The European season is in full swing and we have had fantastic tours already in Tuscany, Abruzzo and Slovenia & Friuli. We've made lots of new friends from all over the world and walked with many familiar faces too! Europe has had some interesting weather patterns so far in 2013 and we've seen everything from sunshine to snow - but that just helps to make the scenery even more beautiful at this time of year!
The first very exciting news we have is to announce that our BRAND NEW TOUR for 2014 is going to be The Italian Lakes. The trip will start and end in Milan and we will explore Lake Como, Lake Maggiore and Lake Orta, and will stay in three different hotels. We will visit the remarkable Palazzo Borromeo and its gardens on the Isola Bella, take boat trips across the water and, on one of the days, hike in neighbouring Switzerland. It is due to run twice, from 11th - 18th June and 3rd - 10th September 2014. It is going to be a fabulous tour taking in too the exquisite food and wine of Lombardy and we expect it to be very popular. We would encourage you to contact us early to let us know if you are interested.
We are equally excited about two new tours we have for 2014 in north east Victoria. The Highlights of Mount Buffalo National Park and Victorian Alps and Vineyards are both lovely long weekends away with our signature mix of great walking, delicious food and wonderful wines. In February the two weekends have been designed to fit together so that anyone coming from further afield in Australia could spend the free days inbetween exploring this part of Victoria, or visiting Melbourne or even the Great Ocean Road. The website now has lots of new information not only on these tours, but also our ideas for spending time in the region either side of the weekends and our suggestions for accommodation in the area. We hope you'll take a little time to explore the web pages and of course our beautiful corner of Victoria!
All our dates for the Australia walks in 2014 are now confirmed and published on the website so you can start making plans for some great food, wine and walking in the new year! Our Highlights of Mount Buffalo National Park weekend includes an unmissable sunset dinner up at The Horn on Mount Buffalo so book early to avoid disappointment!
For the first time in May 2013 we ran our new Wilds of Abruzzo tour. It's a region of Central Italy less well known to tourists and, as a result, offers some of the most spectacular walking possible. The three National Parks which make up much of the region are totally unspoilt and the landscape is pristine and seemingly untouched by human hand! Our first hotel is a truly unique experience, which you can read more about in our recent Blog, and takes you back in an instant to the medieval epoque. Along the way we learn about all sorts of ancient crafts from weaving in Santo Stefano, lace-making in Pescocostanzo and cheese-making with Giuseppe in Pescasseroli. We even had the opportunity to go bear spotting high in the Abruzzo mountains, although the Marsican bears are few in number and rarely seen. All in all it was a real adventure and we hope the pioneers on our first outing came home with some amazing memories. We are looking to run this tour twice in 2014 also - watch the website for confirmed dates. To see more photos of our inaugural tour you can link to our Facebook pages or see Flickr.
For those of you reading in the UK we have some news on more Information Evenings to be held in the autumn. Once again we will be visiting three cities and here are all the details you need:
Monday 4th November The Innovation Centre, Bath
Wednesday 6th November Barley Hall, York
Thursday 7th November The George Hotel, Edinburgh
If you live in the areas please save the date in your diaries and of course we would love you to spread the word to any friends you have in the three locations and encourage them to come along and hear about our walks for 2014! For more details please email email@example.com.
We are also putting together plans for a UK walk on Saturday 3rd August close to Sunninghill in Berkshire. Our UK travel agent, Sunninghill Travel, is based there and we plan to run a one-day walk finishing with a picnic lunch to give people in the locality an idea of how our tours work and what they can expect if they travel with us in Italy. Once again, if you know anyone close-by who you think would be interested then let us and them know! More details will be posted on the website shortly.
If you're still thinking of a few days away in September then we still have some availability for our Medieval Umbria tour at the beginning of the month, and one space on our Tuscan Harvest tour as well as one space on our Slovenia & Friuli tour in October. It's not too late to get in touch!
And our great friend Patrizia Simone, from Simone's restaurant in Bright, has a few spaces on her culinary tour of Amalfi which runs from 13th - 20th September, staying in Amalfi but exploring the neighbouring towns of Positano, Sorrento and Ravello. Click here to see more!
Finally, following a re-organisation of Annabel's UK Hedonistic Hiking office, we now have a landline number which you can use for any UK enquiries. She can be contacted on 01858 565148.
Congratulations go to Barbara Bayliss (left) who completed her fifth walk with us on the Wilds of Abruzzo tour and received a bottle of bubbles to celebrate. Here's to many more Barbara!! And later in the season we have more guests who will achieve this prodigious milestone!
As this newsletter is published we are about to start walking with our group on the stunning Jewels of Piedmont tour, weaving our way through the immaculate vineyards of the region and imbibing many glasses of their famous Barolo red wine. What could be better ...?!