They say that the wisest thing a retreat leader can do is scout the retreat venue before they choose to host and bring a group.
When Lefkada was chosen for last year’s retreat, we went by gut feeling. The website was stunning and it sold itself. We had a few exchanges with Ourania, host and owner, and we knew we wanted to go there.
After having been now, I have a much better experience of the ins and outs of the location, the resort and all that the surroundings have to offer.
I think back longingly at the week I spent there, and the many beautiful visual memories overlap with the feelings of peace, serenity and coming “home”.
Most places become experiences and feelings, and that’s what we hold on ultimately in our memories.
Here are some of my personal favorite memories from last year and things I am looking forward to re-experiencing in just a few months. With Tessa.
One day with Urania and her son we drove on a tiny road to the very edge of a cliff where we could see the most beautiful sunset. I remember wearing a white tunic dress and feeling so cozy and comfortable. Some of the group were sitting and watching the sun go down while having a beer, some were focusing on their professional photography and others were standing and chatting while gazing out into the horizon.
The luxurious rooms
Not gonna lie, one of my favorite parts of Urania Villas is the rooms. I got super lucky and stayed in a room on my own which also happened to have a bathtub. (All the upstairs rooms have bathtubs). I took a bath religiously every night and it was something I looked forward to all day. I also never turned on the AC but instead slept with open windows which felt very nice.
Morning yoga practice bathed in sunshine
The yoga studio is truly worthy of mention here as it is a beautiful, bright space with lots of room and a jaw dropping view. In the morning the sun is facing directly into the studio and gently bathing the room with light while the morning practice is happening. There are also lots of props in the studio which of course makes me happy.
Urania and Ilias and the crew
Urania and Ilias and the rest of the crew (Scarlet the white dog included) were so warm and friendly, it felt like visiting far away family. They accommodated all dietary food requests for us, made us lunch to go the day we went on a boat tour, and helped us with literally anything we needed.
One of my favorite independent excursions was to hop in the car and drive about 40 minutes to this beach called Gialos. It’s must less touristy and crowded than the other ones and the waters were absolutely perfectly turquoise. One day half of the group joined us there and we all hang out and listened to music and swam.
Located just 15 minutes on a dirt road away from Lefkada, the charming town of Vasiliki is a great place to go for a stroll and if needed to the pharmacy and to check out some souvenirs or alternatively rent an ATV.
Cozy nights having tea and chatting on the balcony
I still have this for memory of our last night on the retreat, Urania made traditional Greek honey pastries and tea for us and we all stayed after dinner on the balcony to chat and say our farewells.
I know this sounds so simple, however, my absolute favorite Greek food is a Greek Salad, with vine ripened tomatoes, incredible fresh feta cheese, light onions, amazing meaty olives, the finest olive oil you can think of, and cucumber. Combine that with some home made bread and I could live off of it for the rest of my life. Another dish I loved was the grilled fresh caught fish that was served twice during the retreat week by Urania. Okay now I’m hungry