I was in two minds about visiting Ushuaia and solely because of the expensive bus tickets (Why else would you not want to go to a new place?) and of course the cost of staying for a day or two in Ushuaia itself was way over my budget. I spoke to a lot of people and eventually decided to go as I really wanted to go there (For no good reason though). Antarctica was too much but I could make it to Ushuaia. Where did Antarctica come into the picture you ask?
Well, Ushuaia is the closest town from Antarctica and upon knowing this I really wanted to go there. It’s also the cheapest way to reach Antarctica. There are many companies offering a trip to Antarctica from Ushuaia. It was one of the plans before I finalized on 5 countries in South America (This plan changed too on the road though).
The bus ticket turned out to be cheaper than my last two long bus rides (ARS 1050) so I decided to go for it and put an end to my confusion. My friends had gifted me a trip to any place I really wanted to go. I used that money to buy my ticket.
The bus was at 3 a.m. from El Calafate. I was not worried at all as I have good ability to stay up all night and take flights or buses at odd hours to save some money.
I reached bus terminal at around midnight. My friend had accompanied me from the hostel but left soon, as we have had a long day and he wanted to catch up on his sleep.
I positioned myself to take a nap. By positioning, I mean both my bags were latched to me in a way that I would know of any fidgeting with them even while I was sleeping. That’s some core Science usage I know.
I woke up multiple times to check the time. When I couldn’t hear anything, I told myself the bus is late. It must be coming from El Chaltén. Usually, in every bus terminal, they make an announcement when the bus comes but this was a really small terminal. I did not expect things to be any different, only they were.
I woke up again at around 5 a.m. and I immediately knew I’ve missed my bus. The buses in Argentina cannot be that late. I was too mad at myself. I just brushed my teeth and left the bus station to start hitchhiking. There was no way I was not going to Ushuaia after spending that much money (esp., because it was my friends hard- earned money). Also, I knew the bus was going to stop at Rio Gallegos for about an hour and depart from there at 9 a.m. Rio Gallegos is about 3.5 hours from El Calafate.
I got my first ride pretty quick (Within 20 minutes of leaving the terminal) but the second ride took quite long (About an hour). It was a deserted road with hardly any vehicles passing. I eventually got a ride in a mini bus. I reached Rio Gallegos at around 9:40 a.m. I had missed my bus again. The ticket operator offered me a second ticket for half the price for next day but I refused. I neither wanted to spend more money on reaching Ushuaia nor did I want to spend another hour in that middle of nowhere place ‘Rio Gallegos’.
I started hitchhiking again. It took me two rides to just get out of the city.
Hitchhiking tip: Get out of the city first thing to get a ride.
The 5th car that stopped was one I had not even put my thumb out for as I could see it was full. There was a family inside. They asked me where are am I headed. I replied, ‘Ushuaia’. They responded with ‘We too, come on in’. Can you believe that? Over 550 km away from the place, I get a ride directly to the final destination. I felt blessed. Soon after I joined them, I started raining really bad. That reminds me why I didn’t hitchhike instead of opting for the bus. Because the weather had been really bad and the forecasts said it was going to rain for a couple of more days.
At around 9 p.m. I was in Ushuaia. Almost the time when the bus was going to reach. Soon, I found a hostel as well which was another blessing as most of the hostels were full owing to last minute cancellation of a lot of flights.
I was really hungry but had nothing to cook, Went to the kitchen to make myself some sandwiches. As I took the first bite off my cheese sandwich and made a face, a guy approached me with a smile and invited me to join their table and share the extra food they had. It didn’t take much to notice, I was not enjoying my food at all. I thanked them with all my heart for the food after the long day that I’ve had. They were all ears to hear my story and I was happy to be among travelers again.
Do you have any interesting story about reaching a place you really wanted to? Where maybe the journey became more important than the place itself?