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A Handicapped Bitch in Recovery!

Monday, January 22, 2007

The "End-of-the-World Station", where the "Fueguian South Railway" arrives is in the outskirts of the city of Ushuaia, 8 kilometers west, in a valley between Mt Susana and Le Martial range, along the banks of the Pipo River. Also known as "End-of-the-World Train", its attractiveness is due not only to its elegance and style, but also to its historical context. On this train, the inmates of the erstwhile "Ushuaia Prison" -a penitentiary which is intimately related to the development of this attractive and picturesque southern city- were transferred to their forced labor camps. The narrow-gauge railway is propelled by steam engines and has at present elegantly ornamented wagons.

Today, a visit to the "End-of-the-World Train", will enable the tourist to learn about the history of Tierra del Fuego, Ushuaia, its prison (wich will have thhe DIVA attntion on my next post) and what once used to be the prison train. Dazzling landscapes with snow-covered mountains, rivers, lakes, cascades and virgin forests in the Andes Cordillera, are all to be found in this unique trip, which lasts barely over two hours.

Once in the Central Station, there is a model of the "Prisoners' Little Train" and you may take one of the old paths used by the prisoners decades ago to provide the community with wood. Besides travelling through centenarian forests, rivers, valleys and peat mosses of great beauty, the journey includes a stop at La Macarena Fall, from where you may either go down to an indian camp typical of one of the four aborigine communities that inhabited Tierra del Fuego since immemorial times, or climb up to the source where the cascade originates in Le Martial range.

Traveling along the meandering Pipo River the train goes through areas which still show the trace left by the prisoners on their daily routine of cutting down trees for almost half a century of uninterrupted work. On certain assigned days during the high season, after going round the edge of the peat moss, typical of Tierra del Fuego, over which grows a moss called Sphagnum, the train arrives at the "Park Station", where you can enjoy a meal or a drink at the "bar wagon" and use the restrooms available in specially furnished wagons.

The whole journey is done in the company of a bilingual guide (English-Spanish) who explains in detail the history of the "Prisoners' Train".La Macarena fall Station after a sudden Snow storm.

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