Fellow Traveller eMag Edition 2

Page 1

Tasmania’s ancient Tarkine PAGE 6

Eternal Mewar, the world’s oldest dynasty PAGE 12

Hunting for Truffles PAGE 18


History in the making for Tibetan Buddhism PAGE 22

Tanzanian Safari PAGE 31

10 tips for getting better travel photographs of people PAGE 34



Fellow Traveller


elcome to Nomads Secrets and our second edition of Fellow Traveller.

In this eMag there are a variety of stories that might whet your appetite for a future adventure. I was recently in Dharamsala in northern India. It is the home of the Tibetan Government in Exile. Later this year 20 nuns are going to receive the highest degree in Tibetan Buddhism from the Dalai Lama. I am planning to take a small party of women to witness this historic event and also to enjoy a very special trip in India. Elsewhere photojournalist Tony Sernack takes you inside the imposing world of the Maharana of Udaipur and the Mewar Dynasty while Ken Boundy, a former head of Tourism Australia, writes about the ancient forests of the magnificent Tarkine on Tasmania’s west coast.

Last year we were in Italy, travelling from the heel right up to Venice by car, a journey of around 4000kms. Outside Alba in Piedmont we went truffle hunting and I have written a little about that wonderful experience. In May next year we have a trip going to Tanzania and Zanzibar in conjunction with Luxury Travel Magazine and lead by journalist Lisa Doust. It is a great itinerary so if you have always wanted to see East Africa this could be for you. We have also added some new features that will become regular elements of the magazine so I really hope you enjoy this edition of Fellow Traveller. Best wishes Lucia O’Connell



One of the world’s most spectacular walks is from Fira to Oia on the Greek Island of Santorini. With the caldera of the famous volcano on your left it is an easy walk along the rim via the villages of Firostefani and Imerovigli to Oia with postcard views all along the way. The walk takes around 4 hours and you can return to Fira by taxi or bus. Plan to arrive in Oia for sunset.

Other walks on Santorini will take you through vineyards, to visit wineries and farms and to meet islanders in their homes. With excellent guides these walks add a real dimension to your trip. You will experience places normally seen by few tourists, through the eyes of a local and get some spectacular photos from ‘secret’ locations.


l i u q n a r T




The Tarkine is one of the world’s great wild places. It is an expansive 447,000 hectare wilderness area of recognised World Heritage significance in the North-West corner of Tasmania, Australia’s island state. It has one of the world’s most significant remaining tracts of temperate rainforest. Ken Boundy writes passionately about this very special place.


n the north west of Tasmania 447,000 hectares of wild country, full of natural wonder and cultural values, is known as the Tarkine. Within these borders is the world’s second largest tract of temperate rainforest – a wilderness that has miraculously survived untouched for over 60 million years. It is a remnant of the ancient supercontinent Gondwana, outlasting dinosaurs and dramatic shifts in global climate. The area, bordered by the Pieman and Arthur Rivers, the Murchison Highway and the Southern Ocean, also contains vast button grass plains, eucalypt ridges, massive sand dunes along a rugged coast, marshes, networks of creeks, and tannin stained rivers. In a world where wild places are disappearing, visitors are increasingly valuing the essence of the Tarkine – for both its natural wonder and links to original earth. As Chris Bell in the prelude to his magnificent book on the Tarkine writes, “Tasmania’s Tarkine is a landscape of spiky headlands and empty beaches, of white dunes, green lungs and red rivers. Where the interior western rainforests are drenched by an annual rainfall measured in metres. Where bleak is beautiful. It is a landscape largely unmodified by modern humans and our knowledge of it is rudimentary”.


In the recent past those who value the intact Tarkine have battled with logging and mining incursions. There are others who believe that selective logging and controlled mineral extraction, with rehabilitation in designated areas, can co-exist with those areas of special rainforest that should never be disturbed. There is also an emerging view that responsible access to the Tarkine on foot is, in fact the best way of ensuring its protection, through a more widespread community understanding of its specialness. A Tarkine Track, ending at Corinna, is being planned and may well become as significant as the Overland Track at nearby Cradle Mountain. Enabling responsible access to this special place was the driver behind four partners who took over the lease on a little town called Corinna in 2005. Corinna had been a deserted gold mining town for more than 100 years and has become an ecotourism springboard to

