I went on a tour boat last Saturday! The venerable Barco Ciudad de Rosario I looks like new and it's very well kept. It does a couple of tours a day on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, departing from the former Fluvial Station (in front of the Flag Memorial). I remember going on the boat when I was a child once or twice, and then about six or seven years ago when an Argentine expat friend came from Germany to visit the old hometown. Back then I don't remember having so much fun. Saturday was different for at least three reasons: one, I had a beautiful companion (if not very talkative); two, the weather was nice as well; three, I had my camera with me, so I could indulge in my photographic vice.
The boat is medium-sized, with an open air terrace and a smaller open space on the prow, plus another open deck beneath that, and a closed space at the bottom. The guide is informative, highlighting different parts of the tour, and the music changes accordingly.
So me and Miss Enigmatic Orient paid ten pesos, climbed on the boat and waited for a while, until it was departure time (2:30 PM). It was hot under the sun, only mitigated a bit by this incredible fog we've been having at all times for like a week (not so much as in Buenos Aires, but noticeable). The boat finally left, headed for the islands, and then an old lady somewhere decided to get sick and the boat had to turn back and leave her and her worried folks on dry land. Off again we went, and once we reached the islands, the boat entered an arm of the river and then another. We saw many people in kayaks, canoes, sailboats, and motorboats; houses on wooden pillars, cows pleasantly grazing on the wild grass in tiny islets, and many, many tree tops coming out of the water, since the river hasn't gone down to the pre-flood levels. The islanders waved at us, and other boats passed by.
We exited the last arm of the river right in front of the Rosario-Victoria Bridge and went near it, passing under its shadow. I'd never been there myself. There were a few tourists, I guess, that had actually never seen any part of the bridge up close, so there were ohs and ahs all around. It's a great piece of architecture.
The boat then turned round and took us to the main course of the Paraná, along the northern coast of Rosario, and then the downtown. There are many things you can't see from land: old piers, rusty cranes, crumbling storehouses.
Well, all in all I took 120 pictures (including some nice skylines) and I spent the whole afternoon thinking in Japanese, so it was all amusing and educational at the same time. I'm still wondering what she got from it. After we disembarked we climbed along Córdoba St. and ended up in front of the Cathedral... right when the Archbishop was celebrating the open-air Corpus Christi mass. Really scary — lots of fervorous Catholics with banners and standards, chanting and clapping, and many of them young, too. Felt as if I could be burned at the stake at any moment.
So that was my day, and a very good one it was. If you come to Rosario, be sure to do this tour, or you'll be missing a lot.