Dear Walkabout Walkers and Friends,
The misty November morning is a strong reminder that our Autumn Newsletter is overdue, especially where the busy 2013 season never seemed to give us enough time to keep you up-dated over summer! Our work in Europe ended in October and we will finish the year with two more walks in Australia – Great Ocean Road and the Grampians as well as Explore Wilson’s Promontory.
New European Tours
Our two new European tours – On the Celtic Way and A Gastronomic Trail through hidden France have been a great success and both tours are already fully booked for the 2014 season – in fact, we have even taken the first bookings for 2015! There are no plans at this time to change the dates!
It was Walkabout’s first crossing of the channel in 27 years and our Cornwall and Devon walks were fantastic! Belle Ile, the beautiful island and best-kept secret by the French, was very special and the accommodation in both places was brilliant with the wonderful breakfasts and dinners.
The Gastronomic Trail kept what it promised throughout - great accommodation, food and tastings combined with varied walks. Beginning in the beautiful coastal resort of Biarritz the group spent a few days in the Basque country of France staying in a gorgeous family run hotel with a Michelin* before moving into the Corbière and Minervois wine regions. Finally, the Drome region had it all – sumptuous food, great wines, pretty villages...
|A most memorable 14 days of fine dining and superb coastal and inland walking evoking many changes of scenery and moods. The abundant wild flowers around Cape Lizard were a delightful surprise. The fish meals at Budock Vean were exceptional; the galettes and crepes in France so moreish! Our leaders Gabriela and Gilles were so helpful and friendly and our group, starting out as strangers, soon became more like a family. We had lots of laughs and carry home with us a wealth of special memories. The whole experience more than met our expectations. Thank you Walkabout Gourmet."
Pamela and Shirley, Timaru, New Zealand [On the Celtic Way, 2013]
|A Standout! Robert and I have walked with WGA in Italy, France, Corsica, Spain, Crete, Sicily, Slovenia, Norway, Croatia, and Morocco. We have thoroughly enjoyed each experience which is why we keep coming back for more. Somehow this last one has been, for me, a standout. It ticked every box for us. The walking was interesting and varied. The accommodation was first class; small, comfortable, interesting and mostly family run. The travel days were interesting and not too much time was spent in the vans. A good walk and an interesting stop were often included so we arrived refreshed and enthused. This tour is described as an gastronomical tour and it certainly lives up to that claim. However, the walking is still interesting and of a good length each day which is necessary to compensate for the food consumption! We climbed mountains, walked through vineyards, saw horses and sheep, olive groves, lavender, fields of sunflowers, and vineyards. We saw where they grow truffles and even met a farmer in a trap exercising his pet donkey! One walk was most aromatic as we brushed against wild thyme and fennel. We picnicked amongst the pine trees and gathered thyme to sprinkle on our tomatoes and bread we had purchased from the local markets. We stopped in little villages way up high and enjoyed sorbet and ice cream on more than one occasion. The food was amazing and the wines superb! We certainly enjoyed many really great wines on this tour. The people on this tour were fun and easy going and provided some good laughs and fine company at night. Our guides Gabriela and Gilles were positive, supportive, professional and caring and also... great company! On the last day we travelled to Chateauneuf du Pape where we enjoyed another wine tasting. I learnt something very wise from this wine maker. "The only great wine is the one you enjoy!" We certainly did enjoy. Thank you walkabout , we'll be back!."
Janet, Sydney, NSW, Australia [Gastronomic Trail through Hidden France, 2013]
INTRODUCING OUR TEAM AT WGA: GILLES BOIVIN
We have promised in our last Newsletter to continue to introduce our team at Walkabout Gourmet Adventures. We are incredibly lucky to have such wonderful colleagues and without their support WGA would not be where it is today.
We got to know Gilles, a professionally trained guide, through a communal friend when he was still guiding walks in Corsica. After working on a few tours together, lucky for us, we could win him over and Gilles has now been working with us since 2002. Over the years, he has managed many tours every season and has become extremely popular with our guests.
Gilles is a vital part of Walkabout and a great support whenever it comes to researching new tours or improving trails on established tours (Morocco, Corsica, Gastronomic Trail through hidden France, On the Celtic Way, Secrets of Provence… just to name a few!
Some years ago he created his own tour – Timeless Valleys, which is very popular. It takes guests off the beaten track in parts of Provence and Ardèche regions in France. The small group size of maximum 8 guests is perfect for the use of smaller and more intimate accommodation.
Gilles possesses fantastic communication skills and he has made many friends. He is also known as an excellent cameraman and over winter he reproduces all our videos, which have been taken during the season.
