The route less travelled…   Leave a comment

Monday 17th November 2014

Our next destination are the oldest cities in Patagonia, Viedma and Carmen de Patagones. Not many people seem to go into this direction from Puerto Madryn, as all buses services arrive in the middle of the night or very early in the morning – very inconvenient if you still want to organise your onward travel, find a nice hotel and then be fit enough to make the most of your time.

So we have decided to drive a relatively short distance of 270 kilometres to San Antonio Oeste today, a town that lies on the major traffic routes from south to north and west to east – hoping there will be connections to Viedma during the day. Finding this sort of information on the ground or on the internet is rather complicated and unreliable in South America, in case you were wondering why we just went without researching our options comprehensively.

On the way north the bus stops in Las Grutas, a seaside resort famous for its warm water and very popular, even if the bus terminal doesn’t look like it.

We are glad that we didn’t opt for Las Grutas to get our onward connection – until the moment we arrive in San Antonio Oeste…

Buses to Viedma leave from another terminal, we are told, and so we start walking towards the town centre in the scorching sun.

Johannes is happy – at least the path is trolley-friendly

Mmm – should we have stayed in Las Grutas after all?

We arrive at the train station, get a very comfortable connection to Viedma the next day and a recommendation for one of the two hotels that are currently open in town. Our room and its price are more than acceptable and after settling in we embark on a sight-seeing tour of San Antonio Oeste.

The whole town seems to meet in the evening to run together

For dinner we follow the recommendation for one of the two restaurants that are currently open (you get the idea…)

The food is excellent in the restaurant ‘Olaff’


Tuesday 18th November 2014

We still have some time in the morning before the bus leaves for Viedma and so we explore San Antonio Oeste a bit more.

The sky is one of Patagonia’s main characteristics

House of Guido Jacobacci, general director of the Patagonian railway, 1909

Exemplary recycling…

Lawn-mowing Argentinean style

Then it’s time to board the bus

Public transport is frequent and well-coordinated

No need for travel sickness pills

… and the main roads – like the Ruta 3 – are well looked after


Hope it’s just another kind of weeding…

Welcome to Viedma

La catedral

Colegio Salesiano

We head for the river, as I would like to show Johannes one of the main attractions of the city – crossing the Río Negro to Carmen de Patagones by ferry and see the fine colonial buildings in the oldest town in Patagonia by night . Imagine our disappointment when we learn that the service has been abandoned for a week and is not likely to open before we leave again…

We can only admire Carmen de Patagones from our side of the river

Well, Dad, now that you mention it…

When dinner time comes we find an absolute gem of a ‘Tenedor Libre’ (all you can eat) restaurant: El Dragón, where we can enjoy all sorts of delicious food for AR$ 75 per head – that’s €7.11 or £5.62…


Wednesday 19th November 2014

We’ve booked a night-journey to Villa Gesell at 23.00 hrs and thus have still a whole day in Viedma and Carmen de Patagones. The latter is the capital of the Patagones Partido, the only administrative division of Buenos Aires Province that lies within Patagonia, and there it was the first settlement – founded in 1779 by Francisco de Viedma, an explorer leading a Spanish expedition commissioned with colonizing Patagonia’s shore.

With the ferry still out-of-order, we walk to the western bridge where the traffic bypassing the city crosses the Río Negro. On the way we discover a lot of interesting things:

A blackberry tree

People carrier


Museo Naval

A parakeet colony


Doors of Carmen de Patagones

Catedral Nuestra Señora del Carmen

The eastern bridge

The only one of its kind in the world

Coming full circle…

Well-deserved ice cream!


We return to the hotel, fulfill our daily duties such as writing another post, the diary, the balance sheet, pay ‘El Dragón’ a second visit and then take a taxi to the terminal in plenty of time for departure at 23.00 hrs. Little did we know that the bus would be three hours late…


Posted 24 November 2014 by Pumpy in Argentina, The 2014 Rucksack Trip

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