Fellow Traveller eMag Edition 1

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Old Cars, Mojitos, Music and Cigars PAGE 28




MARIGOLDS BY THE MILLION Great markets of India PAGE 12



Fellow Traveller This is the first edition of our eMag, Fellow Traveller. FT has been specially designed for that enthusiastic band of travellers who like to venture off the beaten track to experience countries and cultures through the eyes of the locals. FT will highlight the places, experiences and people that can add to the enjoyment of a journey. I hope that you find Fellow Traveller interesting and stimulating.

Best wishes Lucia O’Connell


TRAVELLING WITH NOMADS SECRETS At the heart of Nomads Secrets is building bespoke journeys that meet your own interests and objectives. We create highly customised trips and meticulously planned itineraries that reveal the world through the eyes of our local and trusted experts. You will experience the true essence and very best of the places you visit. Great trips require an adequate budget and time to plan so that your desires are fulfilled. We will do everything we can to ensure your journey becomes an enduring memory. This is Nomads Secrets’ pledge to you.




The town of Barbaresco


A majestic cedar of Lebanon stands as the landmark of the Cordero di Montezemolo winery near the town of La Morra in Barolo. Since 1340, 19 generations of the Montezemolo family have managed the estate.

a Ciau del Tornavento, a starred restaurant located in Treiso runs Prima e Poi, the only wine bar in the town of Barbaresco. The bar is managed by Koki, a Japanese student of La Ciau del Tornavento’s acclaimed chef Maurilio Garola and a passionate degustatore of Piemontese cuisine. The extensive wine list has many great Barbaresco and Barolo labels and vintages to enjoy with cold tasting dishes. Sit inside or in the piazza.



ast year Nomads Secrets travelled from the heel of Italy all the way to Venice, covering some 4000kms and discovering new places and experiences for even the most regular travellers to Italy. One highlight was the wine country of Piedmont and the famous towns of Barolo and Barbaresco. We chose October when the summer vacation crowds had dissipated, the vintage was almost at its end and the vineyards were changing colour with the onset of Autumn, showing reds and oranges amongst the green. It proved a great time to be there and enjoy some of Italy’s and the world’s great wines along with fine local cuisine and with the ease of being able to meet the winemakers, relieved to have their newest vintage secure in their wineries. Of course there is so much more to see and do in this beautiful region than visit wineries. There are a


number of Michelin starred restaurants and unique local delicacies. One that we found impossible to resist was fassone tartar. Fassone is a full blood breed of cattle unique to the Piedmont region. Not only does it provide extraordinary fine beef but also the milk that goes to make great cheese. We were pleased to find that this fine and almost sweet beef is endorsed by the American Heart Association. It has half the cholesterol of Wagyu, less than half the calories and ONE TENTH of the fat content. It has been well described as the

‘Rolls Royce of beef’. More importantly it is simply and animals characteristic of the locality. In short slow food is about sustainable food and in direct delicious and we found ourselves compelled to contrast to globalised ‘fast’ food trends. have a plate as a starter at just about every meal. At the University of Gastronomical Sciences in Piedmont and especially the city of Alba is world Pollenzo, chefs from all over the world come famous for truffles (and many other varieties of to study for a Masters in the Slow Art of Italian exotic funghi) that become very much part of the Cuisine. Food writers seek a Masters in Food local cuisine when the truffle hunting season is Culture and Communications at this unique school. on (October through December). Going out with an experienced hunter and his dog is a wonderful The campus is also home to the Banca del Vino experience. where you can arrange structured tastings and classes to compliment and add to your knowledge The region has a rich history. Piedmont sits at of Italian wines and vintages. the foot of the Italian Alps close to France and Switzerland. The capital, Turin, brims with baroque Much to see and experience (and we haven’t mentioned chocolate and hazelnuts!) and Autumn architecture and the Automobile Museum is is an excellent time to visit. devoted to the city’s prime industry. The Slow Food movement started in the town Bra (not far from Alba) by Carlo Petrini in 1986. There If you are interested in incorporating time in are a number restaurants devoted to the concept Piedmont into a wider trip to Italy or Europe email of preserving traditional cuisine and growing plants Lucia at lc@nomadssecrets.com


Bespoke special tours now in planning

Feb 2017 TRACKING THE SNOW LEOPARD February/ March is the best time to seek this elusive cat in its wild habitat in the Himalaya. It is mating season and the leopards are active. The region’s best guide will lead our small group and the trip extends to experience the monasteries of Ladakh.

