For my last week of this whirlwind Euro trip, I figured I could either visit a new city or take the week to relax and reset before returning to America. And after finding some great detox yoga retreats to choose from, the choice was easy. One week on an island getting fit, sipping juices and hanging out? Yes please.
So I booked Kalindi Lanzarote on one of the Canary Islands, not even knowing where the Canary Islands were. Turns out I was 78 miles off the coast of Africa, about to have one of the most interesting weeks of my life.
And though it’s maybe my longest post ever, if you’re interested in visiting Lanzarote or doing a detox retreat yourself, I hope it helps.
Monday, June 26th
Tonight’s my first night at Kalindi Lanzarote Yoga Detox Retreat and I am pumped. We each have personalized schedules for the week filled with juices, activities and free time, but honestly I still have no idea what to expect. I’ve never done a yoga retreat let alone a detox one, but since I love yoga and really anything remotely good for my health I figured it was worth a shot.
First off, my room’s incredible. Just being free of roommates for the first time in six months is already so relaxing. It’s like a down to earth suite, with a comfy bed and pristine bathroom and it’s all mine.
Secondly, the island is bizarre. Wiped out by a volcano in the 1700s, I’ve truly never seen anything like it and can’t wait to explore more this week. Our guide explained how everything from the architecture down to the way they grow their plants here is meant to keep us connected to the earth, and I 100% dig it.
Thirdly, there’s a hammock.
And lastly, I have friends! There are two other women here detoxing with me this week, one from Ireland and one from Pakistan, and I’m honestly so thankful. It’s just enough to not feel alone in this, but not so much that it’s overwhelming.
Here’s to hoping I come out of this a more peaceful, healthy, happy individual, closer to myself and my values than I’ve ever been before.
Tuesday, June 27th
Incredible day exploring the northern side of the island. Because it was a less windy day, we had to take advantage of it because it can get pretty rough up there. I still could not be more fascinated by this island. Anya and I went to the Cesar Manrique Museum first and learned all about the so called father of Lanzarote. Essentially, from around the 60s to his death in the early 90s, he spearheaded a movement to keep the island’s development as respectful of nature as possible. So it’s very, very minimally commercialized (really only in the main city Arricife) and everything from the architecture of the homes to the design of the roads is designed to keep the landscape in focus.
Next, we drove through a few nice towns and stopped at Mirador del Rio on our way to the beach. And while the view from up there was pretty cloudy, Caleton Blanco beach certainly was not. Everywhere around us, the crystal blue water surrounded the volcanic rocks and slowly seeped over the white sand creating a sort of tide-pool effect.
It was absolutely stunning. Each group visiting found their own cove among the rocks to protect them from the wind and waded in and out of the water all afternoon. My hearty lunch smoothie of pear, banana, rice and cinnamon took me almost 5 hours to finish, but it was amazing.
Before dinner Kelly from Switzerland joined us, and we had an acro yoga session which really pushed us out of our comfort zones. The exercises and positions we were a little strange, but it reminded me a lot of theatre and aerial courses I took a few years ago. Our instructor had us balancing mid-air on just each others feet, even hanging upside down off them! It was completely strange but exhilarating and I loved it.
All in all a good day, minus the wifi not working for 90% of it. Good thing that’s not really the focus out here anyway.
Wednesday, June 28th
A harder day, for sure. Not only were the juices and soups lighter, but yoga this morning was more advanced, the wifi was down (again) right when I needed it and my iPad is now completely out of order. So the only working device I have, having left with an iPhone, iPad and Macbook is my grocery store phone I got in Australia. But hey, America in 5 days.
The best part of the day was the mindful hike we did together on a volcano. I don’t know about you but personally, I’ve never hiked through an old lava field up the side of this mountain that blew up 300 years ago so it was pretty cool. Aside from our light meditation while walking, we spent 20 minutes meditating in a cave that aboriginals think is only for women because it’s shaped like a vagina. V or not, it was incredible to be sitting where the lava had once flowed through, just breathing and becoming more aware of the moment together.
I also took a three hour nap this afternoon because with the iPad down, my main source of reading and entertainment is gone but it’s fine. I still have my camera and a coloring book to keep me busy.
Electronics aside, I’m definitely loving the retreat so far and the women I’m here with. From all over the world, I think it’s incredibly helpful that we’re all going through the detox together. I’m definitely the youngest but it hardly seems to matter where we’re at in our lives. It’s a very personal adventure but at the same time we’re like a little team, figuring it out day by day.
