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Buenos Aires
puerto madryn
Puerto Madryn
esquel
Esquel
 
Calafate
Calafate / Perito Moreno Glacier
bariloche
Bariloche
Welsh Male Voice Choir - Tour 2007

Day 1 / London/Buenos Aires
Depart for Buenos Aires from London. Overnight en-route.

Day 2 / Buenos Aires
Upon arrival in Buenos Aires, you will be met at the international airport and transferred to your hotel for three nights. There will be a briefing on the bus into town (40 minutes) on dos and don’ts in Buenos Aires and where the best shopping places are. A short orientation tour of the centre will be given on the way to the hotel. The rest of the day is free. Buenos Aires is a huge city with a vibrant, exciting heart and distinctly European and “first world” feel. You will marvel at stunning examples of classic and modern architecture, be amazed by the wide range and quality of products in the shopping malls, admire elegant and beautiful men and women sporting the latest fashions, be entranced the friendliness of everyone you meet, be overawed by the vastness of the widest avenue and river in the world and gasp at the profuseness of marble and majesty in the most ornate cemetery anywhere. And, to top it off, sexy, dynamic, exuberant, explosive tango. What city could boast so much?

Day 3 / Buenos Aires
After breakfast, enjoy a sightseeing tour of the largest city in South America. See the Plaza de Mayo, where demonstrators provide as much of a tourist attraction as the Presidential Palace and Cathedral situated either side of them; bump along the cobbled streets of San Telmo and check out the wares at its Antiques Fair; try and count the colours of the tiny dwellings in the port area of La Boca; see if you can see the resemblance between the Palace of Congress and the Capitol Building in Washington DC; catch the enticing smells from restaurants of every nation in green and leafy Palermo and figure out the difference between sarcophagi, cenotaphs, sepulchres and catafalques as you wander around the tiny lanes of Recoleta Cemetery. Lunch in a restaurant (optional) at the newly converted port area of Puerto Madero, with the rest of the afternoon free for shopping, a siesta or to enjoy some of the many galleries and museums. In the evening, visit a typical Buenos Aires area for dinner and a Tango Show (included). Return to the hotel.

Day 4 / Buenos Aires
Free day in Buenos Aires.
Optional excursions to the country’s biggest shopping mall (Unicenter), located 30 minutes’ drive from the centre of the city. Hundreds of shops offering everything from hand-made shoes and leather goods to cashmere to designer clothes to local knick-knacks, all at a fraction of the price you would pay in the UK. Or enjoy the tax-free shopping at Galerias Pacifico in the downtown pedestrianised precinct in Florida Avenue. Or just lounge around at any of the city’s hundreds of bars and cafes enjoying the finest cappuccinos, freshly squeezed orange juice and just-made cakes and croissants. If you are feeling particularly adventurous, you can hop on a ferry to Montevideo in Uruguay, just on the other side of the stretch of water separating the two capitals, the River Plate. In the evening, pay a visit to a parrilla (a restaurant with a giant indoor barbecue) and feast on steaks and wines that are universally acknowledged to be the finest in the world.

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Day 5 / Buenos Aires
After breakfast, there will be an optional excursion to visit a Gaucho festival and to tour a working Argentinean farm, an Estancia. View lush pampas and spectacular landscapes en route. Taste an empanada (pasty) and enjoy a traditional asado (barbecue) served with superb Argentine wines. Enjoy live folk music and Tango dances, and attend a gaucho display of horse riding that includes a typical sortija (race). If you wish, you can also enjoy a short surky (carriage) ride. In the evening, our first concert.

Day 6 / Buenos Aires/El Calafate
After breakfast , we transfer to the airport to board a flight to El Calafate, 2,700 kilometres south. Transfer to your Hotel for 2 nights. Rest of the day free.

