"I was a bit nervous when I booked the 'We Love Lucid' trip as I wasn't sure what to expect. I had been on a group trip before but it's easy to get caught up thinking negative thoughts - what if there's no one on the trip I get on with, what if I get lost on the way, what if I'm the only person there... You get the idea! Anyhow, I needn't have worried. Lauren is absolutely lovely so even if I had been the only person there, we'd have had a blast. Getting to Ronda from the airport was actually much more straightforward than I had imagined. You just get a bus from right outside the exit doors at the airport to the bus station and then get a bus from the same bus station to Ronda - it's really very easy.
The hotel is great - it's very clean, the beds are comfy, the shower has good pressure and the staff are friendly. It has a really nice roof terrace too if you want to catch some rays on a lounger or hide away in a shady corner on a hammock. The breakfast (which is included) is a buffet with plenty of options so there's something for everyone there. The activities were great fun and were things I would never have been able to book for myself as you need to be in the know. We fitted so many things into just a few days. My personal highlight was the moonlight kayaking as I absolutely love the water and it was extra special in such an amazing setting with the sun setting over the water and the moonlight shining. The water was even warm so I couldn't resist going for a swim in all my clothes. If you've never kayaked before though don't worry as there are double kayaks so you won't be left on your own and they're really stable. So, if you're thinking of booking a We Love Lucid trip, just go ahead and do it, you won't regret it!”
“I signed up for the first ever We Love Lucid trip (June) back in mid-April and started to exchange mails with Lauren: Some basic background and passport information for the hotel. Lauren sent out useful information on how to get from the airport (Malaga or Seville) to Ronda by coach and then onto the hotel with a handy little area map. That made the travel nice and easy - as an aside I decided to spend a day in Malaga on my way. I'd highly recommend doing this too as there's lots to see and it's very walkable.
Once we were in Ronda, everything was nicely organised at the hotel with little information packs ready and a welcome chat from Lauren on the hotel terrace. The San Francisco Hotel is lovely - the rooms are a nice size, bright and cheerful with really nice space to unpack into. Spending time here is easy. They have a bicycle storage area which I meant to have a look at - it's part of their "cyclist friendly" outlook (at the back of my mind is coming to Ronda again and maybe doing some cycle touring). Breakfast is a nice self-service buffet that's unhurried and cosy.
There were a lot of activities when I look back and this is something that I really liked about the way the trip was organised - I just couldn't have come up with this kind of trip myself.
* We got a great demonstration of Spanish cooking and I was especially pleased to learn a flavour combination (cumin and onion) that I didn't know about. This was really enjoyable with the woman giving the lesson being a really warm person. We got to take away our paintings which is a lovely memento (even if mine isn't particularly artistic - I feel like if someone saw it they'd be "oh I didn't know you had a child James??" :) )
* Our craft lesson was a great experience with a teacher who had a lovely way of bringing out everyone's ability. It was fun and left me with a good idea of where I could start myself if I want to pick up painting again - I know have a more approachble "in"
* One of my favourites on the trip was a hike in the Sierra de las Nieves - it's beautiful scenery and rich in geological features as well as flora. Our guide was outstanding, there was nothing you couldn't ask about what we were seeing that he couldn't answer. My nerdy science side was in heaven and I got some photos I'm really pleased with (https://jamesgallagher.smugmug.com/Ronda-Hike/). Walking & hiking in Ronda is fabulous and I could spend days doing this. We had a second walkabout to get a view of the bridge and some of the surrounding valley which was just amazing - some good hills along the way too :) The town itself is lovely - I can't do justice to the bridge but did get some decent other photos (https://jamesgallagher.smugmug.com/Random-Ronda/)
* We took in the Cueva de la Pileta too which is an experience that I think is a must if you visit Ronda. Seeing cave paintings that span 40,000 years put an awful lot in perspective and give you a lot to think about
* A big activity for me was the Moonlight Kayaking. I had planned to skip it as I'm really (really, really) not comfortable in the water. I was thinking I'd just get some nice scenic photos. I talked about not feeling like I could and Lauren & Emma (the other "Lucider" on the trip) were easygoing and tried to reassure me that the kayaks were very stable and as there would be two people per kayak, I wouldn't be by myself). So I got in and had to be convinced to let my grip of the dock go so we'd float out. I paniced a lot and felt like I was shaking and rocking the kayak - Emma offered to take me back to the dock so I could get out . As we were turning and floating it did feel quite calm and I had second thoughts about getting off. Again Lauren and Emma were really kind and patient - I think the style of this trip encourages that. So I ended up deciding I wanted to persevere. I did. Although there were one or two times where my brain went "You know we're just on the surface of the water and this plastic kayak is all that's keeping us out of the water which seems very deep". Thankfully that passed and I've been left with a feeling of a profound experience since: The water was really calm (it's a lake) so those times where we were just drifting along were so peaceful and relaxing. I should also point out that there were four people from the adventure company with the three of us who kept a close eye and were primed for any problem - they knew I was finding it difficult. The night was warm and the moon was full - the buildings on land around us looked beautiful. The way they were lit looked like candles on the hill side. It's an incredible sight. It's an incredible experience to get.
When the trip came to an end it was difficult to be leaving - it seemed to be over so quick and we'd had some really great chats along the way. It's one of the best holidays I've had without any doubt - I'm very much thinking about a return for another of the We Love Lucid trips in Ronda, probably later in the year.”
“I booked this trip on a whim, as at the time the British weather was awful. On reflection I thought I’d been a bit hasty. How was I going to navigate my way to Ronda alone and without speaking the language? What if I didn’t like the others in the group? What if the food was awful? I need not of worried! The directions, Lauren provided, to get from the airport in Seville the 100 miles to Ronda worked easily and only cost 14 euros. On arrival to Ronda airport Lauren kindly met me and took me to the hotel, which was very quint, Spanish and clean.
The following three days were taken up with well-planned and massively enjoyable activities. With Lauren’s Spanish connections I got to do stuff that I would never have had the chance to do otherwise. My particular favourite was kayaking in a beautiful lake followed by a refreshing swim. Lauren’s in-depth knowledge of Ronda meant that we ate at the most wonderful restaurants and all, were priced very reasonably. As Lauren was fluent in Spanish everything was SO easy! She really looked after us and made sure we were happy at all times. I guess the most import aspect of the trip was being with like-minded people. Folks that understood what it’s like to quit drinking and understand all the ups and downs that this brings. I can’t recommend We Love Lucid highly enough. If you’re looking for a social, culinary adventure in an alcohol free environment – look no further.”