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We rave every day about the tastes on our tongues. Giorgio, Leela and their helpers succeed in evoking moans of pleasure as table music at each breakfast, lunch and dinner. From the surprise of a crunchy cheese muffin-like thing at lunch, to a vellutata di Zucchine (soup) to a brioche with red cabbage, aubergine and cheese, roasted lamb with garden rosemary, Farro Perlato with porcini mushroom, to home-cured prosciutto and Caciotta cheese slices with truffles, all the way to Crema Catalana and Colomba Pasquale, every mouthful a surprise and a bit of a swoon. Our plates are always spanking clean after each meal.

The meals have served as inspiration for our writing as well as being the marker for the passage between activities. Many have remarked that although each repast is a veritable feast of taste and choice, none of the foods are too rich or too sweet, and we often leave almost directly from the groaning board of lunch for a long walk up and down or down and up these beautiful country roads, or book a taxi to take us to nearby Gubbio, Assisi or Perugia. Continue reading

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Gubbio Gubbio wherefore art thou Gubbio?

I knew nothing of Gubbio prior to this trip, aside from some vague connection to Francis of Assisi. My loss, apparently. Gubbio is a wonder of terraces, cathedrals, palaces, palazzos, ancient stone, a surprising treasure in the form of a golden fountain spigot in the shape of a duck head, Roman ruins, and sweeping views into a broad green valley.

After our morning of yoga, breakfast, and a shift in perspective with James leading the writing practice, we ate yet another exquisite lunch and climbed into taxis with the enthusiastic (and handsome) Marco and Stefano. The ride was quicker than we imagined and full of swoops and dodges, as we careened through the Umbrian hills to Gubbio. Continue reading

Spring light in new leaves

Spring has sprung in Umbria.

Each morning on a Radical Restoration retreat we begin at 7:00 a.m. with some gentle, self-compassionate yoga that helps us get in dialogue with our bodies and our Selves. We breakfast in companionable, communal silence to allow that dialogue to continue. And at 10:00 we are welcomed back to our voices in the two and a half hour writing workshop. After lunch, which so far this trip has been delicious – as every meal here has been so far (we’ll leave that for another post), we’re free to do whatever takes our fancy.

Today three of our troupe hiked for five hours along the old Franciscan pilgrims’ trail, through the spectacular Umbrian countryside, ending up at the Cathedral of Saint Francis in Assisi. The rest of us hiked more locally, napped, rested, and soaked in the Italian spring sunshine. Continue reading

Afternoons can mean swimming in the saltwater pool, or napping or working on your writing in quiet.

Or it can mean ranging a little farther afield to take part in some of what the area offers: ziplining, an eco reserve, shopping in Dominical or taking a surfing lesson in their renowned waves, kayaking in the mangrove swamp, or enjoying the magnificent beach.

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There’s so much to do, we had to split it into two slideshows. Click here for the next one!

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The audience enjoying the reading
The final evening at Le Torrace, the group gathered in the Diksha room for the international premiere of eleven new masterpieces, both written and painted. This room is ideally suited for reading due to the panoramic mountain views out of the picture windows at each end of the room.

The evening began with a toast of Prosecco to writers, writing and new friends. The reading order was randomized to ensure everyone enjoyed equal billing.

All the readers, both those who were experienced at the mic and those who were reading in public for the first time, did a great job.

I was delighted to host this prestigious event to wind up what has been an amazing retreat at Radical Restoration.

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