The two cities sit on opposite banks of the Rio Negro. Carmen de Patagones, on the north bank, is the southernmost city of the State of Buenos Aires; Viedma, occupying he south bank, is the capital of the State of Rio Negro, which extends west as far as the Andes and the Chilean border.
It seems that the current edition of the Lonely Planet Guide to Argentina no longer has chapters for the twin cities on the Rio Negro. I guess they’re not Disneyfied enough to draw all the tour groups. For travelers driving from Buenos Aires to Patagonia, it is at best a stopping place for the night before big chunk of attractions around Puerto Madryn and Trelew.
Viedma also happens to be the terminus of the Tren Patagonico, about which I wrote yesterday. From there, it goes clear across the State of Rio Negro to the Patagonian Lake District around San Carlos de Bariloche. Today, I finally got an e-mail response from the Tren Patagonico people telling me they’ll be ready to take my reservation for November in a week or so.
If my reservation is confirmed, I’ll spend a couple of nights in either Viedma or Carmen de Patagones and wander around both towns seeing the local museums.
In 2001, I remember being the only visitor in a two-hour period to the old fish canning museum in Heimaey in Iceland’s Vestmanneyjar Islands. I loved every minute. The curator gave me a personal tour and explained how Heimaey was the main fishing port in Iceland, a country whose GDP is based on their fish catch. Even though the museum is no more (I looked for it in 2013 but couldn’t find it), I have special memories of my visit. And that is much better than being jostled by huge crowds of tourists who distractedly push their way past all the exhibits on their way to the next destination.
So Viedma and Carmen de Patagones have been demoted! So much more for me to see!