the treasures of the southern Tarkine. Corinna unlocks some breathtaking experiences. For example, the Whyte River walk with its scores of fungi, mosses and lichens at their best in the autumn; an intimate connection with the rainforest from the Pieman River aboard a Huon Pine river cruiser; walks up Mount Donaldson to the vistas of the Tarkine; a wild coast where the nearest landmass due west is two thirds of the way around the world; encounters with Bennett’s wallabies, Tasmanian devils, white sea eagles and burrowing yabbies; the awe of thousand year old huon pine trees; the Tarkiner people’s middens in giant sand dunes; platypus in tannin stained creeks; and a waterfall in a unique magnesite cylinder. The Tarkine is a photographer’s wonderland, an artist’s mecca and for all, a spiritual place that nourishes the soul and restores one’s faith in the future of our planet. Language struggles to describe its essence, beautiful images may get closer but experiencing is believing. While there is a tendency for locals to take the region for granted, visitors generally leave not only rejuvenated but also filled with a sense of the need to preserve this precious asset for future generations.

Ken Boundy Ken is a part owner of Corinna Wilderness Experience. He is a former MD of Tourism Australia, is Chairman of the Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney and sits on several other boards. Opposite page: Top left and bottom right, Walks through ancient rainforest. Top right, The accommodation at Corinna is build to resemble the old buildings from its gold mining era. Lower left, The coastline at the mouth of the Pieman River is wild and spectacular.

The Tarkine is a photographe r’s wonde rland



Early morning on the Pieman River



Mewar Shriji Avrind Singh Mewar 12

Maharana of Udaipur in his City Palace Words and photographs Tony Sernack



hriji Avrind Singh Mewar became the 76th ruler in the

in the northern Indian kingdom

of Mewar, with its capital at Udaipur in 1984, continuing an unbroken line dating back to 734AD.

Rajasthan has many Maharajas but Shriji is the only Maharana (literally ‘Great King’ in Hindi) and custodian of the world’s longest serving dynasty and he well looks the part. In his early 70’s, luxuriously bearded and when in full ceremonial garb he looks the archetype of the era of the tiger hunt, polo and royal living. But below the image is a modern thinker who has created the brand ‘Eternal Mewar’ and is determined to see it continue to flourish for many more generations and contribute to the development of his region and of India. The family’s HRH Group (Historic Resort Hotels) operates 10 properties in Rajasthan and additionally owns the famous Lake Palace Hotel in Udaipur that featured in the Bond film Octopussy. This ultra luxurious property has been subject to a wonderful renovation and is operated for the family by the Taj Group. The Maharana is proud of the relationship “Today we have the longest running corporate relationship in India of 50 years with Taj. We first ran the property for 10 years ourselves. There is a one-word answer as to why we have stuck with Taj. Integrity.”


has also been actively involved in the Group’s charitable activities. Padmaja lives in Boston and is married to Dr Kush Parmar, who is principal of 5AM Ventures an early-stage venture capital firm focused on building next-generation life science companies. Founded in 2002, 5AM Ventures has around $US700 million under management. Shriji encouraged by his own father, spent three years working in leading hotels in Chicago as a young man. His son Lakshyaraj or Raj, undertook hospitality industry studies in Australia at the Blue Mountains Hotel Management School and did an internship at Sydney’s Four Seasons Hotel and subsequently studied management at the Cornell-Nanyang Institute of Hospitality Management, in Singapore. When Raj returned home he oversaw the redevelopment of the Jagmandir Island Palace in Udaipur’s Lake Pichola, transforming an abandoned ruin into one of the world’s most exclusive wedding sites. Raj is a trustee of the family’s Charitable Foundation and in particular is involved in the running of the Foundation’s educational trust and its two schools with over 4000 students. Currently the charitable work is funded fully by the family. The Maharana would like to see the work develop with more resources via partnerships. The current focus of the Foundation is to aid women, education and also music.

I first visited in 1971 playing cricket for Rajasthan. Sadly I wasn’t good enough to play for India

The City Palace in Udaipur, part of which is the family home, now incorporates a convention centre. The Maharana’s vision is wider than tourism. He would like to establish Udaipur as a ‘destination of excellence’ and create a city that is vibrant and proactive; a natural meeting place for national and international leaders in many fields of endeavor.

