Yoga in the Catalan mountains

After spending a weekend in Tarragona, it was time to travel further south. I had booked a five night stay at a yoga retreat in Southern Catalonia. I took a train from Tarragona to L’ampolla which took about an hour.

I had organized a pick-up with Sarah, the owner of the yoga retreat, at 5 pm, but I arrived already around one o’clock and had time to eat lunch and have a look around L’ampolla (there isn’t much to see).

At 5 pm I met Sarah at the train station and we drove about 20 minutes to reach the yoga retreat. When I arrived, there was only one other guest, Marion, and two volunteers, Trent and Scotty. And not to mention the cutest cats and dogs!

Entry to Casa de Carrasco
Entry to Casa de Carrasco.
Sarah and her husband had created this magical place from scratch - including building a yoga deck, swimming pool, barbecue area and toilet block.
Sarah and her husband have created this magical place from scratch – including building a yoga deck, swimming pool, barbecue area, toilet block and a couple of casas.
Daisy asking for a scratch.
Daisy asking for a scratch.
Stella being cute.
Stella being cute.

The first day I walked with Marion and Scotty to visit Sarah’s mum, Cherry, who lives close by. She is an ayurvedic doctor and has such interesting stories to share. On her property there is labyrinth, which is used as a healing tool.

The environment on the way to Cherry’s house is quite rugged. There was a big fire a couple of years ago that wiped out a lot of the vegetation. Luckily Casa de Carrasco survived.
The views from Cherry's house were quite nice!
The views from Cherry’s house were quite nice!
Before stepping inte the labyrinth, you can set an intention. Once you’ve reached the middle, you can decide which way to face. North is for wisdom, East is for new beginnings, South is for awakenings and West is for letting go.
Let it remain a secret which direction I chose, but those of you who know me might guess. I got chills just from Cherry talking about how the labyrinth works, but once I walked it, I could really feel how powerful a place it is.

At the yoga retreat, guests can sleep in different sized tents or old stables converted into dwellings. You can also bring your own tent! I slept in a one-person tent. The price was 30 €/night which included a 90 minute yoga class plus breakfast.

The tent was so cosy! I was often late for yoga because of my comfortable mattress...
The tent was so cosy! I was often late for yoga because of my comfortable mattress… And to wake up to this view – not bad!

There was a yoga class every morning from 8 am to 9.30 am. Most days we practised in the sun on the beautiful outdoor yoga deck, but once we had to be inside due to strong winds. The style of yoga is Sivananda Fusion and I truly enjoyed it. And Sarah is such a positive and patient teacher!

Views from the yoga deck.
Views from the yoga deck.

Yoga was followed by a massive breakfast, consisting of porridge, yoghurt, jams, honey, croissants, cheese, eggs, fruit and cereal. Every morning you could also drink the delicious tea made out of leaves from one of the many organic olive trees on the property.

Besides olive trees, there were many almond trees in the area. Trent taught me how to pick and crack the almonds and I ate hundreds of them!
Besides olive trees, there are many almond trees in the area. Trent taught me how to pick and crack the almonds and I ate hundreds of them!

After yoga and breakfast, you could do whatever you wanted. Most days I did nothing. It was so good for my soul, I mean how often does that happen? I even read an entire 600-page book in five days, which would normally probably take me at least a month!

I had no idea what day it was, I had no internet or cell reception. I ate when I was hungry and slept when I was tired. This was exactly how I wanted to spend my holiday.

In addition to yoga, Casa de Carrasco organizes canoe trips, paella cooking workshops, ayurvedic workshops, wine tastings, spa treatments etc. Since there were not many guest during my time there, I didn’t get a chance to join in any activities, since they usually only go through if there are enough participants.

Besides doing nothing and feeling damn good about it, I did get a chance to visit the nearby town of Miravet with Marion and Trent. Marion had a rental car and she was so kind to drive us to the little ferry crossing River Ebro. From the other side of the river we walked all the way to Miravet.

The ingenious ferry uses only the river current as its driving force.
The ingenious ferry uses only the river current as its driving force.
Miravet castle lies high up on a hill.
Miravet is most famous for its Templar castle, which lies high up on a hill.
Miravet Castle is the oldest fort in Catalonia.
Miravet Castle is the oldest fort in Catalonia.
From the top you could see for miles - we even saw a huge eagle flying higher and higher into the sky...
From the top you could see for miles – we even saw a huge eagle flying higher and higher into the sky…
River Ebro is Spain’s biggest river.
We headed back to the town and enjoyed cold drinks at a local café.
We headed back to the town and enjoyed cold drinks at a local café.
The town is full of quaint little houses.
The town is full of quaint little houses.

My stay at Casa de Carrasco exceeded all my expectations. The yoga was refreshing, the tent was cosy, the breakfast was delicious, the area was beautiful and the people were so kind hearted and open minded. I felt really sad to leave Casa de Carrasco. After only five days there, it had made a massive impact on me and I really wish to return one day.

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