Thursday, June 29th
Learned how to surf today! Riswana and I were told to go to a beach at 11 and look for a man in a green van with surfboards on top, which worked and he turned out to be the coolest. Having lived in that town and with this job for 20 years, he was the definition of a pro and pushed us to do our best in the nicest way possible. Of course it was exhausting and hard and incredibly windy because Lanzarote, but I really enjoyed it. 10/10 would try again.
Today was also one of the 20 days a year it rains on Lanzarote. And while waking up to a light pitter-patter in the desert was bizarre, it let up by the time we got to surfing so all was good.
After surfing we were pretty knackered, as Riswani would say, so a quick shower and chill afternoon before dinner were just what the doctor ordered.
In the evening once we finished our soups, the now three of us (since Aine left) just looked at each other and knew we had to get out of the house and do something. So we drove to this sunset beach cove, which may have been too cloudy to see the sunset from but still made for a super relaxing evening. I even brought orange cinnamon tea, which might as well have been a hot toddy for how happy it made me.
Oh and on our way to the cove we drove through the island’s wine region, La Geria, which made me happy as a clam.
Friday, June 30th
The wind on Lanzarote today was unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. Over 30 mile an hour gusts whipped across the island all day, and since today was our e-biking day you can imagine how challenging that made it. Lucky for me, the bike ride took us through La Geria again, so I was able to see more vines up close as we rolled across the landscape. Absolutely unreal.
Both our morning and evening yoga sessions today were given by a new teacher from Italy who is fantastic. It’s classes like that which remind me why I’m here and what makes this practice so special. When I first got really into yoga at 17 I wanted nothing more than to get my teacher certification someday, and that feeling still hasn’t gone away. It’s both beautiful and grounding, challenging and utterly relaxing and I can’t get enough of it.
While this afternoon was more laid back, it was nice to have some more down time to myself. After the few hours biking in the wind I really had no desire to go out again, so I just hung out and caught up on all sorts of odds and ends.
I also officially added on an extra day so I can go straight from here to the airport, which takes out the stress of finding my other hotel in the city with no GPS so that’s muy bueno. It’s hard to believe I’m already almost done, but at the same time I cannot wait to have real food again. The smoothies and soups are great but there’s only so much a girl can take.
Saturday, July 1st
July! How is it already July? Kelly and I are the only ones left now but still managed to have one of the best days yet. Starting off at the Saturday market in Haria, we wandered our way through the local vendors and picked up a few gems before heading to La Geria (yes, again). This time actually for wine tasting though!
We fit in two wineries today—Bodega La Florida and Bodegas Guiguan—which were both incredible in different ways. Bodega La Florida had a lovely tasting room and since we were the only customers, we had our bartender’s full attention. While he only spoke Spanish, we managed to have both a great conversation and enjoy some really nice wines. My favorite was one of their 2015 reds, which Kelly bought a bottle of. So powerful yet well balanced, it reminded me a lot of the reds I had in South Australia. I myself got a book on wine in Lanzarote because I just can’t get enough of this strange sustainability method.
The second winery, Bodegas Guiguan, was probably the most intimate tasting I’ve ever had. Literally held at the winery sink, the winemaker showed us the two wines they had left in stock—a red and a sweet white—and both were really nice. Didn’t buy anything because I’m short on space but the tasting was an honor and I’d definitely recommend it.
Easy evening because I had my massage and we’re both too exhausted to make it to the concert at Jameos del Agua. You can’t win ‘em all.
Sunday, July 2nd
Today Kelly and I hit up a few more wineries, although all were disappointing compared to the two we visited yesterday. We started at Bodegas El Grifo, one of the most historic wineries on Lanzarote, but it was honestly kind of a let down. We placed our order at the bar and then they brought them to us outside which was nice, but neither of us loved any of the wines. So with a little more hope, we headed to Bodega La Geria.
The transition soup tonight was a welcome change from the past six days of miso. It’s bittersweet to be leaving tomorrow, but I’m really looking forward to being back in the states. The retreat was great but now that I’m feeling better, it’s time to go home.
Monday, July 3rd
Left Kalindi early this morning after a few goodbyes and heaping bowl of museli. Honestly not sure how this transition back to real food will go. I don’t even crave unhealthy food now! Like legitimately cannot convince myself to eat it. At the Lanzarote airport all I could manage to buy was a fruit bowl and box of cereal bars. Thankfully in London I had much better luck at Pret with all their incredible vegan options.
Still no coffee, although I wasn’t addicted to it in the first place. Just lots of water and reading on planes today. It’s my last international journey before being stateside again so at this point I’m just counting down the hours. I’ll miss Europe for sure, but I know I’ll be back soon. And god knows it’ll be good to see all my friends and have a working phone again.
The detox was the perfect way to end this month and a half bender. I definitely needed the sleep and good food for my body to reset, and now I feel stronger than ever.
America, here I come.