Newsletter European Spring 2014

Newsletter Walkabout Gourmet Adventure Spring 2014European Spring 2014

Dear Walkabout Walkers and Friends,


Merhaba from Turkey! This year our walks in the Middle East, Asia and Europe started earlier than usual and it seems we have been galloping through the Spring season already. The close ending of our second tour in Turkey is certainly a strong reminder to put pen to paper and write our quarterly Newsletter.

Discovering Asia Minor

We have finished our first "Discover Asia Minor" tour and what an overwhelming experience it was! Our journey started in Istanbul - a chaotic mixture of cultures, history and architecture. Our visit to Gallipoli is one of a spiritual kind, thinking of all those who lost their lives in this now so peaceful countryside. Finding the name of her great-uncle made it especially moving for one of our guests from New Zealand.

Although the mention of "the ancient theatre" became a bit of a joke after a while, the ancient sites we visited were all amazing and so different from each other. It would be hard to say which were the best but for me the most outstanding were Ephesus and Aphrodesias. Our picnic amongst the ruins in Hierapolis and the walk across the travertines were some highlights of our trip!

We had a delicious BBQ crab on our river cruise to Turtle Beach, watching turtles popping their heads out of the water… only for seconds.

gourmet recipe Great memory of our cooking class with Nuray, a local lady in Minare. Together we prepared the 'here so popular' cheese rolls...


Our free day in Kas was very welcome and although low key, our hotel was perfect for this day! Smiley's restaurant deserves a special mention as Mr and Mrs Smiley always have a smile on their face and the food was delicious! Great place to drink some raki, which is served with cheese and honey melon - a perfect ensemble!

Çirali, one of my favourite places was perfect for our last couple of days and came with a challenging walk up to the Musa Mountain!

Full moon and candlelit dinners in our friendly beach restaurant were superb and their breakfast truly the best!! Very happily we have decided to stay one night longer in 2015. We finished our tour in Antalya, a big sea resort in south-western Turkey!

As high as a kite... But in a balloon

Our "Explore Cappadocia" tour started in Antalya and took us firstly to Konya, Turkey's holiest city. It was the home of Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi, who founded a mystic Sufi order, the so-called "Whirling Dervishes".

Here in Cappadocia with its fairy chimneys and cave houses we walked through spectacular landscapes and mysterious gorges. We admired the architecture of the thousands of pigeon houses carved into the soft tufa rock since ancient times, particularly visible in Pigeon Valley and ancient frescoed cave churches.

Another highlight here in Cappadocia was flying in a hot-air balloon above this incredible landscape. Also here we have been guests at a local home and experienced more of the Turkish hospitality and great food.


Fine food recipe Together with 'Motter Havva' (famous local chef), we prepared recipes with fruits, vegetables and spices farmed in the home garden...


Our local support

Fatih, our local guide here in Turkey is just a walking history book and he is never lost for answers when it comes to questions concerning every aspect of Turkey! He has the greatest sense of humour and is not afraid to "take the micky" out of himself at times. Without him it never would have been possible to work out these two great programs! He is a free-lance professional guide and works also for a Turkish tour operator.

Özkan, our faithful driver could take us all to the end of the world and he is a great support in all aspects of the organisation for this tour. He is calm and quiet, but plays a mean game of backgammon! He will be greatly missed when I soon have to do all the driving myself again!

Our enthusiasm about Turkey has continued to grow and we are working on a third program in Eastern Turkey and its borders, which will feature in our 2015 brochure! Please be patient - work is almost completed and you should receive it sometime in July!

The promised land

Our season started early this year - on the 2nd March - when Pascal and I were very excited to take our first group to Jordan and Israel after working out the itinerary some years ago.

We started in Aqaba and spent our first 4 days with Sabbah and his team in the Wadi Rum Desert. Each day we went with our Bedouin guides - Ralhed or Amdan walking and exploring the desert. The Wadi Rum, also known as the Valley of the Moon, is a spectacularly scenic desert valley. It is quite isolated and largely inhospitable to settled life. The only permanent inhabitants are several thousand Bedouin nomads and villagers. Some of our highlights were certainly the Wadi Nuqra Gorge, Um Fruth Arch, Fig Canyon and the camel ride to our candlelit dinner in the desert.

