Off to Ushuaia!
Mountains framed the sprawling city of Santiago as our Aerolineas Argentina plane climbed in altitude today, leaving Chile behind…one step closer to Ushuaia, Argentina and Homeward Bound.
Although a layer of haze blanketed the city, the fresh clear sky of the foothills of the snowcapped Andes Range was reached in just minutes. The Andes…stretching north to south in both directions, loomed large and impressive. Mountains, glaciers, lakes, and rivers came into view. Massive U-shaped valleys, carved by glaciers over time, and more narrow V-shaped valleys/canyons formed by the movement of water, were an ever present reminder of the forces of nature.
It seemed like we crossed the Andes Mountains rather quickly, reminding me that this range is quite long, but not as wide as our Rocky Mountain Range in the United States. The long string of mountains is like the spine of the continent of South America.
I tried to rest, but instead focused on the scenery below. The white mountains gave way to the dry lands to the east…and that continued until just before we reached Buenos Aires. At that point I saw incredible man-made developments and a sea of homes, not to mention the Atlantic Ocean being off in the distance…a certain reminder that humans change the landscape in so many ways. (not all of them good mind you)
My transfer in Buenos Aires consisted of passport control, picking up my checked bag to go through customs, and rechecking the giant yellow beast for my flight to Ushuaia. I couldn’t wait to board the flight that would take me to the bottom of South America! Look at the map below…we really are at the bottom of the continent here!
A question had loomed in my mind throughout my flight to Argentina. Would I meet up with any Homeward Bounders at the airport in Buenos Aires? My wish was granted when I ran into Deborah Pardo from France! It was so nice to see a friendly face and we were able to sit next to each other on the flights south. What a treat that was after three days of traveling alone! The flight we thought was straight through to Ushuaia actually had a stop-over at a small coastal town just north of there. We dropped off passengers and picked up others who were heading back to Buenos Aires after our stop in Ushuaia…my bet is that they only have one flight there each day…if that.
Dry, lifeless scenery had dominated much of the trip south, but soon we had a real treat…the rugged coastline and mountains of southern Argentina. It was gorgeous views all the way into Ushuaia, which was a good thing because the wind was making our landing approach very rough.
Deborah and I got some Argentinian pesos, (the local currency here) and grabbed a cab into the city. I located my hotel, the Alto Andina and immediately dumped my luggage and went off to meet up with more HBers. What FUN! I’m already learning, laughing, and loving getting to know these amazing women. I feel like I’ve known so many of them for years, although tonight I met a bunch of them and putting names to faces and personalities was a blast. I just know the next few weeks I’ll be forming bonds of friendship that will last a lifetime and we’ll be collaborating on projects and ideas and learning together. On with Homeward Bound!
THREE MORE DAYS UNTIL WE DEPART ON THE SHIP!