Fellow Traveller eMag issue 09

Page 1


eMag Number 9

Contact Lucia today to plan your next adventure lc@nomadssecrets.com www.nomadssecrets.com 1300 670 000 (Australia) +61 (1) 400 741 930 (Worldwide) 1 888 408 2480 (USA and Canada)





eMag Number 9

eMag Number 9









I WITNESS, UBUD Singular views from around the world

DJANGO LIVES... IN BATTERSEA! Gypsy Jazz is alive and well in London




Fellow Traveller is a periodic eMag published by Nomads Secrets and dedicated to the Art of Exploration. Lucia O’Connell Founder Tony Sernack Editor Will Farge Design Tony Sernack Photography Fellow Travellers who contributed to this edition Peter White

REEF Journey through the Whitsundays

I WITNESS, SICILY Singular views from around the world

VILLA D'ESTE Renaissance Splendor

CHASING TIGERS On safari in India

I WITNESS, PORTSMOUTH Singular views from around the world

PAMUKKALE Exploring manmade and natural wonders in Turkey



Travelling with Nomads Secrets


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.

Welcome to Nomads Secrets and

Fellow Traveller


rafting a great journey requires expertise and experience. However it all starts with open communication between the client and the designer. When the client expresses a desire to visit a particular place, it is important to truly understand the reasons that have led him or her to make that choice. Are their expectations consistent with what the destination has to offer? What attracts them specifically to one country rather than another? Critically this is their trip, not the designer’s. As such every journey is created with the clients’ personality and aspirations in mind. The designer’s role is to suggest the most befitting components that transform the client’s vision into tangible, fulfilling and enjoyable experiences. Once the overall plan is agreed, the next stage involves a period of intense activity. Premium experiences and resources are generally difficult to secure. The very nature of the best is that it is unique and in high demand. Beyond accommodation, securing the services of the best guides and experts relies heavily on relationships. The key to success is time and access to the right resources. Time to plan well in advance and time for the required back-and-forth exchange of draft material between designer and client that can last days, weeks and sometimes months depending of the complexity of the journey. Access to the right people and infrastructure are essential to move from the design to the implementation phase. The product of this intense stage is the blue print that unveils the quintessence of the places our clients will visit. Each element in a Nomads Secrets’ journey is considered individually and with great care to ensure that it fits snuggly into the overall itinerary, maintaining a balance between information, fun, self-discovery and relaxation. This edition of Fellow Traveller offers a rich variety of destinations to whet your appetite, from the man-made opulence of Villa D’Este to the natural wonder that is the Great Barrier Reef. Enjoy Lucia O'Connell


A call to Women Travellers Nomads Secrets is designing special trips that are

just for women


he motivation has come from listening to women and their desire to travel in style, in small groups and with other likeminded women, who enjoy interests that men often don’t share.

These exclusive journeys will appeal to solo travellers or a group of friends. With a maximum of 8 participants, we will stay in luxury accommodation, enjoy the privacy of our own room (unless you wish to share with a friend) and have the very best expert guides, cars and drivers. I will personally escort each trip. Travelling in total comfort and security, we will explore the finest of art, cuisine, customs and culture and meet prominent local women who will share their world with us.

Most importantly these journeys will be unique and tailor-made to incorporate the interests of all participants.


Nomads Secrets is currently planning one trip in 2018 and two trips in 2019 Nov 2018

May 2019

Sep 2019

18 days in

20 days in

16 days in

Hidden Italy

East Africa

Northern India

If this sounds like you (and your friends), please email me by the end of February to register your interest and join the select group, who will help shape and live these incredible journeys.

Register your interest by 28th February 2018

Email Lucia O’Connell at


There is a long history of women travellers who have ventured to known and unknown destinations, explored new worlds and gained unique perspectives on different cultures.


ome famously have written of their adventures and inspired others to follow in their footsteps. Others are driven by not accepting anyone’s preconceived limitations but following what they want to do as there is no reason they can’t.

Whatever your reasons to travel Nomads Secrets is calling out to women fellow travellers interested in being part of small group adventures to some of the world’s most fascinating destinations.


