By the time we arrived in Patagonia we had been traveling in South America for almost one month. Patagonia was what we really came here for and after a few days in Puerto Madyrn it was time to visit the towns of Trelew & Gaiman. The latter will forever be immortalised through the classic book by Bruce Chatwin, “In Patagonia”, who entertained generations with his stories of a Welsh settled village which still embraced the customs, food and singing cultures of their ancestors from the valleys.
We had a couple of reasons to visit Gaiman but first we had to base ourselves in the less than glamorous Welsh town of Trelew. Other than the MEF dinosaur museum showcasing fossils found nearby in Chubut Provence there really isn’t a lot to do here, but there are more accommodation options so we set about finding the only hostel in town. After checking in and starting to unpack our bags in our dorm the manager came to find us and told us he made a mistake and our room was upstairs. What he didn’t tell us was that he wanted to put us in a smaller dorm room with an Argentinian family, including a crying baby whom they were in the process of changing diapers….We quickly did a U-turn to request a new room to the bewilderment of the owner who couldn’t understand why we wouldn’t want to share a dorm room with a crying baby. So we left and found a budget hotel.
The following morning we woke early to head to Gaiman, but first we had to try and digest the most miserable of breakfasts, a stale sugar croissant which may have contributed to any possibility of diabetes we may have in the future, this was washed down with an awful coffee. The good news is that our day only got better from this point.
Our first reason to go to Gaiman was that on this day we were almost in the perfect position to view a solar eclipse. Neither of us had ever had the opportunity to see this spectacle from such a vantage point. We took an early bus and made it just on time to the highest hill we could find in Gaiman. We set up our cameras and wore 3 pairs or sunglasses for many reasons including to look silly. This was amazing, even the attempts of vicious mosquitos could not ruin this experience.
Once the eclipse was finished it was time to start our journey to reason # 2 for being in Gaiman. In 1993, palaeontologists gave access to the public to an open-air desert, called “Bryn Gwyn” (White Hill in Weslh), which was once part of the atlantic ocean seabed. In this area where they had found fossilised remains of prehistoric sea creatures, it is now possible to set foot and follow a trail taking the visitor from 40 million years ago volcanic ashes deposit to a massive formation of tubes made by shrimps 30 million years later.
Along the walk of this park, large fossiles like sharks, penguins, dolphins and other sea creatures can be seen.
We followed the trail to the top of a hill from where we could see 365° over the valley. A gorgeous view that no many other places can offer.
During our visit we bumped into a very interesting but quite strange character… from what we understood, this argentinan with the thikest american accent ever heard, was hiking around hoping to find Megalodon teeth. We did some research and these teeth of the size of a human hand can be sold on the market for more than a grand ! Unfortunately we didn’t find any.
To get there from Gaiman, we hitchhiked. We then managed to enter for free as they were redoing some exhibitions and got to walk around the amazing landscape completely alone. It was amazing to be in a desert yet to be walking over oyster shells, now the only remains of the ocean that was once here millions of years ago.