One quirky thing which I’m really enjoying about South America is the myriad of strangely located communities of other nationalities.
Just outside of Los Sauces (where I first learned about asado in all its glory and featured on village radio) lies Capitan Pastene, a mini Italy in Chile.
Near mini Italy, we have Contulmo, referred to in my mind as mini Germany, where I ate this amazing wildberry crumble. (This was truly a gluttonous week.)
Outside of Puerto Madryn we were introduced to Gaiman…Argentina’s answer to Wales.
I went along with Victoria and Steve, a delightful couple also staying with Mariano my Couchsurfing host. Getting there was easy enough, but hopping off the bus in a village street not at all reminiscent of anything remotely Welsh was a little disconcerting.
Where was all the greenery? Words without a vowel to be seen? Beer? Tall, strapping men with lilting accents?
Not to be seen.
Luckily, Gaiman can not be described as very big…so a quick walk around the nearest plaza and a skillful dodging of the local teens and their rather large bong showed us the way to several “traditional” Welsh tea houses.
Because our stomachs were growling angrily, we chose Tea Gwyn as it was currently on hand. Fabulously, it turned out to be a good choice anyway. Snuggly and quaint, tea cosies and all, it was a sweet little affair with room to provide tea for Wales’ entire first and second rugby divisions.
We were excited anyway, but soon to be more so, as the owner (fluent in Welsh) was ready to bend the no-sharing rule the tea houses had seemed to agree upon, and serve us one helping of cakes, scones and breads as long as we bought additional tea. Done deal. I can drink tea until even the whites of my eyes are tannin stained.
Happily, said cakes, scones and breads were ridiculously delicious. Also, mountainous, thereby doing away with our plan to sample the wares of this first tea house before embarking on a tea house meander (rather than bar hop, if you will).
Gaiman was definitely worth a sticky beak. An afternoon spent buzzing with a good caffeine high, sampling cakes, scones and cucumber sandwiches (they DO exist!) cannot be sneezed at. Even in eastern Argentina, far, far away from Wales. Perhaps particularly in eastern Argentina, far, far away from Wales.
- Buses to Gaiman leave from Trelew (just outside Puerto Madryn)
- The ride of about 45 minutes costs you around ARG$6
- Some bus companies do not accept coins. Ask in the terminal. If this is the case, you can buy a reloadable plastic card (deposit ARG$10) which you can give back once returned to Trelew. Your deposit will be refunded.
- The various tea houses charge an average of ARG$60 – $70 for their full service, and usually don’t let you split the serving between two people. Unlimited tea is included.