D is for Dolavon – en route to Gaiman (Continuing with the alphabet challenge)

Hmm…how did we end up here?

We were on our way to a Welsh teahouse and I was excited. (Why wouldn´t I be? I´m half Welsh, half Yorkshire, so it combined two of my favourite things – Welsh cakes and tea.) Getting the bus to the village of Gaiman, which was founded in Patagonia, Argentina, by Welsh settlers in 1874, had sounded straight-forward enough. We had successfully bought out tickets, navigated the change at Trelaw and were on a bus which said ´Gaiman´ on the front of it, usually an indication that this is the place where it will terminate. As we entered the village we debated where would be the best place to get off and decided that the final stop would probably be the easiest place as then we could get our bearings. So we were slightly surprised when the bus suddenly sped out of the village and carried on. I asked a fellow passenger where we were going and discovered it was to the next village, Dolavon. All of the locals were obviously familiar with this bus route and we were the only ones who were utterly confused at missing our stop.

Luckily we managed to get off at Dolavon and the other passenger kindly pointed us in the direction of the bus stop to get back to Gaiman. After a quick photo (I thought I may as well use our error for my alphabet challenge) we sat and waited for 20 minutes before exactly the same bus came back. It was a bit embarrassing to see the same driver, so to save any awkwardness we all did the polite thing of completely ignoring the fact that we had just got off his bus less than half an hour before. On the way back we did the safest thing and just got off at the first stop we came to in Gaiman.
Despite being founded more than 100 years ago, the village still maintains many of its traditions. For example, Welsh is taught in the schools and used in the songs and Bible readings in the church. Young people can also take part in language exchanges in Wales. The thing I liked most about Gaiman was that it felt like everyone knew everyone. I watched one old man walk down the street and wave to every single car which passed.
Songbooks in Welsh and Spanish.
But for me the highlight of our visit was the teahouse. Anyone who knows me knows how much I love tea and put it with cakes and I´m in heaven. As that´s the only thing that it´s really famous for, Gaiman is filled with teahouses and the funny thing is that the locals are not allowed to recommend one to you. We asked a couple of people and they all looked horrified at the thought of choosing one over the other. So in the end we just picked one which looked like it had been going for a long time and we weren´t disappointed.
The teahouse owners were determined that we should try every kind of cake possible, so our table was filled with plates of homemade bread, Welsh cakes, bara brith and torta negra (Patagonian black Welsh cake). It felt quite surreal to be sat in a teahouse in Argentina which reminded me so much of home. We were surrounded by things which were so familiar to me like lovespoons on the walls, dolls in tiny Welsh costumes and tea towels with recipes for traditional home-cooked meals.
Cake anyone?
The owner definitely won in the battle of the cakes as there was no way we could eat them all. Luckily, due to the huge portion sizes in South America, I have become pretty good at asking to take food away, as there was no way I was leaving any of those cakes behind!
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8 responses to “D is for Dolavon – en route to Gaiman (Continuing with the alphabet challenge)

  1. Aw Em what a quaint tea shop the cakes and bread look delicious. What is a torta negra (Patagonian black Welsh cake)what's in it? love and hugs xxxx

  2. Hope you had a tea drinking competition, the Welsh like to drink as much tea as possible and like to see who can drink the most. Would really have loved to see the Welsh tea shop, a little bit of home so far away. love & miss you, Mum & Dad xx

  3. This is too freaking awesome. I’m Welsh so one of the things on my ‘to do’ list is to visit some of the communities in Argentina where the Welsh language still exists. I looked at that pic of the songbook and couldn’t believe it! Actual Welsh! 😀 Blew my mind.

    • I know Ceri, isn’t it cool? What I thought was really interesting was that before they reintroduced Welsh back into all schools in Wales there was a worry that the language might be lost there and yet it has somehow managed to survive in a country on the other side of the world! They even have an exchange programme, where a Welsh teacher comes over each year to work at the school. Would definitely recommend a visit, there’s something special about eating Welsh cakes in Argentina!

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