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‘Accidental tourist’ enjoying Cape Breton

Christiane Tanner, left, of Westmount gets some gardening done with the help of the accidental tourist Monique Rozanes Torres Aguero of Buenos Aires, Argentina, Monday. Steve Wadden - Cape Breton Post

Christiane Tanner, left, of Westmount gets some gardening done with the help of the accidental tourist Monique Rozanes Torres Aguero of Buenos Aires, Argentina, Monday.

Photo by Steve Wadden – Cape Breton Post

By Sharon Montgomery -The Cape Breton Post

SYDNEY- When an Argentine woman landed in Sydney, N.S. instead of Sydney, Australia, she decided to make the best of it.

However, Monique Rozanes Torres Aguero, an artist from Buenos Aires, didn’t expect to become an instant celebrity.

“I am very surprised and tickled pink,” she said in French through Christiane Tanner of Westmount, who has since befriended Aguero.

Tanner said after the news broke Friday in the Cape Breton Post, there was a media explosion.

“We were with media all day, from one to the next. It was a fun day.”

Everywhere they have gone, they have been recognized, Aguero said.

“We were walking on the sidewalk in Baddeck and two elderly men shot up from a bench and said, ‘You are the one from Australia.’

“My brother in England sent us the link to the Cape Breton Post (online) to read the comments (on the story). There were so many I couldn’t even get through them all yet.”

The Post received numerous media requests regarding Torres Aguero, including some from Florida, Spain and France.

Wednesday, Aguero landed in Sydney aboard Air Canada Jazz thinking she was in Sydney, Australia. She had purchased the tickets on the Internet. Torres Aguero returned to the airport Thursday to purchase a new ticket and continue on to Australia, but some confusion changed her mind and she decided to vacation in Cape Breton. Air Canada Jazz staff discovered Tanner was in the airport and introduced the two women.

Tanner had flown into Sydney after being in Paris visiting family for five weeks.

She not only took Aguero under her wing, but also into her home.

Aguero, widow of the late artist Leopoldo Torres Aguero, is a well-known, award-winning sculptor whose works have been exhibited in museums in Argentina and Paris.

Tanner took Aguero to the Cape Breton Centre for Craft and Design, Friday, where the took part in workshops and met local artists.

“The exhibits were beautiful,” Tanner said. “She loved that.”

Saturday they began doing the ‘tourist thing.’

“We drove up the Cabot Trail, took pictures, stayed in Cheticamp, visited the museum and saw all the beautiful hooking, and had lobster.”

They travelled to Pleasant Bay for a whale watching tour Saturday.

“We were dressed up like fishermen,” Tanner said.

“It was a great moment when she got to see whales for the first time.”

On the way back they stopped in North River to visit Tanner’s daughter-in-law, Mary Ann Wilson, and her grandson, Clay, 16.

“Monique said it is nice to live with people in a country you are visiting. You can see how people live there, something you can’t do when you go on an excursion by yourself.”

Today’s plans include a visit to the Fortress of Louisbourg. They also plan to visit the Alexander Graham Bell Museum and a Marble Mountain sculptor this week.

“She wants to meet some artists who do the type of work she does.”

However their adventures appear to have only just begun. Aguero has invited Tanner to visit Argentina. “She wants me to come then — when it is warm — to enjoy her house by the sea, where her workshop is.”

Aguero does not think their meeting was accidental, Tanner added.

“She feels it was meant to happen, she feels close to me. We have a lot in common, our way of life and way of thinking.”

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