Reef Story & images by Tony Sernack


On the 4th June 1770* Captain James Cook recorded in his log:

“ This passage I have named Whitsunday's Passage, as it was discoverd (sic) on the day the Church commemorates that Festival and the Isles which form it Cumberland Isles — in honour of His Royl (sic) on Highness the Duke of Cumberland.” * Australian time. It is interesting to note that in 1770 June 4th was a Monday, but Cook thought it was Sunday the 3rd, as longitudinal time zones were not well understood at the time.



even days later on June 11th Cook made another discovery, the Great Barrier Reef, literally by running into it. The peril of the Endeavour’s situation was well recorded in Cook’s log (see following extracts). Cook had accidentally discovered the largest structure in the world made of living organisms. Today, the Great Barrier Reef is of such environmental importance that it is protected as a World Heritage Site.

There are 74 islands in the Whitsundays located off the northern coast of Queensland. They were created when sea levels rose, and mountains submerged, their tops now protruding from the Coral Sea. The Whitsundays, with their clear blue sea, endless horizon and pristine white sand beaches attract sailors, divers and snorkelers, kayakers and fishermen from around the world. And a trip out to the Reef from one of the island resorts or Airlie Beach on the mainland is a must do for every visitor. At sea level the Reef is spectacular especially low tide. Visitors have the opportunity to swim and snorkel and experience the rich and colourful array of fish and corals. It is however from the air that the marvel of the Reef is best appreciated. Recently we chartered a plane to photograph the Reef from above. Strapped in and with the back door open, wherever I pointed the camera there was a wonderful pattern of corals, pale green through deep blue water that seemed to stretch forever.


On the way back to the coast we passed over the blinding white stretch that is Whitehaven Beach and the extraordinary patterns of water and sand made by the tidal shifts at Hill inlet on Whitsunday Island, the largest of the 74 islands.

If a picture is a thousand words then perhaps these pictures are better to stand on their own. Suffice to say that the flight over the Reef is right up with some of the great travel experiences. The thought that we might jeopardise the Reef through man-made climate change, mining or pollution is an anathema.


In Cook’s own words

"...the ship struck, and remained immovable, except by the heaving of the surge that beat her against the crags of the rock upon which she lay. In a few moments everybody was upon the deck, with countenances, which sufficiently expressed the horrors of our situation. We had stood off the shore three hours and a half, with a pleasant breeze, and therefore knew that we could not be very near it, and we had too much reason to conclude that we were upon rock of coral, which is more fatal than any other, because the points of it are sharp, and every part of the surface so rough, as to grind away whatever is rubbed against it, even with the gentlest motion�.



In an effort to lighten Endeavour and free her, Cook ordered his men to jettison as much as possible, as he wrote in his log

“ ...six of our guns, being all we had upon deck, our iron and stone baliast (sic), casks, hoopstaves, oil-jars, decayed stores, and many other things that lay in the way of heavier materials, were thrown overboard with the utmost expedition, everyone exerting himself with an alacrity almost approaching to cheerfulness, without the least repining or discontent, yet the men were so far impressed with a sense of their situation, that no an oath was heard among them, the habit of profaneness, however strong, being instantly subdued by the dread of incurring guilt when death seemed to be so near�.




The hull was breached and water rushing in, countering the efforts of the crew to lighten the ship. Cook calmly reports the consequences. “About five o'clock in the afternoon, we observed the tide begin to rise, but observed at the same time that the leak increased to a most alarming degree, so that two more pumps, however, were kept going, and at nine o'clock the ship righted; but the leak had gained upon us so considerably, that it was imagined she must go to the bottom as soon as she ceased to be supported by the rock. This was a dreadful circumstance, so that we anticipated the floating of the ship not as an earnest of deliverance, but as an event that would probably precipitate our destruction. We well knew that our boats were not capable of carrying us all on shore, and that when the dreadful crisis should arrive, as all command and subordination would be at an end”…. Here they were, alone and halfway across the world, their ship well offshore (and an inhospitable shore at that) and sinking. The experience and ingenuity of his crew saved the day.


