Written by the dynamic Dalton Homolka.
In my days leading up to Abbi Miller’s Greek Chic yoga retreat, I formed a pretty stellar idea of what sort of magic was to unfold. There’d be miles of beach, delicious bites, and enough relaxation to fuel me for the year (maybe even two) – but I had NO idea it’d exceed my expectations in the way it did. Of course, words and pictures can only tell so much, but here are 8 examples that give a little glimpse of my journey-to-remember.
1.) BREATHTAKING SIGHTS
At Amorgos, every room comes with a view. Every. Single. Room. So naturally, each morning I awoke, shuffled to the balcony and gazed out over a bellowing mountain range beside the crystal sea, polluted by nothing but distant islands… and it didn’t stop there. At any point during the day I’d find myself frozen in time, mumbling something like “holy wow” or “I just… can’t…” under my breath (or to a friend, who was definitely doing the exact same). And when I tell you that no two sunsets are alike? I have all the proof I need (although pics NEVER do it justice).
2.) FLOWS FOR ALL
It wouldn’t be a yoga retreat without a little downward dog, amiright? I never fret, there was enough to go around! When it comes to personalized flows, Abbi is the QUEEN. Mornings began with an up-paced, bright, dance-party-like practice, being the perfect intro to a full day under the sun (singing along not mandatory, but encouraged). Before dinner, we were treated to a peaceful hour of restorative yoga and meditation, winding each of us down and readying us for the dinner-for-champions that lay ahead. The beauty? All flows were optional – so it really was a build-your-own-experience retreat. If I felt the desire to meditate in the comfort of my bed? Not a prob! But Abbi’s guidance was present and beyond appreciated, offering the PERFECT amount of zen.
3.) FANTASTIC FEASTS
This was not a weight-loss retreat. I REPEAT: NOT a weight-loss retreat! Could it have been? Sure, sure. Did I want it to be after seeing the spread? Absolutely not! I’m still at a loss of words for the culinary quest I journeyed each day. My body wasn’t ready for it, but morning number one – it found love. Love in the forms of local cheeses, fresh-off-the-branch olive oil, pastry platters, grilled veggies, Aegean seafood, sun-dried tomatoes, Greek guacamole… I mean, need I go on? Whether it was buffet or family style, it came three times a day and was glorious in every way of the word. But for next time, It’s vital I do myself the little favor of stretching out the tummy now.
4.) SPARKLING SURPRISES
Imagine this: There’s a full moon, glimmering over the water, kissing your face with a soft, warm glow. On said face – GLITTER. Yes, because glitter should ALWAYS be present during a full moon. You’re on a rooftop. But not just any ol’ rooftop – it’s atopa 5-star resort, nestled along the side of a stunning Greek mountain. You’re cozied up next to your new yogi family, wrapped in blankets, breathing in the fresh smells of your surroundings. There’s music playing. It’s live music, and a world-traveling, awe-inspiring harpist is performing it. Pure magic, pure bliss. Better yet – it was all a surprise. That moment of meditation swept me away. Each day was inspired by elements of surprise – unique ones that’ll be impossible to forget.
5.) “CHOOSE YOUR OWN” ADVENTURES
From four-wheeled, mountainside treks, to fearless floating in the deep blue, Amorgos had it ALL. I knew almost instantly I’d be up for a little extra thrill, so I rented an ATV and soared around the winding roads of the island, catching sunny rays on my shoulders while spotting countless families of goats and whitewashed homes. At other times I hiked along the character-filled beach with pals, making our way to the village, where we browsed locally made jewelry and ceramics. When I needed my fill of R&R, I ventured to the private beach below, exploring coves and collecting stones from the Aegean Sea. The options were endless, and quite frankly, a tad overwhelming. I never thought I’d have so many options when deciding what to do in paradise. What an unusual luxury (that I’ll never regret facing).
6.) SENSORY OVERLOAD
And by that I mean, SCENTS-ory overload, because WOW were there yummy-smells galore. Amorgos is known for its plethora of herbs and local flowers, and I didn’t have to go very far to discover that. Not only were the meals rich in every plant-life flavor imaginable, but the resort itself has an herb garden – just out back. Being the mild naturalist I am, I craved even more. One town over lives the most adorable oil distillery and alternative therapy facility (IAMA – run by an amazingly knowledgeable couple) – which I’d HIGHLY recommend to anyone. Between the rest of the group and I, I’m pretty sure we walked out with at least one of every product – easily. Oh, and by the end of my stay, I’m positive I inhaled enough sage to last a lifetime.
7.) ANCIENT SECRETS
Amorgos is an island rich in history and depth, with legends and culture dating back to several thousand years B.C. From tip-top to bottom, it’s sprinkled in ruins, monasteries, traditional architecture and many other intriguing gems to uncover. My highlight: Renting an ATV (they also had cars, but I was feeling rather daring) from the village and setting off on my half-day exploration! I didn’t get a chance to visit St. Valsamitis – an ancient monastery inhabited by a nun named Dina – but I learned much about it, and those who DID said her stories were enthralling! After hearing about the island’s history and thriving in its magic, I truly felt like a character straight outta Hercules (or ya know, another, more accurate Greek myth). While sunshine is essential, it exists everywhere. It’s the tales of the island that I really yearned to absorb.
8.) FOREVER FRIENDS
In only a few short days, I fell for a group of like-minded, yoga loving, happy-faced, world traveling peeps… all of whom I’ll share experiences, memories, and secrets with for eternity. I think this one pretty much speaks for itself.
~ Are you imagining yourself in these photos – smiling, adventuring, & flowing in paradise??? Well lucky for you, Abbi has a few spots available for Greek Chic 3! Check out this link to join in the fun, honey buns!
All images by the amazing Andrea Larson.