European Winter 2018
|Dear Walkabout Walkers and Friends,
High above the clouds, on the long journey between Australia and Europe, seems to be the perfect place to reflect on the relaxing winter months and getting excited about the next season, which is just around the corner.
This time we followed the birds and spent the winter months in Australia. Christmas and the start of the New Year we enjoyed some relaxing and lazy days on magnificent Lady Elliot Island, one of the most southern Islands in the Great Barrier Reef. The days consisted of snorkelling, reading and eating, the perfect way to recover from a long season in Europe.
We were happy to spend some time at our home in Byron Bay along with family and friends. We were excited to take on the tour guide role again for a few weeks and shared three amazing weeks with 6 special friends from Forcalquier who came to visit us in Australia. The many field-trips put a new idea into our heads and we look forward to the day when we can share this beautiful region with our Walkabout guests. We are sure it won't be too long before you can find it in our brochure!
Lady Elliot Island, QLD Australia
You may have missed out on our six interstate Film and Information Evenings back in February and March (Melbourne evening at RACV City Club above).
These evenings are always a great place for reunions and getting to know new guests and with 500 attendees we had a record attendance at all venues.
A big thank you for coming along!
If you missed attending our evening this year we shall be holding them again next year in February - keep an eye on our website later this year for more details. You can now see on the website the film presented on the night prepared by our guide Gilles Boivin.
RACV City Club, Melbourne
2018 Tours Preview
We have used our time in Serendipity and made some more improvements inside the house and Serjosha Clarke had a "burst of energy" and painted the entire outside of the house in white. The newly established garden has grown a lot... As one of our neighbours said to us last year, "you just stick it into the ground and it grows". One can almost watch everything grow, especially our Poinciana tree which has tripled in size since last year.
Serendipity House Pool
Serendipity House Main Bedroom
Serendipity House Lounge
We are working on a better time frame this year and are happy to announce that all our 2019 datesand prices are already on our website - you will be happy to see that with the exception of Iceland we have held our current prices for next year. We shall return to some of our favourite places like Kerala in India, Turkey and the idea to combine some coastal regions in Italy has taken shape and we created a new tour to some of the best coastal regions Italy has to offer.
Our Indian tour is back on offer for 2019! Be ready to immerse yourself into a delightful experience of exotic flavours where the people shine with a light like no other.
Discover the vibrant street scenes of Cochin and learn more about the traditional dances, the secret ingredients and what defines the Indian cuisine.
What is a trip without a little movement? The mountainous village of Munnar offers spectacular walking through the lush tea plantations. Another great discovery is the abundant food market and colourful textiles, which might get your eyes wandering in all kinds of directions!
Our next stop will takes us to Thekkady, a beautiful location tucked amongst the lush Indian jungle where you will get glimpses of elephants and the cheekiest monkeys.
Our journey will end on a beautiful boathouse in the backwaters of Kerala. Here you will get yet another perspective of the Indian scene and traditions, and of course indulge in some final tasty Indian cuisine amongst great company.
We will depart and end the tour again in Cochin, Kerala. Although this exciting tour doesn't really need any improvements, we have made some alterations and managed to add a little bit more walking to the current itinerary.
All the other many highlights remain the same... the lovely grand Vivanta by Taj hotel in Malabar, our yoga and meditation classes, and an outstanding Kathakali performance, starting with the makeup session of the artists.
We are excited to share these fantastic 12 days with you in Kerala and look forward to your email or call if you are interested for further details.
Nimi cooking class Munnar Kerala
Nazeema cooking class Kerala
Kathakali performance, Cochin
Cochin market Kerala India
We have missed Turkey as well as Fatih, our superb and knowledgeable guide and can't wait to return for our revised 17-day tour, which combines the best of our Asia Minor and Explore Cappadocia tours.
It continues to begin in Istanbul, the only city in the world, which embraces two continents, one arm reaching out into Asia, the other into Europe. The museums, churches, palaces, mosques, bazaars and the sight of natural beauty seem inexhaustible.
We travel along the shoreline of the Marmara Sea and visit Gallipoli. From here we continue south and visit ancient Troy, a 5000 year old legend, the archaeological ruins of Ephesus and the rock pools of Pamukkale.
