Let’s get this party started!
The basic framework of the fitness escape is that each day is scheduled with several activities and some breaks along the way. Our meals are included with the program, but we never see a restaurant menu. There’s a dietician-designed list that we choose from for breakfast, lunch and dinner. As a fussy eater – this makes things a bit repetitive for me, but the food is good for the most part. Mike is planning on taking advantage of many of the fish/seafood selections, so he’s in seafood heaven.
On our first morning we did a short health evaluation. Then we left for a hike with Antonio -who is the director of the program. It was supposed to be a biking day, but it was quite windy and so they switched it to the hike instead. We thought Antonio said it would be an “easy” hike for our first day -but we ended up walking 5.7 miles!
The first part of the hike was on a path called the Sendero de Las Arquillas. (Sendero means path. I can’t find a translation for “arquillas”-but I think that is what they call the little stone “hut” looking structures we saw along the way).
This path was built in Roman times and was originally planned to channel water a short distance from the Magdalena area to Antequera. The “huts” I mentioned had some useful purpose relating to the water scheme, but I don’t know what that purpose was.
The biggest point of interest on this hike for me was the Hotel Magdalena, which was created in the space of an old convent. The biggest point of interest for Mike was the part of the path that overlooked a golf course for awhile! Antonio asked the front desk if we could go inside for a little tour and it was quite lovely.
Entering the lobby area the first thing you see is this vaulted hall.
There are 4 of them along the edges of the interior courtyard.
Then we walked into the old nave where the nuns worshipped.
They use it as a reception hall now.
Old lantern. It is taller than me!
After the hotel, we walked through an olive grove and I didn’t take one picture! We climbed up a hill at the back of the grove and then joined a trail that wandered off toward a wooded area. At one point we could see the van parked below.
If you look in the center of the photo where it looks like there are two dirt streaks, the van is parked in that area.
A bit further along, we circled toward a hill that had a very old tower at the top -it was used as a lookout/signal tower hundreds of years ago possibly originally by the Romans and rebuilt by the Moors in later times.
After a break there, we circled around to a path that eventually led us back to the van, one part going through this rocky spot.
Later that day we reported to the gym to be put through our paces. The general flow of the days is like this: Our mornings start with a 7:15 AM “wake up” session that will be something like yoga, pilates, or a walk around the town. That takes about 45 minutes, then there is a short break for breakfast. After breakfast, we prepare for either a hike or a bike ride and meet the guide in the lobby at 9:00. The hikes are generally 6 or more miles, the bike rides are flexible depending on the guest’s biking skills. We are taken back to the hotel for a mid-day break where we have lunch and then time off for a couple of hours. At 3:00, we start our last session at the gym with about 2 hours spent doing a variety of things -weight training, cardio, spin class, treadmill work -etc. After that we get about a three hour break until dinner (they eat later in Spain) and after dinner we have about an hour before lights out. Believe me I struggle to stay awake that long! We get up the next morning and do it all again!
On our second day, we did yoga before breakfast…which, for me, was like a “how to twist your human body into a pretzel” lesson. I have never been very flexible. After breakfast, we got ready for another hike. If it hadn’t been very windy again, we would have been able to do a bike ride instead, but it was too windy again.
We walked with David, who was born and raised in Antequera and grew up walking and exploring the whole area. I’ve learned in past visits here that most hikes with David never quite follow the obvious trail. He always finds a way to make things interesting by going “off the map” so to speak. Our walk was enjoyable -through a forest- but not visually that interesting, so I only took a few pictures. David took a side path at one point that had us thinking we’d be bouncing down the hill like rolling stones (and I don’t mean the band) any second now, but somehow we got through it and back on the straight and narrow. I didn’t take any pictures when we went off the beaten path because I was too distracted just trying to stay upright!
It was rinse and repeat at the gym for the afternoon session, then some down time in the room, dinner and “lights out”.
On day three, David met us for the pre-breakfast warm up, which was “nordic walking”. It is very popular in the area. People walk with two ski poles and use them as if they are cross country skiing. -without the snow. David drove us a short distance away from the hotel and we walked down a narrow farm lane.
It was dark when we started and once we did -there wasn’t much time or reason to pull out the camera -I had ski poles in my hands! We walked 2.5 miles past some farm houses -every one of which had a barking dog or 100 behind their fences.
I did get a picture of the sun rising behind “La Pena de los Enamorados” a very famous landmark in the area. I will be telling the story about it in a later post.
Day 3 was the day we finally got out for a bike ride with David. He said we’d probably ride 13 miles. I think we were keeping up with him too well because we ended up riding 16 miles total. Our route wandered through back roads and farm areas -some roads paved, some not. When Mike and I do rides, I have the luxury of stopping for photos when and where I want to. For this type of trip, the focus is the exercise- not dilly-dallying. I’m sure David would stop if I asked, but on this ride there wasn’t anything that really caught my eye. I have taught myself how to take a picture while riding -so I did take a couple of pictures on the fly. The trick is to make sure you’re not going to hit a pothole and fall off the bike doing it! They might be a bit fuzzy from the camera being in my pocket and getting the lens a bit fogged up.
We stopped for a break in a small village.
This is another one-handed point, “click” and hope for the best.
Our afternoon was spent on schedule – lunch, a short break and then into the gym. After the gym, Mike has started jumping into the outdoor pool to cool off and relax a bit before heading back to the room. We do a variety of things between the afternoon session and dinner – blogging time, tidying up, showering… just enjoying not having anything to do for the rest of the night except go downstairs to eat. By the time we get back from dinner, we’re pretty much toast and ready to get to sleep because our alarms are set for 6:30 every morning.
My Spanish is extremely rusty. The other day, the waiter said “Que tal? -basically asking how we were/how things were going? I mangled my way through trying to say we were fine but our muscles were sore. He thought I was complaining about flies or gnats and he kindly went to the reception desk and brought me back a can of bug spray!
Day 4 is one I’ve been looking forward to -stay tuned!