… “Mr. Monkhouse, one of my midshipmen, came to me, and proposed an expedient that he had once seen used on board a merchantship, which had sprung a leak that admitted above four feet water an hour, and which by this expedient, was brought safely from Virginia to London; ….. the expedient, which is called fothering the ship, was immediately committed, four or five of the people being appointed to assist him, and he performed it in this manner. He took a lower studdingsail, and having mixed together a quantity of oakum and wool, chopped pretty small, he stitched it down in handfuls upon the sail, as lightly as possible, and over this he spread the dung of our sheep and other filth; but horse dung, if we had it, would have been better. When the sail was thus prepared, it was hauled under the ship's bottom by ropes, which kept it extended, and when it came under the leak, the suction which carried in the water, carried in the oakum and wool from the surface of the sail, which in other parts the water was not sufficiently agitated to wash off. By the success of this expedient our leak was so far reduced, that instead of gaining upon three pumps, it was easily kept under with one. This was a new source of confidence and comfort, the people could scarcely have expressed more joy if they had been already in port”….


Having escaped disaster, Cook beached the Endeavour and effected repairs before continuing north in his search of the Great South Land, which he had of course already found.



SICILY Caltabellotta On the west side of the island of Sicily and about 20km inland from the fishing port of Sciacca sits the town of Caltabellotta. The name comes from the Arabic Qalat al Balad, meaning 'castle in the rock' which well describes the town’s major attraction. Some 900 metres above sea level, Caltabellotta provides a pararamic view of the valley below and to the Mediterranean. Its military value led the invading Normans (under Roger of Sicily) to attack and seize the Arab garrison there in 1090. They then rebuilt their own castle into and around the rocky spur that dominates the town. While today an interesting diversion for travellers heading to the ruins at Agrigento, it was the site of the Peace of Caltabellota that ended the War of the Sicilian Vespers in 1302. ◆ 20





The extraordinary gardens of Villa d'Este

plendor S It is a little hard to get one's mind around the splendor of Villa d'Este and the life and times of its creator Ippolito II d'Este.


Situated at Tivoli outside Rome, the famous Villa d’Este has one of the greatest Renaissance gardens, festooned with extraordinary fountains and water features. 24


Suffice to say this was a family of power, politics, religion, intrigue and considerable wealth.


ppolito II d’Este was born in 1509 in Ferrara in northern Italy (near, and northeast of, Bologna), the second son of Duke Alfonso I d’Este. So Ippolito was born into nobility. He was named after his uncle who was a Cardinal. Now his grandfather was Pope Alexander VI. And yes while ‘unusual’ the Church and the nobility accepted his linage. Ippolito’s mother had been married twice before her union with Alfonso. Having the Holy Father as your father seemed to have helped move her first husband along (albeit he had to publically sign papers confessing impotence) and her second husband, the half brother of her own brother’s wife was murdered two years into their marriage (purportedly by another of her brothers). And you thought your family was complex. Ippolito’s mother was Lucrezia Borgia. Her third marriage lasted 17 years although both Lucrezia and Alfonso had numerous affairs. She had a long relationship with her brother-in-law Francesco much to the chagrin of her husband’s sister, Isabella. The affair ended when Francesco contracted syphilis. She then went on to the poet Bembo and the French soldier, Chevalier Bayard. Lucrezia also had 10 children. Clearly she didn’t waste a moment.


At the age of 10, Ippolito inherited the archbishopric of Milan from his namesake uncle and over his lifetime many more ecclesiastical beneficiaries came his way, providing a substantial income. At 29 he was made Cardinal of Santa Maria in Aquiro by Pope Paul III, (who by the way had five children of his own, but that is another story). While now a powerful Prince of the Church and part of the College of Cardinals, Ippolito wasn’t ordained a priest until 26 years later, in 1564. He was an Ecclesiastical politician; an ambassador to the French court and in 1550 was made governor of the French controlled territory of Tivoli outside Rome.