The shores along the Aegean region are among the loveliest landscapes in the country. The magnificent coastline, lapped by the clear water of the Aegean Sea, is abundant with vast and pristine beaches, surrounded by olive groves, rocky crags and pinewoods.
We trek in the most beautiful coastal area of the Turkish Mediterranean in-between Marmaris and Antalya. Known to the ancients as Lycia, this fabled coast of clear turquoise blue water is rich with archaeological sites. Fragrant pine forests tumble down a slope to end abruptly in red cliff secret coves and sandy beaches.
We leave the coast and travel to the region of Cappadocia. Three million years ago violent eruptions of Mount Erciyes (3916m) and Mount Hasan (3300m) covered the surrounding plateau of Cappadocia with tuff, a soft stone comprised of lava, ash and mud.
The wind and rain have eroded this brittle rock and created a surrealist landscape of rock cones, capped pinnacles and fretted ravines, in colours that range from warm reds and golds to cool greens and greys. Goreme is one of those rare regions in the world where the works of man blend into the natural surroundings.
During Byzantine times chapels and monasteries were hollowed out of the rock, their ochre-toned frescoes reflecting the hues of the surrounding landscape. Even today troglodyte dwellings in rock cones and village houses of volcanic tufa merge harmoniously into the landscape. Cappadocia is also a natural wonder and a unique area in the world, loaded with history.
We explore the surreal landforms of the Goreme valleys and enjoy the colourful blaze. Following ancient path-ways we visit the strange rock churches and monasteries carved from the soft volcanic tuff.
Dalyan Hotel Turkey
Evil eye of protection
Gracea Iberia tortoise in Turkey
Explore the mystical Tuscan coastline of the Maremma area. Ever since travelling through the Maremma many years ago and spending some days on Elba made me want to return and share these extraordinary regions with our guests. There are so many highlights…
The wild beauty of the countryside will sweep you off your feet to mystical places such as the magnificent Garden of Tarots cards, which features large colourful sculptures created by renowned Artist Niki de Saint Phalle.
You will explore the medieval town of Capalbio, perched on top of a hill with stunning views overlooking the area, and indulge in one of the many tasty restaurants in Italian courtyards and candle lit settings.
The nature reserve of the Burano Lake extends for 410 hectares in the Maremma and is operated by WWF. Over 600 species of plants, 274 birds species, beetle fauna and many mammals can be viewed while walking around the nature reserve with a local guide.
The coast of Capalbio stretches over 12 kms and is characterised by the clearest waters, endless olive and pine trees and stunning sandy beaches.
The ultimate hidden gem is the Giglio Island. Offering the bluest of seas all around, and fabulous beaches to unwind after a day of walking. The largest part of the island is wild and covered by Mediterranean vegetation.
Get ready to get intoxicated by a whirl of fragrances. It is a wonderful opportunity to explore the underworld with some snorkelling or simply refresh your body in the warm water and float your worries away. The sunsets will bring warmth back into your eyes and will prepare you for the next highlight, which involves some of the tastiest seafood and local dishes.
With just a ferry ride away we will immerse ourselves into the dreamy Italian island named Elba, where we shall spend our last six nights. The meandering footpaths on the colourful island bring us through the quaintest of villages, green shady forests leading us up to high secluded peaks, which offer stunning 360° views of this slice of paradise!
Elba's typical low Mediterranean vegetation offers a large variety and the greatest treat is that we can always finish off at one of the many inviting beaches to cool off from the day with a fresher approach.
Island of Elba Italy
Island of Elba
Hinterland, Italian Riviera
Park of the Monsters, Bomarzo
Back streets adventure in Rome
It is still possible to join Nastassja on her 5-day tour through Rome.
Get ready to adventure in the Roman city in full bloom, and indulge in some delicious traditional dishes. Discover the colourful cobblestoned side streets and immerse yourself into the Italian way of living and dining.
We will have the opportunity to learn how to cook some Italian dishes and source out the freshest ingredients from the local market. In the evening, we will intermingle amongst the locals sipping on "Aperol Spritz" at some of the best Roman bars.
