a holiday writing retreat in Andalusia, Spain

For an entire week my daughter Sarah and I wrote, read, walked and meditated while at a beautiful rustic farmhouse in Andalusia, Spain. 

Finca Buenvino
the terrace where we would gather for tapas
top of a walk
on the farmhouse property
Elaine, in the orange puffer, on one of our many walks

We were there for Elaine Kennett’s sessions of Write-it-Down, one of her many writing workshops. She’s a warm, intelligent, energetic, full of wit dynamic leader. The writing was tough at times, and made you stretch and go places you might not go on your own. One of our group called it ‘absolutely life affirming’, and I agree. 

the corner for tea
Sarah writing on our last morning

Our days were full- sunrise meditations overlooking the hills of sweet chestnut and cork oak followed by a seated breakfast at 9 am. Writing began around 10, every day was different as long walks were figured in as well. We worked in chunks, usually around three hours at a time, and religiously broke for lunch at 2:30 pm, served in the garden. There was always wine. 

seated lunch in the garden, local rose
three delightful meals every day

After lunch we would work on our assignments, most often poolside. We would regroup around 5 or 6 pm to read aloud our pieces and write some more. The evening session would usually round out at half past seven, and tapas were served at 8:30pm, followed by a lovely seated dinner in the formal dining room at 9 pm. Again, much to my delight, there was always wine. You could linger over tea and fireside conversation afterwards, Sarah and I usually ducked out early for a little extra sleep time. 

walking about town
one of our excursions to a local cafe

We were hosted by Jeannie and Sam Chesterton, the absolutely adorable owners of Finca Buenvino, their family home of more than thirty years. Sam would taxi us about, picking us up in Seville, dropping us for lunch or a visit to the Hammam, and taxied us to the airport at the end. He also served as bartender for tapas and offered up a pretty brilliant gin and tonic. Jeannie and her son Charlie ran the kitchen, coordinating three delightful meals per day for our group of eight. 

Sam made floral arrangements from the gardens
the pool house where we would have writing sessions
all rooms had small arrangements

I can’t say enough about Elaine, she is the epitome of an evolved human, reinventing herself through life’s inevitable twists and turns, and she is magnificent. She turns seventy this September and has no qualms about sharing her age or her desires for creating her enriched and magical lifestyle. She can hike with the best of them, leads effortlessly and is endlessly supportive. She will return to Finca Buenvino late summer with her three adult children and closest friends to celebrate what I have no doubt will be a most beautiful week. Happy 70th birthday Elaine and wishing you many returns of the day. 

Thank you for encouraging us all to write it down. 

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