Lucrezia Borgia

When Pope Paul died, Ippolito was the French backed candidate to be his successor. When he failed, Ippolito semi retired from the political scene and set about creating his enduring legacy, Villa d’Este, giving full vent to his love of luxury and the arts. He acquired the land (then occupied by a Franciscan monastery and church) and some additional plots in 1550. Construction however did not begin until 1560. The plans demanded a water system to power, by gravity, a series of fountains throughout the gardens. Pope Alexander VI

The major work was creating an aqueduct to supply water to the villa and the town. This water was fed into a cistern below the monastery, which, augmented by rainwater, was used to power those fountains with less water demand. The other major water source was the River Aniene. The flow from the Aniene was 100 times that of the aqueduct and came to the property via a conduit that runs straight from the river. This greater pressure powered those features with high water demand. The hydraulic design overcame issues of slope and also minimised lime deposits from the hard water accumulating in the pipes. Adding to this amazing engineering, the most famous fountain at Villa d’Este, the Fountain of the Organ, was designed to produce sound. It was conceived and installed by Claude Venard in 1571. Today the restored fountain can play four late renaissance pieces. Another feature, the Fountain of the Owl, also emitted sound in the form of birdcalls. There are some 20 fountains and numerous grottos throughout the extensive gardens built around three large fishponds. In almost every place in the gardens there is the sound of water flowing, always with a different cadence and intensity. 27

Gardens and the Renaissance During the Renaissance period, gardens held a special significance. The central theme of the time was the connection between God, man and nature. Gardens were the manifestation of this trilogy. Nature reflected human nature and virtues as well as the divine, as the physical world was seen as a mirror of the cosmos. But there was also the dichotomy between the controllable and uncontrollable aspects of nature. Gardens were seen as spaces to reflect this. Designers could control nature, but only so far and often sought to create gardens where the manmade and the natural seemed to counter and confront each other. There was the Renaissance idea that gardens were a ‘third nature’. Designers could incorporate natural elements, but the end result wasn’t pure nature, but a recreation and hence the end result itself was unnatural. Gardens were also the manifestation of their owners’ intellectual and aesthetic qualities. Villa d’Este was filled with statues from mythology, with images of Jupiter, Hercules, Neptune and Venus being very prominent. There were also artefacts scavenged from Emperor Hadrian’s villa, which was close by.



Restoration By the time Ippolito died in 1572, the villa and its gardens were essentially finished. His nephew Cardinal Luigi d’Este inherited the property and it continued as a centre of culture. Despite a period of abandonment following Luigi’s death, the palace essentially stayed in family hands for the next 100 years. Then followed a long period of decline. It was stripped of its furnishings, sculptures sold and, when occupied by French troops in the early 1800’s, the gardens and fountains were devastated. In 1850 the villa was acquired by Cardinal Gustav von Hohenlohe. He rebuilt the grounds and Villa d’Este regained its former splendour. The property passed to the Italian government in 1922. Bombing damage during World War II led to more restoration work.



32 32

Today We visited Tivoli on a rainy day and in the off-season. The way to the famous Villa was not obvious (a stop off at a pizza shop provided directions). There were only a couple of dozen visitors wandering through the gardens and the richly decorated rooms of the villa itself. A small group was gathering for a wedding ceremony. The middle-aged bride and groom were braving the rain to be photographed by a young Italian photographer. The bride discarded her satin shoes as the couple stood by the fountains. We passed on our congratulations to find they were from Bendigo in Victoria. They had been together for some years and had the dream of tying the knot at Villa d’Este in the presence of a few family and friends. Despite the rain and grey skies, they were upbeat and thrilled to bring the dream to reality. Ville d’Este is an extraordinary achievement from an extraordinary time. It is hard to rationalise the life and times of Cardinal Ippolito II d’Este and his family from a contemporary perspective. However while 16th century Renaissance nuances may elude us, we can certainly totally enjoy and marvel at the splendour of his home and garden and the innovative engineering that created its fountains. u

33 33



BALI Monkey Forest, Ubud Ubud is located in the uplands of Bali in Indonesia. It is renowned for traditional crafts and dance culture. The surrounding rainforests and terraced rice paddies are classic Bali landscapes. The Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary is owned by the villagers of Padangtegal. It has spiritual, educational, conservation and economic significance. Home to around 700 macaque monkeys, it is the site of three ancient Hindu temples likely built in the mid 1300’s. Visitors can observe the monkeys at close range but need to be mindful not to get too close. The sacred areas are accessible only to those seeking to pray and wearing traditional Balinese praying attire. ◆ 35

Story & images by Tony Sernack


Seeking the elusive tiger in India's National Parks 37


he first time I was in Bandhavgarh National Park it was mid October, shortly after the end of the monsoon (which was late that year). As a result there was plenty of water, lots of game, the jungle was lush and the tigers (presumably) had little need to show themselves during the day.

