Okes, I took way too many pictures in Gaiman. And to further complicate things, I don’t want to upload the very best ones here because part of me still believes I’ll get off (or is that on) my ass and write an article with pics to sell for cash money. Nevertheless, this will be a largely visual interpretation.
Gaiman is only about 80km inland from Puerto Madryn, and it’s known for its Welsh roots and traditional tea houses. Lady Di herself came here to sample some leaves in hot water and cake.
I joined Eduardo there on an unplanned overnight trip – the kind where you’re not so sure if there even is a hostel or similar in town to stay in until you get there (we found a very nice one).
It’s tiny: a census 12 years ago counted 6 000 people. It’s old: houses date from the late 1800s and early 1900s. Must be why it reminded me of some of the older neighbourhoods in Kimberley.
And we’re officially in Patagonia now. Gaiman was built around the only river in the area, Rio Chubut, and the tall old trees that line the streets are very much out of step with the surrounding landscape, which is breathtaking in its starkness. It’s an emptiness you can stare at for hours – another reminder of the Northern Cape – a desolation that is not menacing. It just … is.
Magnificent. People rave about Patagonia and it’s hard to put the whys into words. You just have to come here and lose your mind in the vast brown and grey space to experience the otherworldliness first hand. I’d hate to spoil it for you.
(Somehow there is more sky here than elsewhere in Argentina. The air is crisper. The dust is dryer and the birdsong stranger. The horizon is further away, and it is flatter than it should be. Is this where the world drops off into space?)
Visited a bookshop where Eduardo spent time talking with a poet (the area – remember that night in Puerto Madryn – seems to be crawling with literary types and artists. Gotta love it).
We spent quite some time at the Casa del Poeta (you figure it out), a very photogenic museum. We had a guide but I didn’t really understand much, just smiled and nodded when they looked over at me to see if I was following.
We walked through the old train tunnel, which was creepy as hell.
We skipped to the top of the little hill, where the big metal sculpture that kept catching my eye was. Tried to see all of the distance out there, but failed. There’s just too much of it.
Buckled and went to a tea house, which I consider a massive ripoff at ARG$90 (about R180) per person, but Eduardo wangled half price for us (something you can only do with good Spanish). I did resist – “I’m from South Africa, I have European heritage, we eat cake and tea all the time” – but Eduardo insisted and so here I am weeks later and I don’t miss the ARG$45. There’s a lesson in there somewhere.
Didn’t actually find anyone who could speak Welsh, much to our disappointment.
The tiny place kept us surprisingly busy, and there are a number of museums we didn’t get to. I had to get back to Puerto Madryn (the seals were waiting!) and Eduardo had to head west to find more poets. Glad I went to Gaiman because … Wait, I’ve already said too much.