Affective Learning & Living Retreat

June 2016 at Hotel Fuentes de Lucia in Northern Spain

Affective learning & living empowers us to engage fully, respond creatively, contribute positively, and share openly.

Slow down. Look within. Release creativity. Honor the creativity of others. Release that. Teach it.

During our week together at the beautiful Hotel Fuentes de Lucia in northern spain, we’ll be exploring these questions & living the answers: How can we use what we have & are to create learning environments rich with possibilities for all? How can helping others release their creativity drive everyone's growth? What are some ways we can we use stories, drama, and the arts to nurture that growth? Where do emotions & learning intersect? What role does self-esteem play. How can we honor each other & ourselves as we learn together in community? How can we bring out the best in each other & encourage each other's transformative learning and growth? In what ways can we take what we learn together on retreat back to our own classrooms, studios, and lives? Yes this is a workshop, a journey, and a pilgrimage all wrapped up in one week long retreat.

What WIll We Do, Learn, And Take Away?

Each day begins with yoga followed by a community breakfast. We'll then gather for a workshop session in which we'll explore the deeper meanings of a shared text or artifact & set the learning tasks & questions for the day. Then, we'll carry those questions with us as we head off on an outing to explore our environment. We'll take guided pilgrim walks to beautiful places, travel by van to forgotten villages, and spend time where ever we go to sit quietly alone or in groups to journal our answers to the day's questions in whatever way works for you. Some may want to write, others paint, draw, or take photos. The medium you choose is your choice.

On some days we'll have a picnic lunch. On other's we'll stop at a village restaurant for a special meal. At the end of the afternoon we'll return to the retreat center for some free time before dinner. Then we'll gather again around the table to enjoy delicious food and each other's company. In the early evening we'll meet in workshop again to share our journaling & discuss the day's learning. Then we’ll close the day with yoga and some centering, enjoy a blissful sleep, and wake up to do it all again the next day.

By the end of the week you can expect to have a good understanding of what affective living and learning are all about, a full range of affective activities and practices to take home & use wherever you teach or work, some transformative learning experiences to build on, and a new circle of friends to explore further possibilities with. Even after leaving Spain our community will continue to practice in a dedicated online forum.

More about our Retreat Hosts

Our all inclusive retreat is being arranged by Spanish Steps with many years of experience in providing wonderful retreat and pilgrim experiences. Out hosts Judy and Juan Carlos will be arranging pick-up in Oviedo, Spain on May 22nd for the drive to Hotel Fuentes de Lucia, organizing our outings, and providing us with delicious vegetarian breakfasts& dinners. On May 30th, we'll be driven back to Oviedo where we'll part ways and journey on. Those who have longer may wish to join us for some extended days walking the Camino de Norte.

Affective Learning & Living Retreat Facilitators & Hosts

Frequently Asked Question and Registration Details

How much does the retreat cost? The total cost of the Affective Learning & Living retreat is 1200 Euro. This price includes seven nights accommodation at Hotel Fuentes de Lucia, all breakfasts and dinners, daily outings, all instruction & course materials, pick up and drop off in Oviedo, Spain as well as post-retreat follow-up. Basically everything. Payment is by credit card via Paypal or bank transfer. Some partial scholarships are available. Please complete our simple form to get details:

What kind of people will benefit from this retreat? Teachers, Students, Trainers, Coaches, Clergy, Company managers, School Administrators, Therapists & Psychologists, Artists & Designers, or anyone seeking new ways of learning, teaching and living.

Can you tell me more about the workshop sessions and materials? In the morning sessions we'll begin by exploring the meaning of a shared text or artifact such as a poem, a series of quotes, a short article, a painting, or a song. From there we'll share ideas, introduce you to activities and practices, and together set the day's tasks and what we call the questions at hand. These tasks and questions at hand are what we'll then spend the day journaling as we go off on our pilgrim walks and outings. In the evening workshops we'll share our journals, take discussions further, and sum up the day's learning. Well before the retreat, you'll receive a handbook including all of texts and artifacts we'll be working with, some introductory tasks, and some ideas for getting started with journaling. We'll also meet online before the retreat for a meet & greet.

What do you mean by journaling? Each day we'll explore our tasks and questions in hand in our own way through intensive journaling Some may want to write. Others may want to explore the ideas though art, photography, or other means. Most will want to use a combination of mediums. Whatever mediums you choose, we'll be using our journals to launch us into deeper discussions, activities, and practices. At the end of the week your journaling will have become a rich resource for further exploration.

What about evaluation and certificates? All three of the retreat facilitators will work closely with you as you journal and afterward provide you with both a written and oral critique of your work. This won't be an evaluation but rather a tool to help you take things further. Following the retreat and this critique you will receive a CV ready Certificate of Accomplishment suitable for framing and possibly useful in advancing your teaching or other career. We'll also be happy to provide you with letters of recommendation and resources for further learning.

How do I reserve a place in the Affective Learning & Living Retreat? Please contact Chuck Sandy at and let him know you're interested. Chuck will then send you a registration form and further information. If you decide to join us, you'll need to provide a nonrefundable deposit of 100 Euro before May 1st. Full payment will be expected before the beginning of the retreat. Payment may be made by credit card via Paypal or by bank transfer. Please write Chuck for details.

What kind of hotel do we use? Is a single room available? Our home for the week will be a newly restored farmhouse in the tiny hamlet of Faedo, located in the county of Quirós, south of Oviedo in Asturias: The facility is comprised of three buildings: one with lodgings, one with community living & dining rooms, and a spacious building available for us to use as workshopping space. All accommodations are priced on double occupancy. We have two singles available. The price of the single supplement is 400 Euros per person. We will be able to match you with a roommate.