The closest we came to seeing a tiger was in the guide book.


On that trip, four safaris in different sectors of the park yielded a fleeting view of a leopard, all species of deer, a family of wild boar, even a jackal, but no tiger. A German couple told us they saw one, albeit in the distance. After more than a cumulative 12 hours in the park and repeatedly traversing the so-called main road from our camp to the park entrances, which had been subject to a three-year dispute between government and local authorities and as a result was perhaps the worst road in India (and that’s saying something), the desire to see the tiger became almost a compulsion.

Bandhavgarh is an hour’s flight and then a four-hour drive (220km) south of New Delhi. Like other parks, it is divided in sectors and jeeps holding up to 6 guests plus guides are allocated sectors for morning and afternoon safaris (usually of around 3 hours duration) at the park gates. This is Indian bureaucracy at its best and most efficient.

A leopard sighting is exciting, but the prize every visitor seeks is the tiger.

Generally only about 20% of each park is open to visitors. There is a number of species of antelope and deer, ubiquitous black-faced langur monkeys, warthogs, mongoose and jackal. The variety of bird life is enormous (Bandhavgarh lists over 250 species).

Tigers are highly territorial animals. Cubs stay with their mothers up until 2 years of age. A female tiger will have a territory of around 15 square kilometres and a male three times that. Tigers are most active at night when they continually mark their territories. Males want to warn off usurpers. Having been unsuccessful, we moved on to Kanha, a 6-hour drive from Banhavgarh.


In Kanha, our lodge provided generous accommodation, a refreshing swimming pool and well versed guides. Things looked very promising. There were pug marks of a large male tiger aplenty in the soft track early on our first evening safari, but alas nothing more. The lodge provided drinks and delicious pre-dinner snacks, so guests could share stories of the day. Of course another jeep and a young couple who wrote a travel blog saw a tiger. We alas remained tigerless. The next morning, the 6th safari, was again full of promise. Up before dawn, a hot chai and a couple of biscuits, and off to a new sector, buoyed and expecting success especially given the great confidence of our guide.


I should state here that these parks are spectacular. Kanha has magnificent escarpments, a dense jungle area and open plains and lakes. The rising sun filters through the Sal trees breaking into shafts of golden light. Wonderful scenery, good adventure, lots of spotted deer, barking deer and the large sambar. No tigers.


After traversing Rajasthan, visiting numerous grand palaces and forts, experiencing the incredible annual camel fair in Pushkar and participating in the spiritual puja, we decided on one last try to see a tiger at perhaps the most famous park, Rathambore, which is about 150km south of Jaipur. Surely persistence would be rewarded, especially as we arranged not one but four safari outings.

Pilgrims to the Ganesha Temple

Rathambore is also the site of India’s second largest fort, which is well worth the hike up from the entrance to the park. The fort area and the surrounding jungle and huge banyan trees resemble scenes from an Indiana Jones movie.

There are an estimated 30 tigers in Rathambore and some 2500 left in all of India. Every year in summer, at the May full moon, rangers and volunteers spend 24 hours in trees around the permanent waterholes in the park and conduct a census of all the animals that appear. This provides a good measure and data for conservation efforts, especially for the big cat population. The common advice is that all the wildlife photographers come in the summer, ideally in April/May when the chance of sighting tigers is

almost a guaranteed certainty. The temperature soars to 40 degrees °C and the undergrowth dies away. The big cats make for those waterholes that remain, providing relief from the heat, vital water and the game that comes to drink. Our four additional safaris proved as unsuccessful as the earlier six. Rathambore however was the best of the parks in terms of topography and organisation and with the added attraction of its fort. And here we stayed at the most luxurious of tented camps.

