Dear Walkabout Walkers and Friends,
Our 2013 season is underway with a number of our Walking Holidays already completed.
Back from our April Tours
Our first tour of the European season was Morocco where our French guide, Gilles, had a wonderful tour with a cozy group of six ladies who had all travelled with us on previous Walkabout holidays. They were all very impressed by the diversity of the Moroccan landscape and the kindness of the local people which they had the opportunity to meet on numerous occasions.
|We had the best time, Gilles was amazing and he had 6 wives, which I'm sure he's glad to have got 'rid' of since returning to France! He was happy to be dragged along to shopping, from carpets to jewellery, which we all know is a 'no no' for guys, thanks Gilles. The weather went from one extreme to the other, from cold and raining in Fez to 40 deg in the Sahara, but despite the cold showers and a 20 kilometer walk to our room then via the back door to get out of our Riad, we loved Meknes. Onto the most amazing scenery via the Berber villages, roses that you would die for at home, lovely Riads to stay in and Kasbahs to look at, all in all the best. Gilles was amazing, he tailored the walks to fit in with our "group" when the weather was unusually hot, but we still got the feel of the country and its people, who were all wonderful, BUT I'm a little over mint tea!, except I think we are all now connoisseurs of the latter! The local guides were great, and so lovely to be asked into their homes for 'tea' and the most delicious biscuits and cakes, all in all I had the best time and hope to do 'another Walkabout Tour', if my body can cope!” Jane, Tasmania, Australia
Our second walk was the Pilgrims' Trail - Paradors and the Road to Santiago. Here our guides Sabine and Pascal led a merry group of Australians along the famous Road to Santiago de Compostela. 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 in to the famous Rioja wine region.
The Pilgrims’ Trail then takes us via the lovely towns of Burgos and Leon but mainly we are staying in small villages out in the northern Spanish countryside. After covering 130 km’s the walk concludes in Santiago de Compostela - the resting place of St James himself.
|I recently had a wonderful experience as I and eleven other travellers enjoyed a taste of the Camino de Santiago. As we walked through the various sections of the northern Spanish countryside, meeting pilgrims on the Camino, we gained a real insight into life in those regions as well as the centuries old pilgrimage. And the scenery was magnificent. At the end of each day we relaxed in the comfort and fascinating surroundings of our Parador accommodation; at times it was like staying in a museum. However, the grandeur of the Paradors was no match for the delightful family run Hotel Ithurria at Ainhoa, our base for four nights in the French Basque region, where we enjoyed nightly stories from our host Stefan on the local region, including the smuggling. Being on a walking holiday, I had expected to lose some weight during the fourteen days, however, I had not allowed for 3 courses every evening and the wonderful local wines. Again, the culinary delights of the Hotel Ithurria need special mention. Above all, guiding the experience, were our two guides Sabine and Pascal. They were golden. They never stopped in their mission to ensure all was well for our group. Their attentiveness was wonderful and they did a great deal behind the scenes each day and evening ensuring that everything was as it should be. Thank you again Sabine and Pascal. Thank you Walkabout Gourmet Adventures - ten out of ten.” Shirley, Victoria, Australia
INTRODUCING OUR TEAM AT WGA
During the next few Newsletters we would like to introduce you to our team at Walkabout Gourmet Adventures. We are incredible lucky to have such wonderful staff and without their help WGA would not be where it is today.
The first person we would like to introduce is our longest serving staff member and Office Manager, Trish Ozard. We got to know Trish in 1992 when she was a guest on two of our European Walking Holidays.
In 1993 Trish began guiding for us.
The first walk she guided was our original tour - the European Triangle which went through Alsace in France, the Black Forest in Germany and the Swiss Alps - 3 regions, which we know to this day, are still very dear to her heart. Trish also guided the Romantic Path tours - Bavaria, Austria and the Dolomites and also accompanied Graeme on the Eastern Circuit tours.
When Trish was not guiding, she was our Nanny for our young daughter Nastassja and then in 1995 for our son Serjosha. It was no ordinary nanny’s job either - Trish would follow the tour buses in a car with the children sitting in their car seats in the back so there was quite a convey! In the late afternoon we would all meet up in the hotel where we were staying with our group. During those years Trish and our children got to know the roads of Europe as they toured from country to country following the Walkabout buses.
