A Timeless City By sam katz

The sun shone brightly as our boat pulled onto the shores of Colonia, Uruguay. It had only been a short two hour boat ride crossing the Rio De la Plata from Buenos Aires, Argentina to Uruguay, but it felt like worlds away. After spending two weeks in the hustle and bustle of the city, I was looking forward to getting away from the fast pace life for a while. Colonia seemed like the perfect place. Nestled on the southern tip of Uruguay lay Colonia, an old historic town that has been preserved through the centuries.

All that I could see was ocean, grass, and a mere set of train tracks

As my travel group and I got off our boat, the bright sun shined against my face. A light sea breeze swept through the air, causing it to feel crisp and full of life. It was a warmer day for winter, I stuffed my winter coat into my backpack as I realized I would not be needing it. After being entrapped on a boat for two hours, any type of movement felt good for my cramped body. Getting off the boat, something seemed strange, the land that was in front of me was nothing that resembled the Colonia I had read about and seen photos of. Puzzled and a little worried, I began to wonder where all the cobble stone roads, historic buildings, and the iconic lighthouse that towers over the town was. All that I could see was ocean, grass, and a mere set of train tracks. With not much of an idea of where to go, our group headed in the direction of the tracks, hoping for the best.

The setting sun over Colonia

We trudged along the tracks until a silhouette of what he hoped was Colonia came into view against the afternoon sky. As the town approached closer, the dusty dirt path we had been using as a trail slowly transitioned into a beautiful cobblestone road. Almost all of the town's roads were still cobblestone. Colonia had been preserved from when the Portuguese colonized it in the 1860s. Like most places, history is everywhere, but in Colonia, nothing has changed over time. All of the buildings, streets, and views, have remained the same, trapped in time. I would not have been surprised if I turned around and saw sailors leaving for sea in their boats docked at port.

Boats off the shore of Colonia

While we walked down the main road, I began to buzz with excitement, I could not wait to put down my bags and explore this awesome place. As our guide led us towards our hostel, I tried to take in as much as I could about this seemingly hidden treasure. We rounded the corner and headed down a side street, finally we had arrived. The hostel, like most other places in Colonia was in a historic. With tile roofing and beautiful architecture, even something like a hostel seemed like a work of art in the hidden city. We found our way to our room, nothing big but good enough for me. As we accidentally overbooked, I was put up in a hostel suite, lucky for me that meant my own tv and bed. Most importantly though it meant we had access to our own private bathroom and shower, rather than having to go to the “community restrooms” we had the comfort of our own. As I settled into my room, I slid open the window and took in the views and cool breeze that danced through the window. The start to this trip could not have been more perfect, I put down my bags, and out the door towards the street of Colonia, ready to explore.

The only word I could use to describe the mood was peaceful

A grassy park on the shoreline of Colonia

The town of Colonia is so small that there is no way that you could ever truly get lost. For that reason, I headed out into the fading light of day, with no worries, but only one goal in my mind of exploring and finding the coolest places and views. Shortly, I found that every place was cooler than the next one. The town was split into two different parts, the very historic part, where there were no cars and all old buildings that bordered the coast line, and the more residential area where there were shops, restaurants, and fantastic views. Me and my roommate Nate decided to start our exploration on the historical side. Only a short walk along the one main road brought you right into the heart of the old city. It was amazing, with crumbling rock walls, old houses with beautiful ceramics and amazing tiled roofs, but nothing could be more impressive than the setting sun that was taking place over the open water. While we walked through the cobblestone roads, the only word that I could use to describe the mood was peaceful. Everything was so nice, so seemingly simple that you forgot that you were there as a guest. The city is so inviting that it pulls you in and makes you feel at home, as if you have been there your whole life.

I put away my camera, turned off my phone, and just layed down on the rocks and watched the sunset

Continuing on, we found a beautiful rock beach above the crashing tide facing out towards the ocean. Instantly I knew that is where we had to go, walking down the slippery rocks I had to be super careful that I did not misplace my foot and fall into the water below. Scurrying down the rocks we arrived at the shore of the rock beach. Once situated on a smooth rock, looking out over the sunset I did something that I had not done for most of the trip, I put away my camera, turned off my phone, and just layed down on the rocks and watched the sun set over the water. It was a moment that I did not want to be interrupted by the outside world, one that I would be able to remember without texting someone about it, or taking a snapchat of it. Just being there during this moment was enough, one that I will never forget.

The sun set over the Rio De la Plata

Colonia was one of the neatest places that I have ever visited. Its simple beauty takes your breath away. Just being in Colonia makes you feel a certain peace, like you are part of something bigger, I will never forget the calmness that it provided, the amazing views, and of course the sunset on the ocean.

All photos courtesy of Sam Katz


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