Day 7 / El Calafate
After an early breakfast we will witness one of the most awesome sights in the world, the Perito Moreno Glacier in Los Glaciares National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site. To quote Lonely Planet: “Visiting the Moreno Glacier is no less an auditory than visual experience, as huge icebergs on the glacier’s face calve and collapse into the Iceberg Channel in Argentina’s largest lake, the beautifully turquoise Lago Argentino. From a series of catwalks and vantage points on the peninsula, visitors can see, hear and photograph the glacier safely as these enormous chunks crash into the water. The glacier changes appearance as the day progresses, with the sun hitting the face of the glacier in the morning.” In the National Park, a 50 kilometre wide field of ice contains 13 glaciers.

Day 8 / El Calafate/Bariloche
After breakfast, an optional excursion to the Los Glaciares National Park, where we will sail on Lago Argentino with visits to the Upsala and Onelli glaciers. Weather permitting, we will have the opportunity to picnic next to Lago Onelli and watch condors soaring over the cliffs above. We will see enormous icebergs floating on the lake, which, in the sunlight, offer a wonderful and unforgettable spectacle. The boat pilot will often, in calm conditions, nudge the “growlers” along, giving you the opportunity of carving off a chunk to put into your gin and tonic! An experience to rival any other in South America.
| In the afternoon, we transfer to the airport for the flight north along the Andes to San Carlos de Bariloche, the adventure capital of Argentina (known to most Argentineans as simply Bariloche). The best views will definitely be on the left hand side of the plane! On arrival, transfer to your hotel for 3 nights.

Day 9 / Bariloche
In the morning after breakfast we will start our tour of the surroundings of Bariloche (the Circuito Chico excursion). This is a half-day excursion of approximately 60 kilometres where you will see jaw-dropping landscapes. We will visit the Swiss Colony, Cerro Lopez, Llao Llao, Cerro Otto and the Lookout Point. We even take a chair lift up the mountain to get a better view of the surroundings and the nearby mountains of Chile. Return to the hotel for a free afternoon.

Day 10 / Bariloche
Bariloche is located inside the Parque Nacional Nahuel Huapi and is blessed by spectacular views over lakes and mountains. You can spend time here sampling chocolates from local factories, strolling the streets, shopping and breathing the fresh air. In the evening steaks and wine await in even the smallest of cafes, as do top class restaurants, night clubs, discotheques and even a couple of casinos. And, since we have now reached a large town, Irish Bars! Optional excursions are available by boat on the lake from Puerto Pañuelo which is reached easily from the town centre via the picturesque Avenida Bustillo. From there, we can navigate the waters of Lake Nahuel Huapi to visit Victoria Island and the Enchanted Forest in the Los Arrayanes National Park. In the evening, as an option, you are invited to the Cassis Restaurant at the Arelauquen Polo and Country Club (see photo above) to enjoy an extravaganza of Patagonian food and wine. The restaurant has just been awarded the title “The Best Gourmet Restaurant in Argentina”. Considering it had to compete with restaurants like Frances Mallmann’s 1884 in Mendoza, which is rated number 9 in the World, this is quite an accolade. The restaurant is located on a spit of land dangling over beautiful Lake Gutierrez. We arrive there in time to witness the sunset over Bariloche’s spectacularly craggy mountains.

Day 11 / Bariloche/El Bolson/Esquel/Trevelin
Rising early, we start our coach journey through Welsh Patagonia by following the Andes south to the capital of Western Welsh Patagonia, Esquel. The 200 mile journey is one of the most incredible drives anywhere. We start by climbing through mountain ranges, past countless lakes and spectacular waterfalls, on roads with virtually no traffic and with condors standing sentinel above the Andes. We pass through national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty and take a break for elevenses at the beautiful town of El Bolson. Soon afterwards, we pass into the virtually barren steppe, which is typical of the majority of the country south of this point, and pass close to the hideaway of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid in Cholila. We will spend some time at the museum of the indigenous peoples of the region, Museo Leleque, funded by the Benetton family and containing many Welsh audio and visual exhibits.
The area around Esquel was settled in 1880, and the nearby Percy River provided the power for mills to grind the wheat that sprang from the rich soil. Soon afterwards, a town grew up around the mill that was christened Trevelin by the local Welsh settlers and which, in English, means “The Place of the Mill”. Residents of Trevelin still retain their Welsh heritage today, even preserving the North Wales accents of the original settlers. The Welsh Assembly does its bit to maintain the language by funding Welsh language schools in Esquel and in the east. On the drive in, you will marvel at the rich autumn colours set against a backdrop of the bluest skies and the most dazzling snow-capped peaks. In the afternoon, after checking in to your hotel for 3 nights, you will have plenty of time to enjoy Esquel. After dinner, and dependent on the weather and the moon, an optional trip to the desert on the outskirts of Esquel to take a look through air totally unpolluted by industrial output at the Milky Way, which forms a vast cloud behind the stars of the