Petra, the long-lost city of the Nabateans, a stunning ruin carved from solid red sandstone in the 3rd century BC was just overwhelming. This remote city is one of the great treasures of the ancient world (and one of the new Seven Wonders of the World). Its dazzling desert setting is unmatched and its elaborately carved temples, hewn into the red and golden sandstone cliffs by the mysterious Nabatean people 2,000 years ago, are simply spellbinding.

We walked through the narrow defile called the Siq and set our eyes on the breathtaking Al Khazneh (Treasury), which was featured in the film 'Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade'. We visited the Royal Tombs, climbed to the High Place of Sacrifice via the colourful ruins of the Wadi Farasa and walked on a hidden trail to the Monastery!

A true highlight was our candlelit dinner under the stars at little Petra, which was so carefully organised by Ilharia, our local contact person in Jordan - we even had a musician entertaining us!

recipe Wadi Musa was our cooking class at Petra's Kitchen. Here we learned the art making such local favourites as Rice with Chicken...


From Amman we travelled north and visited the fabulously preserved Roman ruins at Jerash, an archaeological masterpiece framed by the hills of Gilead. Jerash's monuments included a triumphal arch, stadium, huge fountain, temples and colonnaded streets.

We crossed the King Hussein-Allenby Bridge, one of the three passages from Jordan into Israel and explored the treasures of Jerusalem from the times of King David to the Prophet Mohammed. Staying in the historic part of this fascinating city allowed us to experience its multiple moods and we discovered many mysterious alleyways and courtyards.

We started our walk through the historic city right at our hotel - also the first Station to the Cross - and followed the Via Dolorosa, where Jesus carried his cross past the Stations of the Cross. Our walk ended at the West Wall and some of us might have even written their own personal prayer note to tuck into the wall.

Other highlights were the Mount of Olives, David's Tomb and Bethlehem! We discovered two great restaurants - the Armenian Taverna and the Eucalyptus Restaurant - both worth a visit if you should happen to travel to Jerusalem.

What better way to finish this tour than at the Kempinski Hotel at the Dead Sea with the largest spa in the Middle East! With the highest content of minerals and salts in the world, the Dead Sea water is thought to possess healing properties, and the mud on the shores has been used for therapeutic purposes for over 2,000 years.

We ended the tour in Amman, visiting Mt Nebo, from where Moses glimpsed the Promised Land and Madaba, famous for its mosaics along the way.

Our local support
Pascal Briau, a professional guide has been working with us for 5 years. Initially he helped us to work out our program in Crete and Santorini, but over the last few years he has worked with us on other tours in Europe as well. He speaks Greek like a Greek and has lived more than 10 years in Crete himself. He is an enthusiast when it comes to Greek history and brings the - sometimes so boring - history lesson to life! He also has developed a great knowledge about Jordan.


Abid, our driver did a great job taking us safely to all the different places and never grew tired of passing on local knowledge! His speciality was "smelling" a good bakery in a 5 km radius! We were all very sad to see him drive off at the end!

Spain and Morocco: a Fabulous combination

Our first Moorish Trail was a great success and despite some long drives, everybody really enjoyed the many different impressions in the south of Andalusia and in Morocco. Here are some comments from some guests on this tour in April. In 2015 we have planned two tours for April and September and they are both fully booked at this point of time, but that of course can still change until April or September next year!
Guided Walking HolidaysFirst time with Walkabout and we are sure it will not be our last. A small group of only 5, which probably gave us a lot more flexibility than would be normal. We had a great time and with the walking to more remote areas and the obvious enthusiasm of Gilles saw and experienced a lot of things that would not have been available to an independent or coach tour traveller. Although a lot of travelling for Gilles, the combination of Andalucía and Morocco was fabulous and certainly made us feel we were doing as the tour stated-- Following the Moorish Trail. The accommodation and food were excellent. We don't think you should change anything on this program. Thank you Gilles for what was a fun time!
Guided Walking Holidays
Bob and Jean, NSW, Australia
Guided Walking HolidaysAn absolutely wonderful trip with a marvellous guide. A huge number of experiences packed into 3 weeks of travel. Excellent walking, great food and wonderful contrasts in accommodation from the rustic and immensely enjoyable Berber village, Tamerloute in the Valley of the Roses to the luxury of the stunning Parador at the Alhambra in Granada. The local guides in Morocco were interesting and entertaining, the schedule very well planned and the walks were of a good level for a medium walker"
Guided Walking HolidaysCathy, Kew, VIC, Australia

2014 Tours Video Preview
You may have missed out on our five interstate Film and Information Evenings back in March, you can now see online the film presented on the night prepared by Gilles Boivin.