Shriji is chair of the HRH management group, consisting of his wife and their three “We like to lead from the front. Lead by children, daughters Bhargavi and example. The convention centre can be a place for great Padmaja, and son Lakshyaraj. While born into unique ideas, A meeting point for doctors, scientists, artists. circumstances, all are accomplished. Elder daughter Providing tourism of a different style” Bhargavi started ‘Aashka’ a lifestyle boutique showcasing “HRH is very traditional but not to the extent of being rigid. the handicrafts and handloom products of the Mewar Our philosophy is based on four elements. Foresight. region. She currently lives in Jaipur with her polo playing Planning way ahead. Change. And being connected to husband and two children. the real world in the time and period in which we live.” Padmaja started her career with the Four Seasons “Contemporise Mewar. Not live in the 18th century. It is Hotel in New York, coordinating services for the hotel’s the common thread of 76 generations.” top guests. She is now translating this experience to Clearly the Maharana has thought a lot about the Mewar the development of the HRH Group in dealing with the legacy and his custodianship of what he sees is the luxury market while representing the Group in the USA and internationally at travel forums and trade shows. She Mewar brand.

The Lake Palace Hotel MG TC that is one of the Maharana’s car collection Room of Mirrors, City Palace Below, Raj, the future leader of the Mewar dynasty

“We have a head start. Credibility.” We talk about Australia. “I first visited in 1971 playing cricket for Rajasthan. Sadly I wasn’t good enough to play for India” he laments. “Raj had expected to play while he was in Australia but didn’t,” says his father. Raj had already told me unasked about his cricket kit staying on top of his wardrobe. One suspects that the dashing Raj, prince of Udaipur, found other diversions in Sydney. Cricket is large in the family. Raj is President of the Udaipur District Cricket Association and a Special Invitee

of the Rajasthan Cricket Association an Advisor to The President of Rajasthan Cricket Association. His sister Padmaja is a member of the famous Cricket Club of India in Mumbai, as is their father. Returning to building tourism, the Maharana is pragmatic about what it takes “The average Aussie traveller can’t be sermonized for more than an hour a day. All we do is sermonize so he goes to Indonesia. But we’ve got everything. Language to begin with. Remember that backpackers move on to become seasoned travellers”


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.

May and Oct 2017 SERENGETI, NGORONGORO, ZANZIBAR 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. 16

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.


Truffle Hunters of Alba 18

The gentle pastime of searching for white and black truffles in Northern Italy can be highly competitive and sometimes downright dangerous

By Lucia O’Connell


As a northern Italian I am well aware that the best truffles come from the Piedmont area and the countryside around the town of Alba.


hen we were there late last year the annual Truffle Fair was on in Alba (which is also known for its hazelnuts and is the ‘home’ of Nutella) so it was a good time to go out with a respected ‘trifolao’ and experience a truffle hunt. Many of us have experienced the taste and distinctive smell of the truffle in Italian or French cuisine, although when you are in truffle country in season, truffle enhanced dishes become omnipresent in every local restaurant.

What is a truffle? Simply it is basically a tuber mushroom that grows underground, usually developing near the roots of trees. The mycelium or filament network from which they develop can extend across large areas in the soil. There are many varieties of truffle but the ‘white truffle’ or trifola d’Alba Madonna (yes the name says it all!) is regarded as the most prized and certainly most expensive and typically sells for around 350-400 Euros per 100 grams (Note the gold price you see every night in the finance news is quoted as US$ per ounce. One ounce is a little over 28 grams, so truffles are very well described as ‘white gold’).


However truffle hunting is more a serious pastime than a profession. Firstly it is highly seasonal and secondly success, like any treasure hunt, can be ephemeral. We arranged to spend a morning with Carlo, a retired schoolteacher, a long time truffle hunter who was able to explain the intricacies of being a trifolao and the biology of the truffles he seeks. We met on the edge of the forest and near groves of hazelnut and beech trees. Carlo had his dog Stella. Generally it is believed that female dogs make the best truffle hunters. It takes a few months to train a dog and really good dogs are highly valued. They spend many hours walking the countryside with their owners and clearly form a strong bond beyond their working relationship. You may have thought truffles are sniffed out by pigs. In Italy pigs have been banned since 1985 because they damaged the mycelia and this reduced production. Pigs also had the unfortunate habit of eating the truffles they