 

Day 12 Monday 30 April / Esquel/Trevelin

A day in and around the Welsh settlements in Trevelin, with visits to the most famous of the Welsh attractions. One of the highlights of the day will be the visit to the Regional Museum located in the Andes Mill, which was founded by John Daniel Evans in 1897. Keeping a dry eye when face to face with the artefacts reflecting the harshness of the lives of the early settlers, their commitment to their language and culture and their continuous links to the Land of their Fathers will be difficult indeed. In the evening, we have our first concert among the Welsh communities and an opportunity to meet the local people at a buffet supper.
Optional trips, if you have time, include fishing (the lakes and rivers around Esquel offer some of the finest fly fishing in the world) and, for the more restless, there is the ski centre at La Hoya, just 20 minutes away, as well as white water rafting, four wheel drive trips on some of the many tracks across the Andes into Chile and condor-spotting tours into secret Andes valleys. And, of course, we mustn’t forget La Trochita, the Old Patagonian Express, the famous steam train which chugs its way daily from Esquel to the Mapuche village of Nahuel Pan.
Optional trips, if you have time, include fishing (the lakes and rivers around Esquel offer the finest fly fishing in the world) and, for the more restless, there is the ski centre at La Hoya, just 20 minutes away, as well as white water rafting, four wheel drive trips on some of the many tracks across the Andes into Chile and condor-spotting tours into secret mountain valleys.

Day 13 / Esquel/Trevelin
We rise early and head off into one of Argentina’s most beautiful national parks (optional), part of which may soon become a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Parque Nacional Los Alerces is a place of majestic forests of larch and araucaria trees (Monkey Puzzles), towering mountains, sparkling lakes and immense grumbling glaciers. Most notably, it is also home to the world-famous Alerces trees, the oldest of which exceeds 2,700 years in age. You will marvel at Nature’s wonders, ranging from the splendour of the autumn colours to the freezing cold, water-laden trunk and branches of the Arrayán tree. We then head back to Trevelin for a lunch time asado with the people of the town to celebrate your presence. Be prepared for more mountains and lakes, but this time of beef and wine, as you make new friends in this New Wales. This is a real chance to meet the local people through the medium of that most Argentinean traditions, the asado. Wonderful meat, fresh from the coals, washed down by great wines should give us the appetite to regale our hosts with some impromptu songs of our own and give them the opportunity to discover long-lost family ties. We have even persuaded the local Gendarmerie, weather permitting, to take some lucky people for a closer view of the spectacular mountains and valleys in their brand-new French helicopter.
In the evening, we will have the chance to visit the Welsh School and Chapel in Esquel, meet the staff and attend a presentation of the history of the Welsh in Patagonia given by Sergio Sepiurka and Jorge Miglioli, the authors of the definitive work on the subject, Rocky Trip. Discounted copies of the English/Spanish version of this impressive volume will be available to all.

Day 14 / Esquel/Gaiman/Puerto Madryn
An early start for the long drive (660 km) to Puerto Madryn, the landing site of the original settlers. We will visit some of the famous locations along the way where the settlers struggled to cross the harsh country in their wagons and even see some graves of the less fortunate who perished in the attempt to reach their “Promised Land”. We will stay in a hotel in Puerto Madryn for 3 nights, just a few metres from the sea front in this most beautiful of towns. Arrive late afternoon. We will have short orientation stops en route to give you time to stretch your legs and enjoy your packed lunches.