Feb 2017 CARNEVALE IN VENICE This will be a spectacular trip where you will be part of the carnevale celebrations. It will include elaborate costumes and masks, tickets to the main balls and culminate in the Mardi Gras. Ideal to do with a small group of friends. This will be an experience of a lifetime. Carnevale in 2017 runs from February 20 through 28.



A specially crafted and guided adventure in Tanzania. Visit Kilimanjaro, Oldavai, Tarangire. This trip will cover the wonders of the wildlife, people and history of East Africa. All in luxury, with the best guides and local knowledge.

Interested? Register now by emailing Lucia at lc@nomadssecrets.com These trips will be developed in conjunction with the participants.






PRODUCE AND FLOWER MARKETS In the early hours of every day in India’s major cities, wholesale produce traders bring their vegetables, fruits and flowers to sell to a constant flow of customers from restaurants to street resellers.


This is a sight that the regular tourist probably rarely sees. Firstly you have to be prepared to set out very early, well before breakfast. Secondly you need to know where to go. Some of the markets are hidden, held in open areas surrounded by buildings with access through only one narrow lane. Thirdly you need a good guide who can steer you around the site and help you get to the best spots to watch what is going on. As a photographer I find these markets absolutely fascinating. There is a rich array of produce, often in staggering quantities. There is an even richer array of characters, traders and customers. And the constant banter of deals being done, money changing hands or orders written into notebooks. In reality the trading process is pretty much the same as we see in the markets of London, New York or Sydney. But there is something about India that adds another dimension of colour and organised chaos. In Kolkota the flower market is extraordinary. Flowers and garlands are traded and sent all over India and to Indian communities overseas. Lotus flowers at $1 for 20, marigolds literally by the millions. Be prepared. These markets are bustling. Porters bend double under sacks of potatoes and onions and don’t stop for anyone. Find a spot to one side to allow customers to get to the traders. Have your camera ready. Almost without exception, a smile and an hello will open the opportunity for some great pictures. You can be back at your hotel for a well-deserved breakfast, having started the day the way so many Indians do in this ever surprising and wonderful country.


Vegetable and Spice market Old Delhi and the Flower Market Kolkota

Story and images by Tony Sernack




Turkey a taste of

From experiencing the magnificent mosques and bazaars of Istanbul to exploring the ancient ruins at Ephesus or relaxing cruising its Mediterranean coast in luxury, Turkey has so much to offer the discerning traveller. Here is a photographic taster.





On this page, Ephesus, the Topkapi Palace, Pamukkale and the Galata Bridge in Istanbul On page 23, Istanbul, the Spice Market, Pergamon, the Blue Mosque, carpet traders and the ruins at Hieropolis




In 1950 Venetian restaurateur Tony Carrettin passed by a property for sale near Accademia and the Grand Canal. It was an old public house and when Carrettin saw the large garden, he decided on the spot to buy it. Convincing his wife (and chef) to move was a little more challenging but move they did and Antica Locanda Montin was born. The restaurant’s name came from the legend that the building once housed a pawn office or Montin in the Venetian dialect. Today the Montin is run by a third generation, Tony’s grandson Luca who at 51 is a gracious and efficient host.



