We arrived in Puerto Madryn after a fairly grueling 20 hour bus ride to find that the town had been hit by a westerly wind blowing the ash from the Chilean Volcano. Flights had been disrupted, visibility was down to one block and every surface (including us) was covered in a steadily increasing layer of grit.
The next day thankfully the wind switched direction and the air was much clearer but still not beach perfect – so we took a couple of local buses to Gaiman, a river-valley village, known for its Welsh roots and famed for its cream teas. The town itself is little more than a square with a couple of roads branching off but the Welsh history is really obvious. Small stone houses (unlike any Argentinian building), with rose gardens sit on roads with names like Jones, Evans and Williams.
The Welsh arrived in 1874 and nearly starved to death as most were miners and the arid farms were nothing like home. With help from the local Tehuelche community they managed to survive and now about 20% of the population still has Welsh blood and great mixed heritage names like Jaun Carlos Evans and Miguel Jones.
The main attraction nowadays is afternoon tea so we indulged with a huge plate of cakes and scones in Plas y Coed, a cute stone house with a tea room covered in Welsh tea towels, and discovered the best pot of tea in South America. Gwych!