Guanaco, Punto Tombo, Patagonia, October 2018, ©Sylvie Gé
Patagonia is a mandatory stop for TWM, who always wanted to visit the Welsh colony that emigrated in Patagonia in the nineteenth century. At Trelew airport, a croeso inscribed on a Welsh flag welcomes us. In Puerto Madryn, another port city, references to the Welsh presence are many. In Gayman, one of the main villages where about thirty percent of the population has Welsh roots, the Poetry Museum located in one of the first houses built by the Welsh community tells the story of the socio-economic and cultural reasons which motivated their emigration on the other side of the world, at a time when the trip lasted two months. One can easily imagine the distress that must have taken hold of them at the sight of the semi-deserted landscape and one can only admire their determination, which still shows today in the irrigation system that allowed them to develop agriculture and forced the admiration of the local population. Gayman’s visit ended with a visit to a Welsh-style teahouse, with a mountain of pastry and tea. The semi-desert landscape of Patagonia is flat, the sky is huge, the sea (in Puerto Madryn), faces South Africa. My taste for the desert is growing. The highlight of the stay in Patagonia however was for me our visit to Punto Tombo, where guanacos appear through the penguin colony.