Gilles is also a very valuable support once it comes to provide advice and photo material for the brochure. Thank you Gilles for your great support over all these years!
PROVENCE HOLIDAY APARTMENT UPDATES
We have had another very busy year with our Holiday Apartments in Forcalquier with guests coming from all over the world. Bookings for 2014 are very strong for June but we still have availability in all other months so don’t forget about our lovely apartments when planning your European holiday next year.
We have just started a major renovation on our roof and are especially excited to have obtained the building permit for a roof top terrace with views across the French Alps. The work will be finished in March so unfortunately there won’t be “A Christmas in Provence” this year while the renovations are happening.
MIDDLE EAST: JOURNEY THROUGH THE HOLY LAND
The preparations for Jordan are running hot and we can’t wait for our walk in early March next year! Jordan is the perfect place to get a taste of the Middle East and is a safe haven from the violence going on in surrounding countries, trying to be on friendly terms with everyone that surrounds them.
It is unlike any other place in the world. The great expanse of the Wadi Rum - I have not seen anywhere with more magnificent colours, the ruins at Jerash, the old forts, and the incredible beauty and history of Petra. It is a vast, unique city, carved into the sheer rock face by the Nabataeans, industrious Arab people who settled here more than 2,000 years ago, turning it into an important junction for trade routes that linked China, India and southern Arabia.
Visiting Petra by night with hundreds of candles illuminating the mile long trail through the Siq, arriving at a fully lit-up Treasury definitely is an awesome experience. Depending on the political situation, we cross the border in to Israel and make our way to the capital Jerusalem, one of the holiest cities for all three Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Islam and Christianity.
The Dead Sea is one of the most spectacular natural and spiritual landscapes in the whole world. Float, cover yourself in mud, sip a drink from the balcony of our Kempinski hotel at sunset and watch the lights of the Israeli side flicker on. Great food and plenty of mint tea along the way, even the shisha is a common site. Emirates Airlines has direct flights from Dubai to Aqaba and from Amman to Dubai. Please ask us for more detailed information and hurry… there are only 4 places left!
FOLLOW THE MOORISH TRAIL
The vibrant cultures of southern Spain and Morocco share a common history, yet retain their own exotic character. Our adventure combining the magic of Spain with the mystery of Morocco, features magnificent Moorish architecture, amazing historical sites, delicious cuisine, and wonderful hikes in a beautiful countryside.
From the Cabo de Gata National Park in the south-eastern part of Andalusia, we journey to the striking pueblos blancos (“white villages”) of the Alpujarras, Ronda and Grazalema before arriving in passionate Sevilla.
Ferrying across the Straits of Gibraltar to the ancient Moroccan port of Tangier, we head towards amazing Fez. As we continue on our Moorish Trail, we discover fabled casbahs medieval medinas, golden sand dunes and the spectacular High Atlas Mountains before the tour finishes in the vibrant city of Marrakech.
Due to a cancellation, 4 places are now available on this amazing tour! Please ask us for further details!
ALL ABOUT SOCKS!
Have you ever spent a few hours wandering through shops trying to find some decent socks for your next walking adventure? That happened back in 2009 to Narelle Young and Josh Charlesworth, two Walkabout walkers who found it so frustrating!
Having walked throughout Alaska, Canada, Nepal, Norway, France, Switzerland, Italy and many more places, they identified there had to be an easier way to provide walkers with the socks they were looking for.
Having done a Walkabout Gourmet tour or two, they gained their appreciation for the experience a good pair of walking socks provides e.g. comfort, moisture management and no blisters! In 2010, socksforliving.com was born and several years on, they have become the largest Australian retailer of socks and stocking brands such as Smartwool, Falke, Thorlo, Rohner and many more. Check out their range online ahead of your next walking trip!
Happy and safe travelling – we look forward to welcoming you on one of our holidays soon.
Gabriela, Graeme and the Walkabout Team
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|IN THIS ISSUE|
NEW EUROPEAN TOURS
GILLES' 12 YEARS
SOCKS FOR LIVING
Mont Saint-Michel, Normandy
Sare, Pays Basque, France
Helford Passage, Cornwall
Kynance Cove Circuit, Cornwall
Siran Minervois, France
Gilles, 12 years with WGA!
A place in Provence, courtyard
A place in Provence, living area
Hotel Kempinski Jordan
Temple in Little Petra Jordan
Sunset Erg Chebbi, Morocco
Fiesta in Sevilla Andalusia Spain
FIND A TRIP
Middle East & Africa