Kalikalos Winter News
Winter work by the Kalikalos team
We are currently moving the website to Wordpress with the help of Lauri Wild who was in the Kissos Centre at the beginning of the season. This is being co-ordinated by Kalikalos team members from various countries including Scotland and New Zealand. Hopefully it will be launched by the time this Newsletter goes to print. Check it out at www.kalikalos.com
Brian Hammond has stayed behind in Greece to experience the winter and has been doing various improvement projects at the Anilio campus. To show how different it is at this time of year he took this photo.
Photographer at the Kalikalos Centres in 2016
We were lucky to have professional photographer Vasillis Rallatos visit us this year not only did he do a great photo Art Project but he ran a yoga workshop. Below are a few of the many beautiful dyads that he created.
Dr Helen Ford an Annie-May
Report From the Canaries
In early November Jock traveled out to La Palma (the western-most Canary island) in search of a possible venue where our summer project in Greece could expand in the winters.
For some time we have been attempting to bridge the 7 months between early October and early May in order to keep more continuity and to offer our long-term staffers the possibility to stay with the project during some or all of the winter months. In previous years this winter quest has taken Jock to Auroville in S. India, Goa, Mexico and Cyprus, but in each location the ideal conditions did not materialise.
Last April Findhorn colleague Kolbjorn Borseth approached Holly Foundation (the American non-profit that runs Alexandros and Kissos) directors Jock, James Kelly and Fabien Barouch with a proposal to collaborate with us in finding a property in the Canary islands. Kolbjorn, who for many years has run Aromantics, a natural cosmetic company based in Scotland near the Findhorn community, had the novel idea to create a rest & relaxation (R&R) venue in the all-year-round-warm Canary islands for himself and other members and friends of Findhorn. He called us together to see if his vision might be compatible with our desire to expand Kalikalos to a warm winter environment. We liked his proposal for potential collaboration and agreed, (1) that Kolbjorn would come in the summer to Kalikalos to see if he liked what we do there; and if so, (2) to send Jock to the Canaries in November to meet Kolbjorn to search for a suitable property that would meet both his need for a “Findhorn in the Sun” R&R centre, and ours to extend our community, which is dedicated to a beach holiday combined with holistic education, into the winter months.
Over the course of the summer the plan developed with Kolbjorn coming out to our Centres as a community guest for a week which he enjoyed. Meanwhile, an Austrian community guest at Kissos in June, Michael Graf, heard about our dream and told us that he happens to own a property on La Palma where he is interested to build a community. We very much liked Michael and his energy so that by the end of the summer season, there were converging threads leading to the Canary islands.
On November 8 Jock flew to La Palma intending to visit Michael’s place and several others recommended by Michael, and to then continue to Lanzarote to meet Kolbjorn to look for properties both on that island and neighboring Fuertoventuro.
Four rainy and cool days on La Palma convinced me that, aside from the small microclimate at the beach resort of Tazzacorte, (see its black sand beach in the photo which I took) that island would not meet our need for a winter beach holiday. There’s no available property close to Tazzacorte, only miles of banana plantations.
Jock continued to Lanzarote where he met Kolbjorn and together they visted several properties on that island as well as neighboring Fuertoventuro. They quickly ruled out Fuertoventuro, despite its miles of gorgeous golden sandy beaches, on encountering the fierce winds that this island is named for.
On Lanzarote their search turned up several promising properties. One of them is already a fully operational retreat centre (google Ammatitsa) which has been going for 17 years. Another is a property with three independent apartments on 5000m2 land with plenty of room for yurts, tents and a temporary group space similar to what we have at Anilio and Kissos campuses. A third property was located by Kolbjorn after Jock returned to the UK which is also an existing retreat Centre not far from Puerto Carmen in the village of Tias.
Each property has a swimming pool, each is about 20 min drive to a safe, clean sandy beach; and the retreat centre is best described as a veritable oasis in the desert environment of Lanzarote (see the photos of its vegetable garden at the bottom of this report) with all the vegetables we grow in Greece as well as trees, otherwise so uncommon on Lanzarote.
The weather we encountered on Lanzarote in November was perfect to replicate our project which combines a beach holiday with holistic education and authentic community. We visited several nearby beaches to be sure we would have safe, warm and calm swimming.
What we are looking for is a property that can accommodate at least a dozen guests plus accommodation space for a winter focaliser/coordinator and at least a couple of volunteers to hold the community energy. We are not thinking to run weekly workshops as we do in Greece, Rather we imagine to stage perhaps one a month.
Once we find a suitable property, the next step will be to attract a group of half a dozen or more investors, each of whom would buy one or more shares (each share probably selling for approximately €60,000) in a limited liability company formed in Spain that would then purchase the property. Each investor’s share would entitle him or her to a time-share of about 5-8 weeks in the winter months. During the summer we envisage the property earning substantial income for the investors, either from rental to tourists; or, in the case of purchasing an exisiting retreat centre, from the centre running a full time programme during the six summer months.
I believe we have made a very favorable first step in Lanzarote. It’s a destination with frequent and cheap flights from all over Europe and the UK, and although it’s a package tourist destination, the package tourists are mostly confined to one section (the south) of the island. In the places where we are looking, authentic Spanish culture has been retained. The old capital at Tequise and the nearby village of Haria are both delightful, charming Spanish village retaining their original character. Tequise has two health food shops and a twice-weekly farmers’ market. Public transport in the form of frequent buses gets one all over the island in an hour or so. Tias has a large population of English ex-pats but also has an indigenous Spanish culture. The volcanic scenery with hardly a tree in sight is a radical change from what we have on Mt Pelion, but it has its virtues too: by capturing the dew and sheltering the vines with lava stone circles, the Lanzarotes cultivate extensively grapes to make excellent wines. And with money, water and a knowledgeable gardener, the fertile soil under pulverized lava cover to keep the moisture in is capable of growing all the trees and vegetables we know from our temperate climates, plus a lot of other things like bananas, papayas and mangoes.
I am interested to delegate a volunteer to return to Lanzarote in late January to see if the warm sunny weather we found in November holds in midwinter. If we find that it does, we will start the process of looking for investors and volunteers to join us. This is unlikely to be a rapid process, but we are holding out hope that as soon as a year from now we might be in a position to make a definite offer for suitable property. We will be reporting on future developments in upcoming newsletters which are now coming out once a month thanks to Anilio co-manager Julia Alabaster who has taken on the job for the next 6 months.
Report by Jock
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