Observations from ‘You in the Cosmos’ Retreat in Greece

We just returned from leading our annual Feldenkrais® and NLP retreat. This year we added acupuncture to the offering. It was our first trip to Greece which made it a special experience. Here are some highlights.

#1 All the islands drink bottled water only although the water is safe to drink. Because of shortage? Doesn’t make sense, but they are adamant. The price is capped for a small bottle at .50 Euro and a large bottle 1 Euro.

#2 The water table on Tinos is only 3 meters deep. The soil acts like a sponge and sits on a rock ledge. They just siphon it off for their uses. No wells needed.

#3 Hearing the words “My lady.” Spoken softly from behind. For a moment Cynthia thought she had fallen through time in a scene of Outlander. His next words “Will you let me help you please.” Why yes of course!

#4 Fish soup is often served as broth with a plate of fish and vegetables that you can add on your own.

#5 When the tour driver in Tinos says “No” to a request to stop and take a picture of a goat on a roof because you will see this many times…. he was right.

#6 Dovecotes. Beautiful, ornate small 2-story houses built just for doves. More than a thousand of these are on Tinos where doves (imported by the Phoenicians) roost in the 2nd story. They collected the droppings from the first floor and used or sold them.

#7 Listening to marble sculptor talk about his craft while watching him handling the marble with such care and sensuality was truly moving.

Here is our group picture, (keep scrolling down for more fun observations from Greece)

Left to Right. Back row: Rick Rudd, Mary Rudd, James Walden, Cindy Senefeld, Cynthia Allen, Mackey McNeill
Front Row: Arwa Atwan, Mary Gawle, Kristin Dart, Larry Wells

We all said goodbye to the ocean side rooms and the 67+ stairs up and down and traveled different ways. Larry and Cynthia went on to Santorini.

#8 The sixty-seven + steps of Tinos was suddenly nothing at all. Cincinnati truly has some steep hills but here there are way more of them. Plus, we don’t try to walk Cincinnati hills. Cincinnatians drive everywhere. Here we walked everywhere. Why does it take a vacation to make that happen?

#9 While Tinos was quiet and unassuming, Santorini is packed, crowded and very touristy. And it wasn’t even high season yet.

#10 In Santorini, you think you are on the edge of the cliff, a sheer drop. But then you peak and there are layers upon layers upon layers of similar scenes below. And they too are thinking the same thing.   

#11 Brace for impact when your van driver backs into a cliffside drive and announces, “Madams and Sirs. Do not be afraid! The port is very narrow and no place to turn.” He then hits the gas and zooms backwards down the narrow curvy mountain road very fast. Of course, there are other cars.

 #12 Santorini has only two forms of commerce: Tourism and wine. The whole island basically lives from income earned in April to October. This place must be a series of ghost towns in the other months.  

#13 One wonders how they keep everything so white. They repaint all the buildings each March.  

#14 They say there is more wine than water and more donkeys than people on Santorini.

We then finished in Athens where climbing took on yet another layer of challenge.

 #15 From the airport our driver was Philip. The arranged guide’s name Phillip and our hotel? Hotel Phillipos. The young tour guide was absolutely giddy over this Phillip trifecta.  

#16 The Islands won’t serve breakfast before 8 a.m. In Athens tours begin at 7:30 a.m.

#17 Synchronized swimming has nothing on the synchronized buses at the Acropolis. It is downright trippy to be on one of the moving vehicles while they are all trying to turn around each other.

#18 That job where you stand all day and try to convince tourists to eat at your restaurant…. those people are energizer bunnies and cannot be destroyed by mere rejection over and over and over.

#19 Do not let that woman in the Plaka put a rose in your hair. Once she has one rose on you (for free) she will not stop putting roses on you and your husband and referring to you as sexy woman until you give her something to get her to leave and stop covering you in roses.

#20 Even using Rick Steve’s map and guide, you can still get lost and end up climbing some extra hills.

Keep scrolling down for the final few fun observations. 

All over Greece.

#21 They sure do eat a lot of homemade bread. Most of which to Larry and Cynthia was fairly tasteless so we didn’t get the appeal.    

#22 Marble is everywhere. The cemetery, the entire acropolis, sidewalks, and even streets. Many islands have their own unique marble.

#23 It is true. The famous Cincinnati chili really was started by two Greek guys! The tomato sauce used here in most dishes matches up in taste. (We got this well-crafted sentiment from James Walden)  

#24 These folks work hard 6-7 days a week. Many have no days off–at least during the long tourist season. They can’t afford to go to the islands or places we go. Yet no one ever said a single cross word or was anything but super friendly.  

#25 The Greeks are generous. They want to give and give some more in food, time and experiences.

#26 There are 100 inhabited Greek Islands. We visited 3 plus the mainland. We might need to go back.  

We also visited Ancient Corinth and the Cave of Lakes.

The many museums along the way blew our minds. Truly we hadn’t grasped how sophisticated live was in the 14 Century BC (time of Moses). Those people had incredible buildings, jewelry, tools, and even bathtubs and highchairs for the kiddos.

About the Author


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Cynthia is a certified Feldenkrais practitioner, a Senior Trainer in Movement Intelligence, and a co-creator of Integral Human Gait theory. By day, she helps children and adults find easier ways to navigate life challenges and thrive. By night, she is dreaming up new options for how we can all become more fully human through awareness, curiosity, elegance and action.

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