Sunday, May 30, 2010
It was a bit of a leap in the dark, but I had seen the Kalikalos brochure last year, and had thought then that a week or two working in the sunshine with congenial people would be just the thing for me. Due to pressure of work, I had to cancel my trip last year, and so when invited to come this year I jumped at the opportunity.
I had heard that the Pelion (or Pilio) was beautiful, but nothing prepared me for the scenery as Jock drove me up from Volos and over the mountains to the east of the peninsular where the two "campuses" that make up Kalikalos are situated, in two mountain villages, a couple of miles apart.
I went first to Anilio - a wonderfully rural setting on the edge of a village that straggles along the road, houses clinging to the hillsides, which are clothed in forests of chestnut. I arrived, as I so often seem to do when I go on holiday, on a cold wet evening when I needed all the clothes I had bought from England. The villages are quite high (500 metres or so) and so have a milder climate, with rain at times. Over the next few days it warmed up and we set to work to finish the jobs outstanding before the first group of workshop attendees appeared.
This meant building a shade out of timber and bamboo matting outside one of the buildings to give some more shade for when the heat of summer comes. We also worked to bring the group room into shape - which involved putting back in place the roof, walls and floor that had been stored away safely over the winter. The result was a beautiful space big enough for dancing and movement, and with one side open to the forest.
I've now moved to the other part of Kalikalos at the village of Kissos. This is on the edge of the village centre, and one is much more aware of the community around the centre. The same daily rhythms of breakfast, meeting, work, lunch, beach, work, dinner apply as at Anilio, with lots of delicious vegetarian wholefood cooking. I am sure I have lost weight on the trip, and feel a whole lot better than I did a week ago. This is a great place - I hope to be coming back again some day.
Saturday, May 15, 2010
The first group arrived in the two centres last week to get the places organized for the workshops that start in June.
The places are closed over winter so all the gardens have to be replanted and rooms opened and cleaned out. The tents and yurt need to be put and the kitchen reorganized and cleaned.The big project going on here is rebuilding the roundhouse where most workshops will be held. Lots of cleaning and unpacking are needed.
Then there is the daily rhythms of cooking, buying food and cleaning up that must be done alongside getting the place ready.
All this is done by a group of people from various parts of the world who for the most part do not know each other. There is a mix of ages from 19 to sixty.
An important part of the daily rhythms is to have a morning sharing to keep us connected to each other and to our own inner emotions. Its a time for planning the day ahead and dealing with practicalities as well as clearing tensions.
We also gather for meals holding hands for a moment to be present to the group and the food and gratitude for being here.
Of course there are the rhythms of socializing. Most days include an afternoon at the beach and socializing over meals. I especially like it when the 2 houses get together for a meal which leads to guitar playing and singing. We also had an evening meal out at one of the lovely seaside retaurants.
This place is set in some spectacular mountain scenery that overlooks the ocean. The bus ride in was long and very winding but stunning in its beauty. The tiny village is quaint with its fountains and cobblestoned road and square. Roses are blooming everywhere amidst the greenery. The weather has been sunny and just hot enough to be comfortable.
I wait for the next week to unfold.
Sharyn and daughter Kylee from New Zealand