Tuesday, November 30, 2010


On the picture, waiting for a ride in Tolhuin. We would find a Peugeot 206 driving to Ushuaia. Our eyes gazed at forested priaries after one month of arid Patagonian step. We were just happy to step on the muddy roadside.

We had stayed overnight at a Chilean "Carabineros" border hut and boarded again Alejandro's Mercedes truck onto Rio Grande. On re-entering Argentina we learned by tuning Argentinean radio that the Nestor Kirchner, the former presiden had passed away during the previous night. So the day of the national census overlapped with an event most felt as a national tragedy. For us travellers the main event still was, we had arrived to Tierra del Fuego island, and wwere geting cloer to Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world.

Ushuaia was originally founded in 1874 as an extreme national outpost. The government soon established a prision where many wanted criminals rooted to death. Soon many British anglicans came to attempt to civilize the native onas and yamanas. But rather contributed to their extinction by radically changing their lifestyle and introducing new diseases. Owner of large sheep ranches hunted the local indians down to prevent them from hunting their sheep. In this way the local universe was assassinated to give way to progress. The city lives has lived a touristic bok for the last 20 years. Incomes are higher than in the rest of the country. Many industries also profited from  lax tax regulations in Tierra del Fuego island, making the place a hub for quick fortune sickers. Labourers earn three times the national average, just to spend their money on large TVs and cars. Materialism is the mindset in the Fantasy island, despite the great landscapes. Landscape which is unreachable for them, since the price of the land rocketed and nobody can buy a house. Looking at the mountain slopes over the city you find holes in the forest, spaces squatted to build do-it-yourself houses.

There we met Juan Carlos, Eloisa and Esteban, three people who lived in a hared house. Esteban was a three times world champion of magic who had even worked in a Las vegas casino. But they were eclectic guys: they were also Red Cross volunteers and radio producers. They encouraged us not to give up our hopes of finding a vessel to Antarctica. Keep an eye on the blog to find out how the adventure evolve.


After travelling in flat Route 3 we are mesmerized at the sight of mountains....

Thanks to  
Patagonia Adventur Explorer, were able to navigate the Beagle Channel for free. They enthusiasticaly  supported our attempt to travel the world for free.

Our original plan was to stay in Ushuaia for fivee days, a week at most. Different circumstances made us stay, however, for a month. One of these was the Book Fair. We took the chance and offered our books and postcards to visitors. The event helped us a lot to sustain the coming trip around Patagonia.

Monday, November 29, 2010


Reaching the southernmost point of our itinerary meant crossing into Tierra del Fuego, the souther tip of the continent. The land is divided between Argentina and Chile, so in order to get to Ushuaia, Argentina's last city you need to enter Chilean territory and travel through for over 200 km. At Rio Gallegos we got a ride in this brand new Mercedes truck...

Landscape at the Chilean side with sheep ranches in the back. At least we were seeing grass as part of the landscape...

At the border, our truck driver missed one document, so he had to backtrack 65 km to Rio Gallegos to print it from the internet. We were left alone at the border, where we tried to find other drivers, with no success. After one hour and a half, Alejandro -the driver- was back and we jumped in the Mercedes again.

Old lighthouse at Magallanes Strait.

When we reached the last Chilean post it was already dark and customs were closed. Much to our astonishment, our truck driver went himself and convinced the Chilean policemen from the "Carabineros" station to let us stay for the night, so they showed us the way to a large unheated house they used as depot. There we managed to fabricate a bed out of couches.

Our palace for the night... Since the national census counted those poeple who had slept in Argentinian soil on the night of the 27th of october, we were not on the list. A funny way to escape statistics!

The last Mercedes truck and the eternal kettle with hot water for the mate. Traditions are alive in spite of technology...