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he Montin started as a local restaurant, attracting customers with their old style approach and excellent food. Up to 20 families came regularly on Saturday evenings or for Sunday lunches and in summer the large garden was an extra attraction. The restaurant became a favourite of gondoliers and of writers, composers and artists. The walls are covered with their paintings and manuscripts. Ezra Pound was a regular and had his particular table. Luca won’t disclose which one, as his patrons might get disappointed not to sit where the great man so regularly dined. He points out a framed page from the original score of Prometheus, by another regular, the avant garde composer Luigi Nono. “My grandfather only spoke Italian” Luca told me. “Tourists would come and ask, Do you speak English? He thought they said, Do you have spaghetti? Si, in giardino. So before they realised there was no one in the garden who spoke English,

they were seated and had started eating.” Since then the Montin has seen a procession of famous guests who in turn tell their friends. Kissinger, Jimmy Carter, Laura Bush, Danielli, Bono, Bowie, Jagger, De Nero and Brad Pitt to name a few. But Luca is pragmatic. Business comes from excellent food, continued high standards and a friendly ambience. “We never set out to be the best restaurant. We do what we believe in and if people come that’s great. And if they come they are clients like everyone else.” Italian Prime Minister Monti reserved a table for 11 and his security detail arrived a few days before to select a table but on the night enjoyed the ambience of the Montin along with the regulars. In 1970 the Montin provided the backdrop to the film, The Anonymous Venetian, directed by Enrico Salerno. Luca’s father appeared as a waiter and his grandfather as the barman. Luca is like his restaurant. Down to earth but precise, professional and respectful. I was not

surprised to learn that his other passion is running marathons and competing in grueling long distance cross country events in the mountains. In 2014 he completed a 170km race at altitudes up to 3000 metres, and taking over 45 hours. And like his restaurant such endurance comes with preparation and dedication. And the food. The signature dish is Taglierini with John Dory and zucchini flowers, created especially for Luca’s wedding day 16 years ago. The pear tarte is a must. Made to his grandmothers recipe and a favourite for over 60 years. The best recommendation I can give you is that last time in Venice we very happily ate at the Montin three times.

Words and photographs: Tony Sernack

Nomads Secrets is planning a very special trip to Venice for Carnivale in February 2017. A meal at the Montin is a certainty.




rancisco Prieto is a third generation grower regarded as one of the very best in the Pinar region. Prieto and his son Hector Luis farm shade grown tobacco that is used for the outer wrapper of the cigar. These are the most expensive leaves to produce. Their farm is not big by western standards, about 3 hectares. Young tobacco plants thrive in the loose red soil protected from the sun by as many hectares of white shade cloth. Planted from October from seedlings propagated from seeds collected from last years crop, the tobacco grows to maturity in 45 to 50 days. The fields are immaculately tilled by hand, suckers and buds removed and strings attached to hold the plants upright. The Prietos harvest in the cool of very early in the day and the picking is progressive. Two leaves from each plant at every picking, taking the bottom leaves first. Depending on the variety, the harvest will yield up to 18 leaves per plant.




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our mind goes to lush cane fields and swaying palms, grand but dilapidated architecture, afro-latin music and sultry dances, beautiful women and handsome men, old cars, heroes of the revolution, rum mojitos and the world’s finest cigars. An island of complex history and culture, of a warm friendly and colourful people who despite the deprivations exacerbated by a half a century old US trade embargo, find almost any excuse for a party. And that is exactly what you will find and a lot more. But of all things Cuban, it is the Habano (or Havana cigar) that is undisputed as the best in the world. The history of the Cuban cigar industry goes back to the first half of the 18th century, when the modern form of smoking rolled tobacco leaf came into fashion in Europe. Prior to this time tobacco was consumed in powdered form as snuff. Interestingly the indigenous natives of the island had always smoked tobacco. By the mid 1800’s the industry was booming,

with over 500 cigar factories in and around Havana employing over 15,000 workers. Many of the bigger operations were housed in grand buildings befitting the standing of their brands and prosperity of the owners. While times have changed and the rich merchant families are long gone, the quality and worldwide reputation of the Habano remains supreme. It is hard to think of another consumable product that is so laborious in its manufacture. The whole process is manual. And the product is completely natural (unlike cigarettes for which the tobacco is chemically treated). An obvious parallel is wine and indeed many elements of the production process are similar. Tobacco leaf is dried in distinctive curing barns, sorted, stripped of its stems, fermented and matured for up to 2 years (and even 5 years) before it is ‘blended’ and rolled into a finished cigar. And there is a resting period and a further maturation period before sale depending of the nature of the cigar. Then, just like a fine wine, cigars stored in the right conditions of consistent

humidity and temperature will continue to mature and mellow. So cigars of different origins, sizes, blends and styles develop different characters with time and provide the knowledgeable smoker with a gamut of experiences. But unlike wine where bunches of grapes, often mechanically harvested, are crushed in batches, every single tobacco leaf will be manually handled around 150 times before the finished cigar is placed in its box.


