Today Chris and I ventured out of the city to Tigre. It's a town about 35 mins out of BA and is the gateway to the river delta. We didn't know too much about it, the travel guides are hopelessly lacking in detail.
We caught a train from Retiro Station (95 centavos!) to Bartolome Mitre and then caught the recommended Tren de Costa. It's a tourist train that runs along the coast. It's a but of a rip off at AR$8 and really isn't the interesting. There are no views of the water to speak of and the little stations long the way were quite dull. I think the idea is that you hop on and off at each little stop and browse the shops. Most were closed, I suspect it would be better on the weekend. One little train station had antiques stalls all the way along, but they only open on weekends. That's a def idea for when Mrs Coombs visits.
Tigre itself isn't very interesting and if we'd thought about it we would have gone earlier and caught a boat. We spoke to one guy that runs a boat company and he explained the options, obviously selling his particular services. It does sound cool though and I suspect we'll head back with Vlad at a later date. Basically the delta is full of islands with lots of fancy houses, bars and restaurants. You basically charter a boat and he takes you out. You go all around and stop where you please. We'll go back soon to give it a go!
One the way out, you do get a brief but amazing view of BA, looks like Manhattan from a distance and the boat man (Fernando) was explaining how amazing it can be to be out on the delta looking at a city with 13m people in it way in the distance and all you have near you are herons and eagles. It'll be a fun excursion when there are more of us.
We just had lunch in Tigre today and caught the train back, direct to Retiro this time at a whopping AR$1.25. Public transport is really cheap in this town.
The train ride was interesting in that it exposes you to a different side to the city. Buying the tickets in the station you have to push past homeless families having their meals on the turnstiles and most of the people on the train look very poor and seem a world away from the pampered princess of Alto Palermo and Recoleta. Also, the train cuts through some very depressing looking slums and then some extraodinarily wealthy looking suburbs (I think the presidential home is out that way (Casa Rosada is not a residence).
Coming back into BA was great, it felt sort of like coming home. I went for a stroll through Recoleta and it's all starting to get quite familiar which is a comforting thought. Now I just need to meet some locals! There is an ancient old man that lives in the building that has taken a shine to me, I think he might be German, slightly senile and very chatty. He always corners me when I'm waiting for the lift and likes to demonstrate his English skills, which are limited. It's very sweet. I think he could be a good person to practice new words on!