Friday, December 10, 2010

Argentina, Ushuaia The Gateway To Antarctica


CAN 089 I land in Ushuaia, a few days before I set sail on my expedition to The “Blue Continent.”




I have no accommodations arranged except for a room at Hotel Las Lengas the night before we sail. The room at Hotel Las Lengas is provided for me as a part of my Antarctica expedition.

While this may seem unusual for some, it is a normal part of my routine. When I travel, I make the assumption that there is always a room available or somewhere to sleep in any city. The difference being the experience and price you will pay in the process.

I am pleasantly surprised to find free wi-fi available at the airport and this immensely helps my search for nightly accommodations. Using a free booking site, I get a good idea of the location and availability of rooms in Ushuaia for the evening. Prices online range from $70 per night to more than $400 per night at local area resorts.



SAM 019 Hosteria Chalp


Having already spent what I consider a small fortune for my trip, I narrow my choices down to the lower end of that price range. Reluctant to book online ($70 per night thru a hotel booking site) without seeing the property, I arrange a taxi and head to Hosteria Chalp.

It is normally a AR$20 fare into town from the airport but since I have hung around the airport long enough to watch it close, a taxi has to be called from in town to pick me up. This cost me an extra AR$14, a little over US$3. Well worth the free internet time.


SAM 067 I arrive at Hosteria Chalp located at Av. Alem 1839 and immediately get an opportunity to practice my limited Spanish.



“Tiene habitaciones anoche?” “Si, matrimonio AR$150”. Having walked down the aisle before I am reluctant to say “I do” but it is a heck of a bargain.


SAM 068 Had I booked the room online it would have been AR$280 almost six times the price! Ok, I got a little excited, it's more like twice the price.

US$75 for two nights.





SAM 015 Hosteria Chalp Roof Top View



SAM 016 My room is clean, well heated, has free wi-fi and breakfast is included in the price.




Although the hotel has a few quiet spots and great views from the under “construction” roof top, you might occasionally become familiar with a loud neighbor's travel plans.

For me, I have experienced the same situation in more expensive hotels and always hope for quiet neighbors or good sound proof insulation when checking in.

With many hours of daylight, here it is easy to lose track of time. It is almost 11pm when I leave Hosteria Chalp for a stroll into town. Crossing the street I follow a dirt road through a small “Barrio” where the local rough bunch of canines curiously check me out. Before long I am on Magallanes, a main street through the town.


SAM 078 At “Diequito”, a busy pizzeria I have a sampling of empanadas.

“Pollo”, chicken and “Versuda”, meat with spinach, I think!




SAM 074 Here a very popular Argentinian beer, Quilmes becomes a refreshing compliment to my empanadas.





I am not sure if it was my second Quilmes or forgetting that my eyes are often bigger than my stomach, alright no one’s eyes are that big, but I do order a “Mozzarella” pizza.

Already stuffed, I am slightly embarrassed when my gigantic and  loaded with cheese pizza shows up.



SAM 080 Argentina Pie


I eat a few slices as to not offend the pizza “Godfather” and to make sure I show a little respect for the “Family”.


MD CAN 093 However, I am now feeling like a cow fish.





I leave the restaurant about US$10 lighter and with some guilt for ordering so much food. However, it is soon past midnight and a new day gives me some sense of culinary repentance.

Back at Hosteria Chalp a full stomach along with a warm clean bed dismisses the need to count sheep.


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