My journey began on a Saturday in Murcia after a short two hour flight from London. My chauffeur was there to greet me at the airport and drive me to the beautiful bay of Mazarron, along the stunning coastline bathed by the Mediterranean sea.
I arrived in the evening and was met by our bubbly and welcoming retreat host Fran. She took me to my apartment which was to be my home for a week of pilates and yoga practise and learning Spanish. I settled in for the night with the lovely welcome pack and familiarised myself with the exciting itinerary, eager to start the adventure and meet the rest of the group.
In the morning I was blessed with a sea view from the balcony and watched the incredible sunrise. Sunday was spent getting to know each other and exploring the local town and the famous market, abundant with fruits, vegetables and flowers. I love hunting out bargains so this was the perfect way to start my morning and do some shopping.
We spent the afternoon at the port of Mazarron which came to be one of my favourite spots, admiring the views, people watching and the place where we ate and sampled the delicious food, including the wild mushroom truffle croquettes and goats cheese salad at Gula Gula restaurant which was absolutely delightful.
The schedule throughout the week consisted of a morning yoga class followed by a short break then an hour of Pilates practise. The yoga didn’t start until 10.30am which was great as I’m a morning person and really enjoyed the peace and quiet, having the time to myself to meditate, write my intentions and daily affirmations before the day began. By the third day I had taken to jogging to the yoga shala, along the shoreline as a warm up for the day.
The morning yoga class was held at a place called Isla Plana, an ancient Arab and Roman site that used to be a bath house when there were thermal springs present and next to a beautiful church dedicated to the Virgin Del Carmen. The scenery set against the back drop of the deep blue sea made it easy to focus on the daily meditation and yoga practise that progressed and increased in pace. The pilates classes took place at another unique location – a wooden enclave with views to the sea also offering treatments such as acupuncture, reiki and reflexology which could all be booked independently.
Our experienced and enviably toned teacher Fran was methodical and attentive in her approach. Having never done pilates before I was amazed at how much it engages your core muscles. It also made me aware that my posture needs a lot of work. Pilates is slow which really helped me to be present and align body and mind.
Lunch always followed the morning workouts and was either taken locally or at a restaurant on the way to one of the afternoons excursions. I’m vegetarian and there was plenty for me to eat including fresh salads, bean stews, soups and of course tortilla. On one of the evenings we were taken to a local restaurant called La Vuelta which to my delight specialised in both vegan and vegetarian foods and for non veggies fresh fish was always the star of the show. If you’re a foodie, you will love the gastronomy in this part of Spain. During the lunches we had an informal Spanish lesson to help us get a grasp of the basics and nuances in the language local to the area.
The afternoon excursions were mostly focused around the rich history of the area and particularly the architectural and archaeological heritage. I almost felt like we went on a journey through time via our incredible tour guide and Spanish teacher Antonio, who was able to answer any questions and really brought the trips to life, regaling tales of the history and personal anecdotes which were very amusing!
One of the highlights for me was visiting the Azohia and Castillitos, an old military fort that looked like a medieval castle, built into the mountains with mesmerising views and huge canons. I love photography and this area and the recently renovated amphitheatre in the ancient town of Cartagena really satisfied my lense and left me with some incredible shots.
If you are looking for a pilates and yoga retreat that encourages a slower pace, enjoy local Spanish culture, beaches and cuisine as well as learning a little Spanish then this retreat is for you. The name of the coast is Calida meaning warm and refers to the people here as much as the weather. It’s easy to feel at ease and everything is well organised for you. I will miss starting my days with a morning practise in the sunshine and the soul satisfying vista’s.
I left Mazarron feeling more zen, with a strong core and some colour to my cheeks. I felt catered for on every level and I would recommend the retreat for singles and couples alike. The next retreat takes place in April, September and October 2018. Find out more.
This review was conducted by Julia Cameron on behalf of Soul Seed Travel.