What kind of food is served? All breakfasts & dinners are included and are gourmet vegetarian. Please let us know if you have any special dietary needs. We'll be on our own for lunch & will sometimes picnic & sometimes eat in village restaurants. The cost of lunch will be between 8-12 euro for a Menu de Dia or less if you choose a light lunch.

How does one get to and from Oviedo? There is an airport in Oviedo with regular flights from Madrid and other points in Spain and Europe. There are also international flights from London. From the airport, there is a shuttle bus every hour into the center of Oviedo. Hotel Fruela is recommended for those who arrive early in Oviedo.

What is the terrain like? There will be some long, slow climbs through farming areas. The paths are well worn and are not difficult. We walk along a lot of secondary farming roads, in apple orchards, and through forests of chestnuts and hazelnuts.

What equipment is needed? There will be some light hiking so a good sturdy pair of boots or walking shoes is essential. Also bring a notebook for journaling that's appropriate for writing, painting, sketching or drawing. Also you'll want to bring a camera. As the whether might be chilly in the morning & the evenings, a thick sweater and light jacket would be a good idea.

How much spending money will I need? Almost every expense is built in but we will be on our own for lunch. We will picnic some days & eat in cafes on others where a menu del dia will typically cost 8 to 12 Euros.

Register Your Interest & Get More Information

Complete our simple form to let us know you're interested. We'll follow up with more information, answer any questions you might have, and even set up a time to talk if you'd like.

Guided Outings on the Affective Learning & Living Retreat

May 23rd Oviedo – Faedo, Fuentes de Lucía We'll meet you in Oviedo at 5PM*. Our first stop, minutes from downtown Oviedo, is the site of two ninth century, pre-Romanic churches that have been declared World Heritage sites by UNESCO. Located on the slopes of Mount Naranco both churches were built by King Ramiro I. Santa Maria del Naranco was built as a palace and later converted to a church, while San Miguel de Lillo, with its lovely arches and intricate sculptors, was built in homage to the Archangel Michael. We will then head south through the lush green Trubia river valley basin in the Ubiñas Mountains, part of the massive Cordillera Cantábrica Mountain range. The Casa Rural de Fuentes de Lucía, a recently converted farmhouse in the hamlet of Faedo, will be our home for the week.

May 24th Quirós Valley Following a footpath from the backdoor of Fuentes de Lucía we will walk 3K through a forest of hazelnut trees passing three stone spelt mills, each one over 200 years old. Next is the semi-abandoned mountain village of Fresnedo where we will stop to capture the landscape and unusual buildings of this lost hamlet. After lunch we will take a 2K walk to nearby Cuañana to look at the village’s Romanesque church and hórreo. Time permitting, will go by van across the valley to Salcedo, a small hillside village offering beautiful vistas of the surrounding mountains.

May 25th Somiedo A 45 minute drive south will take us to Somiedo National Park, a seldom-visited park sharing its border with Castilla y Leon. It is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, recognized for the diverse landscape of flora and fauna and for its preservation of tradition. The complete isolation of this area makes it seem as if time were actually standing still. Farmers move their cattle by foot within the park, in a pastoral lifestyle out of the 1700’s. Once in the Valle del Lago we’ll walk 6K past brañas, thatched stone cabins used by the herdsmen, to Lago del Valle where we will picnic and journal.

May 26th Bermiego and Bárzana By van or foot we will travel to Bermeigo and Bárzana, among the most beautiful mountain villages in Asturias. It was in these villages that the Visigoth aristocracy hid during the Moorish invasion. Walking through the village in Bermiego we will end at a promontory overlooking the valley, where the Romanesque Santa Maria church was constructed centuries ago next to the oldest yew tree in Europe, estimated to be between 1,200-1,500 years old. In Bárzana we will feast on a menu del dia at Casa Jamallo.

May 27th The Asturian Coastline Traveling north by van we will reach the Camino del Norte near Gijón, said to be the most beautiful of the ancient pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostela. We’ll walk on the Camino approximately 4.5K to beautiful Playa de la Ñora where we will spend a relaxing afternoon sharing a tasty picnic of local delicacies, journaling by the seacoast, and exploring.

May 28th Valle Teverga We will walk from the Senda del Oso in the Valle Teverga approximately 4K to the medieval village of Bandujo where we'll journal among stone buildings, hórreos, and breathtaking vistas. The van will pick us up there and drop us at Proaza for a lunch of Asturian specialties before returning us to easy walking on the Senda del Oso trail.

May 29th Las Xanas In the town of Villanueva, we will follow a route up and into a gorge called the Desfiladero de Las Xanas. This well-planned 5K path hugs the sides of this canyon until we reach the hamlet of Pedroveya where we will dine at Casa Generosa, feasting on the famous Asturian bean stew, fabada, accompanied with Asturian cider. The hamlet has a number of hórreos that farmers use to store potatoes, corn, and onions. After lunch and journaling we’ll follow path that leads us back to the start of this trail. The van will be available for those who prefer to ride.

May 30th Return to the Oviedo After breakfast, our guides will drive us back to Oviedo. Please plan for flights that depart after noon. This itinerary may change slightly due to weather, festivals, spontaneous side trips, and the consensus of the group. Those who can stay longer may want to join us to walk some (or even all!) of the beautiful Camino De Norte route of the St James Way.

Register Your Interest & Get More Information

Complete our simple form to let us know you're interested. We'll follow up with more information, answer any questions you might have, and even set up a time to talk if you'd like.

The International Teacher Development Institute (iTDi)

Chuck and Juan are both associated with the International Teacher Development Institute (iTDi). Click to learn more about our work.