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Saturday, January 30, 2010


Tigre is an area approximately 17 miles north of Buenos Aires located on the Parana Delta. According to my guidebook, it is a "great jumping off point for river trips into the delta, comprising of 6,500 miles of canals, rivers and marshes". We have not explored the 6,500 miles yet, but it is a great place to go to get away from the bustling of the city. People flock to Tigre on the weekends with picnic lunches and Mate (ma-TAY, the tea that is a national obsession here) or you can take boat tours of the delta lasting anywhere from 45 minutes to 8 hours. There are restaurants and cafes lining the shore and both the Tren de la Costa and the local commuter train stop right next to the dock.

I have been there twice now, the first time was an experiment with my friend La
uren who came to Argentina to travel for a few months. We took the commuter train which is by far the cheapest way to get there ($2.70 pesos round trip), albeit a much longer trip. A side note about the commuter train, I don't mind the it, but I have heard some horror stories regarding safety (similar to any stories that you hear about trains in large cities) and you have to be willing to put up with people begging for money/trying to sell you things. As Jon pointed out, it's similar to a train in Europe where people do the same thing. Back to my trip with Lauren, the only information that we had was a short paragraph in her guidebook, so we were relying on our instincts to make it through the day. We easily found the boat dock and decided to follow her guidebook's advice and chose the boat taxi instead of going on a tour. What we didn't realize was that it was literally a taxi boat, more intended for the locals who live in the delta and need to come to town to grocery shop, etc. This is a cool concept for people living or renting houses on the delta because they must take a boat to get back to town, it's like living on an island. For us, this meant that the boat stop 150 times by the time we wanted to get off. We stopped at an area called "Tres Bocas" where we were told there would be shopping and restaurants. We found 2 restaurants that were completely deserted and absolutely ZERO shops. What the guidebook did not mention was that the delta is a perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes, and they were feasting on us. So we tried to leave Tres Bocas after about 20 minutes of walking around and could not figure out how to get back on the taxi boat. Three taxis passed us by as we waited...and with my limited knowledge of Spanish, I had no idea why they wouldn't let us on. We found some local folks that looked to be waiting to get back to the town and I asked them if we were waiting in the right spot. (I imagine that I sounded a little like this, "We want boat. We need boat for Tigre. You need boat for Tigre too?" Thank goodness for patient locals.) We made it back to town and had a great lunch that included a pitcher of delicious sangria. We had a great (though mildly hilarious) day.

For my guided trip, our friend Juan drove Jon and I to town and promised to show us the best places to go for shopping and eating in Tigre. It was raining a little so we stopped for lunch as
soon as we arrived. We went to this great place called Maria del Lujan that had a great menu with lots of choices from steak to Italian to sandwiches. We each got some sort of pasta dish, I got the tri-colored ravioli with Roquefort sauce, it was delicious. Afterward, we went to Puerto de Frutos, the port in Tigre. This area has a zillion places to buy furniture, art, clothing, crafts, home decor, etc. Intermixed with the crafts are fresh fruit and flower stands, complete with lots of potted herb plants. The style all was pretty similar, handmade wood and iron rustic looking items, just my taste. I could have spent all day here. Jon and I found this great painting that is now hanging in our front hallway (pictured below), and I plan to return sometime soon (I think Jon will be happy to pass on a second shopping trip) for a few other pieces that we saw.

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