The remote area of Tierra Del Fuego really does feel like the fin del mundo – the end of the earth! Only the continent of Antartica lies beyond the southernmost city in the world – Ushuaia.
Tierra Del Fuego is separated from the rest of South America by the Strait of Magellan. When he discovered it in the 1500s, Magellan calld it the Land of Fire because of all the fires he witnessed along it coastline (likely signals from indigenous tribes that something unusual had arrived).
We made our way through the Tierra Del Fuego National Park today, and we travelled on the Fin Del Mundo Train – used to transport prisoners many years ago to their work sites (helping to log and build up this area). Today, it is a tourist stop.
Even today, with 70,000 people living in Ushuaia, it seems like not the easiest place to live. But, back in the 40s, only 1,500 people lived here. Since then, it is a hub of government, military and tourism.
After our train ride, we saw the “V” in the distance – which is the channel where the Beagle Channel was evetntually discovered by early explorers… that’s what started to open this land (and eventually lead to the decline of the very hearty indigenous peoples here). As with all “discovered” nations, there is always a sad story to tell.
Interesting fact. In the 1940s, 50 Canadian beavers (25 breeding pairs) were brought to this area in the hopes of building up a pelt/fur trade. Instead, they now number up to 150,000 and with no natural predators here are starting to destroy the habitat.
The wind is incredibly strong here (I hear… because on this trip I have been blessed with incredibly calm and amazing weather)! You can see it in the bend of the trees, and in the grills (with a lid to protect from the wind).
Today was a quieter day for me, and that’s good because with only two days to go on this tour (in Buenos Aires), I am starting to get a little tired! And… I have a cold (half of the bus seems to). There are only so many spectacular experiences that a girl can handle!!
The stamping of my passport with the end of the world stamp was a pretty fun thing to do, in a fun little town!