Travel diary: Yoga in the Canaries

Craig and I started travelling almost exactly seven years ago, and this week marks the one-year point of the current journey. We’ve been travelling and working hard, and this week we stopped: we took our first real holiday in quite a while. And it was a good one.

We spent the week from Saturday to Saturday at Azul Fit, a yoga and Pilates retreat centre on the island of Fuerteventura, in the Canary Islands. It’s certainly not the sort of thing we’d normally do, but it was exactly what we needed: a detox from our normal life. (And yes, I do know that our normal life is awesome.)

All the food was delicious.

All the food was delicious.

Monday 18/2: Every day at Azul Fit starts with a class, either yoga or Pilates, which is followed by a delicious healthy brunch of fruit salad, cereals, homemade yogurt, bread, and something else like porridge or pancakes… It was different every day. Then there’s another class at 4.30 and most days a delicious vegetarian evening meal is set out at 6:30.

On Monday, Craig and I attended the morning yoga class and ate brunch at the long table with the other guests, who were all lovely, interesting people. Maybe yoga makes you lovely? There were 16 of us in total, and we got to know each other pretty well by the end of the week.

After brunch Craig had a massage and we went for a walk to the local bakery (and managed to get a little lost on the way back, meaning we had a longer walk than we’d planned). Apart from that, we mostly lazed around reading until the afternoon yoga class and meditation session, after which we headed out for dinner with almost everyone else — Monday’s one of the two days when dinner isn’t provided. We ate at a local tapas restaurant, and the food was delicious, if slightly less healthy than what we’d been eating back at the villa.

Our room, Santa Fe.

Our room, Santa Fe.

Tuesday 19/2: It was a cloudy day, which meant that sitting by the pool wasn’t on the cards, so after our Pilates class and brunch most of us lazed around inside. Then we had yoga in the afternoon and another delicious meal in the evening.

Wednesday 20/2: Since all our classes had been held in the yoga room, Craig and I were a little surprised to see everyone spread out on the grass behind the pool on Wednesday morning. This was the Tai Chi class, and it was our favourite so far. Valentina is a great yoga teacher, and Jo’s Pilates classes were really good, but being outside with Paco was brilliant; easy movements but a real challenge nonetheless. Plus the yoga cat made an appearance, weaving in and out of everyone’s legs, which was hilarious.

After brunch, Craig stayed at the villa to relax, but I caught the transfer to the sand dunes with four other guests, and we had a great day enjoying the sun. We found a spot on the sand to sunbathe in and I went for a long walk with Anna before going for a short swim with her and Maria.

Do we look relaxed?

Do we look relaxed?

Dinner isn’t provided on Wednesday either, so Craig and I headed to the tiny supermarket for supplies and cooked in the outdoor kitchen. Several of the rooms have their own kitchens but ours wasn’t one of them — which mean we had the adventure of cooking outside.

Thursday 21/2: Thursday was the busiest day of the whole week! After our yoga class and brunch, we went on the volcano walk led by Gary, one of the staff at the other Villa Azul property, which is in Corralejo. Two of the guests from there also joined us, and I chatted with each of them during the walk.

Ah, there's nothing like a good hike.

Ah, there’s nothing like a good hike.

It was great, a nice slow climb to the crater and then a walk around the rim. There were chipmunks to feed (Elin gave me a fig and I offered bits to one of them) and shepherds huts to check out, as well as good conversation — I especially enjoyed chatting with Claire on the way back down the hill, while Craig got a potted history of Azul Fit from Gary.

Chipmunks are cute.

Chipmunks are cute.

Back at the villa, we had a Pilates class (with big balls) and a delicious dinner, and I’d signed up for the nutrition class with Jo, along with Gaynor, Jennifer and Linda. As well as giving us a talk about nutrition, Jo also showed us how to make a delicious chocolate mouse and healthy chocolate truffles. Yum.

Friday 22/2: As part of the package, Azul Fit guests get one massage during their stay, and we had to sign up for slots during the week. I cleverly saved mine until Friday afternoon, when I knew I’d have a sore back — and it was sooo good. It took place in a little tent in the garden and the masseuse (Neverish) was fantastic, it was one of the best massages I’ve ever had.

Afterwards I spent an hour in the sun in a happy daze, but decided to skip the Pilates class because I didn’t want to undo the good the massage had done. Instead, I had a session with a chiropractor! Richard (another Azul Fit guest) had offered to take a look at my back when he overheard me complaining about it the night before, and since he wasn’t doing Pilates either I took him up on his offer. I really didn’t like the sound of the clicks my neck made when he adjusted it, but my back did feel better afterwards.

Dinner!

Dinner!

Dinner was as delicious as always, and we all sat around chatting for some time after all the food was gone — I think Craig was trying to convince Julie to visit New Zealand while I talked to Amy, Claire and Anna down the other end of the table.

Saturday 23/2: It had been an excellent week, and I would have liked to have stayed for a few more days, but Saturday was our departure day from the Azul Fit villa. I went to the last yoga class while Craig slept in, and we had a last brunch with those who hadn’t already left.

Since Halla, Dave and Joss had hired a car and were heading in the same direction as us, I asked if they could give us a lift as far as the airport, and they kindly said yes. But they didn’t just give us a ride to the airport; Dave also gave us a mini-tour of the parts of the island he’d seen during his morning cycling excursions, and dropped us right at our accommodation. Thanks again, guys!

Detours are awesome -- we saw these statues and great views at the top of the hill.

Detours are awesome — we saw these statues and great views at the top of the hill.

We were staying in Caleta de Fuste, which seemed to be a tourist town through and through; we certainly heard more English than Spanish. But the room was cheap and the complex has wifi — so we could get back to work. And apart from two trips to supermarkets, that’s what we did.

Sunday 24/2: We’d planned to spend most of the day relaxing by the pool, but the overcast skies encouraged us to stay in and work. We managed to get quite a lot done before a vegetarian lunch (what’s happening to us?!), after which we went for a long windy walk along the coast, then got back to work.

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2 Responses to “Travel diary: Yoga in the Canaries”

  1. Reg of The Spain Scoop March 8, 2013 at 5:44 am #

    Looks fabulous. I’m off to the Canaries soon and this is something I’d definitely be into!

    • Craig and Linda March 9, 2013 at 7:24 am #

      It’s a brilliant place: I really enjoy what they’ve done there.

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