Gaiman, Welsh?

Trip Start Dec 14, 2007
Trip End Nov 04, 2008

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Where I stayed
Hotel Rivadavia, Trelew

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Saturday, February 9, 2008

Saturday is a rest day, and so we did. To avoid tiredness in our long trip, we try to rest every so often (basically early night and sleeping in). We try to stick to this as in normal "non-travelling" life to keep something constant...

So it wasnt until lunch time that we starting walking around, with a visit to the Trelew Museum, full of Welsh colonialist information. In short, the Welsh arrived in Puerto Madryn in 1865 invited by the Argentinian government in order to colonise the Patagonia which was mostly uninhabited. This explains the Welsh names around the area (both of towns and people). The Welsh were looking to create a colony to keep their traditions alive, etc.

All the towns around here link everything to their Welsh origin, but to be sincere it seems to have filtered into little else than a tourist attraction. There is no Welsh spoken anymore (even though some people claim to have heard it), and the influence is limited to the Museum and Welsh Tea in Gaiman (read on later). The arrival of Spaniards, Italians and Argentinians from the North took over from the first colonialists, so probably around the 1930s the influence was over. The last group of Welsh to arrive was in 1911.

Best part of the Museum visit was the World Map with Liverpool appearing as much for their Welsh links! I had to tell them, and they immediately admitted they recognised that The Beatles came from Liverpool and therefore it couldnt be Wales...nice logic! They took the sign sorry for anyone in the future - its no longer there.

In the afternoon we took a bus to Gaiman (17kms) to visit another Museum and try the recommended Welsh Tea. Check the picture on the bus...they really pack the local buses here, so if you dont arrive early you will probably stand most of the trip...squashed most surely. Buses of 44 capacity take about 60 or more.

Anyway, apart from the excellent Museum of Gaiman a few reality check comments:
- There are no Welsh people in Gaiman (they were...but no longer there)
- All the Welsh Tea houses are a tourist trap - $28 pesos for tea and cakes in Argentina is simply not realistic. You can have a wonderful lunch for that amount.
- The cakes are delicious, but hardly worth the trip. Carrefour can offer the same...
- The Celtic music which they play at all these places is unbearable. Truly

So, been there done that. Never again.

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