A little off-track for a series on bookstores for this one’s about books, handmade textiles, apparel, art exhibits, food and Jazz on Sundays! But then that’s what makes it so special!
A beautifully laid out place, the Barefoot Café, Colombo, is a must visit for anyone who’s visiting this not-so-little island country.
Founded by artist Barbara Sansoni, who designed textiles in collaboration with local women learning to weave, Barefoot still works with women weavers in small workshops in the lush country sides of Ceylon and produces some of the most beautiful home accents and stationery with hand-loomed textiles.
The best part about visiting a bookstore on a trip to a foreign country is that it gives you a glimpse of everything you should know about the country. Books on Lanka’s star architects Geoffrey Bawa and Anjalendran can make you lose track of time as you dream away into the those stunning designs of modern architecture on the island. The one on Barbara Sanoni’s brilliant collection of sketches of the country sides, will bring a smile on your face and will almost remind you of Mario Miranda’s witty caricatures of his beloved Goa!
For those of you who’d like to carry home traditional recipes of the lip-smacking Lankan curries and other delicacies, have an entire section to browse through.
Apart from the books the store has a huge wall of hand made diaries, crafted out of vibrantly hued textiles. Each of these comes with a print of a Barbara Sansoni original on the first page and makes for the perfect souvenir!
Once you’ve had your fill of wordy pleasures, you should head for some culinary treats in the bohemian café around the frangipani courtyard. This place turns even more magical towards evenings with the all the lights and the music.
So, the next time you visit Sri Lanka, make sure you keep aside a day for the Barefoot cafe.
P.S. – It also has a smaller sister bookstore located in an old villa in the Fort area of Galle. And that one is an entirely different experience thanks to the quaint little Dutch town that surrounds it!
– by Aditi Bhatia
Shop for a handpicked collection of books here.