LUGARES MAGAZINE Nro. 75
Pag. 74 - 77
Story and Photos: Soledad Gil
In Trevelin, a historical Australian Merino sheep farm opens its
doors to the discovery of new Cordillera attractions.
Gaiman may be the city, but Trevelin is more Welsh than Welsh Cake itself... Just like your hosts at El Condor, Michael Gough and Guingui Williams. So it was, in 1885, that in the land division carried out in the Colonia 16 de Octubre -as was the name of the valley harboring the city of Esquel- Llwyd Ap Iwan, Michael's great grandfather, was granted one league of land from the total of 50 the government granted the new colonists. His son, Mihangel Griffydd Ap Iwan started raising Australian Merino sheep, and in 1912 founded the sheep farm that now boasts 1,800 head on 1,500 hectares.
Michael inherited the family penchant for sheep raising, and is so devoted to his rams that we couldn't help laughing at the treatment he was using to cure depression in one of them: painkiller, a dollop of honey in its feed and other special treats to raise its spirits. However, all was to no avail... it kept apart from its illustrious peers, as you can see on our cover photo. Believe it or not, each of these animals is worth a fortune.
Guingui had the idea of branching into tourism. She restored the pure Patagonia-style dwelling, complete with chimneys, salamanders and economy kitchen stoves, to provide plenty of warmth.
She started by hosting fishermen, because she thought it was easier. Obsessed with their objective, they spent the whole day on Lake Futaleufu, Pescado Stream and Lake Futalaufquen, returning so exhausted that they couldn't care less where they spend the night.
But El Condor is a place to enjoy. To the comforts of the house and the walks around the countryside and local trails -that are justly famous- Guingui adds a visit to the Regional Museum, located in the Molino Andes y Cia building that operated as a milling establishment until 1953. She also offers a visit to Esquel, the Leleque Museum and, of course, to Los Alerces National Park, the great natural attraction of the area.
For in-depth exploring, the best thing is to take advantage of the valley's good infrastructure, and complete your stay at the Estancia by visiting two perfect "partners". One of them is the "Hosteria del Futalaufquen", built by Alejandro Bustillo on the shore of the lake, with its comfort, excellent cuisine and its history. The other is the impeccably located "Hosteria del Pedregoso de Cholila". To the two nights spent in each place, add a dinner at Cassis de Esquel, a trip on La Trochita (legendary local small-gauge steam-engine railway) and an adventure sport program (rafting, horse-riding or fishing): success is assured.