On the way in to Ushuaia over the gravel road the camper got dirty again. All Jamaliah’s efforts for nothing. Ushuaia has the feel of a ski resort. There are lots of touristy shops and older tourists (from the cruise ships) and younger tourists (backpackers, cyclists, campers) wandering around town. The city used to fit on the shore of the Beagle channel but is expanding rapidly up the steep hills around it. Some streets are so steep that I think the camper would have trouble going up them. Fortunately we went downhill and parked on the channel front.
In town we visited a travel agent to inquire about the possibility of going on a cruise to Antarctica. That is an 11+ day tour. The cost were from US$7500 pp and upwards. Very expensive. An alternative was to go for a 3 or 4 day cruise around Cape Hoorn for US$1450. We spent the rest of the day getting use to the price and at the end decided to go for it. However when the bill came, it was up at US$2200 pp. What a price increase! Their argument was that it is last minute booking so only expensive berth available. We declined and started looking for alternatives. This spoiled a bit of the sightseeing opportunities. Still we visited the old prison (1920) which is now converted into a museum.
The night we slept in the camper on the car park. During the night there were too many noisy motorist parking around us so the next day, after visiting another museum (local town history), we left the city driving towards the National Park. We decided to camp in the municipal campground situated next to the station of the tourist steam train line (tren fin del mundo) and the golf course. We did not go into the national park because of the uncertainty of our cruise booking. Since entering the park will cost us 35 euro per person, it is not worth it if we have to rush back into town the next day. We found an attractive cruise deal by the end of the day but the cruise starts in Punta Arenas in Chile, some 791 km away and ends in Ushuaia.
We spent most of today’s morning making the payments by internet, using wifi at a gas station (most options failed but it did work out in the end). So we drove North (together with 2 hitchhikers) and crossed the border into Chile. We found an ideal camp spot in a small oil town which provided free showers and free wifi. It looks like the town has been built by the oil company. So we felt at home. Ps. It is great that we can get internet access easily via gas stations. They all have internet and freely give the password to use it. So now we may make some extra tank stops to keep you lot (and Kees) informed