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A jour­ney of a thousand miles beg­ins with a sin­gle step. I hav heard that it was Lao Tse who said that, and he was quite right. In this case, howe­ver, the first step is actual­ly not small at all. It is a num­ber of flight miles that I don’t real­ly want to think about. Many hours of sit­ting and tired­ness, a short dri­ve through Bue­nos Aires, almost 30 degrees warmth at the Rio de La Pla­ta, then ano­ther flight of seve­ral hours over the Argen­ti­ne Pam­pa until sud­den­ly moun­ta­ins are rising stee­p­ly, hiding the Bea­gle Chan­nel bet­ween them. On its shore, the­re is Ushua­ia. Her inha­bi­tants call their town the sou­thern­most one in the world, which is quite true. Ano­ther nick­na­me they give to their home­place is El fin del mun­do, the end of the world. For us, it is not the end. This is whe­re we are actual­ly start­ing.

In high lati­tu­des – in the sou­thern hemi­sphe­re, ever­y­thing south of 50 degrees qua­li­fies – peo­p­le always seem to be afraid of cold. I can’t think of any other reason why one would heat his house up to tem­pe­ra­tures that remind me of a Fin­nish sau­na. Insi­de, it is hard­ly less warm than at the Rio de la Pla­ta. The­re is no way to turn the hea­ting down, the­re is only a win­dow that I can open. You can’t bla­me them for being over­ef­fi­ci­ent in terms of ener­gy saving.

The later, the more lively it is on San Mar­tin, the main road. A street musi­ci­an and a jugg­ler are making for a rela­xed sou­thern atmo­sphe­re, while tou­rists are wal­king up and down the steep roards. Some final shop­ping, and then it is time for the last night on a matress that isn’t moving for a cou­ple of weeks.

last modification: 2015-01-11 · copyright: Rolf Stange