The first thing you notice coming into Ushuaia from the air is that it is rather large. Some 80,000 people live there year-round.
The second thing stuns you. The mountains, the Beagle Chanel and the forests create a symphony of sight, sound and smell. The air is so clean that it tastes sweet.
Our hotel sat on a hill in the middle of a nature preserve.
And, you might say, we had a room with a view.
The surrounding forest was breathtaking and hiking trails wound around the hotel property. We hiked for around two hours. It’s story is told in pictures.
But the story really starts with people.
When we were waiting to board the flight from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia, we were standing behind a woman who was trying to purchase a bottle of plain water. No bubbles, no flavors–just water. But she did not speak the local language (Spanish) and was having difficulties. So my traveling partner leans in and explains, in Spanish, what the woman wants. All three of us start to laugh.
Being my usual shy, retiring self, a remark came from my mouth to the effect that I would buy her water anytime. I may have used the term “sweetheart”. And the woman immediately came back with “you can call me sweetheart anytime!”
An instant friendship was born.
There would be many more.
After the “meet and greet” dinner for the 78 of us on this expedition, I vowed to go swimming in the most ingenious, elegant pool I have ever seen. An indoor-outdoor infinity pool overlooking the town and the Beagle Chanel.
As darkness began to take the sky I hung from the infinity edge. As I looked out over Ushuaia and its mountains I thought I would never see anything so stunningly beautiful again.
Boy, was I wrong.