The Fort at Ranthambore The fort that sits on the cliff top overlooking Ranthambore National Park, spreads over four square kilometres. Its origins are not exactly certain. Believed to have been build in the 8th Century by a Chauhan ruler and was subsequently the capital of the descendants of Prithvi Raj Chouhan, the last Hindu King of Delhi. The fort was central to a number of power struggles through the ages and was ultimately captured by the Mughals. The 19th century it was given back to the Maharaja of Jaipur and remained with the family until Indian independence in 1947. In 2013 Ranthambore Fort, along with five others in Rajasthan, become a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Massive stone ramparts and towers surround the fort. Inside there are a number of buildings in various stages of preservation and two rain fed reservoirs. One major attraction is the Ganesha Temple and thousand of pilgrims come from all over India to seek the blessing of the Lord of Happiness and Prosperity. A visit to Ranthambore is not complete without climbing the stairs up to the plateau and exploring the fort and its very palpable history.

The Legendary Machli - ‘T-16’ A game sanctuary since 1955, the Ranthambore National Park was established in 1980 and was expanded subsequently. It covers almost 400 square kilometres. Ranthambore renown for its tigers was cemented by the tigress Machli known as “The Lady of the Lake” and perhaps the most photographed tiger in the world. She dominated her territory, was smart and at ease with human presence and her fame spread. So much so that she was granted a lifetime achievement award for her contribution to the Indian tourist trade. A documentary film was made about her life. Machli died in 2016 at the age of 20, making her the oldest recorded tiger in the wild (normally tigers live 10-15 years). Incidentally oddly her name means ‘fish’ in Hindi. It came about because of the fish shaped mark on her left ear.

There was nothing for it, but to make a return trip in the Indian summer. On this next trip we spent time in Delhi before heading to Jaipur and Agra. We then headed east to the holy and quintessentially Indian city of Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, before heading into the hills of West Bengal and Darjeeling. Then to the coast and the state capital of Kolkata. It was a wonderful trip full of colour, history and new experiences. But quietly I was looking forward to resuming my tiger quest. We returned to Rajasthan and Rathambore. This time there was a comforting feeling of familiarity as our jeep headed through the banyan treeenshrined gate and into the park. On the last trip 8 safari runs, no tiger. On this first morning, our first run, half an hour into the park we found not one, but two juveniles lying quietly about 50 metres from the track, camouflaged amongst the foliage. We were the second jeep on site, although others soon arrived. Through the trees I got my first tiger photograph. It wasn’t the Natgeo hero shot I had in my mind’s eye, but hey it’s a tiger and just to be there and observe this most beautiful animal in its natural habitat is a massive thrill. We stayed for 20 minutes, the two tigers didn’t seem to have any inclination to move and by now 6 or 7 other jeeps had arrived and were jockeying for position, so our guide suggested we move on. About an hour later we are crossing a dry riverbed and our driver stopped and excitedly motioned to our right. Coming out of the long grass is a female. We saw her fleetingly as she moved around a copse of trees and then disappeared when she dropped down behind a rock. Then across the floor of riverbed her cub emerged from the grass, he laid down and looked straight at us. The animal was maybe 150 metres away, but this was our fourth tiger of the morning.



After lunch we headed out again into a different sector of the park. Here was a low flat marshland that I remembered from our last trip to Ranthambore. There was an abundance of birdlife. Egrets, cranes, herons and sandpipers, all looking for food in the shallows. I was happily photographing a beautiful Ringneck Parakeet perched on a dead tree, when our guide pointed across the water. It took me some time to see what he was pointing at. Three tigers! They were resting on the far shore beneath leafless grey trees. Really much too far away for a photograph, even with a powerful telephoto lens, but I shot a number of frames anyway.


