Simple Beauty

Every so often, you unexpectedly happen upon a place that epitomizes soothing peace and deep rest within the soul. Guatape is such a spot. From the moment we arrived in this sleepy Colombian town, I could feel the muscles in my face relax, the tension in my shoulders dissipate, the weight in my limbs lift just slightly. It’s so wonderfully quiet and breathtakingly beautiful out in the countryside, it’s no wonder the town calls itself paradise.

Upon our friend David’s recommendation, we booked a week’s stay at a “hostel” a little outside of town called El Encuentro. I use quotes because the place we’re staying is really so much more. Set in the most pristine setting you can possibly imagine, the main house is perched atop a hill overlooking the lake. Here, there’s an amazing kitchen where we and the few other guests have been cooking and sharing meals, a porch on which to read or eat, and a stocked library filled with books on everything from sustainable living to Henry Miller to David Sedaris. (I’m currently reading J.M. Coetzee’s Youth.) We’re staying further up the hill in an annex cottage with the most beautiful bedroom window-view we’ve had the pleasure of waking up to every morning since our stay in the Cochomo Valley . It’s so utterly relaxing here that we’re signing on for a few more days—a real respite from the nomadic lifestyle we’ve been living over the last few months.

As often happens in places like these, we’ve been inspired to rise with the sun each day and go where our curiosity takes us. Yesterday, we took a stroll around the circumference of the lake. On the way, we visited a Benedictine Monastery where we bought a jar of goats’ milk arequipe, which looks and tastes a bit like dulce de leche. (Apparently, those monks do more than meditate each day because they also sell homemade marmalade, chocolate, and sugared almonds.) As we continued on the stroll, we passed a number of gorgeous farms (each farmhouse meticulously painted in vibrant, contrasting colors), and were always greeted with warm smiles and a hearty “Buenas!” anytime we met a local on the road. By the end of the walk, we were beat . . . but coming home to our sanctuary cured what ailed us.

There will be many of these little adventures to report on over the next few days, but I thought I’d post a few of Mark’s stunning photos to whet your appetite. As you can see, the sunsets here are magnificent.

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About andesnotthemint

Alexis, Mark, 2 seasons, 1 continent, a very long mountain range.
This entry was posted in Colombia, Guatape, Lex, Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Simple Beauty

  1. Anonymous says:

    Absolutely gorgeous. Looks like paradise. So jealous! xoxo, Lins

  2. mom wyman says:

    truly an un-influeneced part of the world.
    I can see why the both of you want to extend your stay.
    enjoy every minute
    love mom w.

  3. Jared says:

    I miss colombia.

  4. Pingback: Andes Not The Mint Travel Awards: Lodging | Andes Not The Mint dot com

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