Tierra del Fuego

Argentina 2007

As a child I imagined Tierra del Fuego to be filled with volcanoes. It’s not. Here’s a brief glance at that most southerly part of Patagonia

A typical Patagonian scene: sky, shrub desert, and fence posts

From the window. Beautiful sky, endless shrub desert, and the ever-present fence posts

The bus rattled its way along the main route through Chilean Tierra del Fuego. The road was no more than a gravel track, cutting the grassland in two.

We passed a sign. It was half-way up a small hill and made of metal, standing proud on two stubby cylindrical posts. The lettering was red on a white background. It was hand-painted.

Other than the sign the view was the same as in all Patagonia: dry grass as far as the eye could see and skinny wooden fence posts, each a metre from the next, crossed horizontally by thin wire to mark the boundary between empty lands. And the sky, the beautiful sky, consuming almost everything.

We passed the sign on its right. On it, in capitals, it said ‘SUFFOLK’.

After that, a wide river valley, the dark frozen water contrasting with the yellow-green grass and the sky. It didn’t look like Suffolk.

Then, nothing but grassland and fence posts for hours.