Day 15 / Puerto Madryn/Trelew/Rawson/Gaiman
After breakfast, there will be an excursion around the famous Welsh landmarks in Trelew and a chance to visit Trelew’s Moriah Chapel. After some free time in Trelew (named in honour of a member of the original survey team and one of the leaders of the early settlers, Lewis Jones) and a chance to visit the Palaeontological Museum, a wonderful way to see the amazing finds which have been made in one of the World’s richest dinosaur areas, you will be driven up the Chubut River valley to the beautiful Welsh village of Gaiman. There, you can explore the quiet streets and gorge yourselves on endless Welsh Teas in the numerous tea houses scattered around the main square! In the evening, another chance to interact with the people of the region with a dinner at St David’s Hall in Trelew and to entertain each other with informal singing and folklore.

Day 16 / Puerto Madryn
A day to get your breath back and to discover the beautiful seaside resort of Puerto Madryn, enjoying its beaches, its shops, its pavement cafes and discovering the Ecocentre. Nearby lies the original landing site of the first Welsh settlers who came on board the Mimosa in 1865. In the morning, we will have an excursion to the landing sites at Punta Cuevas, we will visit the museum and Eco Centre and round off the morning with a look at the seal colony at Punta Loma. The reason that the name Madryn was chosen was that one of the men originally appointed by the Argentinean government to survey the area for its suitability for settlement was Love Jones Parry, a member of an aristocratic family from North Wales whose base was at Castle Madryn, near Pwllheli (now a caravan park!). Many of the streets in Puerto Madryn are named in honour of the original Welsh settlers who came on the Mimosa.

Puerto Madryn is located a short distance south of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Peninsula Valdés. Around its shores are to be found one of the World’s highest concentrations of sea animals. In particular, elephant seals, sea lions, penguins, dolphins and southern right whales abound, as well as a great variety of bird life. There are regular sightings of the orca, the killer whale. This magnificent mammal feeds on the huge numbers of seals that lounge on the shores and catch fish in the rich waters. At Punta Norte, whale pods teach their young to kill seals by swimming on to the beach and taking them virtually high and dry. A little way south of Trelew, at Punta Tombo, a colony of over two million Magellanic penguins strut around and range up to two miles inland to build their nests. Come between June and November and be prepared for one of the great wildlife displays in the world.

In the afternoon, we have been invited by The Minister of Culture of the Province to enjoy the new Museum of the People at the opposite end of the town from the Eco Centre. In the evening, we have our last concert a short distance from the hotel, followed by a farewell party and Glee Night hosted by the Welsh Community of Puerto Madryn.

Puerto Madryn is located just south of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Peninsula Valdés. Around its shores are to be found one of the World’s highest concentrations of sea animals. In particular, elephant seals, sea lions, penguins, dolphins and southern right whales abound, as well as a great variety of bird life. There are regular sightings of the orca, the killer whale. This magnificent mammal feeds on the huge numbers of seals that lounge on the shores and catch fish in the rich waters. At Punta Norte, whale pods teach their young to kill seals by swimming on to the beach and taking them virtually high and dry. A little way south of Trelew, at Punta Tombo, a colony of over two million Magellanic penguins strut around and range up to two miles inland to build their nests. Come between June and November and be prepared for one of the great wildlife displays in the world.

In the afternoon, we have been invited by The Minister of Culture of the Province to enjoy the new Museum of the People at the opposite end of the town from the Eco Centre. In the evening, we have our last concert a short distance from the hotel, followed by a farewell party and Glee Night hosted by the Welsh Community of Puerto Madryn.

Day 17 / Puerto Madryn/trelew/Buenos Aires
After breakfast, transfer to the airport in Trelew for the flight to Buenos Aires. Transfer to your hotel for 1 night. Evening at leisure.

Day 18 / Buenos Aires
After breakfast, a free day then transfer to Ezeiza International Airport to board your flight back home. Overnight en route.

Day 19 / London
Arrive UK.

 

 

     
     


 
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Esquel - Chubut - Patagonia - Argentina - Email: info@welshpatagonia.com
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