Tierra del Fuego I – Punta Arenas

It’s freezing cold here in Punta Areanas, even though the sun peaks out a lot when I get there, making the city by the lake look sort of magical in the evening light. It’s a weird place I think. Not pretty, but still interesting with nice street art. I didn’t get to check it out properly because I got there and just wanted to sleep. I walked around a little, cooked and hung out in my room, looking forward to finally get the chance to sleep in after all the hiking and early mornings.

On the other side I wanted to see the penguins and more of the countryside so I booked a tour that started at 7 am. Sigh. So the alarm rang at 6. I don’t remember when I last slept until 8 am but it must have been a while ago (when I used to work I never got up before 8 in the end). After breakfast everything looked brighter and less tired and I was off to see king penguins (a little smaller then emperor penguins but similar). But first we crossed the Magellan Straight on a ferry and stopped at a museum in Porvenir – a tiny town with, as it turns out, lots of sad history.

Patagonia has many indigenous people and one of them lived around Porvenir. Until in the late 1800s some Spanish dude came by who wanted their land to farm sheep. He employed two Scots and a Russian guys to actually kill all 4000 members of that people (who’s name I forgot). They had to bring back their heads to get paid.

After that we drove along some gravel road (for 2 hours!!) to get to the penguin colony. They just stood there, all together and made the weirdest ever noises. Sometimes they fought. Or just waddled around. Or just stood there / laid around and supposedly minded their own business. They take turns who gets out fishing and once they are gone it takes about one week until they get back. The breeding is in January/February so I did get to see the chicks too. Pretty ugly brown little things that just stood there too and didn’t make any fuzz – very well behaved I’d say. We had 1.5 ours in the freezing cold to watch them until we (finally) headed off back towards Punta Arenas. The last stop was at an old estancia (ranch) just to take pictures of the old buildings and some stranded ship wrecks. Looked pretty bizarre but I was just so cold and was happy to be back in the hotel after 12 hours.

The next day I had to get up at 7 am to catch the 10 hour bus to Ushuaia….10 precious hours of reading a good book (I have all the “Spiegel” bestseller of 2015 I think and so far they have all been good reads – Danke Alex!). I really like bus rides because they are relaxing, I have time to nap or just look out of the window. Well, or dive into the world of books and movies.

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