With so much art and culture in this city, we shall explore some of the many art galleries such as Galleria Borghese and go back in time with a guided tour of the Vatican, Colosseum and Roman Forum.
An emphasis on the many green corners of this city will also be explored such as the beautiful Villa Borghese gardens and Villa Pamphili.
And of course let's not forget an important Italian trademark. One cannot go to Rome without having had the ultimate personal shopping experience! We will source out whatever you have in mind, and make sure you go home with a happy face!
In between all the sites and food, you may wish to explore your inner world more. Yoga and the life alignment healing technique are also available. Only a few spaces left!
Film buffs, this walk is for you
We are excited to take you on the Walk to the Stars, which begins in Florence and follows the scenes from some famous films along the Italian Riviera and the Cote d'Azur. "A Room with a View" was filmed at Pensione Bencista in Fiesole where our tour begins. From here we travel to the Ligurian Coast.
The hills and mountains in the backdrop make it a spectacular setting. Sestri Levante, formerly a fishing village, is both beautiful and full of life with stunning sea views on the two bays. The town makes a perfect base for discovering the wonders of Liguria and is not too far away from the well-known sites like the Cinque Terre and Portofino. Our walks will take us to the most picturesque and quaint towns and villages along the Ligurian coast. On our journey through Liguria's villages and unspoilt nature we discover some places which have been locations for famous Italian and foreign films like "The Trip to Italy", "Enchanted April", filmed in Portofino, on the Italian Riviera and "The Bourne Identity" with Matt Damon where one scene was filmed at the Imperia harbor.
The stretch of coast belonging to Imperia Province is also known as the Riviera dei Fiori, the Flower Riviera, characterized by bays, ports and coves. At a short distance from the coast, behind the hills are valleys and pristine woods with many great walking tracks.
Time to cross the border into France and our adventure continues on the Cộte d'Azur, known for its dramatic mountains, sparkling blue Mediterranean waters and a craggy coastline.
On a coastal walking track we discover the famed St-Jean Cap Ferrat peninsular with luxurious villas, including the spectacular Villa Ephrussi. We explore the hilltop villages of Vence and St Agnès and stroll the streets of beautiful Menton. Time permitting, we also visit Monaco. "And God Created Woman", with Brigitte Bardot, "Bonjour Tristesse" and La Piscine, starring Alain Delon, Romy Schneider, Maurice Ronet and Jane Birkin and "Two for the Road" with Albert Finney and Audrey Hepburn were all films set on the Côte d'Azur.
Our final destination is St Tropez, one of the world's most famous "villages". Once a totally unknown fishing community, St Tropez started its days of fame when it attracted prestigious painters in the first part of the 20th century. It later gained international attention when stars of the movie industry (Brigitte Bardot, to name only the "sparkiest") made St Tropez their trendy place of vacation and even sometimes their home.
On our walk we explore a fairly steep stretch of the coastline before moving more inland across some very pretty vineyards. In the evening we have time to wander around the port and explore the narrow alleys of the historic part, nearby.
Ultimate relaxing experience in Provence
What better place to unwind than in the beautiful countryside of Provence!
Escape in the colourful cobblestoned side street of rue St Mary, and relax in our charming French apartments, which offer a beautiful inner courtyard and magnificent private terraces overlooking the citadel and the rooftops of Forcalquier.
Immerse yourself into the ultimate relaxing experience by going inwards with a soft approach to yoga. And learn to gently quieten your mind and regain complete control and clarity by using the power of meditation.
Explore the many flavours and scents of Provence by meandering around the famous local market of Forcalquier, and learn to source out the freshest and most tempting ingredients.
Now comes the indulgence part where you will be guided by professional chefs, Gabriela Clarke and Virginie Besançon. Here you will learn to combine many local ingredients and play with the many local herbs to enhance the flavours of every dish you shall taste and savour.
Apart from the many wonderful food experiences you shall encounter the enchanting natural aspects of the French countryside. We shall walk at a leisurely pace through the hills of Provence, discover the quaint villages surrounding the countryside and of course a "siesta" in a field of wild thyme is always encouraged to further our senses!
