What a surprise!

Don’t have any expectations and you won’t be disappointed. There’s a saying that goes something like this. Put a little more optimistically, it could also mean: Have no expectations and you will be surprised …

That’s exactly what happened to me or us on the Falkland Islands, the Islas Malvinas.

First of all, they were just the end point of our trip. That’s why I didn’t give it a second thought beforehand. It was clear that we were planning a few days here – as a buffer, to arrive on land, as a kind of transition from the time at sea, on board the Selma, our expedition … to the aftermath, the end of the journey, the return home. A time between worlds, so to speak, to get used to it and get used to it again. To the solid ground under our feet, to civilisation and everything that goes with it.

But the last few days have been so much more! Like a particularly delicious dessert after an already perfect meal.
Not that it needed any more icing on the cake …

The Falkland Islands are a real gem!

Magnificent, vast landscapes. Rough and barren. Empty. A mixture of Scottish Highlands and prairie, Midwestern grasslands. Grey rock, brightly coloured lichens, lush mossy green, white-yellow grass waving in the wind on black, peaty soils. Wild, rugged coastlines, paradisiacal sandy beaches, turquoise blue sea. Stormy winds, roaring waves, magnificent skies full of chasing clouds and magical light. A natural paradise with fantastic wildlife, Antarctica light you could say. Penguins, whales, dolphins, seals, petrels, albatrosses …

And on top of that, wonderful, open and helpful people.

The majority (90%) of the already small population of 3,000 is concentrated in Stanley (the only town in the Falkland Islands and also its capital and seat of government). The rest are spread out on individual farms, somewhere in the middle of nowhere, often miles apart. There are hardly any tarmac roads; you have to travel on gravel roads or off-road. Nothing works without a suitable car. And between the islands (there are around 200 in total, in addition to the two large main islands of East and West Falkland), one of the small aeroplanes operating here is often the first choice.

However, we opted not to fly and limited our explorations to the area around Stanley on East Falkland. On foot and – thanks to Artur and Marianna, who spontaneously lent us a car – on four wheels. Whereby limited is the wrong term in view of the many experiences.

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