Puerto Madryn: Whale Watching and Welsh Cake!
We're still days behind with the blog and so here's another quick one to help us catch-up!
Our next stop was Puerto Madryn, which is where the legendary Welsh settlers arrived in Patagonia to start a new life away from their English overlords! It's a laid-back seaside town from where trips to Peninsula Valdes leave to see penguins, elephant seals and whales. We were shattered when we arrived as the overnight bus didn't serve food until 11pm and then showed The Fast and Furious until around 1am - this was annoying, but made even worse by the fact that the TV screen near us was broken and so we couldn't even watch the film, instead we were just kept awake by the noise of screeching tyres and Vin Diesel!
We weren't able to check into our room and so we brushed our teeth and headed to one of the main Welsh villages, Gaiman, which is famous for Princess Diana's visit, in the early 90s, to take tea in one of the many Welsh tearooms - most run by the descendants of the original Welsh settlers. We followed in her footsteps and
visited the same tearoom, where we were presented with a plate covered in different colourful cakes! We seemed to buck the trend in the tearoom, where most of the Argentinians ate a cake or two and drank all the tea. We barely touched the tea, but ate all of the cakes as we were determined to get our money's worth (50 pesos!).
The next day we booked a trip at the bus station, which was cheaper than the same trip at the hostel, and headed for the peninsula to see penguins pottering around their nests and huge elephant seals. The weather was pretty awful with rain and wind lashing our faces and it looked likely that the whale watching would be cancelled. However, the skies started to clear and the wind died down just in time. The boat left from Puerto Piramides, a small village on the peninsula where it's been decided not to build a permanent port in order to avoid spoiling the natural beauty of the area. This means that the boats are dragged out to sea by tractors! There were scores of whales here and we were luck enough to see a mother swimming alongside the
boat with her calf. Fantastic to see but nearly impossible to photo and so we put away the camera and just enjoyed the spectacle!
We stayed in El Gauchico - a good hostel overall but cooking was a pain as the kitchen was always packed and there aren't enough pans to go around!!
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