Thrice for the Charm – Colonia, Uruguay Posted on 01 Apr 01:27 , 0 comments

Lentas Maravillas, Colonia Uruguay Cafe Bookstore Espresso

On a sunny Saturday I sat on the blue cloth covered recliner of the river ferry, docked in  the Buenos Aires port, set to cross the river.  The engines fired up and I glanced at my blackberry, whose red light blinked to signify the receipt of a message.

Vivers what are you doing today?

Going to stupid Uruguay.  You?

Aw haha, was thinking yoga/lunch with you.  :'(

Sounds like perfection!  I wish I was doing that instead of renewing my tourist visa!

Find a place called Lentas Maravillas.  Really nice quiet garden out back.  Perfect for reading a book and eating a redondo.

Lentas Maravillas, Colonia Uruguay Cafe Bookstore Cappuccino

I was alone, only Steinbeck to keep my imagination engaged and tentative plans to meet up with a friend when I arrived.  When the ferry landed, I disembarked the vessel only to discover that my cell phone had no service.  Normally this would have induced great anxiety in me, on top of the anxiety I already experience while traveling.  But this day I looked up and the sunny sky and let it warm me and thought ‘this was supposed to happen.’

I set out walking, opening myself to the endless possibilities of having no set plan, determined that I would find whatever I was meant to find.  I walked down Colonia’s wide cobblestone boulevard, noticing how it was unchanged from my last visit.  Compared to Buenos Aires, Colonia was refreshingly boring, inducing a sensation like that of crashing from a sugar rush while simultaneously entering a meditation.  Thick-trunked trees gave shade to countless sidewalk cafes filled with leisurely, laughing patrons, drinking wine and coffee, eating chivitos and ice cream.  A strong smell of slow roasted meat hung in the air, giving the impression that the entire village was one big asado picnic.

Lentas Maravillas, Colonia Uruguay Cafe Bookstore Entry Sign

I wandered through the park and down empty antique streets, taking in the 50’s era modern, minimalist architectural style of one-story houses, mixed in eclectically with much older colonial buildings.  I craved a coffee, and as I turned a corner, I found Lentas Maravillas.  Or maybe it found me.  From the outside it appeared to be someone’s home, and when I entered, this impression only grew stronger.  For a moment, I hesitated, almost positive that I had walked into someone’s private home on accident.

Lentas Maravillas, Colonia Uruguay Cafe Bookstore

Lentas Maravillas, Colonia Uruguay Cafe Bookstore Redondo

Lentas Maravillas, Colonia Uruguay Cafe Bookstore Fireplace

I sat in the living room and admired the impressive, accumulated library and the funky mix-matched mod and colonial style furnishings.   I ordered a capuchino and a redondo, as it had been recommended to me, although I didn’t know what it was.  I felt as if I were in someone’s country home, relaxing with a book while the quiet twinkle of jazz music wafted through the room like a soft breeze.  Sunlight streamed through the large windows and the view of the river beyond the rolling, shady lawn was more beautiful than any mural or wall hanging.  I lost myself in East of Eden for the entire afternoon, and as I headed back to the ferry, I was more sure than ever; this was supposed to happen.  It was my third time in Colonia, but the first time I’d really appreciated its charm.