Dear Walkabout Walkers and Friends,
THE INDIAN SUMMER
Here today and gone tomorrow was certainly the motto of this summer and it ended as suddenly as it arrived, turning into a magnificent Indian Summer! Print version here
Salam from Morocco! Salam from Morocco where we are leaving on the ferry after 21 exciting days on our Moorish Trail through southern Andalusia and some fabulous parts of Morocco. So many colourful flashbacks come to my mind from the first moment we opened the door to our hotel in San José with stunning sea views, the Berber Villages of the Alpujarras, the many fig trees along the walks, laden with fruit, the extraordinary Alhambra Palace, the white washed villages around Ronda, beautiful Sevilla and Flamenco.
Crossing to another continent is always exciting and this time the wind was in our favour. I am thinking of the blue and white city of Asilah where we stopped for lunch, Fes with its amazing medina and our stunning hotel Maison Bleue, the Dades Valley with its chocolate brown houses and valley gardens, the delicious food, so many amazing people we met and worked with during our time there. The camel ride and sunset in Merzouge in the Sahara Desert was like out of a picture book while Agdz always makes us feel we are in a ferry tale of 1001 nights.
During our walk through the palmeraie Abdul, our local guide, harvested the first fresh dates of the season for us. The Roseraie in Ouirgane was the most relaxing place to finish with its perfumed rose garden. We just missed out on the opening of the new spa, which looks sensational and will all be ready for us in the 2016 season!
Pure Flavours of BAVARIA
New Cooking and Walking Tour in Germany
On the way back from Brittany at the end of June Gabriela went back to Germany to work out a tour with a difference!
The Flavours of Bavaria is not only a cultural, foodie and walking holiday but also an opportunity to discover one of Germany's most stunning regions. Located in the northern Alpine foothills, Upper Bavaria is home to pristine lakes, impressive mountain peaks, lush woodlands and the discovery of a culture that is renowned in the world for its charm and warm-heartedness.
Everyday life has been minutely recorded through the many household items, tools, and pieces of clothing displayed in various museums of local history, including cake tins, snuff boxes, and the infamous Bavarian 'wolpertinger', a creature made up of the fur, claws, teeth and horns of many different species.
We discover the many sights around Lake Tegernsee, an area whose far-reaching history has left many awe-inspiring traces. Artists, musicians, statesmen and nobility have lived in the fine houses that appeared after the first monks settled in the valley.
We enjoy the "gemutlichkeit" of a real beer garden experience while sitting with the locals and savouring regional beers.
Our breathtakingly beautiful walks lead us along lake-shores, through idyllic meadows, forests, valleys and into the surrounding mountains.
One of the many highlights is the herbal walk with Wastl, a nationally recognized herbal educator. It is a fascinating excursion into the rich world of wild herbs and fruits and Wastl will tell us everything about medicinal and poisonous plants and the importance of water. He will teach us something about the history, culture and food culture - the versatile use of herbs, shrubs and the trees. We walk to Wastl's "Herb Kitchen" at the romantic Mangfall River where he prepares some of his finest concoctions and dishes like soups, wild vegetables and herbs, vinegar, soft drinks, jellies, salads and more.
The Hasenöhrl-Hof is a 500-year old Bavarian farm reconstructed into a "state of the art" event location where we learn about the Bavarian food.
During our "Event Cooking Course" we find out many secrets of the Bavarian kitchen, which spoil us with fresh, regional and seasonal food. Other activities include a visit to a distillery of Bavarian single malt whisky, an organic dairy, a ride on a horse carriage, an open-air museum and a cooking class in a flower clad traditional house.
Our final day takes us to the Austrian city of Salzburg and on our way we travel along the beautiful Chiemsee. There are several islands in the lake - the most famous is the Herreninsel. It has a palace built by King Ludwig II in 1878 called Herrenchiemsee.
The detailed pre departure notes for this fascinating 8-day walking tour will soon be available.
HIGHLIGHTS OF SUMMER
'WOW' factor while Exploring Iceland
Gabriela's biggest highlight of this summer was Iceland! An awakening of nature in its purest form with "wow" factor all the time. In July this year we finished working on the final details of our Iceland Explorer and were overwhelmed by the untamed world of fire and ice.
This special tour will certainly immerse you in the full realm of Iceland's extraordinary landscape, with fantastic coastal and mountain walks. We travel northeast and our first few days are spent in the delightful remote fishing port of Siglufjörður, a highlight of any trip to the northwest. The country's most northerly town, Siglufjörður clings precariously to the foot of steep mountain walls which enclose an isolated narrow fjord on the very edge of Iceland: the Arctic Circle is barely 40km away but Siglufjörður makes an excellent base for walking across the surrounding mountains.
