6 reasons Gujarat will leave you wanting more

by Nicole Farrell

Gujarat is India's western most state and home to numerous sacred and historical sites. It is an exciting destination to explore as it is often overlooked.

1. The capital city of Ahmedabad was founded in 1411 and features a mix of architecture from century old mosques to modern skyscrapers. In fact Old Ahmedabad became the first Indian city to be listed as a UNESCO world heritage city. The best way to explore this area is a guided walk which can be organised through Ahmedabad municipal corporation. 

2. Calico Museum of Textiles contains one of the world's largest collections of antique and modern Indian textiles with the oldest pieces dating back 500 years ago. You will view Kashmiri shawls that took three years to make, double-ikat cloths which used 100,000 threads, each individually dyed before weaving. Viewing is by tour only and bookings are required. 

3. Rani ni Vav (Queen's step-well) was built in the 11th century and was a memorial to a king but slowly took up the name of the queen. The step-well is seven stories with three being above ground and four below. The delicate and intricate work have to be seen to be believed.

4. Textile villages - Bhuj is an excellent base to explore villages which specialise in textile production. Traditional techniques with distinct, colourful styles can be seen. In fact there are 16 different embroidery styles. In some villages local cooperatives have been formed to help preserve artisans heritage.

5. Wild Ass Sanctuary is a 5000 km sq area where Indian wild ass can be found. From October to March a large population of birds can be seen here including flamingos which breed in the wild.

6. Indian people are among the warmest and more hospitable in the world. They genuinely want visitors to enjoy everything their country has to offer.

If India is on your bucket list, consider adding Gujarat to your itinerary. Our Gujarat Textile Tour is designed to explore the state in a fun, small group. Discover more here.  Contact Nicole today to find out more about this exciting opportunity.

If you've got a holiday coming up, download our Pre-Departure Checklist. It is your step-by-step guide to ensure you are leave for your holiday feeling in control and super organised.

Game of Thrones filming locations in Morocco

by Nicole Farrell

Are you a Game of Thrones fan? It is difficult to believe (especially living in Australia with our limited historical buildings) that the castles, forts and locations of the series are actually real! Game of Thrones is filmed in Spain, Croatia, Malta, Ireland, Scotland, Iceland and Morocco.

Two locations in Morocco are featured in the series.

 

 Ait-Ben-Haddou is is a fortified village along the former caravan route from the Sahara to Marrakesh. The red brick buildings which were constructed in the 17th century are surrounded by walls designed to keep people out. The location was strategically chosen near a water source and high on a hill to allow for viewing approaching threats. It's a UNESCO listed site.

 

In Game of Thrones the village was Yunkai, the yellow city. Today a few families live in the village. However, most people living in more modern buildings across the river.

The second location is Essaouira, a coastal town on the Atlantic coast.

 Essaouira is a port city with fortress walls that date back to the 18th century. It is known as the windy city of Africa. 

In the series, it is known as Astapor - home of the Unsullied.

 

  

Our Morocco Highlights tour, with optional Essaouira add on, visits both these locations. View the full itinerary here.

1.324 billion people in India and I met someone I knew!

by Nicole Farrell

It's world population day so I thought I would share this amazing story from one of my trips. There are 1.324 million people in India and I met someone I knew from my craft industry days! Crazy right! 

As you can see from the photos, this was an amazing place with a HUGE range of textiles, bags, clothing, cushions, scarves and more! After adding to my growing textile stash from India, I discovered these fabulous old coins. I was like a kid in a lolly shop! As I sorted through the coins, I started chatting to the owner. I mentioned I was in the middle of selling my craft business and he told me he previously sold his textiles at the Sydney Craft & Quilt Fair. I looked at him carefully and then realised who he was! I visited his stall daily when I was exhibiting at the same craft show! Each day I would try and negotiate a better price (true Indian style!)  Of course I purchased a few kantha quilts by the end of the show!

  

He also recognised me! It was his first show so I was able to offer some advise on exhibiting. Have you got a story about running into someone in another country? A neighbour, old friend.......it always amazes me when I hear these stories. 6 degrees of separation!

 

Love this story? Want to shop for textiles in India? India is a place like no other and I've planned 2 AMAZING textile tours. You'll experience the culture and traditions of this amazing country while in a safe, secure small group. Don't worry if you don't have anyone to travel with, we welcome single travellers. You don't have to be Australian to join our tour. We'll meet you a the airport so just book a flight! Discover more and download an itinerary here. If you'd like to chat further, please give me a call 0402 650 190. Nicole