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Siarad Cymraeg!

Moving on from Ushuaia to Trelew, Patagonia brought me closer to my final destination in Argentina and, in a strange way, closer "home"...!
During my first full day in Trelew (a town established by a certain Mr. Lewis!) I ventured on the local buses to visit two of the main communities in the Chubut valley - Dolavon (a town meaning "river meadow", reflecting the vast network of irrigation channels, waterwheels and fertile land established here) and Gaiman (a name meaning "arrow / stoney point"  not given by the Welsh pioneers who settled here but the earlier native Tehuelche inhabitants who wintered in the area.)
Both small, rural communities had a genteel, stately charm, their scattered low rise buildings perhaps reflecting the key priorities of those early settlers - chapels (Tabernacl, Bethel and Bethlehem amongst them), co-operative stores ( for selling produce and acquiring materials imported from home) and railways (quaint stations, tunnels and warehouses) harking back to the time when the iron roads opened up the valley, connecting its inhabitants with the sea port of Puerto Madryn were those first welsh immigrants landed on Argentinian soil seeking to build a new life far from Wales...
That welsh connection is still very strong, despite the arrival of other immigrants from Italy and Spain and, wandering around Jones Street and Evans Avenue (!!!!) some people would come out and want to chat with this visiting stranger and practice their Welsh - often with an added smattering of Spanish for good measure...
Indeed, for me, it was a joyful (if rather bizarre!) occasion to have a long and meaningful conversation with the manager of Gaiman's civic museum in Welsh!!
I really did feel "at home" some 2,000 miles from North Wales....

Comments

  1. Dw i’n hapus iawn oeddet ti’n medru siarad Cymraeg ym Mhatagonia! Da iawn i ti!

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