Archive for the Trelew Category

Chubut Province – Trelew – Places to Eat & Drink

Posted in Argentina, Chubut Province, Trelew with tags , , , , , , on November 17, 2015 by gannet39

Please see my previous post for things to see and do in Trelew.

Here’s a Google map with all the places mentioned, and more.

My best meal in Trelew was at La Casona (Intermediate B) on Lewis Jones street 155, opposite Plaza Centenario. It’s a parrilla that the hotel receptionist directed me to after I discovered that El Viejo Molino (Lonely Planet’s top pick) had closed down. I kicked off with a couple of favourites (B+).

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Patagonia is famous for its lamb and the chops I had here weren’t very photogenic but they didn’t need to be (B+). I was there for Sunday lunch and they have an all-you-can-eat parrillada, which I’m sure is fine, but I really wanted a change from beef.

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The bottle of 2013 Malbec ‘Altos de Plata’, recommended by the gruff but polite owner, was very good too (B+) as was the glass of Dulce Cosecha by Trapiche (B) I had with my (forgotten) dessert. My bill came to $495, about £35.

The only other place I would recommend is the historic Hotel Touring Club at 240 Avenida Fontana. It was Patagonia’s fanciest hotel when it was built in 1896, although you wouldn’t think that now.

The hotel rooms aren’t particularly nice according to Lonely Planet but there’s a huge old bar room that’s open to the public.

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I popped in for a glass of Reserva de San Juan cognac (B) and to look at the black and white photos of Trelew in the last century that cover the walls.

Apparently Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid stayed here once in 1901 when they were on the run. You can see Cassidy’s room but I doubt if the contents were really his.

Places I went to and didn’t particularly like:

In the same building as the beautiful Spanish theatre at 247 25 de Mayo is Sugar (Intermediate C), which at the time I went was the Trip Advisor #1 restaurant in Trelew. However that doesn’t mean much in a town whose culinary landscape is as bleak as the steppes that surround it. I don’t even usually look at TA but that shows how desperate I was.

I got great service but the Thali de Cordero I had (desperately seeking a change from bland Argentine food and hoping for a taste of home, thanks to a positive TA review) was kind of edible but I just couldn’t finish it. I wasn’t keen on the weird ‘rice’ and defrosted mini chapattis that came with it either (all C-/D). The strange addition of fresh bean sprouts on the top of the rice made me wonder about the chef’s knowledge of food geography.

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The soggy Manzana Tatin (apple pie) with a scoop of Dulce de Leche ice cream (usually a favourite) also failed to satisfy (C). With a Quilmes beer the bill came to a cheap $224. You might have better luck if you stick to local dishes.

Le Petit (Intermediate C), the TA#2 at Moreno 445 (open Monday, hallelujah!) isn’t much better. Their star dish was basically a meat sandwich of overcooked Bife de Chorizo containing sun-dried tomatoes, pancetta and cheese. Yet again I couldn’t finish it.

The recommended red was drinkable enough though (B-). With a couple of mediocre limoncellos (C) my bill came to a paltry $234, or £24. The service was pleasant enough and the surroundings are ok and it seems very popular at the weekends. Again, you might fare better with different choices.

Miguel Angel (Intermediate C) at Avenida Fontana 246 (TA#3, LP and teacher recommended, closed Monday) had similarly pleasant service and décor but the Milanesa and salad I had were unimpressive (C). The bottle of Malbec, Postales del Fin del Mundo was ok (B). The bill came to $228. It’s handy for Hotel Touring Club which is right next door.

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Places I didn’t get to try:

I did walk past La Bodeguita (TA#5 at Belgrano 374) but its harsh lighting and an unfavourable review put me off.  LP also recommends El Quijote, a parrilla at Belgrano 361, and Venezia bakery and heladeria at 25 de Mayo 21, and for drinking Margarita Bar at Fontana 230 and San Javier at San Martin 57. They might be good places but somehow I doubt it…

Accommodation:

I spent one night at the Residencial Rivadavia (a hostel at Rivadavia 55) in a cramped room with basic shower facilities and intermittent wi-fi. The ladies working there were nice enough but I didn’t like the young guy who is the night porter. Maybe he needs to get more sleep because he was miserable as sin when I was there. Breakfast involves a bland coffee and a couple of medialunas (Argentinean croissants). Continue reading

Chubut Province – Trelew – Stuff to See

Posted in Argentina, Chubut Province, Trelew with tags , , , , , , on November 17, 2015 by gannet39

With a population around 100,000, Trelew is the second largest urban area in the province of Chubut, after Comodoro Rivadavia.

It’s the principal town in the area settled by Welsh immigrants in 1865, They were escaping an economic depression and religious persecution at home and were hoping to set up ideal religious communities in the hostile landscape of the Patagonian steppes.

Their early years here were pretty hard by all accounts and they would have starved if they hadn’t been saved by the local Indians who gave them food.

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The name of the town is pronounced tre-ley-ooh in Spanish, the ‘tre’ part meaning ‘town’ in Welsh and ‘lew’ being short for Lewis Jones, its founding father.

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Nowadays there isn’t that much evidence of the town’s Welsh heritage. To experience that you’d be better off hopping on the bus to neighbouring Gaiman (see my Gaiman post).

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Trelew is a jump off point for tourists going to see the nature of the Valdes Peninsula, or the penguin colony at Punto Tumbo, or whale-watching at Porto Madryn.

I’m not really a believer in paying a tour operator a large chunk of cash to go and harass some local wildlife but I do regret not jumping on the bus to Porto Madryn, as a friend did, to sit on the cliff tops and watch the whales in the bay. Or maybe see the odd Orca intentionally beaching themselves to snack on a seal as they do in the documentaries.

It was a long bus ride there though and I needed to take it easy in preparation for a full day’s work the following morning. Damn job gets in the way all the time.

 

However I did make it to the Museo Palenontologico at Fontana 140 (entrance $140 for foreigners in 2014), which is famous for its dinosaur exhibition, thanks to the rich fossil deposits near Gaiman.

Particularly impressive is the large skeleton of a Titanosaurus in the front entrance which I think is the largest carnivorous dinosaur ever found in South America.

As usual, please click on any these photos for a better view.

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There are lots more skeletons of all kinds of pre-historic creatures inside but the dinos, such as the sauropods Tehuelchesaurus and Patagosaurus, are the most remarkable.

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It’s also a natural history museum and there were a few, more recent skeletons. I’m guessing these were a dolphin and a seal.

It’s a modern museum and all the exhibits are well presented. It would have been nice to have a few more of the explanatory texts in English, but there were a few.

I timed my visit well as the strong gale that arrived out of nowhere, just as I entered the museum, had blown itself out when I emerged into the sunshine again two hours later. The Patagonian weather is notoriously changeable but it seems these mini storms blow themselves out pretty quickly. It’s best to come prepared though, especially if you do decide to go on a boat trip.

The only other thing I saw that was of interest was this huge political mural called ‘El Transporte‘ by Ramon Cura, on the corner of Fontana and Gales.

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Other than these activities, there’s very little to see or do in Trelew itself. In terms of architecture there are a couple of pieces of unloved Art Deco along Avenida Fontana but the nicest thing for me was the old bandstand in Plaza Independencia and the colonial architecture of the Spanish theatre that faces it.

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