On Tuesday we awoke at 3:30 am, made tea from the hot water in the faucet, then shouldered our packs and let ourselves out of the hotel by the key left in the door. There was noone at the front desk. Walking the empty rain soaked streets to the bus we followed a lone woman dragging a red suitcase two blocksahead off us.
Our seats were assigned. The attendant provided us with a boxed breakfst of croisants. Route 3 from Ushuaia followed the bay, then into the endless pampa. As the sun rose guanaco stoodout on the hills sillouetted against the horizon. A lone gaucho, wrapped in serapes, riding hunched against the howling wind, led three pack horses, his huge black dog trotting closely behind. Nine hours into the journey the bus faltered, then stopped. We had reached the ferry across the bay between Ushuaia and the mainland. Passengers walked against the sunlit gale down the embankment into the ferry. The ailing bus lurched behind two others, cars and trucks filled the spaces. When the ferry swung out into the waves, I was forced to coe down from the bridge where Tom stood. The crossing seemed endless.
At 4:30 our bus repaired we lumbered into Rio Gallegos where we waited in the coffee shop of an enormous supermarket until our bus to Calafate at 8:30. Tom bought a ride for two small boys on an electric car. Huge dogs roam the streets and the bus station being patted and fed by most passers. The sond bus, a double decker with reclining seats, reached Calafate at 1pm. We hefted out packs and stumbled through the empty, well lit streets to our hotel, a modest hostel.