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Monday, February 08, 2010

Dream Day in Tigre

Nov 27/09

By now through all my blogs, together we've journeyed through the fabulous city of BA. But I've been doing some thinking and you know what? Change is always nice! So I think it's about time for you to come with me on some of the excursions I've started to do outside of BA. My very first excursion was last Friday to a little port town out of Buenos Aires called Tigre. It takes 55 mins together and the train cost next to nothing. Tigre is a really popular one day or weekend excursion for tourist and locals alike. The advice the locals gave me is to make my excursion on a weekday and to start early in the morning. So I did just that. One morning I woke up at 6:30 in the morning and it looked like it would be a beautiful day. When I looked out the window, the only name that came to my mind is..........TIGRE!!!!!!

So I jumped out of bed and before I knew it, I was standing at the train station dressed and groomed and ready for a day in Tigre. Upon arriving at the station, I got directions from the locals on the place that would be of interest to tourist. In this case, it was an area called "Puerto de Frutas". Literally in spanish in means "Port of Fruit". When I arrived there, it was around 9am in the morning. I found out that stores only start opening at 10am. But looking back, I'm really glad that I arrived early. It was nice to stroll around the area before stores opened.

I found myself pretty hungry that morning. I had just jumped out of bed and gotten ready as quick as I can without grabbing something to eat. I wandered around for about and to my dismay, most of the stores were closed. The North American in me was wanting eggs, bacon, sausages etc. At last I found a little eatery that was open. I went inside and asked them what was good for breakfast. They recommended a Café con leche with some media lunas (croissants). Oh, that's right. I forgot that here in Argentina, the words "big" and "breakfast" didn't go together. But decided to go ahead and have breakfast Argentinean style. All I can say is that I have no regrets popping into that little cafe in Tigre. When the waitress came to me with the plate of medialunas, the croissants were literally so hot that I couldn't hold them. I had to wait for it to cool. It was that fresh. And I could feel the hot steamy cafe con leche as it went down my throat and warmed my insides. Between the freshly baked croissants, the delightfully sweet cafe con leche and the charming view of the wharfside, the memory of that morning is one that will stick in my mind for years to come.

After I was finished, it was just about time for stores to start opening up. The atmosphere of Tigre is surprisingly alot like Victoria. The area looks alot like the area around Fisherman's Wharf only 10x the size. The shops are also quite similar to what you find in Victoria. There are alot of little arts and crafts stores or stores that sell neat home decor or knick knacks. There are also restaurants and eateries right by the water where people can enjoy a meal and take in the sun when the weather is good. It was about 11:30 before I started to feel that my legs wanted a rest. At that point, I decided to board the "Catamaran". It is a ship that offers a tour of Tigre and the whole area on the delta. The tour lasted 1.5 hrs and was 40 pesos ($10 CDN). I paid the fare and hopped aboard. The weather couldn't have been more perfect for a tour of the delta. As the ship was cruising along, an American tourist commented to his friend that it looked just like the swamps of Louisiana, New Orleans. I couldn't agree more. What was really neat about the tour is that it showed many restaurants, inns, and hotels you can only get to by water taxi because they are located on a huge island that is not connected to the Wharfside where the market is. There are also many people that live on the island part and you would only be able to get to their house by water taxi or by personal boat. This is why Tigre is so popular, it makes a great retreat from the outside world.

By the time the boat pulled back into the harbour, I was more than relaxed. I was in heaven! It was such a delicious experience and was just another addition to an already perfect day. When I came off the boat, I felt distant tummy rumblings so I decided to search for a place to satisfy my cravings. Earlier, I had seen a restaurant that was located right by the water where people could sit outside and watch the river while enjoying a meal. I quickly found the restaurant and hoped with all my heart that there was a seat outdoors. Because that is what I really wanted, to sit outside and take in the weather over some food and drink. At first it looks like all the places outside were taken but then I spotted an empty table in the very front closest to the water. I asked the waitress and she said I could have it. I could not believe it! It was as if it had just been waiting for me. I took a chair and sat down and then took a deep breathe and breathed in the rich sweet air. The waiter came by and I ordered a coke along with a burger and fries.

As I waited for my food, I stared out by the water. It felt somewhat soothing just to sit and hear the sound of the water. That is one thing I have been missing since I've come to BA, being right by the ocean. The smell of the ocean and sound of waves lapping. Although it wasn't quite the same up there in Tigre, it still felt somewhat comforting. What was also lovely was that as I was sitting there, a gentle breeze was blowing and did a marvelous job of cooling me off from the heat of the day. Then the food came and all I can say that lunch was just as delightful as breakfast had been. Again, it looks like I ended up ordering exactly what I needed and I was in the mood for. The combination of the breeze blowing, the sound of water and the excellent food (which I also topped off with a fruit salad for dessert), made for an unforgettable afternoon.

Soon it was time to be on my way. I walked around for an hour more and then headed back to the train station. On the train back to Buenos Aires, I couldn't help but give a sigh of contentment as I wondered what adventures laid ahead and if every excursion would be as fabulous as this one had been. That day in Tigre was like falling asleep and having the most charming and delightful dream in the whole wide world. The kind of dream that is so fantastic that you can only hope that one day all your friends and loved ones will somehow make their way there to able to share in that place between waking hours where time stands still and hearts run free.

Amorous Alpacas

Amorous Alpacas