Friday, February 17, 2012
Puerto Madryn, Trelew and Gaiman.
Puerto Madryn is the largest town in this section of the country and we need a new rear bumper. Although we have scraped, cleaned and re-painted it, the rust has weakened it and then, we caught is on a tree trunk and bent the darned thing in half! Yep. Just the other day, we were backing up to get to a water hose, scraped against a tree trunk and as Tom pulled forward, there it was, bent and hanging off. As Tom got out to fill the water, I said calmly “Check out the bumper”. A few months ago, this would have upset him, now he looked at it and said “It was rusted and needed replaced anyway”. We were able to bend it back but it serves a duo purpose in also holding our sewer hose. So here we are on a mission to fix it. After stopping off at the tourist office for some directions, we went first to Oxigenio Patagonia to fill up our propane tanks. They were able to fill our portable one but not the large RV tank. Maybe Trelew, they said. Tom showed them the bumper and they sent us to a small soldering repair shop. They in turn sent us to a larger place with bigger equipment. Within 2 hours, they had taken the old one off, fabricated a new piece, painted it and put it on, with our sewer hose, safely inside. $180.00 and great service. It looks great. We found the only campsite that is by the beach. ACA Camping is a huge campground, probably one of the largest we have stayed at since Mexico and expensive at around $30.00 (125 pesos) per night. We found our assigned campsite and noticed that Kurt and Cindy, a Belgian couple we had met in Valdes are also here, parked just a couple of sites away. We say hi and immediately some children, 3 boys and a girl come up to us. The eldest, a boy of about 10 speaks some English. One of the other boys is his brother and the other boy and girl, his cousins. They are here on vacation with the mothers and live in Punta Arena, Chile. Tom carries San Jose Fire Dept. pins and when he gets 4 and pins them on them, he has made friends for life. They go and show their parents and return with a gift for us. An auto map book for Chile. It is great and much better than the map we have. We thank them. Although large and quite crowded, the campground is remarkably quiet at night. There are plenty of places to walk Winston so we decide to spend an extra day here, just relaxing. On Saturday, Tom took a walk into town whilst I stayed at the campsite. He returned with another T-Shirt for himself and a present for me. It is my birthday next week, hence the present. “Do you want it now or on your birthday?” he asked me. Presents are few and far between. It is difficult to surprise one another with gifts when we are travelling so I decide to wait for my birthday. Sunday, we leave and head south to Trelew about 60km (35mile) south of here. There is a town close to Trelew called Gaiman that I want to visit and we will spend the night somewhere in the area before going down the coast to Punta Tombo and Camarones. Trelew and Gaiman are Welsh settlements, founded when Welsh immigrants came in the late 1800’s to escape British suppression and to preserve their language and culture. They settled in the Chubut Valley area and established a farming region. Now, Trelew is just another industrial city but Gaiman has managed to retain much of the old charm and Welsh culture. We found a beautifully maintained Welsh tea house called Casa de Te Gales. Located along the Chubut River, it is situated by a creek with an old water wheel and lots of green grass and trees. And it is tea-time. In the restaurant, we are served High Tea complete with ham and cheese sandwiches, an assortment of bread and scones with two types of preserves, a huge assortment of cream pastries and a big pot of tea, of course. The waitresses are all dressed in long black dresses and white lace aprons. Tom has never had a true English high tea meal before and was pleasantly surprised. He liked it and we had a great time. There was so much food, that we had most of the pastries packed to go. We talked about where to spend the night and decided to go back to Trelew and from there go east to a beach called Playa Union. This turned out to be a small beach town and as it is late on a Sunday, most people have already left. It is quiet and we found a parking lot at the north end that was level for the motorhome and a little protected from the wind. We were able to park with our door facing the water and Winston was able to run on the beach which is actually not as much sand but small gravelly rocks and pebbles. We are not really hungry after eating late in the afternoon, although Tom got some milk and ate a couple more of those pastries. Since there are no facilities and we don’t want to ruin the quiet night by running our generator, we spent the evening with our headlights, reading and going to bed fairly early.