found whereas trained dogs are much easier to control. The human truffle hunters are themselves registered and carry a permit. Trifolai are naturally protective of their best hunting grounds and indeed much of the hunting usually takes place late in the evening, at night or very early in the morning to better keep their secrets. We talked with Carlo about the training and the value of exceptional dogs. He told the story of his last dog who was a great hunter. She was also envied by a less than scrupulous competitor and sadly was baited with poisoned truffle. Even in this seemingly gentle pastime, dangers lurk. He showed us a short video on his phone of her finding a monstrous white truffle that she unearthed from deep underground. Carlo, a gentle, thoughtful and good-natured man was clearly deeply affected by the cruel loss of his companion. As we walked around the groves of trees, Carlo constantly communicated with his dog. In a spot by a beech tree she started pawing the ground, digging. Carlo rewarded her with a snack from his jacket pocket, he then knelt and dug down with a trowel to reveal a white (really more light brown) truffle about the size of a golf ball. It emitted the distinctive aroma and was surprisingly weighty and dense. After our morning with Carlo and Stella we visited the annual truffle fair in Alba, where black and white truffles were being judged, displayed and sold alongside local wines, cheeses and a profusion of truffle flavoured foods. It is a major event in a town preoccupied with all things gastronomic. The 86th Fiera Internazionale del Tartufo Bianco D’Alba runs from October 8th through November 27th 2016. The best truffles are often found in late November and in December.


HISTORY IN THE MAKING A Journey Across Northern India To Celebrate Womanhood


2016 marks an historic year for Tibetan Buddhism. Towards the end of this year, twenty pioneering nuns will receive the prestigious Geshema Degree from His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama. This is a first in the 1300 year history of Tibetan Buddhism. Currently the Department of Religion and Culture, part of the Tibetan Government in Exile, with guidance from His Holiness is in the process of finalising the timing and location of this very significant event. The ordination will fulfil a longstanding aspiration by His Holiness to bestow the same recognition to worthy women that is bestowed upon men. This historic occasion will mark a new chapter in the development of nuns’ community in Tibetan society and Tibetan Buddhist history.



he Geshema degree is the female equivalent of the Geshe degree conferred upon Tibetan Buddhist monks. It is the highest level of training and scholarship in the Gelugpa school of Tibetan Buddhism and it represents the culmination of 17 years of studies and complex exams. The event also represents an important step in the recognition of the equality of women inside the broader Buddhist and Indian communities.


Lucia O’Connell travelled to Dharamsala recently to meet with the sister-in-law of the Dalai Lama, Mrs. Rinchen Khando Choegyal. The Noble Lady as part of the Government in Exile, has been instrumental in this program and in working on building the education and opportunities for women in general.

Top Lucia with Mrs Rinchen Khando Choegyal Middle The Dolma Ling Nunnery in Dharamsala With the Venerable Lonsang Dechen Choedon, the co-director of the Tibetan Nuns Project


In Dharamsala the group will stay in the home and guesthouse of Mrs Choegyal to interact with the architects of this project and learn about the journey of the nuns. On either side of the time in Dharamsala the group will travel in northern India and explore Kashmir and Srinagar, visit the former Kingdom of Ladakh, see monasteries and spiritual sites, experience extraordinary vistas and learn from leading experts. A key feature of the 16-day trip will be meeting local women from all walks of life and social standings to gain an understanding of their lives, beliefs and aspirations. Lucia has arranged to meet leading journalists, artists, writers and filmmakers who will provide a current and


interactive commentary on India and its various cultures today and where they see it heading. This is a fantastic opportunity to not only gain a close perspective of history in the making but, more broadly, to experience India in a unique and enlightening way, while also seeing some of its superb landscapes and unique treasures. Places are strictly limited, so if you are interested please contact Lucia O’Connell at lc@nomadssecrets.com for the full itinerary and other details.


O 28

n the waterfront of the port town of Kochi fishermen sell their catch. Freshly caught fish, jumbo prawns, crabs and lobsters. Nearby across the park is a line of small restaurants, very simple affairs with outdoor seating under a bamboo awning and shade cloth that gives everything a slightly bluish tinge. At one end is Little Maxim’s owned by Jude Allen Stephens a tall mustached Indian who was once the executive chef at the Southern Spice at the famed 5 star Taj Coromandel Hotel in Chennai.

