An afternoon exploring town, enjoyed a while in the pretty main square and finally found ourselves in the bar of the Hotel Touring Club which has changed little since a visit by Butch Cassidy and Sundance.
A trip to see the Magellanic Penguin colony at Punta Tombo was the excuse for our visit to Trelew.
Arranged a tour,see later tip, and a journey time of around 90 minutes through the deserted countryside of Patagonia to get there.
Once there a small admission fee, this is no reserve though, the pengins and other wildlife are totally wild, visitors are restricted to small areas to view them. It's an amazing sight, hundreds of birds going about their business with little care for the visitors, they seem to have no fear of humans.
Our visit in mid November enabled us to see plenty of chicks, from about 2 weeks to just hatched, a real treat for us and another of Mrs B's ambitions fulfilled.
Capilla Tabernacle is a small Welsh chapel, dating from 1899, built not long after the town was founded. The Welsh built many chapels in the Chubut Valley, the most impressive of which are around Gaiman. I´m not sure if there is much of a Welsh community nowadays in Trelew, but it's nice to see their chapels, and other buildings like St. David's hall, still standing.
The Museo Pueblo Regional de Luis is a small museum, housed in a beautiful museum, the former railway station, also the first building in Trelew. The museum focuses on the history, in particular on the people, of Trelew and the surrounding areas. Much of this concerns the Welsh community, who initally founded the town, when the rail line was built in 1885 between Trelew and Puerto Madryn.
There are mementos from the Welsh families who settled in the area, and exhibits of traditional furniture and personal items. Also included are exhibits from other communities, such as the native Indian tribes, and later immigrants, who followed the example of the Welsh in settling here. It costs 2 pesos to enter the museum, and most of the exhibits are labelled in both Spanish and English.
Trelew´s Paleontology Museum is the most modern but also the most expensive museum we visited in Argentina. Clearly a lot of work has gone into this museum, though it seems a little excessive and unfair to charge 16 pesos to foreigners, while Argentines are only charged 11.
There are many impressive paleontological exhibits, most of which have been recovered from the local Chubut region. In the entrance there is a 115 million year old femur bone from a dinosaur. Everything is well presented and there is a good amount of labelling in English.
The main rooms of the museum cover the principal paleontological periods, though, rather confusingly, it´s in reverse chronological order. If you're into dinosaur's you'll love this place; if you're more interested in the history of the people of this area, as we were, head to the Lewis Museum across the street.
Museo Paleontologico Feruglio (MEF) is an outstanding museum of prehistoric natural history. Dozens of dinosaur skeletons are displayed, although the written cescriptions are only in Spanish. For the casual tourist the visit to this museum will take about an hour or so. Nominal admission charge.
One of the more striking buildings in Trelew is St. David's hall, originally used as a meeting room by the Welsh settlers, though nowadays used for bingo. It's distinctive red colour makes it stand out.
At the old railway station, no longer a rail link to Trelew, the history of Trelew with some information about the railway too.
Well worth the small admission fee.