Living in Andalusia

Suryalila

Suryalila Yoga Retreat Centre, where we lived between Oct. 18 and Nov. 27, is a beautiful, but remote place. While at Suryalila, we spent a majority of our time working, doing yoga, swimming in the pool and exploring the immediate surroundings.

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On an typical day at Suryalila we would wake up for a 90 minute yoga class beginning at 8 a.m. After yoga we would head to the dining room to eat breakfast and then begin work cleaning up the dining room and kitchen, doing the breakfast dishes and making the main common room look nice for the day.

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We would then head outside to properly dispose of all the kitchen garbage and compost compiled from the day before. While outside on this morning round of chores, we would also stop by the coop to feed the chickens and snatch up their eggs.

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Once we had taken care of the morning chores as a team, Tarynne and I would then split up. Each day one of us would help the chefs prepare lunch and one of us would help prepare dinner. We both thoroughly enjoyed our time in the kitchen, as the chefs Rauri and Brydie were totally awesome. Not to mention they made amazing food.

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On our first few days off at Suryalila we spent the time relaxing by the pool, doing yoga and working on some of our own photo and video projects. We also went on a few walks to nearby ruins.

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One of the ruins is an ancient Moorish tower perched high on top of one of the steep hills surrounding Suryalila. While the first part of the hike has a clear pathway leading up, the second portion involves climbing over rocks and hacking through dense bushes and trees. Once we made it to the top, the ruin was pretty sweet and the views of the valley and Suryalila below were amazing.

Ronda

By the time Halloween rolled around we were getting pretty stir crazy in the retreat centre, so the facility manager Harry offered to give us a ride to visit the beautiful town of Ronda.

On the way we stopped and visited a network of caves in the side of a cliff that has caveman painting that are more than 30,000 years old. The painting are mainly of animals and some of them are remarkably clear and lifelike. Unfortunately, photography was forbidden inside the caves.

It was only a 20 minute drive from the caves to Ronda, and man were we excited to arrive in a new place with new faces. Our first order of business was to stop at a restaurant for lunch. I ordered a pizza covered in meat, since Suryalila is a vegetarian establishment and I was having serious meat withdrawals.

From the restaurant we walked through the town admiring the small cobblestone roads and buzzing mid afternoon atmosphere. Finally, after wandering aimlessly through the town we came to a square that opens out onto the famous bridge that spans an enormous gorge right in the middle of the city.

The town was originally built thousands of years ago on the edge of enormous cliffs for defensive reasons, but now thanks to this militaristic mindset, visitors of Ronda are treated to some absolutely breathtaking views.

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After checking out the bridge and views of the valley in the middle of the afternoon, we continued to stroll around town. Since it was Halloween we stopped at a candy store to get our sugar fix, and I may or may not have visited McDonald’s for a Diet Coke.

After treating ourselves, we ran a few necessary errands before making our way back to the bridge for sunset. This time we went on a short hike about halfway down the gorge to get a better view of the bridge. We spent a good hour just sitting on a rock, watching the sun light fade from the face of the massive bridge in front of us before we made our way back to the center of town to meet Harry.

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We arrived back at Suryalila around 10 p.m. at night after a very successful day exploring some of what Andalusia has to offer.

Two days later a group of 25 women arrived at Suryalila for a three week teacher training course. During the retreat we worked fairly long hours and spent most of our free time relaxing. It wasn’t until the group left that we planned our next adventure to Arcos, Jerez and Cadiz.

About James

Washed up Wazzu alumnus in the middle of a horrific quarter-life crisis.
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