From here we also have the opportunity to join a whale watching excursion in search for humpbacks or even the giant blue whale. After visiting Godafoss, "waterfall of the gods", with its spectacular cascade, we head to Lake Myvatn, known as one of the best bird-watching sites in the world. We explore the lake surroundings and also visit the Dimmuborgir lava field, an area of bizarre lava formations with volcanic arches, pillars, caves, and bridges. In the Krafla volcano area, our hike brings us across countless rift fissures and lava flows from the eruptions of 1975-1984.
We pass through the starkly contrasting desert scenery of the Northeast Highlands to the enormous Dettifoss in Vatnajökull National Park. Europe's largest waterfall, in terms of volume discharge, Dettifoss is bizarrely set in an arid area of sand and rock formations.
We continue moving east and come to Siglufjörður a place of singing waterfalls and peculiar characters and stay in this welcoming town, rich in history. The Vatnajökull icecap, Europe's largest glacier, is the backdrop for our walks between mountain and shore. We walk along stunning Jökulsárlón Lagoon, cross Skaftafellsheidi Heath, passing the beautiful Svartifoss waterfall and skirting the massive Skaftafellsjökull Glacier. We explore the Reykjadalur Valley, with its green hills and natural hot Springs and magnificent Thingvellir National Park, a World Heritage Site.
On our last day we allow time for a soak in the milky blue waters of the Blue Lagoon, a famed geothermal spring. Our surprises didn't end with the mystical land of volcanoes, glaciers, and exquisite waterfalls.
We are happy to say that we have found some amazing hotels and an Icelandic cuisine that deserves a special mention for its creativity and high quality! Attention coffee connoisseurs – the coffees are high competition to Italy – we never had a bad coffee anywhere! After all these many highlights, there comes only one small negative and that is the high cost of everything – starting from food and drinks to accommodation.
As our tour covers nearly all of these expenses, except drinks and picnic lunches, it should be not too painful. Please contact us for more information. The detailed pre departure notes will be available in December.
Re-Discovering the French & Spanish Pyrenees
After Iceland, Gabriela was lucky enough to join Sabine and return to the magnificent Pyrenees with some superb mountain walks. After spending many years in Cadaqués in Spain, this year the first two days were spent again in Collioure, a delightful french fishing village, known as the "Jewel of the Cote Vermeille" at the Mediterranean coastline. We were also very happy to return to the small country town of Ceret with its well-known Modern Art gallery where we saw an excellent exhibition of the Spanish Artist Jaume Plensa.
We returned to Prullans and paid a short visit to Andorra before moving on to Tavascan and the Aigues Tortes and Lake St Maurici National Park. There are over 50 lakes and the most characteristic features of the Pyrenees are represented in this park. Apart from the stunning walks, one of the highlights in Tavascan must surely have been the animal watching high in the mountains with friends of Xavier from our hotel!
Back to Spain and the Parador with its unique location right below the imposing Monte Perdido. The walk into the spectacular Circo de Pineta starts directly at our hotel and takes us into some magnificent mountain scenery. Pyrenean chamois are plentiful and the lammergeyer has one of its major European strongholds in these mountains. After a day of mountain passes and spectacular scenery, we traversed back into France and spent the last 4 days of the tour in the small town of Gavarnie in the Pyrenees National Park. The spectacular amphitheatre of the Cirque de Gavarnie can only be described as one of nature's wonders.
Watching the Tour de France kindled our desire to visit the Pyrenees and the Walkabout Gourmet Tour offered the chance to fulfill this dream. The first two days walking gave us some idea of what was to come. The weather was quite hot and I found the walking hard work. Of course that was just the beginning..."
Enjoy reading "My Pyrenees Adventure" a well documented 7-page diary from one of our 2015 Guest Helen Findlay.
|Discover the Pyrenees | Next departure: July 10, 2016 [14 days]
4 tours TO GO!
Slovenia and Croatia
The waves are moving and it looks that the smooth ferry ride is over. Gabriela certainly will be happy to leave this ferry tomorrow morning in Genoa from where she drives directly to Venice to start the Discover Slovenia and Croatia walk.
South Eastern France
Gilles will again return to his Timeless Valleys – a wonderful walk in Provence, the French Alps and the Ardèche.
At the same time Milo will enjoy taking his group on a Dolce Vita walk through his native Sicily.
Southern Gastronomy in France
Gilles and Gabriela will finish the season with the Gastronomic Trail through hidden France, going back to some familiar countryside in Pays Basque and the lower Pyrenees, the Cathar Country with the Canal du Midi and brilliant Grignan in Provence. There are many good restaurants and excellent wine tastings on this tour.
