Wednesday, January 12, 2005


In north eastern Patagonia there are several towns that were founded by Welsh immigrants at the end of the 19th century and where it is said that it is still possible to speak Welsh in some shops. I was looking forward to seeing these places because I've got a Welsh friend on the trip and I wanted to see him "in his element". Unfortunately the towns have grown so much now that the Welsh language has been diluted out (although I'm sure it still exists in some small enclaves) and so my hopes were dashed. Still, there is something else to see round here, namely the Valdes peninsula (a piece of land shaped a bit like a bowler hat attached to the mainland by a very narrow isthmus at the top of the "head") which is home to colonies of sea-lions, elephant seals and Magellanic penguins as well as visiting southern right whales and orcas (and one of only 2 places in the world where orcas have been documented to "beach" themselves to hunt sea-lion pups). Unfortunately I didn't see any whales but we did get rather close to both the sea-lions and elephant seals and within touching distance of the penguins, so I'm happy enough.

On the way back from the peninsula we picked up a French cyclist who was getting battered by the wind (in 2 hours driving we had saved her a day and a half of cycling). Kristelle, for that turned out to be her name, is travelling round the world by herself on her bike, which I'm sure you'll agree requires a hell of a lot more cojones than my (in comparison) luxury-laden trip. If anybody is interested you can check out her website here or check out the link at the side of the page.

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