Wild Island Retreat Recap
KALIMERA! Welcome to Greece.
We landed into Athens Airport from Gatwick at midday on the 30th August and picked up our hire car from Enterprise. The process was quick and painless and we were soon on the road - the wrong side of the road (and car), but on the road all the same. We drove around 3 hours North, along the coast, stopping en-route for lunch at an oceanside taverna in Corinth and arrived at our sweet B&B on a small olive farm in, well, the middle of nowhere. Socrates Organic Village had a pool, air-conditioning, some very friendly (let’s go with “over-friendly”) cats and the owner was kind and helpful - what more could we ask for? That evening we wandered down to a local taverna and with virtually no knowledge of Greek simply gave the universal sign for food (finger pointing at mouth) and hoped for the best. A good old Greek salad and lamb Kleftiko arrived as if by magic, if magic consisted of extensive hand gestures and prolonged time on google translate. It was all off to a very good start!
Day two began with a two hour drive up to Lefkas, a beautiful little town and the beating heart of the island. Whilst Ali did a grocery run (with kind thanks once again to google translate and universal hand gestures) I wandered the streets looking for one very important addition to our time in Greece - an inflatable unicorn. As luck would have it we ended up with one unicorn and two flamingos! It seems I am just gravitating to a life of excess these days. We named them, affectionately, Fred, Florence and Peggy. More from them later.
That evening, as the sun set, amazing people started to drop in on our villa atop the Ionian sea. We poured them chilled wine from a vineyard down the road and everyone became fast friends over Ali’s tapas style dinner that night.
We greeted each day with fresh fruit, Greek yogurt and a powerful vinyasa yoga practice. We practised under the sparkling sun, overlooking the ocean and then tucked into a well deserved brunch on the patio before going about our days. Oh, what to do with an entire island to explore? Some simply spent their days lounging by the pool because, well why go anywhere when where you are is this beautiful? Others explored the islands famous beaches and towns, and hiked down the hill to a private pebble beach lapped by azure blue water for a secretive dip. As for Ali and I; we pottered about the local towns and markets, purchasing fresh produce where we could from local suppliers and immersing ourself in the daily hustle and bustle of island life. We ate ice cream, sunned ourselves on beaches in Nidri and hung our feet off harbour docks in quaint ocean front villages. Island dreams!
In the evenings we gathered pool side for Yin or Restorative yoga and a guided meditation. This is my favourite time of day - it’s so important to stop and take it all in; to unwind, breath and absorb the magic of the day. We created in ourselves a deeper sense of stillness, well being and presence. And then, as the sun set, the enchanting smell of something delicious would erupt from the kitchen and the call to dinner was answered with gusto (and another glass of wine, of course).
On the last day we met with Ionian Blue Yatching and jumped aboard our private yacht. I’m just going to write again, because it felt good… our private yacht. Oh yes! And we spent the day sailing the turquoise waters of Lefkada, Meganissi and Skorpios. Whenever it got too hot we simply informed the captain of our private yacht, dropped anchor beside some gorgeous beach or other and dived in. We swam through giant caves, amongst shoals of brilliant blue fish and soaked up all the glorious sunshine we could.
I know what you’re thinking; ‘this all sounds dreadful,’ right? Creating and running Wild Retreats has become a real passion and joy for Ali and I; we get to spend our days sharing our favourite things in stunning destinations, filled with adventure for those who are ready to get out there and find it! We meet incredible people, who soon become friends, we learn and we love and we leave time and again filled to the brim with gratitude for this life and the magic it brings.
After five nights together we were sad to say goodbye to our amazing group of yogis, but grateful for each and every moment and memory along the way. We hit the road back to Athens at midday and arrived at our apartment early evening. This was probably one of the best apartments I’ve ever stayed in; the host was extremely kind, prompt and helpful and the area was excellent; we felt safe walking to tavernas at night and left our hire car parked on the kerb for the day whilst we took cabs around Athens. Here’s the link on booking.com.
We had a full day to explore Athens and we hit all the sights and more! We strolled through buildings thousands of years old and steeped in history at the Acropolis, wandered the streets of the old town, enjoyed a much-needed deep tissue massage at a hole in the wall spa (the best kind) and ate lunch with sensational views at Dionysos Zonars.
These retreats are also an amazing opportunity for me to feature some of my favourite companies; companies that I believe really “get it”. This trip was sponsored by Green People who provided our squad with sun protection in the form of their travel sun protection pack. Green People produces organic, eco-friendly products that, quite frankly, rock and always smell amazing.
I also had the opportunity to work with Amazonia, who have your wellness at the front of their minds with their range of raw proteins and supplements that are pure and organic. The Australian based company have spread their wings to the UK and Europe and I’m excited to see them grow here.
That’s all for now friends. If getting lost in far flung places, immersing yourself in epic food and feel good yoga sounds like just what you need then definitely join us in Scotland in May 2020 for our Wild Highlands Retreat, which promises to leave you feeling just as swept up in love for our wild and wonderful world.