Columbia’s Nobel Prize winning author Gabriel García Márquez is one of the most influential Latin-American writers that the world knows of today. His much celebrated novel ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ is something that has already been or is waiting to be checked off every bibliophile’s list of must-reads. But, did you know that the town that forms the background of the story, Macondo, is actually his own hometown called Aracataca in Columbia? So, it goes without saying that if you want to know the writer even better, and outside his books, Aracataca is the place to be in. Here are a few places that will not only let you in on Gabo’s early life here but also everything that remains immortalised in his book. By Shubhanjana Das
1. Casa Museo Gabriel García Márquez
We admit there’s little to Aracataca for anyone who hasn’t read One Hundred Years of Solitude. Only those who have wandered to this hot, humid, and dusty town of Aracataca will know why that it was worth it for this is where Macondo was, and how it must’ve looked in real life. In Casa Museo Gabriel Garcia Marquez, you will come a little closer to this creative mastermind. Even though the home he was born in 1927 had been brought down by his family way back, the building has been responsibly restructured.
2. El Patio Mágico de Gabo & Leo Matiz
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Pero cuando se restablecieron del desconcierto de los
silbatazos y resoplidos, todos los habitantes se echaron a la calle y vieron a
Aureliano Triste saludando con la mano desde la locomotora, y vieron
hechizados el tren adornado de flores que por primera vez llegaba con ocho
meses de retraso. El inocente tren amarillo que tantas incertidumbres y
evidencias, y tantos halagos y desventuras, y tantos cambios, calamidades y nostálgias había de llevar a Macondo. #estaciondetren #aracataca #macondo #realismomagico #gabo #gabrielgarciamarquez #flores #tren #cienañosdesoledad
While at Aracataca, why not make the most of it and live like an absolute local, eating local food, like Gabriel (or ‘Gabi’, as they affectionately refer to him) did till eight years old, after which he left Columbia. This restaurant run by the namesakes Gabo and Leo is one of the most favourite restaurants in this sleepy town, both for locals as well as the occasional tourists. The family’s back patio is turned into a cosy family restaurant, which accommodates vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike.
3. Sights from The Book
The best way to explore Aracataca, or Macondo, if you like, is to let your feet take you in whichever direction. Chances are that you will come across many a sights that have been so vividly described in the book by Gabo. The park dedicated to ‘Remedios the Beauty’, Aracataca’s non-functional railroad from the Banana Company in the book, the town’s river that finds mention in the book, as well Marquez’s own primary school! There is an option to book this pre-planned tour or go exploring by yourself. Even Aractaca’s telegraph office is an unofficial museum of scattered antiques!