Sunday, 4th of February and we are on our way to Tigre, the river Delta of Buenos Aires. Usually the journey is a no brainer since the trains leave every 10 to 15 minutes from Retiro station and bring you directley to Tigre. But of course we asked for adventure and since we are in South America the trains do NOT drive from Retiro to Tigre today. We have to take a "Collectivo" (which is a public bus transformed into a Shuttle bus) which takes us to Rivadavia where we are able to board the train. Tigre is only 50 minutes away from Buenos Aires center by train and even less by car. Therefore it is a popular place for the Porteños and the greater Buenos Aires area to spend the weekend, which we will soon realize ourselves. When we left the Tigre train station there was a sea of people in the streets :-/.
Our B&B La Nelida was close to the station and easy to find. After we called Vilma (the lady of the house) for CHF 4.- (Reminder to buy a local SIM card), we were greeted with Argentinien hospitality: a large smile, a heartly ¡Holaaaaaaaaaa! and a welcome besito. We immediately fall in love with Vilma and her family and feel very much at home. When we make our way outside and realize, that Tigre should not be visited on Saturdays & Sundays. There are so many people that you can't really move around the city.
On Monday everything calmed down and we felt like we had the town to ourselves. Since Vilma only had room for one night we have to change B&B's and move two blocks down to Casa de Ruchi. A large family home with 6 rooms, a large backyard with a swimming pool and a dog called Picasso. Within the last 36 hours we've learned and practised more Spanish than within the last two weeks and we are very pleased to finally be in contact with the locals. We feel at home and the moskitos like us as well ;).
On Tuesday we've booked a tour with Delta Unplugged. They were recommended to us by a friend and we absolutely can recommend them if you ever are in Tigre! There were 6 of us and we met the our fellow tourmates on the dock of the private water taxi company. Ruben and Berta with her daughter Alma and her friend MaFer (Maria Fernanda). We all get along very well and communicate in a mixture of English and Spanish. The water taxi drops us at Ana and Ralph's place and we are greeted warmly by the two of them and their dogs. Ana explains about the history of the proberty and the Tigre Delta. She studied Tourism in Buenos Aires and knows a lot about the Delta. Ralph was born and raised in Switzerland and is a cook. After a wonderful breakfast with homemade bread we move to the boat and start our day tour through the Delta. We ship through the canals and ancer at lunchtime on a quiet spot. Ralph prepares a wonderful meal out of his boat kitchen and we enjoy it with some wine and beer.
After lunch we make our way through the canals to a little beach where we take a swim and use the sanitary installation. Afterwards we head back to Ana's and Ralph's house and learn about the tradition and taste of Maté. At 5.30 the boat picks us up and we head back to Tigre and then to the train station and back to Buenos Aires.