Upcoming Food and Wine Festivals
How about combining your 'active' holidays or weekend away with a gourmet adventure? There are plenty of events in Australia from regional Food and Fine Wine Festivals to Gastronomy Expos throughout the year. These Events bring together Australian and world-renowned winemakers, chefs and industry insiders to entertain, educate and inspire, you may also visit farm gates and cellar doors, meet with local producers, attend degustation dinners, taste regional products or even attend cooking classes! We have put a list of local and overseas gourmet events together to encourage you to go walkabout and discover a new region. Here is what's coming near you in the next 3 months:

JUNE 14


bullet 06/06 Townsville Sensation Food & Wine Festival [3 days]

bullet 07/06 Mornington Peninsula Winter Wine Weekend {2 days]


bullet 12/06 Les Epicuriales - Restaurant extravaganza Bordeaux, France | [17 days]


bullet 27/06 Sydney Good Food & Wine Show [3 days]


JULY 2014


bullet 09/07 Taste of Chicago Festiva [5 days]
bullet 11/07 Perth Good Food & Wine Show [3 days]

AUGUST 2014


bullet 02/08 Kangaroo Island Food Safari, SA [8 days]
bullet 15/08 Barossa Gourmet Weekend, SA [3 days]


bullet 29/08 Newcastle Food & Wine Expo, NSW [3 days]


Norway's Special: 10% Off
Due to a late cancellation we now have 4 spaces available on our summer Norwegian Walking holiday Peer Gynt's Trail. This 14-day tour departs Bergen on 12 July. Escape the crowds and heat of Southern Europe - Don't miss the opportunity to discover one of Europe's best kept secrets – Experience the beauty of Norway's magical fjords, walk through 3 of Norway's most beautiful National Parks, stay in unique heritage accommodation and enjoy deliciously prepared dinners. At last experience for yourself that Norway's cuisine is anything but boring!

Like a local in Provence
It looks like another busy year with our holiday apartments in Forcalquier with guests coming from all over the world. Bookings for 2014 are very strong but we still have availability especailly in August - so consider a short stay in Provence when planning your European holiday.

Happy and safe travelling – we look forward to welcoming you on one of our holidays soon.


Kind Regards,

 

Gabriela, Graeme and the Walkabout Team


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IN THIS EDITION
news DISCOVER ASIA MINOR
news EXPLORING CAPPADOCIA
news THE PROMISED LAND
news THE MOORISH TRAIL
news 2014 VIDEO NIGHTS
news FOOD & WINE EVENTS 2014
news NORWAY'S SPECIAL
news LIKE A LOCAL IN PROVENCE

Printable version PRINT VERSION

 

 

We ate it nearly all after cooking with Nuray at her home in Minare Turkey
walking tour Cooking class, Minare Turkey

Free day in Kas Turkey
walking tour Free day in Kas, Turkey

Ballooning in Cappadocia Turkey
walking tour Ballooning in Cappadocia

Fatih
walking tour Our local supporters Fatih, Özkan

Stuffed aubergines by Motter
walking tour
Aubergines by Motter Havva


What a view Wadi Rum Desert Jordan
walking tour Wadi Rum Desert Jordan

Camel ride in Petra Jordan
walking tour Camel ride in Petra Jordan

Rock Arch Um Fruth in the Wadi Rum Jordan
walking tour Rock Arch Um Fruth, Wadi Rum

Smelling the spices at the Mahane Yehuda Market in Jerusalem Israel
walking tour
Mahane Yehuda Market


Pre dinner drink at Hotel Kempinski Dead Sea Jordan
walking tour Pre dinner drink Hotel Kempinski

Pascal Briau
walking tour
Valuable support: Pascal Briau

Walking in the Cabo de Gata Andalusia Spain
walking tour Cabo de Gata, Andalusia, Spain

Walking in the desert near Merzouga Morocco
walking tour Walking in the Merzouga, Morocco

Buquistar Alpujarras Andalusia Spain
walking tour Buquistar Alpujarras Spain


Info Evenings 2014 Tours Video
walking tour Info Evenings 2014 Tours Video

Food & Wine Festivals 2014 Australia

walking tour Food & Wine Festivals 2014

Good Food expo in Australia

Food and Fine Wine Festivals

Peer Gynt's Trail Special
walking tour Peer Gynt's Trail Special

Rental apartments in Provence

walking tour A place in Provence

2014-2015 dates

quality walkabout