Today we went for a trip to Tigre. What’s Tigre? It’s a town in the north of Buenos Aires province about 45 minutes drive from the city centre. It wasn’t in our initial plan to go there, we actually wanted to go to La Feria de Mataderos where could see Argentinean cowboys in action *ehem* but Gaston (the guide from BA Free Tour) told us that the last fair of the year was held a week before we arrived, ouch! So we took the suggestion from the chatty taxi driver that we met on our first day to go to Tigre. Since it wasn’t planned, we had no idea how to get there, so again we book a tour with Patricio at the front desk.
We boarded the minibus and guess what, out of about 20 people onboard we were the only ones who spoke English other than Andrea, the tour guide. The others were mostly from Brazil and other parts of Argentina. Fortunately Andrea spoke all the languages we needed to hear - English, Portuguese and of course Spanish. A couple of Brazilian aunties were really impressed to know that we two young girls *grin* made it all the way from Asia to their continent!
On the way there we passed by River Plate’s stadium. Unlike their arch rival’s stadium, Coca Cola logos here were in original red and white.
Our first stop was Tigre’s port, where we boarded a boat to for a cruise around Paraná Delta.
Paraná Delta is located at the beginning of Río de la Plata. The water is naturally muddy brown, which is the color of the delta’s sediments. In the middle of the delta there are several tiny islands that are only accessible by boat. So if you live there, you better own at least a kayak or you’ll have to swim your way home!
The houses on the islands were really pretty, mostly belonged to rich people that made them their weekend homes. Some were also offered for rental.
If you have too many boats, you can get a parking space here.
If your boat runs out of fuel, go to the floating fuel station to pump some.
If you have nothing to eat, get your supplies from this shopping boat.
Along the cruise we were offered with coffee and alfajor, a traditional Argentinean cake that I wanted to try so much since I heard it from Aida. Finally got it, for free too, Yeay!
Feel like eating ice cream? Not to worry, row your boat to this floating parlor.
This house belonged to Domingo Faustino Sarmiento, Argentina’s former president. Now a museum covered by glass to protect it from the weather.
Each house at on the islands had their own little port.
A view in front of the town’s port.
After we were done with the cruise, we went to the train station to take Tren de la Costa (Coastal Train) to a nearby town.
We hopped on at Delta station...
...and hopped off five stops later at San Isidro station.
Andrea gave us about half an hour to wander around San Isidro. She told us if we wanted to buy souvenirs, we might want to check out the shops outside the stations. They usually sold better quality souvenirs and at cheaper price too. Fiza and I decided to save the shopping for later and do some sightseeing first.
We climbed up the hill opposite the station and found San Isidro artisan fair, the oldest fair in Buenos Aires province.
We climbed a bit further to see the town’s landmark, Catedral de San Isidro.
Then we went back to the shops opposite the train station to do some shopping. We bought souvenirs and boxes of alfajor to bring home. Fiza got a Boca Juniors jersey for her brother, which I too had been looking for since I arrived in the city. However I couldn’t find it in kid’s size! I vowed to go to every sports store across my path until I find one!
On the way back to the city centre, Andrea offered two stops for us to choose - Obelisco or San Telmo. We were quite surprised as we thought she was going to send us back to the hotel, apparently not so. Since we already saw Obelisco several times, we decided to stop at San Telmo. After all it was a Sunday, so there would be an antiquity market at Plaza Dorrego (which we passed by during our trip to La Boca yesterday).
San Telmo was at the south part of Buenos Aires. Like I said earlier, north = safe, south = dangerous. It was at San Telmo where Barbara Bush (US former president’s daughter) was robbed during dinner. If somebody as well-protected as Bush’s daughter could be robbed there, what more could you say of the area’s safety (or lack of safety)?
Anyway, since it was on a weekend, with the fair going on (so plenty of tourists would be around) and a bright sunny day too, we thought it was a good bet to go there. In fact, it was our only chance for a safe trip to the area as we only had one weekend to spend in Buenos Aires, thus we had to make good use of it. So we strapped our sling bags across our chests and jumped off the minibus at San Telmo!
Welcome to Plaza Dorrego!
The fair was filled with stalls, street performers...
...and people getting a massage in the middle of the street!
There were lines of antique shops and old style buildings with pretty patios and cute little shops.
We did a little shopping at the fair, enjoyed some street shows and took a taxi back to the hotel. We were really hungry as the only meal we had was breakfast (other than the alfajor with coffee during the boat ride). We went to McDonald’s in search of Filet-O-Fish but guess what, McDonald’s in Argentina didn’t have Filet-O-Fish! We went to Burger King, they didn’t have fish burger either, but they had something called “soja burger”. Fiza thought it was soy burger but I wasn’t so sure as the burger’s color was green and all the soybeans I had ever seen in my life were yellow.
So we skipped Burger King and went to a restaurant called La Estancia near our hotel and ordered vegetarian meal. The waiter spoke very little English so it took every ounce of my little Spanish to explain to him that we were looking for meals without any meat. Finally I ended up with spaghetti with tomato sauce and Fiza had potato salad.
Inside the restaurant. The waiter insisted to snap the photo from afar even though we asked him for a close shot. Only after we saw the photo we realized he actually wanted to capture the cows!
We returned to the hotel, tired from the away-from-the-city explorations and full from the huge amount of carbo we had eaten. With all the starch getting into my tummy, all I could think of was how fat I was going to get by the end of my stay!
I also did a quick search on the word “soja”. Fiza was right, it was in fact soy. And I found out that soybeans were indeed green in its natural state. The ones I always saw must be the dried ones, as my late grandma used them to make soy milk ;-)
Had to go to bed early, since tomorrow we would be going to another country! Where to? Again, stay tuned!
P.S.: Due to popular demand (well, only two demands actually, by Aida and Kak Jaja, who always make me feel popular anyway) I’m back to putting lots of pics! Guess I was just being self-cautious wasn’t I?