During the European winter we would return to Australia where Trish assisted us with our Australian walking tour program based at Dinner Plain in the Victorian High Country. We also ran a restaurant in the village which Trish managed for us during the winter months when we returned to Europe for our Summer walking program.
During her time in Dinner Plain, Trish also began guiding our walking tours in the Alpine National Park throughout the Summer and Autumn months and in Winter, our Snow Shoe walks. Our guests still talk about the wonderful gourmet picnics which Trish was renowned for preparing in the “middle of nowhere”. It was also during this time that Trish took on her current responsibility as Office Manager.
In 2006 we relocated our Office to Sydney from where Trish also began operating our Sydney Day Walks.
This year - 2013, we are pleased to celebrate Trish’s 20 years of loyal service with WGA. Thank you Trish for all your effort during these years and may there be many more to come!
THANKS FOR ATTENDING OUR RECENT INFO EVENINGS
We were delighted to see lots of our previous walkers and new guests at our recent Information Evenings. It is always a great opportunity for previous guests who have met while on tour to catch up again. Also for our prospective new guests, it is a nice opportunity for them to chat with guests who have walked with us before. There was lots of interest about our 2 new walks to Turkey next year - in fact they are now almost full !
If you missed attending our evening this year we shall be holding them again next year in February - keep an eye on our website in early January for more details.
EXPLORE WILSON’S PROMONTORY
Our last tour of the year will be our 5 Day - Explore Wilson’s Promontory. The lovely lodge where we base ourselves at Waratah Bay has recently changed hands and is now owned by the Edwards family who are long term residents of the area.
Daughter Meg is managing the property and Gabriela and Nastassja recently spent a weekend staying there meeting the new owners and discussing our proposed tour there on December 1st. They were very impressed by the hospitality and professionalism of the new owners and they are looking forward to welcoming our group later in the year.
Gabriela and Nastassja were also very happy to report that the amazing view from the lodge towards Wilson’s Promontory and Waratah Bay hasn’t changed - it’s still amazing! At the moment we have 7 bookings already for this tour (maximum 12) so please contact us soon if you would like to join us in December to discover one of Australia’s most beautiful National Parks.
Don’t forget we have our Grampians & Great Ocean Road Walk on 23 rd November also - both this walk and Wilson’s Promontory can be combined.
PROVENCE HOLIDAY APARTMENT NEWS
As we mentioned in our last Newsletter we had just received the permit from the council to construction our new terrace for Apartment 2. Well it is now completed and we are happy to attach a photo of our first guests who were thrilled with the new addition - especially as when they had booked we had made no mention of it so it was a very pleasant surprise for our lovely family from Switzerland!
We still have some vacancies in our apartments for the coming months - July and August there are still a few spaces. September is almost full but October is still O.K. Don’t forget that October is one of the nicest months for travelling in Provence - the days are mostly clear and sunny and the busy crowds of Summer are gone and the Autumn colours around Forcalquier are just beautiful! Check out our website for all the information and pictures of our Holiday Apartments in Forcalquier.
UPDATE ON TOUR AVAILABILITY FOR THIS YEAR
We still have vacancies on our Romantic Path walk at the end of June - early summer is an ideal time to discover the Austrian Lake district, the Austrian Tyrol and the mighty Italian Dolomites.
We also have one vacancy on our Norway tour in mid July - experience four of Norway’s most picturesque regions on our leisurely walking holiday departing and returning to Bergen.
And finally, we still have some vacancies on our Taste of Europe Walk departing Lyon on the 25th August. Last year this was one of our favourite walking holidays and these three regions (Champagne, Alsace and the Black Forest) offer a true "Taste of Europe"!
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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Meknes medina, Morocco
Sunset Merzouga dunes, Morocco
The Camino de Santiago,
Our hotel, Taste of Europe
Trish Ozard (right) with Althea, who
did more than 15 walks with WGA!
Peer Gynt's Trail, Norway
Cheese platter from Haute-Savoie
Information Evening in Melbourne
Squeaky Beach, Wilson's Prom.
Breakfast from Waratah Bay Lodge
Our apartments in Provence
New Terrace (Apt 2), Forcalquier
Australia Tyrol, Romantic Path
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