Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Escape from the city

A post on how much I love Colonia, Uruguay is long overdue. I’ve been there three times now, and am looking forward to one last ferry ride over there in a few weeks. If you’re into quaint, sleepy, almost even deserted, but absolutely beautiful towns, Colonia del Sacramento is the place to be. It’s right across the river, and the barrio histórico, full of shops and so-so parilla and seafood restaurants is right on the water (some times if you squint real hard the water even looks blue). There’s really nothing incredibly remarkable about it all; but the architecture is beautiful and the fact that I can spend an entire afternoon without hearing a single car horn or alarm is a simple salvation. The sun shines through cotton ball clouds and the breeze off the water rustles your hair and fills the boat sails as they drift lazily in the harbor.

Something that IS remarkable about Colonia is a little café called Lentas Maravillas. I love this place so much; I selfishly don’t want to share it with anyone else! It’s literally in someone’s living room—take a wrong turn going to the bathroom and you end up in a bedroom! They’ve got good coffee, especially on a breezy day, and a fun menu that includes 5 o’clock tea with chocolate chip cookies! When I took my family there, another family with 2 younger girls had just ordered the last 3 cookies (heartbreak). But they were just about to bake another batch, so we lounged and checked out the library full of cookbooks, travel books, books on film theory, fiction and non-fiction, (tons of books in English!) while our cookies were baked to perfection and served warm and melty, next to a cup of Illy coffee. Did I mention they have a fireplace roaring in the corner of the room? And a wall of windows with a view of the river?

Jackie and I first went there together during her visit. We noticed the sign outside the door as we were walking into the old town and decided to come back later if we had time to kill before getting back on the ferry. When we were there we sat by the fire, drank coffee, and deliberated heavily on whether or not to order dessert. The discussion was cut short when a local journalist came in to interview the owners and snap some photos for a review. She ended up taking quite a few of Jacqueline and I. Our previous dessert discussion was moot when we were served a free chocolate cheesecake with raspberries and fresh whipped cream for the “inconvenience” of being photographed for a magazine while sipping coffee and reading our books.

(my photo shoot of Jackie)

Lentas Maravillas is a place of delicious inconveniences. I’m not giving you the address. I don’t know it. It will be better to discover it for yourself. But I know where to find it and I can’t wait to go back.


  1. I've been there too! It is as lovely as you say!

  2. That's such a good traveler's description! Makes me wanna go to Colonia... again.

    Cotton ball clouds... that's a Tom Cadrin-ism! :o)