Speaking of which, the ethnobotanical gardens of the "Prieuré de Salagon" offer some of the most beautiful flowers and aromatic plants and also still have preserved everything, which was already growing here back in the old days.
A unique perfumers workshop, created by master perfumer "Lucien Ferrero" from Grasse will introduce you to the world of scents and thereby gain a greater understanding of the many facets of the olfactory. Here you will create your own personal self-made flacon of perfume, which you can bring home. I can assure you that the smell will take you back to this trip no matter where you are!
With a better understanding on an aspect of the cosmetics industry, we shall visit the famous "L'Occitane" factory, where we will see the production line rooms and learn how L'Occitane harvests and distils its ingredients from the region.
Under the gentle guidance of Nastassja Clarke we attempt to gain an inner elevation through the practice of yoga and meditation. It will prove to be a perfect option to rejuvenate your soul, mind and body.
We believe in siestas and a short nap can feel like a mini-vacation. Experts estimate that upwards of ninety percent of disease is stress-related. And perhaps nothing ages us faster, internally and externally, than high stress levels.
Everyone deserves a little quality 'me time' and holistic therapies are an ideal way to relax and unwind.
Piazza Navona, Rome
Eye catchy Vespa in Rome, Italy
Gelato time Rome Italy
Castello Sestri Levante Italy
Dolce Gabbana in Portofino
Sestri Levante Italy
San Fruttoso Beach monastery
Salagon Gardens, Provence
Grignan Drome Provence
1959 Morris Minor Antique!
Saignon Luberon Provence
Cucuron Luberon Provence
Our 4 holiday rental apartments in Forcalquier have all had facelifts and are looking new and fresh with a change of colours. They are all located in one of the nicest streets in the old town, rue Saint Mary – a charming, cobblestoned street, leading up to a hilltop park. One of the unique aspects of the location is the fact that rue Saint Mary is a "cul-de-sac" and extremely quiet with no traffic noise. However, the main square with its lovely cafes and restaurants is just around the corner. It is certainly convenient to be able to wander down in the evening, have a lovely meal with a bottle of wine and not have to worry about who is driving!
The apartments have either one or two bedrooms with separate kitchen, lounge and bathroom. Three of the apartments can be connected into a four/five bedroom house - perfect for a large family or a group of friends. They have modern conveniences and have been decorated in the Provencal style. Three of the apartments have delightful terraces with stunning views of the old town and surrounding Provence countryside, including the French Alps. On top of the hill, overlooking the old town, is a 19th century chapel set in a wooded cemetery, marking the site of the former citadel.
In the past, Forcalquier was a favourite residence of the counts of Provence and an internationally renowned cultural, political and economic centre. Today, Forcalquier hosts one of the liveliest and most colourful markets in the region.
Here you will find all the produce of the season: lavender, honey stalls and artists selling their wares. Wander through the restored old town with its narrow streets, basking in the middle of rolling luxuriant scenery and discover the many interesting near-by sites like the Verdon Gorge or the picturesque villages in the famous Luberon Valley. Enjoy delicious provincial cuisine from a variety of excellent local restaurants.
It is also possible to arrange golf, art, language and cooking classes during your stay with us in Forcalquier - please ask for further details.
Forcalquier is almost in the heart of Provence and all major points of interest can be easily visited in a day. Travelling time to nearby cities - Nice 2 ½ hours, Aix-en-Provence 1 hour, Avignon, Marseille and French Alps 1½ hours.
Please contact us for further details and prices.
Eleonore Main Bedroom
Sancie Fire place Forcalquier
Sancie lounge Forcalquier
Sancie Dining room Forcalquier
There are plenty of events in Australia from Food & 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, here is what's coming near you:
If you haven't had a chance to do it yet, please tell us your thoughts, memories of little details that made your day and your personal highlights by signing our guestbook so we can continually improve our services for you.
We hope you enjoyed reading our fi
rst 2018 update and we look forward to walking with you soon somewhere around the globe.
Gabriela, Graeme and the team at Walkabout Gourmet Adventures
PS: Remember that you can follow us on Facebook and Instagram.
Taste Tamworth Festival
Food Show Christchurch NZ
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