A Day of Pleasure

2009.Mar.05 Thursday · 0 comments

in Life, Restaurants

“The true delight is in the finding out rather than in the knowing.”

– Isaac Asimov, author

Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego – The one thing I forgot to mention in yesterday’s post was that Tuesday was an absolutely delightful day, weather-wise – the temperature rose to around 60°F, there was little wind, few clouds in the sky – a perfect day for the pinguinera visit. While Wednesday dawned relatively cloudy, the temperature held somewhere in the 50s, and the wind stayed at bay – so it turned out to be another wonderful day for exploring – and I did a whole lot of it!

Punta Panoramica

First, a wander to the west – with a stop in the small park called the Punta Panoramica – with a series of interconnected wooden platforms that look out over different parts of the city and bay.

View of Ushuaia from the west of the bay

From there, a walk along the west side of the bahia encerrada, or closed bay, a small portion of water more or less trapped by the way they’ve built up access roads.

Photo exhibit in Casa Beban

I stumbled upon the Casa Beban, a converted home that is now an exhibition space for the city – currently showing a series of photos from the 1940s and 1950s of the way the town looked then.

Ushuaia Municipal Cemetery

I also happened across the municipal cemetery – very different from places like Recoleta and Chacarita here in BA – it reminded me of the cemeteries in Key West – very colorful, above ground, lots of flowers and “decor”.

Museo Maritimo

From there, following on the suggestion of friend Wayne, who writes the Moon Guides for South America, I headed to the triple hitter former federal prison here, which now houses the Maritime Museum…

Museo Darwin

…the Darwin Museum…

Museo Ex-Presidio

…and the prison museum, or Museo Ex-Presidio (they make sure you know it’s “ex”). All fascinating and well worth the visit. The entry fee is a little steep, for residents of Argentina it’s 30 pesos, for non-residents I think it was 50.

Tia Elvira - Centolla al ajillo

A stop for lunch at the highly recommended Tia Elvira, Maipú 349. Charming spot, good service, started off with a cream of asparagus soup that was dead-on, and followed up with this centolla al ajillo – more of a Chilean dish of king crab cooked in garlic and olive oil. Pricey like many of the other places, at 84 pesos for the crab, but, it was a big helping of crab that I barely finished, and it was really quite good. The only real negative about this place is that they tack on a 10% tip on the bill – with no prominent note on the bill itself (there is a fine print note in Spanish and English at the bottom of the menu), it’s just on there like an item – the table of four tourists next to me started to leave a tip on top the bill until a neighboring table told them about it – the waiter was already picking up the extra cash and was clearly pissy about having to give it back.

Estancia Tunel

The woman running the Parque Yátana that I visited the day before had suggested a walk down “the old Indian path” – she intimated that it was pretty unknown – at the end of the Playa Larga, or Long Beach, about two miles east of the city. Turns out it’s not quite so secretive – my taxi driver knew exactly where to go, and it’s been walked on by a whole lot of people since the Yámana were living here. Turns out this path is part of an old Estancia, or farm, called Túnel. Beyond the well worn path there were plenty of little campfire sites, some evidence of folks who actually are living in the woods, lots of litter, and a whole lotta condoms… clearly the Inspiration Point of Ushuaia. The entire circuit of the path is 30 kilometers long, in and out of forests, up and down hills – I decided on an hour’s walk through the woods, out into a meadow, visited one of the secluded beaches, and then walked back the same way to meet up with the taxi again.

Estancia Tunel

Estancia Tunel

Estancia Tunel

Estancia Tunel

Estancia Tunel

Bodegon Fueguino - cordero a la mostaza

I decided since all of my meals to this point had focused on the seafood, that I ought to go for one that focused on the lamb (I’m not counting those excuses for ravioli from the first night). Several people recommended various parrillas, but I thought I’d like something more than just grilled meat, so ended up at the also well recommended Bodegón Fueguino, San Martín 859. Turned out to be a nice choice – just a homey, relaxed atmosphere. Good but not great empanada to start (fried, ground beef), and then a trio of tender, melt-in-your-mouth lamb chops topped with a mustard cream sauce and accompanied by mashed sweet potatoes. Worked for me, and a nice end to the dining experiences of my short trip – and all told, with a half-bottle of wine and a tip, came in at only about 70 pesos.

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