We returned to our lodge happy. One day and we had seen our own ‘magnificent seven’ tigers. Mission well and truly accomplished. u



UNITED KINGDOM Portsmouth Harbour Portsmouth is the historic naval dockyard on England’s south coast. It is mainly spread across Portsea Island. It is the UK’s only island city and has been an important naval dock since Roman times. It is the home port to around two thirds of Britain’s surface fleet. It is also home to the National Museum of The Royal Navy and some famous vessels including HMS Victory, on which Nelson died at the Battle of Trafalgar and the Tudor carrack Mary Rose. For anyone interested in naval history it is well worth visiting. Here a statue of Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson looks out onto Portsmouth Harbour. ◆ 50


Contact Lucia today to plan your next adventure lc@nomadssecrets.com www.nomadssecrets.com 1300 670 000 (Australia) +61 (1) 400 741 930 (Worldwide) 1 888 408 2480 (USA and Canada) 52 52

TREASURE YOUR EXPERIENCE Our aim is to help create indelible memories. There is nothing

more powerful and uplifting than sharing unique and special moments with those we love and care about.




inter may not be considered as the best time to visit Turkey, but that depends very much on what kind of traveller you are. If you love exploring the world when there are few other foreigners around, then there is no better time and amongst of the best sites to explore are unquestionably the UNESCO-listed and surreal Hierapolis and Pamukkale in south-west Anatolia.



UKK ALE Words by Lucia O’Connell, images by Tony Sernack.



ere in Denizli province lays the magnificent Hellenistic spa town of Hier apolis. What is unique about the place is the presence of brilliant-white travertine terraces where calcite-laden warm waters have created an astonishing landscape of petrified waterfalls. The locals call it Pamukkale, literally translated “Cotton Palace”. It is here that locals and travellers have bathed and benefitted from the therapeutic qualities of the mineral rich spring waters since the 2nd century BC.


If you are lucky enough to strike a glorious bright winter’s day with a sprinkle of snow in the air, the site is simply magic and truly unforgettable. You can relish the warmth of the thermal baths (at 36 °C) and comfortably bask in the rising steam, shielded from the surrounding chill in the air. Hierapolis is just one of the many wonderful sites strewn across the Ottoman Empire. If you are thinking to explore the iconic landmarks of Istanbul, the rocky hillside villages of Cappadocia and the country’s most beautiful treasures in between, Nomads Secrets can design a fully tailored-made journey that captures the essence of Turkey just for you. u

With its unique combination of natur al and man-made wonders, it is hardly surprising that Pamukk ale-Hier apolis is the single most visited attr action in TurkeY.




here’s not many musicians, past or present, of whom it can be said singlehandedly created a music genre. Django Reinhardt is arguably one such individual. The legendary gypsy guitar genius, composer and bandleader is widely credited as the creator of gypsy swing/jazz, a unique jazz genre born in 1930s Paris, that draws upon over a thousand years of gypsy culture. His famous ensemble that ignited rapture in Europe from the early 30s to the late 40s was Le Quintet du Hot Club du France and, of course, featured the equally masterful Stephan Grappelli on jazz violin. Battersea, better known for its once mighty power station, is the unlikely location for a truly wonderful London jazz club. Singularly devoted to the music and memory of Django, this former pub is a treat not to be missed if you are seeking an uplifting yet affordable evening of the best gypsy jazz on the planet…. repeat planet! The magical room, and its tropical garden, has the charm of a vintage Paris jazz salon. The food is extremely reasonable, both price and quality, but it is the music and the ‘joie de vivre’ that is truly remarkable and will have you returning every London sojourn.


o g n a j D Le QuecumBar and Brasserie was Established by Sylvia Rushbrooke in 2003 – the 50th anniversary of Django’s death (1910 - 1953) fulfilling a dream born years earlier at the annual Django Reinhardt festival at Samois Sur Seine - gypsy swing mecca for the greatest gypsy/world musicians, and Django’s resting place. The club’s format is eclectic: Tuesdays and Thursdays are jam nights with no cover charge, Wednesday closed for private functions, other nights feature the best visiting performers and bands, with a modest cover. The one constant is gypsy jazz and the joyous ghost of Django. At one point during my recent Tuesday night landing at ‘Djangoland’ there were 8 musicians on stage: 4 guitars, 2 fiddles, base and clarinet. Turbo charged talent, energy and JOY. Requests are welcomed – they played five of mine. You never know who is going to play next - as the patron beside you quietly pops up onstage and delivers a virtuoso performance whilst his partner, who also happens to be a jazz singer, simultaneously attacks three (3) Times cryptic crosswords whilst downing a few reds and taking in the show. It’s that sort of place!. u


il veINs...

