Monday 21 February

Wake late just before eight. A large party in the dining room are devouring the breakfast buffet. I manage to get some scrambled egg and bacon and make myself a ham and cheese sandwich for lunch, wrapped up in paper napkins.

(magnify) The Martial Glacier

Take a taxi with David half way up the hill to the Glacier View Hotel, and walk from there. We follow the chairlift (in the winter this is a small skiing resort) and then up a steep path to the Martial Glacier. The way starts out crowded from the top of the chairlift, but rapidly thins out. We finally scramble over rocks for a splendid view over Ushuaia and the Beagle Channel. We don’t quite make it all the way to the ice as there seems to be no need. A few other people are scrambling around just below the ice a little further on, but it seems hard to get any further than that.

On the way back down we try to find a path through the woods that ought to bring us into the town at the top of the hill on its east side. We follow a forestry trail which reaches a dead end and realise that we must have taken a wrong turning. Try again a short distance further down the road, but the path, if it indeed is one, is severely overgrown. End up following all the zig-zags of the road back to the outskirts of Ushuaia.

Walk into the centre through a rather run-down district. Although a few of the houses scattered around look distinctly prosperous, some of the others are little more than wooden shacks.

It’s now 4.30 pm and we have decided that a pizza would keep us going nicely until we are fed on the flight to Buenos Aires this evening. Unfortunately, it seems that pizza is simply not available in Ushuaia at 4.30 pm on a Monday afternoon. We head most of the way down the main street. Each restaurant or cafeteria is either closed or does not serve pizza. The place where we ate on Saturday seems to have disappeared. Eventually we find somewhere doing ‘pizzarettes’, which will have to do. (It’s funny how sometimes once you get an idea in your head nothing else will satisfy.)

Bump into Steve outside an internet and telephone place and the three of us manage to catch the hotel shuttle bus from the waterfront back to Los Ñires. Drink a coffee at the bar and freshen up in the washroom, then wait for our rep to arrive to take us to the airport.

Flight AR2896 awaits departure

There are spots of rain in the air as we arrive in plenty of time for our flight. Sit in the airport cafeteria drinking coffee as the rain begins to lash against the glass. This is the first real rain we’ve seen in Patagonia.

The flight leaves on time for the three and a half hour non-stop flight back to Buenos Aires. It’s less than half full.

A vast array of fairy lights comes into view as we approach Buenos Aires. We land at about half past midnight and experience what must be the fastest ever luggage reclaim such that we are back at the Bisonte Hotel by 1 am.