LOCAL DELIGHTS Great eating from around the world Little Maxim’s, Kochi, Kerala India

With his formal training and skills he opted to follow his dream open his own little restaurant and focus on turning fresh seafood into a wonderful feast, His specialty is Porichathu cuisine, which mixes Keralan and Portuguese flavours. We enjoyed our mud crabs and jumbo prawns, simply served but perfectly prepared. If you are in Kochi and it’s lunchtime head for Little Maxim’s. Simple but sublime.


Nomads Secrets Expert


Lisa Doust Born and raised in the Australian outback, Lisa dreamed of visiting distant lands from a young age and has since become an accomplished travel journalist traversing the globe in search of inspiring travel destinations, interesting stories and unforgettable people. Having helped to launch a number of upmarket magazines in Sydney and London, Lisa has written about everything from luxury spas and glorious gardens to family-friendly destinations and the benefits of making a sea/tree change. Having interviewed countless personalities and written profiles for some of Australia’s most renowned chefs and restaurants, Lisa always aims to get to the heart

of a story. She searches for locals who are passionate about their corner of the world. Lisa aspires to enrich the travel experience for her fellow adventurers by seeking out hidden treasures – whether she’s exploring a nature reserve with a Maasai guide in Tanzania, surrendering to a spa treatment in Sri Lanka or talking to leather experts at San Lorenzo Market in Florence. For Lisa, the key to a successful journey is a combination of fabulous accommodation, unforgettable culinary and cultural experiences and engaging with locals willing to share their unique stories along the way.



with Lisa Doust

Nomads Secrets and Luxury Travel Magazine have combined to offer a 16-day / 15-night luxury safari in East Africa.

Maasai. The trip concludes with four days exploring the spice island of Zanzibar and relaxing at an exclusive beach resort.

Limited to 10 people you will see Kilimanjaro, the Serengeti, Oldivai, Ngorongoro Crater and the Mara. Enjoy luxury camps, the best game guides and interact with local tribes, the Datoga, Hadzabe and

You can read Lisa’s story about this trip and see the detailed itinerary at http://www.luxurytravelmag.com. au/articles/2016/apr/18/tanzaniawild-and-beautiful-lisa-doust or contact us at Nomads Secrets


SPIRITUAL SAFARI Continued... 32








10 tips

for getting better travel photographs of people It is great to return home after a trip with a swag of wonderful landscapes, glorious sunsets and beautifully framed images of famous landmarks. In most cases these subjects have been shot millions of times and you have to work hard to come up with a different angle that says something more than just ‘I was there’. Great people shots however are always different. They provide a sense of a country through its people, their features, their dress, customs and work. They also tell the viewer something about that person, perhaps at one level as a representative of their race or tribe but also about them as an individual.


Everyone has a story. When we travel we have the opportunity to meet other nationalities and hear something of their stories. How they live, what is important to them and also what, as humans, we share in common. As photographers we should strive to tell something of their story in the images we bring home.

Here are some ways that may help you do that.


Engage with your subject

Whether you are shooting a close up portrait or just showing someone doing their job, engagement is the key ingredient to great people shots. Look at what is going on, absorb the story in front of you, make eye contact, be friendly, talk to your subject and ask about what they are doing. Try and create some rapport. Don’t just raise your camera to your eye and start shooting. Put yourself in your subject’s shoes. You wouldn’t like it if a DSLR toting tourist just walked up to you and poked a zoom lens in your face without asking permission overtly or tacitly. Snatch and grab shots will generally look just that, with suspicious or angry eyes and poor composition.

Move in close. Huli Duna dancer from the Southern Highlands of Papua New Guinea provides a dramatic close up.

2. Understand and respect local customs

Generally people don’t mind being photographed provided they are asked and their dignity is respected. Often they will give you the time to get the good shot you are after, if you show a real interest in them. However there are times and places where photography is not welcome. Photographing inside religious shines, certain ceremonies, inside homes or women for instance. I had a situation in Italy where an innocent shot of a little boy at a funfair, while fine with the mother, caused a major hassle with the father. Respect is key. Often people are just sick of camera toting tourists. If there is a headman they may clear the way for you or your guide can help.

3. Relax If you are relaxed then that will relax your subject. A good shot after all is really a collaboration between the two of you. You want it to feel natural not strained. On your part be prepared. When the time comes to shot, you don’t want to be fiddling with dials and settings or changing lenses. You want to be focused seeing that rapport, that human interchange, inside the frame.

