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Hunting for Wales in Argentina

Flag of Argentina with Welsh Dragon

Flag of Argentina with a Welsh Dragon

It was almost exactly one hundred fifty years ago that a large group of Welsh colonists arrived at Puerto Madryn and proceeded to settle in the State of Chubut. Today, the Welsh speaking members of Y Wladfa Gymreig  (the Welsh Colony) number somewhere between 1,500 and 5,000. They are centered in the towns of Gaiman, Trelew, and, farther inland, Trevelin.

In 2011, Martine and I visited Gaiman with our guide (shown below), Rogelio Rhys. We had a fantastic Welsh Tea at the Ty Gwyn and, on a subsequent visit, saw a number of the historical sights of the colony. I had a read a book by Rogelio’s grandfather William Casnodyn Rhys entitled A Welsh Song in Patagonia: Memories of the Welsh Colonization.  Our guide was astonished that I was familiar with the book.

Rogelio Rhys in Gaiman

Rogelio Rhys in Gaiman

Shown below is a typical Welsh Tea at the Ty Gwyn. It is heavy in carbohydrates, but I threw all caution to the winds and determined to make up for it in the days to come.

A Welsh Tea at the Ty Gwyn Teahouse in Gaiman

A Welsh Tea at the Ty Gwyn Teahouse in Gaiman

So, if you should find yourself in Patagonia, don’t forget to visit the Welsh heart of the State of Chubut. In addition to the Welsh Colony, you will find the best place in the Americas to see whales (Peninsula Valdez) and penguins (Punta Tombo). And don’t forget to sit down and have some tea. It’s really great.