How do I get there?
Getting there: Ryanair fly from London Stansted STN to Santander. It takes about one hour and a half. The transfers to and from Santander are timed to coincide with the Ryanair flight in and out on the start and finish day of the retreat. If you are using another airline or travelling to Asturias from somewhere other than the UK, you will need to arrange with me a time and place to meet on the first day. Flight times vary from season to season but I will confirm the times with you when you book. Walkinginspirit provides all transfers within Asturias from this point and will return you to the airport at the end of the week. A simple orientation will happen at a nearby beach before we make the drive inland to Somiedo and on up to Valle de Lago to settle in at La Pinietsa which is our permanent base for the retreat.
What’s the accommodation like?
Accommodation: Couples will have an apartment with a double bed and singles share an apartment with one other person, (same sex), usually with one using the bedroom and one using the sofa-bed in the lounge although two of the apartments have a bedroom with two single beds for friends who don’t mind sharing a room. The former option means that those sharing an apartment can have separate rooms if they prefer. The apartments are rustic yet comfortable and have their own kitchen with fridge, lounge, and shower room with washing machine. Towels and bedding are provided. Washing can be hung up outside or dried in the boiler room. WIS provides breakfast items and tea and coffee in your apartments and there is a stove, crockery and cutlery, pots and pans and everything you need for simple self catering.
How much walking is involved?
Walking: We will be walking mindfully and at a gentle and slow pace so no more than an average level of fitness is required but we will be going up and downhill and staying out for several hours at a time. The walks are done as a mindful meditation and for obvious reasons it is very important that we stay together as a group. Please talk to me (Frankie) if you are unsure or have any questions. The walking doesn’t start early or run to a tight timetable as the idea is to completely forget about clocks, alarms and schedules. I want you to have a relaxing time and return home refreshed and strengthened.
What will I need to bring?
What to bring: First of all, please travel as light as you can as luggage space is limited. What you wear and when will depend very much on the weather. Layers of light clothing are best as the Somiedo weather can be changeable. You will need light protective rain gear, (top and bottom), good walking boots with ankle support, a water bottle, binoculars, (if you have them), a sun hat, suncream and sunglasses may also be useful. I suggest you bring a light back pack to carry what you need during the day, (not much), as it’s best to walk with nothing in your hands for the mindful practice. A hoodie or fleece for the mountain tops and evenings is reccomended.
* Please also bring something small but, meaningful from home as a symbolic offering. If you are unsure of what to bring just let your intuition guide you in picking up a pebble or any natural object that you are drawn to.
Food: Breakfast items for self catering and lunch packs will be provided on the days that we walk. In the evenings you will have the choice of going out to local restaurants, cooking in your apartment or group barbeque as you choose. Eating out is very good value for money in Asturias. There are two small supermarkets that we will pass most days and will be stopping to pick up provisions as and when needed.
Alcohol: Walkinginspirit is not a retreat with restrictions on what you can eat and drink. I myself, enjoy a cold beer or cider at the end of a long walk and a glass of wine with my meal. I would just ask that, if you do drink, you do so in moderation and that you give anyone who chooses not to, due consideration… and vice versa.
Alternative diets: Rural Spain is not used to catering for alternative diets so it’s a good idea to bring some things with you if your diet is specialised and adjust expectations accordingly.
Free time: Wednesday or Thursday, (depending on whether the arrival day is Sunday or Monday), will be free time and I leave it open as to what happens. If some or all of the group want to go on an excursion I will happily accommodate that and, in fact so far, we have always done this. The capital Oviedo is a popular choice but I am open to other suggestions. At dusk on some days there may be an optional opportunity to drive somewhere nearby for a bit of bear watching. This will depend entirely on what information we receive at the time.
Spirit of the retreat: Group cohesion is vital for safety when walking in remote and wild places. This point is of particular importance. Walkinginspirit is a group retreat and participants need to be able to manage their own needs within the needs of a group without drama, particularly during the walks.
Cameras & phones: The mindful walks are the part of the retreat that have some dos and don’t attached to them. Phones and cameras must be switched off during the four walks. Frankie or another photographer will take pictures during the walks and share with everyone afterwards. Outside of the walks you are free to take as many pictures as you like. There is a good signal for mobile providers at our base, La Pińietsa and wifi is available in local bars and restaurants.
Valuables: Please look after your valuables. Somiedo is a very safe place but Walkinginspirit cannot accept any responsibility for things going missing.
Going home: You will be taken to the airport in plenty of time to catch your return flight. Sometimes, this may mean an early start on the last day depending on flight times.
Disclaimer: In booking you agree to be completely responsible and liable for any injury to yourself or damage to your property that you may incur during your time on the retreat.I will be asking you to sign a waiver to this end.
Insurance: All retreat participants must be covered by insurance before setting out. This must cover you fully against the cost of medical care and repatriation should you be unable to continue with the retreat, and must cover you against the cost of any transport out of the area, should sickness or injury necessitate such a course of action.
What the fee includes: The fee includes transport to and from the airport, transport between walks within Somiedo as well as any excursions planned for the day off. The fee also includes accommodation, breakfast items for self catering, pack lunch on the day of the walks and mindfulness training and guidance. Fee does not include flights, evening meals or lunch on the day off.
Cancellations Policy: A non-refundable deposit of £175 will secure your place. The remaining fee must reach me two months before the date of your retreat. Cancellations should be made 21 days prior to departure to qualify for a refund of your fee minus your deposit which will be held for administration costs. In the unlikely event of having to cancel the retreat prior to the event, all monies will be refunded to you. Please call me on 07969 89 5834 or message me if you have any further questions.
Cost is £650 pp based on two sharing one apartment. Reservations made before December 31st 2017 will be charged at the 2017 rate of £575.
See “reservations” page for dates and information about the single occupancy supplement.