, met my friend Julie at the airport, and we caught a taxi to our hotel - the Sheraton Conference Center. It was Christmas Eve, so the town was basically shut down. But we managed to find a nice place for lunch - Las Nazarenas. From there we walked around town, going up and down some of the more populated streets, such as Florida St. For a break from the heat we stepped into the Galeries Pacifico for a bit and walked around the mall. That evening we walked over to the Catedral Metropolitana for the 9pm Christmas Eve service. It was very pretty, and the choir / organ at the beginning was great, but after 45 minutes of not being able to understanding anything in Spanish we decided we were in the Christmas spirit enough and moved onto dinner. We had made a reservation at Filo, as we were told Christmas Eve dinners are very hard to book and very expensive. Thankfully we found a cheap one that ended up being a great meal. We made it back to our hotel room, on the 18th floor, just minutes before the Midnight Fireworks show started. What an amazing sight! Fireworks going off around the entire city, for over an hour. Neat tradition!
Christmas day was very relaxed. We slept in, had some brunch at the hotel lounge, and went to lay out by the pool for a while. Now that's a Christmas first for me! In the afternoon we took a 30 minute walk over to the Cemetery La Recoleta - one of the few things that doesn't close on Christmas day. The cemetery was actually really neat…better than I was expecting. Rows and rows of huge mausoleums. We walked around for almost an hour, very fascinated by all the unique tombs. Just before 5 we started our walk back to the hotel and got ready for dinner at Cabana Las Lilas. We were really looking forward to this dinner and it definitely lived up to expectations. The spread of starters they brought out alone was amazing, followed by a great steak and a great glass of Argentina wine.
This morning we got up early and caught a cab over to the Teatro Colon. We wanted to catch the 9am tour, but unfortunately it was in Spanish so we decided to come back later. We walked a few blocks over to the Lima subway station and took the train a few stops over to Plaza de Mayo. This was the same area as the cathedral we were in the first night, but in the daylight it was so different. We walked around the plaza, and admired the Casa Rosada. We walked back to the Teatro Colon and bought tickets for the noon tour. The tour of the theater was really amazing. We got to see the lower and upper lobby, the gold room and finally the theater. So beautiful! When it was over at 1pm, it was raining outside so we caught a taxi back to our hotel to finish packing up for the next part of our journey. At 2pm we took a taxi to the airport, checked in and then caught our 4pm flight to Ushuaia!
Heading back to Buenos Aires after our unbelievable trip to Antarctica is a bit of a blur! I was so exhausted and ready to be home, that I just kind of wandered around for a couple days counting down the hours until I could hop on a plane home. We stayed in a nice little place in Palermo, called L'Hotel Palermo. It was a great part of town to walk around in, get lost and just explore the streets. Only downside was the unbelievable heat! Especially after being in the cold the past 2 weeks. We landed on the evening of January 9th after our flight from Ushuaia. Checked into the hotel and about all we had energy for was to find a great meal at La Cabrera - and then go to bed early.
Check out more photos from this trip here - Buenos Aires Photos
We landed in Ushuaia around 7:30pm after our 3.5 hour flight from Buenos Aires. Stepping outside - talk about a temperature difference - cold and windy. To me it meant we were getting one step closer to Antarctica! The guy from our bed and breakfast was waiting for us at the airport and drove us to the Valle Frio Ushuaia. It was almost 9 by the time we got settled, so we immediately went to look for dinner. Our hotel was at the top of a hill and pretty much everything in town - the shops and restaurants - were down the hill near the water. Fun going down - a workout going back up! We ate at a place called Moustachio - I had a nice dinner and even tried their local beer - Beagle (after the Beagle Channel). It was so weird walking back to the hotel at almost 11pm and it was still light outside. How far south are we?!
The next morning the bus picked us up at 8:20am for our Tierra del Fuego tour. We drove about 20-30 minutes to our first stop – the Ushuaia train station (Tren Del Fin Del Mundo - Train to the end of the world). After the train station visit we drove to the Tierra Del Fuego National Park entrance, each paid our fee (140 pesos) and drove down to the start of our short hike at Ensenada Zaratiegui. We took a very short hike up to a nice viewpoint of the water and mountains, then came back down via a loop. Back at the entrance was world's southernmost post office on the dock. We were able to go in and get our passport stamped for 20 pesos if we wanted, which of course I did! Our second hike was about a mile long up and downhill. At the end we were at Bahia Lapataia, which turned into these boardwalk style walking paths and piers. Beautiful views! We stopped along some benches and our guide pulled out coffee, tea and some cookies for a snack. Then it was onto our final stop, which was a quick photo stop right along the water with the mountains in the background - beautiful, but very crowded with tourist.
We arrived back in town around 1:30, got off the bus near the water and stopped at El Turco for lunch. For the next couple hours we walked around town taking in the sights and window shopping. For dinner we found a really great place not far from our hotel called Kaupe. A very nice French restaurant and yet casual attire is ok (I love this little town)! Since it was at the top of the hill we had an amazing lookout of the entire port. Ushuaia is such a beautiful town, surrounded by the water and mountains. I can't imagine living there in the winter, considering how cold it was in the middle of summer - but it was definitely a great little town to visit. Ok - look at this view, doesn't it look like a painting on the wall!
I woke up on Sunday thinking, finally - today's the day!!! We checked out of the hotel at 10am, but had until 4pm before meeting the ship staff for our Antarctica Cruise. We left our bags at the hotel, as the ship crew was going to pick them up later. Almost all the shops were closed since it was Sunday morning, so we went to the Maritime museum. It was an ok museum – showing some history of the martime efforts and also the end of the world prison. After the museum it was almost 1pm so we walked down the road to Tante Sara for lunch. Then we walked down to the water, went to the tourism office and finally at 3:15 we went to Gustino restaurant, the meeting point for the start of our Antarctica cruise. Around 4pm they bused us just a few minutes down the pier to get on the boat...and so begins the next 12 days of adventure.
Check out more photos from this trip here - Ushuaia Photos