Le QuecumBar, 42 Battersea High Street (evenings, except Wednesdays)


Words and image by Peter White.

Do not be put off by the club’s somewhat cornball (cumbersome?) name. To quote the great Molly Meldrum...

Do yourself a favour and get on down to 42 Battersea High Street

Django lives here.


A Personal Journey

The Making of a Travel Designer


here is a world of difference between journeys that are specifically tailor-made and the ones that are either off the shelf or put together by commercial franchises relying on third party product inventories where the tyranny of time and profitability are often to the detriment of the client’s total experience and pleasure.

The work and time involved in each tailored journey requires a combination of attributes including personal experience, organisational know-how, patience, knowledge and understanding of, and loyalty to, the clients best interests. Also a passion to deliver something very special. Sadly in today’s world we have lost a degree of respect for the value of time, expertise and dedication that are necessary to deliver quality and satisfaction, thinking that ‘near enough is good enough’. When it comes to travel, the lack of dedication to the client experience deprives them of the richness and life changing moments they seek and deserve. It is therefore paramount for travellers to consult a competent travel designer if they are serious about the way want to explore. The path to become a travel designer and the expertise involved perhaps deserves a fuller explanation.

A Personal 60



In my own case it began as a child whose imagination was sparked by family tales of travel to far away places. My father worked all over the world as a naval engineer and recounted stories at the dinner table of foreign lands, sophisticated and elegant people, crowded souks and exotic foods. Growing up in Italy our family holidays were spent visiting grand villas and gardens, ancient ruins of a glorious past and walking in the mountains. My parents made sure that every holiday was an exploration. I would fall asleep reading late into the night about the adventures of either real or fictional heroes like Marco Polo, “Sandakan” and “ The Tigers of Mompracem”. In my late teens I started travelling alone, studying or working abroad, learning new languages through immersion and all the time encouraged by my parents to be curious and discover the world. Living for a time In London I spent hours in museums, galleries and bookshops and exploring the city. Then with new friends I discovered that it was possible to take overland trips across the world that did not break the bank and get back in time for the start of the university term. Life continued to be a mix of study, work and travel even when I had a young family of my own. My husband and I both had corporate lives with international companies and as our girls grew older we made sure that school and work holidays involved new adventures. Before I started my own business, I had the responsibility of organising often-complex international conferences where the success depended on an unflinching attention to detail and creating unique experiences.

While my personal journey to become a the travel designer is seemingly accidental, it is really the fusion of a lifelong passion with the desire to go the extra mile for our clients and being little bothered by the difficulties and challenges that one encounters on the way. Certainly I am a romantic when it comes to the quest to unravel the stories and secrets of the world and share them with those travellers who really understand the value we can deliver to them. The role of the travel designer is to use years of direct experience, relationships with local people and organisational skill to transform a journey from the predictable to the extraordinary. A journey that embodies the client’s spirit and personality with elegance and flair. Nothing is packaged. No hotel is favoured because of a deal or commitment to so many room nights; no guide is just ‘okay’. Client time is precious whether for experiencing the destination or resting between excursions. The aim is for our clients to return home with truly great memories that become part of them and endure for a lifetime. Behind all great outcomes is a world of complexity. My job is to ensure you simply have the best experience possible and all the planning and scheduling is seamless and unseen. u


Contact Lucia today to plan your next adventure lc@nomadssecrets.com www.nomadssecrets.com 1300 670 000 (Australia) +61 (1) 400 741 930 (Worldwide) 1 888 408 2480 (USA and Canada) 62 62

MEET NEW COMMUNITIES At the core of every journey

are the people you meet.

Understanding their lives,

traditions and values gives us a

better appreciation of our world. Travelling with

Nomads Secrets is more than seeing extraordinary places. It is about connecting

with our human diversity.


One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things. Henry Miller