WALKABOUT'S 30TH ANNIVERSARY BROCHURE
We still have to ask you for some more patience before we send you our hard copy of the 2016 brochure. Gabriela will lock herself in after the final tour ends in late October and finalise the 30th edition of the Walkabout brochure. There are many ideas swirling around her head but with so much travelling this year the completion has been somewhat delayed. However all the departure dates are already on our website so you can plan now for your next Walkabout Gourmet Adventures.
CHANGES IN THE 2016 CALENDAR
We had to make another minor change to our 2016 tour calendar which you will find on our website.
The dates and departure point for Explore Slovenia and Croatia have changed from 24th September to 25th September in 2016 and the tour is now starting in Dubrovnik in Croatia and ending in Venice, Italy. The lights of Genoa are getting very close now and it is time to sign off and hand over to Graeme to give you some news from his tours.
After our amazing trip to Iceland Graeme commenced the Peer Gynt's Trail walk in Bergen in Norway. In some respects there are similarities between the two countries - certainly the constant presence of water, be it a fjord or a raging river. However in other ways they are quite different especially in terms of the topography. Anyway as always I was very happy to be back on the trail in search of the elusive Musk Ox and Troll!
Winter in Norway had been quite late this year and there were still many patches of snow, which was actually to our advantage as it only made the landscape look even more stunning.
While Gabriela was in Sicily, Graeme had to "hold the fort" in Forcalquier and take over Gabriela's cooking and walking tour in the middle of August. Joyce, Virgine and Josephine gave him some excellent support with the cooking classes this time.
Graeme's final two walks for the European season were Taste of Europe and the Eastern Circuit walk. We experienced excellent walking weather in Champagne and Alsace and by the time we reached the Black Forest we could feel that autumn was just around the corner. Onto the Eastern Circuit where the group was blown away by the unexpected beauty of Karlovy Vary – it's certainly a gem of a town and our walk through the Bohemian Woods is a lovely way to experience this region. Another highlight for the group was certainly Krakow – a charming medieval city, which is not overrun yet by tourists. The High Tatras were shining in all their glory and we were very fortunate to have a perfect day for our ridge walk where we could straddle both Poland and Slovakia.
charming break in Provence
Our apartments in Forcalquier are still busy at this time of the year. In fact it's one of the best times to visit Forcalquier and Upper Provence. The days are still warm and sunny and the roads and the beautiful hilltop villages are empty of tourists. Don't forget that Forcalquier is a beautiful place to experience Christmas in Provence – something that you and your extended family will never forget.
"Fantastic location, couldn't be better for the city. Extremely spacious flat - everything in the kitchen you could possibly want, comfortable bed and the courtyard is a lovely bonus. It was super clean, beautifully decorated and a real home away from home. We really enjoyed our stay and are so glad we picked this place for our time in Forcalquier. On foot you are two seconds from the centre of town, but only 2 minutes walk from parking from which you can easily get to and from by car. Graeme was really communicative and so helpful beforehand and they have tons of local knowledge with a great book of recommendations in the flat. 100% recommend!"
Caeli from London, UK - 07/2015
Upcoming Food & Wine Festivals
There are plenty of events in Australia from regional Food & Fine Wine Festivals to Gastronomy Expos throughout the year.
30/10 Brisbane Good Food & Wine Show [3 days]
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, here is what's coming near you:
12/11 Taste of Melbourne [4 days]
20/11 Margaret River Gourmet Escape [3 days]
28/10 Ottawa Wine & Food Festival [3 days] CANADA
12/11 Taste of Auckland [4 days] NZ
18/11 Salon Saveurs des Plaisirs Gourmands [4 days] FRANCE
See all events for 2015
Follow the adventures
So please join us on Instagram and travel with us and our photo journal through the season.
Sunny greetings and talk to you soon,
Gabriela, Graeme and the WGA team
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Fortified Asilah, Morocco
Camel ride in the Sahara, Morocco
Tegernsee, Bavaria, Germany
Kitchen by the Mangfall River, Bavaria
Dairy, Tegernsee Valley, Bavaria
Fischbachau, Bavaria, Germany
Hasenöhrl-Hof Hotel, Bavaria
Skógafoss waterfall, Iceland
Hotel Laxa Reykjahlíð, Iceland
Seydisfjordur town, Iceland
Black sand beach, Reynisdrangar
Geothermal Lake Myvatn, Iceland
Cirque de Troumouse, Pyrenees
Iris and Marmot, Cirque de Gavarnie
Pyrenees's Diary by Helen Findlay
Plitvice Lakes National Park Croatia
Ancient City of Selinunte Sicily
We started the WGA adventure in 1986
Geiranger Fjiord, Norway
Delicious desserts, Champagne
Flowery Alsace, France
Charming Provence Apartments
Margaret River Gourmet Escape
Salon des Plaisirs Gourmands, Paris
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