On Andy and Tim's recommendation we decided to take train north to the town of Tigre for a day trip. Tigre is at the base of a massive river delta composing five and a half thousand square miles of waterways and islands and we'd heard it was a fun place to visit. We'd heard right.
We took the Mitre Line train from Buenos Aires Retiro station to Bartolomé Mitre station. There we changed trains to Maipú station onto the Tren de la Costa Line. This offered a rather scenic riverside route on up to Tigre.
Tigre itself was fairly well-heeled with rowing clubs, colonial houses and a distinct European feel to it. It was the delta we'd come to see though.
We booked some return tickets at the quay to take a water bus to another of Tim and Andy's recommendations (hey, they'd not steered us wrong so far), a beautiful restaurant called Gato Blanco (White Cat), situated an hour or so upstream deep in the delta.
En route we saw that many of the delta islands are actually pretty big. There were houses, restaurants, schools, banks and all manner of amenities perched on these isolated outcrops. Each building had it's own jetty and was only accessible by water. So up and down the complex maze of rivers that make up the aquatic terrain chugged water buses, water taxis, canoes, kayaks, pleasure boats of all sizes, speed boats, gin palaces, behemoth tourist traps and all sorts of service boats from floating petrol stations to floating banks. Quite amazing really.
Once at our isolated restaurant we jumped off and settled ourselves down at a riverside table and a sumptuous lunch including the madatory massive steak and what was fast becoming our favourite wine of the trip - Norton Clasico Tinto.
We leisurely took in the river scene, quaffed a hearty glass of the red and both agreed - this is the life. Even the synonymous, and real, white cat at our feet seemed to agree. Mind you, he was after a morsel of what was on our plates so his opinion was perhaps somewhat biased.
Our meal over and our photo opportunites taken we took the last boat back down river to Tigre as the sun was sinking low in the sky. We could see why everyone smiles in this part of the world. What a lovely place.
Our boat driver made frequent stops along the way dropping off letters to private homes and picking up the odd extra passenger who needed a lift. He handled the vessel with pinpoint precision using his ship's little wheel and the powerful twin engines darting across the river as nimbly as a hummingbird dancing from flower to flower reversing the stern of the boat so as to barely touched the end of each jetty.
Once back in Tigre we got the regular, I hesitate to say fast, direct train back to Buenos Aires.
Back at our hotel, pleasantly tired, we fell into bed. It was a lovely day.
And the previous Friday night's pre-nightclub racket failed to materialise either. Bliss.