This man in Samoa throws coconuts into the blowhole that are then shot high into the air. The frame is filled will all relevant information. 37


Survey the surrounds

Think about the shot you are trying to make. Look at the background. Is it part of the story or better out of focus? Will the shapes or colours in the background detract from the main subject? In most cases simplicity will be better than an overly busy backdrop. In your haste to get the shot, watch out for horizon lines, poles and trees and all those sorts of things that when ill placed (such as coming out of the subjects head) just kill the shot.

5. Take your time and compose the shot. This couple was oblivious of my presence even though I was only about 1 metre away!

Move closer

I like being close to my subject. I often use a fixed focal length wide-angle lens (it is also less intimidating that a big zoom). A 20mm lens might seem extreme and it takes a little practice to avoid distortion but it allows you to capture the atmosphere around the subject, sometimes to bring in other people without them being aware they are in the frame. A standard 50mm or 85mm are also great.


Fill the frame

Some of the best shots are extreme close ups. Avoid the cliché of the subject standing alongside a classic vista. After all you are trying to capture something of the individual and their life, not a family snap.


Focus on the eyes

I like my subjects to be engaged with the camera and me and so with the viewer in the final image. Think of McCurry’s Afghan Girl. The eyes need to be sharp. We seek out people’s eyes to assess them and their feelings. So it is in a photograph. If the subject is looking away from the camera then there should be a reason for it (ie focused on their work, looking out to sea or whatever).

Engage your subject. I spent sometime with Koho, New York’s master of Sumi painting before making this portrait.


Compose the shot

Take your time, use the rule of thirds, wait for the rest of the frame to be right if there is movement. Move your feet, change perspective. Don’t be afraid to ask the subject to move if necessary. Speed and some luck are involved but you are generally unlikely to get a great shot in one click. If you have the opportunity to move around take it. Also move distractions out of frame if you can. That piece of paper or garbage bin doesn’t have to be there. Your objective is a great shot within the circumstances available to you.


Use the light

Nothing new here. It’s what photography is all about. When taking shots of people avoid sharp sunlight and harsh shadows. Shade (and overcast days) can be your friend. My photography is by nature photojournalistic and I almost never use a flash. Try and use the available light to create mood and drama. A piece of cardboard or a white wall can provide an effective fill light. If you can, position your subject to where a soft light falls on their face.


Use the light. In this case there was hardly any, just what came from this camel trader’s campfire in Pushkar, India.

Show them the image

Most people like to see a good shot of themselves. Their friends will too and it may lead to other opportunities. Digital cameras allow us to do this and further engage with the subject. If they have an email, send them a copy when you have edited it. In short say thank you. People are often very generous with their time to allow you to photograph them.

A couple of years ago I spent a few minutes trying to convince a wonderful old lady in Montmartre to be photographed but to no avail. Some great shots do get away but move on. The next one is around the corner. Tony Sernack is a freelance photographer based in Sydney. He work has appeared in the New York Times and International Herald Tribune. His most recent book ‘One Week Before’ documents the new year celebrations in Nepal just a week before the devastating earthquake of April 2015. All proceeds from the sale of the book are going to help the reconstruction of schools.

Seek permission. This image, made in a temple in Rajasthan, is all the stronger from the fact that the two priests are clearly engaged. Note also that both are framed by the arches so the columns aren’t coming out of their heads!








3 REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD BE SPENDING EASTER 2017 IN PERU Easter is a time of celebration for Christians around the world and it offers the opportunity to witness some of the deepest cultural manifestations that shape the life, beliefs and behaviours of entire communities and nations. One of the most extraordinary places to visit at this time of year is Peru, where you can experience the deep influences of pre-columbian and religious legacies in a crescendo of activities and symbolism as you explore the iconic and off-the-beaten-path destinations on your journey. The amazing Peruvian world, beautiful, mysterious and intriguing most of the year, gains a new dimension during Easter as people of all walks of life, indigenous origins and traditions, prepare themselves to celebrate with vigour and fervour the most significant event in the Christian calendar – The Resurrection of Christ.


You do not need to be Christian however to enjoy this time, just as you do not need to be Hindu to enjoy Diwali (Festival of Lights), or Buddhist to appreciate Vesak (Buddha’s Birthday). The Easter period provides the framework to gain a deeper and more meaningful appreciation of the drivers that shape the society and folklore of one of the most interesting nations in South America.












