Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Journey to Kalikalos

Nothing quite prepares you for the Pelion that forms the southern most tip of the Balkans.  I have travelled all over Europe and experienced many of its beauty spots, the Alps, the Italian Lakes, the Amalfi Coast.  Once you have endured the plane to Athens or Thessaloniki, and the coach to Volos the adventure begins as the local bus pulls out heading to Kissos.  The journey is one of steep climbs hairpin bends and views over the sea and the mountains that surpass most of the popular tourist clichés.

You really feel that you are entering another world, another Europe, another simpler time.

I both admired and envied the bus driver, for making me feel safe on that long climb over the mountain and for having the privilege of driving everyday in such a spectacular and beautiful place.

As the bus pulled into the village of Kissos I found myself reluctant to get off, afraid of what I might miss round the next corner of that unforgettable journey.  I walked from the bus into the village square the peace tranquillity and quiet of the place wrapped itself around me like a comfort blanket.  Helped by he huge trees that stand around the village church like sentinels against the hot sun.

 I walked through the sleepy village to Kalikalos standing on the right side of the road; a large house with terraced gardens built in a traditional local style.  It was inviting and yet a little scary, as it was so far away from my normal life.

 It felt right be a bit afraid because to me this means I feel challenged a state I had not enjoyed for some years as my life rolled into a very small comfort zone that I had been reluctant to leave.  However, when your comfort zone becomes a prison and you close yourself to most possibilities you may as well curl up and die…..This journey was to mark my return to life, to challenge, to an open heart and mind, and what a spectacular way to start.

‘It is a very wise or a very stupid man who believes he knows what the future brings but one thing is for sure, he has thrust a knife into the heart of wonder’.

Tad Williams (The Dragon Bone Chair)

Blog by Louise Peverley, Kalikalos 2011

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Home tomorrow

I do like a bit of physical work, on my holidays - no, I'm not joking - so I signed up as part of the May workcamp here at Kalikalos, preparing the centre for the guests and workshop leaders who will arrive soon.

I'm leaving tomorrow and I've spent three weeks having a lot of fun, exercise and sun, building a little community with new friends - and then letting go of it.

The rhythms of the day here - starting with an atunement and sharing circle, working in small groups and cooking and eating together all help us to create a real sense of community.  We are all here with a similar outlook - committed to personal growth and straightforward communication, so we try to be open and discuss how we are feeling, as well as what needs doing that day!

We have also had the opportunity to meditate in the new sanctuary we helped to build, to do yoga in the roundhouse, to snooze and do our emails in the yurt - oh yes, and to swim in the clear blue sea and stretch out on the white sand at the beach in the afternoons.

The local tomatoes from the veggie van that comes round every day are as big and luscious as any I have eaten - and they compliment beautifully the feta cheese and olives for lunch.

So I've dug and planted a vegetable garden here at Kalilalos, ready to be watered and tended and finally harvested by the people who follow on after me.  I won't get to eat the produce - but at least I had a good time and did some rewarding physical work  - for me, a great holiday.

Sally Collings  Bridport, Dorset May 2011

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Spring Workcamp at Kalikalos

The first two weeks of month-long Spring workcamp at Kalikalos ended yesterday. When we arrived here on 6 May, we found a vertible jungle of growth on the 1 acre estate, with weeds up to our hips and the little 9-room hotel we rent full of cobwebs accumulated from 7 months without use.

Nine enthousiastic workcampers went right to work, first setting up the yurt which we use for meetings and 1-1 healing sessions as well as serving as our "Blue Saloon" for intimate overnights. Our fleet of three red micras had to be uncovered, jump started, and one by one driven down to Volos to Apostoli's Nissan garage for new batteries, tyres and other bits and pieces.

Once the yurt was up Roger Doudna and Rolf Iversen went to work on re-erecting the 7m diameter reciprocal framed roundhouse which is stored over the winter. This is a tricky job getting all the pieces fitted together so that the canvas sections provide a waterproof space for workshops.

Sally Collings took on the job of digging the vegetable beds and Louise Williams immediately went to work on the estate grounds clearing the roses and hydranges of weeds and in general turning the jungle into something reasonably resembling a hotel grounds.  Jeffrey Andrioni and Adelheid Hansen were our jack and jills of all trades helping out wherever needed, and Ruhanna helped to produce some incredibly delicious Indian meals. Jeffrey's wry humour keep us all in a good mood even tho the weather during the first 4 days of the workcamp resembled Scotland more than Greece.

By the second week most of us were down on the beach at Ag. Ioannis in the afternoons, and the transformation of the estate was progressing rapidly. In the final four days the team leveled a space on the upper terrace allowing Rolf to build the new "shoebox" sanctuary which we blessed with a meditation on Thursday. That night we celebrated our fortnight's accomplishments with a meal out at the local Ag Dimitrious taverna.

Now the group has shrunk to just four of us for the last two weeks of the camp as we turn out attention to planting the vegie beds, spring housecleaning and readying the rooms for workshop participants who arrive on June 3 for the first retreat of the season: THE SPIRIT OF SELF ENQUIRY. There are still places available on this, and most of the other retreats and workshops of the 2011 season. Visit the Kalikalos programme page for details and to book.