The Thinking Person's Escape

Small Group Tours: Extremadura

The Thinking Person's Escape

Tentative Date: April 23–28, 2019
  • View from the church in Trujillo SJ retreat 2018
  • Colors of Caceres collected by Marni at SJ 2018 retreat
  • Starting the Spanish Journeys walk from Trevejo
  • My notebook map of the walk day from Trujillo to Hoyos
  • Maria sets the farmhouse table for the Spanish Journeys retreat
  • Paul's house in Hoyos Extremadura by Linda Griffiths

The rural landscapes, quiet villages, and golden renaissance cities of Extremadura are some of the most memorably beautiful in Spain. Just being here provides a sense of escape.

This is a place where the past feels powerfully present. With architecture and lanscapes that seem to slow time down. In a rare way, it's a place that makes room for creative thinking about the future.

Here, being a traveler is a remarkably low key experience. You don't come across many tourists. You spend time with remarkable people who are generous in revealing their way of life.

Two talented friends make this much more than a tour. Paul Richardson, the food writer, invites us to the small, off-grid farm he shares with his partner, makes a place for us at his table, and introduces us to local life. Lucy Kimbell, who teaches "design thinking" at Oxford, brings her kit bag of offbeat ways to provoke reflection on these experiences and use them to re-set your dreams.

Plus rustic-yet-charming lodgings and the chance to meet local people who will show you their best walking paths, feed you their artisan cheeses, and make it so you'll always have Extremadura.

Here's our plan:

  • Start with the power of the escape itself, a getaway to a secret, sunny corner of southwestern Spain.
  • Add some good walks: rambles through renaissance plazas, Roman ruins, and wildflower-covered olive groves, plus two longer country walks.
  • Set aside some well-curated creative time to carve out new paths for ourselves and the world.

Before you join: you do need to know that this trip is simpler than my usual tours. It is priced to reflect really sweet lodgings, but not posh. Lovely local food, but no Michelin stars. And part of the charm is well-thought-out downtime. In spite of the fact that we plan methodically, we see this as a getaway, to be savored with low-key travelers. If you'd like an invitation, please be in touch.



  • 3 nights in simple, stylish apartments in the heart of historic Cáceres
  • 2 nights in a rustic, comfortable farmhouse in the Sierra de Gata countryside
  • Three longer walks: in a historic hill town (about 3 miles), from village to farmhouse (5 miles), and from templar castle to village (5 miles).
  • Two walking tours guided by a wonderful historian and writer, through Roman ruins and into renaissance history
  • Fresh, healthy, homemade local food (and wine, too), at daily breakfasts, 5 lunches, 4 dinners
  • Pleasures of artisanal food traditions, including a day with the accomplished food writer Paul Richardson at his off-grid farm
  • Education for your senses at an olive oil tasting at a boutique mill
  • Daily time for reading, sketching, reflection, creative acts, connection, curated by Lucy Kimbell
  • Transportation from Madrid and back again, and for our excursioning throughout

For a more detailed day-to-day itinerary, please email Teresa.