Religious procession During Semana Santa or Easter Week Peruvians from the capital Lima to the ancient world of Machu Picchu and the sparse settlements of the floating islands of Lake Titicaca, adorn their surroundings with intense colour, plan and participate in elaborate processions and dances while the air fills with music and spring flowers decorate their homes, monuments, plazas and churches. The rich and complex Peruvian pageantry reaches the apex of its expression from mourning the death of Jesus Christ, to celebrating His Resurrection on Easter Sunday. Make sure to be in Cusco on Easter Sunday. The former Inca capital is the place to be. Its splendid Baroque churches and the town streets fill with enormous crowds, brass bands and colourfully dressed folk groups sharing their joy and happiness the whole day long. Street artists, agricultural fairs and the odd equestrian display will amuse you and entertain until you are ready to drop. Peruvians, known for their warmth, love of music and dance, and strong sense of community make Easter Week truly memorable for visitors looking to connect more meaningfully with the roots of this fascinating Andean nation.









Traditional Peruvian Tacu Tacu (African inspired pan fried rice and bean cake) Long established as the most sophisticated culinary destination in the Americas, Peru is a delight for food lovers who can experience everything from the tasty street food freshly prepared during fiestas at local markets to the mouthwatering fusion ensembles carefully created by master chefs at the trendiest locals in the nation. Superb dishes of wonderful seafood from Peru’s long coastline, to strange tubers from the Andes come together under the masterful genius of their creators using a mélange of secret traditions and modern touches that will leave you craving for more. The array of culinary diversity is further enriched at Easter time where traditional dishes ranging from soups like Chupe de Camarones, A spicy chowder laden with prawns, potatoes, egg, cheese and garlic, to beautifully fresh and delicate Ceviche, Rocoto Belleno or Ocapo through to decadent desserts like Turron de Chocolate and candied apples delight local patrons’ palates and curious visitors everywhere. 42

A culinary voyage through Peru, would not be complete without tasting its wines and wonderful aguardiente and Pisco Sour. The latter being the well-known national drink, consisting of lime juice, simple syrup, egg white, ice and Angostura bitters.












Macaws at Manu Biosphere Reserve For most, Peru is all about Machu Picchu and the Inca ruins, with maybe a few Catholic churches thrown in for balance. While their significance and influence are undeniable as they have forged the heritage of the Peruvian people and their world, in truth, Peru offers so much more to the curious visitor. From remote trekking, shaman experiences, gastronomical adventures, majestic snow-covered mountains, amazing beaches, the natural beauty of the rainforest, the isolation of the desert, cultural experiences and incredible luxury and indulgence, Peru is like no other. Did you know that the Peruvian Amazon Rainforest is 40% more diverse and richer than its the Brazilian counterpart? Or that you can see 1,000 colourful macaws and other spectacular birds flying overhead at the time just outside Cusco at Manu Biosphere reserve considered the best in the world? Other wonderful experiences close to my heart which make me love Peru and long to visit it again and again are:







Trekking the Cordillera Blanca in Huaraz

If trekking is your passion, then you can’t overlook exploring the Cordillera Blanca and catching glimpses of Huascarån, the highest mountain in Peru at 6,768 metres (22,205 ft). Our guides define the experience as arguably the best in South America for trekking. For those of you who are super fit and eager there is a chance to experience some fabulous mountain climbing too.

Maras Salt Pool


On the way between Cusco and Machu Picchu in an area called Sacred Valley, you will find a series of man-made terraced pools chiselled out of the hillside, creating a striking landscape, much like the tanning/dying pools in Fez, Morocco. During the dry season, all the water harvested from the nearby Qoripujio Spring evaporates, leaving behind mineral-rich, highly prized pink Peruvian salt. The precious and much sought after commodity has been sold in Cusco since pre-columbian times and you can purchase it on site for a song.










Children snacking in traditional clothes

The hard part is not finding something you want to do in Peru, but trying to find time for what takes your fancy. We put together a wonderful programme to give you a taste of what is possible. Visit our Visions of Peru tour , to get an idea of what you can experience. We want your travels to be unforgettable and fabulous, so ask us to customise further according to your specific interests.

Lucia O’Connell PS. Outside of the Easter festivities, if you want to explore Peru at its very best weather wise then June through August is the time to go.



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.

March 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-beaten-track 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.


Visit fascinating China in 2017

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