The overriding objective for each brand from farm to consumer is absolute consistency. Around 125 million Cuban cigars are exported each year. In the halcyon days of the mid 19th century, exports regularly topped 200 million (with 356 million cigars exported in 1855). Of course the United States embargo deprives the industry of access to a major market, at least directly. In the belief that nothing lasts forever, some stockpiling is built into yearly production planning. Long production cycles for premium product will certainly mean a scarcity of supply and high prices whenever the American market opens up. 32

The Cubans smoke 190 million cigars annually. With only 11 million people this is conspicuous consumption. Local cigars use a different blend of leaf grown mainly on the Eastern side of the island and are somewhat stronger and less refined than the major export brands. Naive tourists are likely to find the Cohibas they are illicitly offered in the streets of Havana, are not the real thing. Indeed boxes without holographic seals may be seized by Cuban customs as you leave the country. Better to shop at authorised stores where stocks are kept in ideal conditions. You can visit one of the main factories and watch the torcedors or more often torcedoras, deftly rolling Cuba’s most famous product. As to the beautiful women, handsome men, sultry music and mojitos, you’ll find them all easily enough! If you have always wanted to see Cuba don’t delay.



Great journeys a as a core for yo

A Special Christmas – India Enjoy Christmas and New Year’s Eve among the ancient architectural treasures of Karnataka and the tropical splendors of Kerala.

A Photographer’s Dream – China Capture the stunning beauty of China’s “Golden Sea ” when millions of rapeseed bloom and the Yuan Yang rice terraces glisten like a stairway to heaven.

February Escape – Sri Lanka Discover the best of Sri Lanka in grand style and with passionate local academics as your mentors. Stay in wonderful handpicked properties meticulously and thoughtfully designed with your comfort and the environment in mind.


Nomads Secrets craft highly personalised and out-of-the-ordinary i knowledge and relaxation. No matter where you wish to t

are best planned well in advance. Here are some thought starters our next bespoke adventure.

Easter in the Andes – Peru Get ready to explore Peru a land of stunning beaches, lofty peaks, charming villages and of course the great Amazon Basin. Add unforgettable legends and centuries-old ruins and you have the perfect destination for a most memorable holiday.

A life-changing journey – Tanzania Discover the heart-breaking beauty, cultural diversity, wildlife and history of Tanzania with professional naturalists and scientists. See the world’s largest concentration of elephants per square kilometre before descending into the mouth of the extinct Ngorongoro Crater, home to 25,000 animals.

Autumn Delights – Italy Voyage through the splendors of Italy during Autumn and enjoy the changing colours of nature as the bright tones of the summer give way to the warm hues of yellows, browns and reds tinging the countryside as you travel unveiling off-the-beatentrack locations and discovering little-known facts and anecdotes about iconic places in your itinerary.

itineraries that match your interests, combine luxury with discovery, travel, we will work with you to create the perfect holiday.


A FINAL WORD Festivals of Rajasthan is an engrossing larger-than-life photographic tour with professional freelance photographer for the New York Times Tony Sernack as your mentor. Tony and our local Tour Leader will lead you to the discovery of the beauty, diversity, colour and festivals of India’s northern regions during the holiest and richest time of the Hindu calendar. Experience the sumptuous and captivating heritage of the subcontinent and its ancient architectural treasures, grand temples, royal palaces and grand gardens and forts. Witness sin-cleansing of the faithful in the sacred Ganges at Varanasi. In Pushkar attend the annual camel fair on the full moon and photograph the livestock traders as they negotiate to sell their prized animals. On this trip you will dine at the table of Indian royals and stay in palaces. This is an opportunity to be part of something truly special, contact us now.


visit us at www.nomadssecrets.com 36

or call us on 1300-670-000 (Australia), 1-888-408-2480 (Toll Free US and Canada), +61-400-741-930 (Worldwide)