Posted by: kellylyneddy | July 21, 2014

The White Stuff

Everyone has a favourite day of the year. For some it is their birthday or anniversary, for others a yearly pilgrimage, and for some a meaningful or special holiday. My favourite day of the year is none of the above. My favourite day of the year rarely lands on the same day. This day brings out my inner child and a sense of wonder and excitement that I will never outgrow. My favourite day of the year is the first day I wake up to a blanket of fresh white snow.

Tyler would argue that I do not wake up, but rather bound out of bed reaching for the curtain to reveal whether winter has finally arrived. Much to the disdain of countless Canadians I am a true lover of winter. Many have tried to reason with me, but no one can change the fact that the first day of snow each year is my favourite, I just simply love it.

The further south we travelled during Argentina’s winter the more excited I became about the prospect of snow. Each time we thought we might encounter a bit of the white stuff, upon arrival people would say that it has been unseasonable warm or, blame the lack of snow on a changing climate.  Finally en route to the end of the world I began to wonder if we would see snow in Argentina after all.

Ushuaia, did not disappoint. I guess you could say that we drove into my first day of snow this year. The further south our 15 passenger van travelled (packed with hockey players and smelly equipment) the more snow we encountered. It was beautiful. The chauffer was not well versed in the art of driving in snow, but we eventually made it to the “end of the world” a magical place all its own. Beautiful, and blanketed in white.

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A snowman at the End of the World!

 

The boys instantly took to playing in the snow whenever they got the chance. The difference is that at home when it snows it is usually below zero and stays that way until spring. In Ushuaia, it may snow one day and not the next and the temperature hovers between zero and three degrees….so even though snowy, it is very, VERY wet! Trudging through wet snowy streets we began our adventure through the southernmost city in the world.  A little bit of hockey, a little snow, and a lot of sight seeing.

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There is a prison at the end of the world, that is no longer operational, but now functions as a museum.  During its operational days it was akin to Alkatraz, a secondary prison, where those who are poorly behaved in prison are sent. It was a large building not far from the centre of town; it also housed a naval museum and art gallery. There were many interesting tidbits about the museum, but the one “oh wow” that stuck with me was that prisoners were assigned their “jobs” based on the severity of their crime. The prisoners charged with the worst criminal acts, received the worst job, usually in the rock quarry.

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Unlike Alkatraz, the Ushuaia prison was built by the prisoners themselves. Construction started in 1902 with 10 men and one voluntary female (what was she thinking!). It took 18 gruelling years to complete. They constructed the prison out of locally found and sourced materials, even building a small train line − known to most as the Prisoner Train − to harvest the wood needed for the construction. Today the train functions as a tourist attraction taking sightseers deep into the southern forest. The train ride was a highlight for E1 and E2 and on each one of the stops we participated in the most Canadian of traditions – snowball fights!

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 I feel very lucky to have been able to take this trip to the end of the world, and to enjoy my favourite day of the year – twice!

 

 

 

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Responses

  1. Kelly, so very pleased to read your post (blog) this morning, You have a wonderful way with words and presentation. Thx.

    • Thank you Merilyn!


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