We arrived to Rio gallegos with the plan of leaving the city on the following morning. Actually, our driver intended to continue his long drive south towards Tierra del Fuego after staying overnight at the YPF petrol station where he dropped us off. Indeed the driver was planning to camp! So we took a bus to downtown and knocked at the dor of our Couchsurfing hosts: Luciana and Alejandro. However, we ended up staying four nights. We were spelled by their energy. They arrived to Rio Gallegos as aprt of what they thought was a hitch-hiking trip arund the Latin America. hey had left their native Buenos Aires with overloaded backacks, nule thumbing experience and a lot of hope. When they got here they took the chance and sstarted working. Now their plan is to buy a small ground, as a little investment, before hitting he road again. As to remind themselves  their main porpouse is to travel, they bought a 1983 VW bus, an old ambulance from Pico Truncado.

An image of tidy Comandante Luis Piedrabuena, a Patagonian town where, if grass doesn'r grow, the town hall paints it green so the image you carry in your eyes and camera is still joyful...

Derelict ship from YCF (Yacimientos Carboníferos Fiscales), the old national coal company, privatized in 1994. Al across Patagonia we find remains of economic models that no longer rule. They stay for the postcard, as an aesthetic survivor...

Saturday, November 13, 2010


Again we carried on our educational meetings. In the picture you can see us at "Conociendo Nuestra Casa Foundation" in Puerto Deseado. The event was actually fostered by our driver. He was so enthusiastic about us visiting his town that he arranged everything!

Marcos Oliva Day is a local heroe and active sailor and adventurer, he was member of the party that located Swift pirate ship, sunk in the 1700s.

We eventually reached San Julián, where we show our pictures and talked about the hospitality of our world in the local Universidad de la Patagonia Austral.

This project is carried on together with the People's Health Movement and thanks to the donations of readers. All funds proceeding from the sale of e-books and books go directly to our quixotic effort.

Friday, November 12, 2010


So were hitch-hiking in the gloomy outskirts of Caleta Olivia when a Toyota pick up pulled by. We would have accepted the ride regardless its destination jus to evade walking with a front wind of 60 km/h... Anibal, the driver, was going towards Puerto Deseado, which implied a detour of 120 km from National Route 3. We were bound for San Julián, where we expected to give a conference at Universidad Nacional de la Patagonia Austral, but of course we said yes after Anibal arranged accomodation with a couple of phone calls.


Old Magallanic arquitecture at Jaramillo town, in the way to Puerto Deseado. Facón Grande, heroe of 1921 sheep farmers revolt, died in this dusty town.

Our backpacks were still in Anibal's truck when we jumped of to tell our story at Puerto Deseado main radio station.

Puerto Deseado' history is quite linked with the construction of a rail networked which aimed to reach Nahuel Huapi Lake on the Andes, but never went further than Las Heras. When the line was lifted people defended the reamins from ravaging politicians. They keep this wagon from 1898 as if it were new.

Puerto Deseado boasts the only lighthouse church of South America. Worth visiting, though it was impossible to climb the stairs due to the strong Patagonian winds.

When we told our story to the Tourist Office they didn't hesitate and honoured as with a free city tour in the Secretary of Tourism private car :-) Thomas Cavendish gave the town its name after his ship: Port Desire. Well, we didn't have any desire of reaching Port Desire, and maybe that's the key, not to harbour desires and just let the road and hitch-hiking guide you....

Wednesday, November 03, 2010


A bird's eye view of Comodoro Rivadavia, an important Patagonian city renowned for being a hub for petroleum related industry. Most people have settled here just in order to make a finnancial difference and leave the city after working 5-10 years. Consequently the cities' atmosphere is a bit tense, since evverybody is busy making money...

Cacho gave us a ride in his Citroen C3 after waiting for some half an hour in a windsept service area. He too worked for a petroleum company.

Our wonderful hosts in Comodor Rivadavia had a whole room for Couchsurfers. There were four of us at a time. hey were Christians of the committed type, and they really meant what they preached. Actually, they wouldn't preach or speak about their beliefs unless asked. Pancho had immigrated from Peru decades ago, and now presided this great multicultural family!

Cliffs around Rada Tilly, 12 km away from Comodoro Rivadavia. Former wild areas are being urbanized, so the rich oil aristocracy can live far away from the urban chaos and breathe pure air they arguably don't deserve. Working class may be barred from frequenting certain areas developers are quickly turning into private neighborhoods.