ACCOLADES

PRAISE AND APPRECIATION FOR BTSA TRIPS AND LEADERS

Jumping in Cappadocia, by Steve ChunCynthia, I want to thank you for a fabulous trip!  Turkey has got under my skin; I fell in love with the country and can’t stop thinking about it. It really was a tour of a lifetime. I loved the whole thing, especially the kindness and generosity of the Turkish people and hotels we stayed in, which were truly special.
I am organizing my photos – a big job – and savoring the memories. I found a Middle Eastern market and am cooking some Turkish food but can’t find enough variety of olives. I was very inspired by the wonderful people everywhere we went. Thanks for putting together a fabulous trip!  – C. Nossiter, NM

Thank you so much for such a wonderful trip. It was fantastic. I just got home last night and I’m just brimming with happiness over the whole thing. My mom and I had a wonderful time. You do an amazing job, and you make it seem like you’re just traveling along with us, though I clearly see how much planning is involved on your part. Thank you! – MJ.Mucklestone, Maine


At portal of UNESCO site, mosque of Divrigi, Turkey

Thanks to you, Cynthia! I want to tell you how very much I enjoyed our great trip to Bolivia and Peru, and it is all thanks to your superb contacts and organization. The trip met my wildest expectations – beyond how positive I thought it would be. I cherish my memories and know they will grow as time goes on. It was a joy traveling with you. Your great positive attitude and laid-back but still alert manner kept the trip relaxed and at the same time, moving right along. Nilda is a gem, as is Señor Benito and the others we met along the way. I would highly recommend this trip and others you lead to anyone.- J.H., Pennsylvania

Waiting for the embroiderer to come back! Juchitan, Mexico

And then there was the adventure of my lifetime – the textile tour to Peru and Bolivia with Cynthia and Nancy Thomas, from Behind the Scenes Adventures! Because of Cynthia’s personal knowledge of Peru and Bolivia and their people, everywhere we went she was greeted as an old and best friend and consequently, so were we.

Every day was chock full of unexpected tidbits like stopping at a bakery still using a charcoal-fired oven, to pick up fresh bread as a gift to the villagers. If there was something we wanted to see Cynthia did her best to accommodate us, often providing us with on-the-spot experiences – and her fluent Spanish didn’t hurt either. Cynthia’s warm personality, friendliness, and most of all, her sense of humor, made us all feel welcome and an important part of the group. There wasn’t a meal without laughter! As a member of our small, intimate group I felt as if I had rubbed elbows with the “real” people of Peru and Bolivia and to me, that’s what adventure is all about. Many thanks, dear Cynthia, for a true adventure.” – M.F., Washington

Morning after Homestay in Yuvacali Village, TurkeyMy wife and I recently completed a 1-month private tour of North and West Africa with Cynthia Le Count Samake and her Malian husband, Barou. We had previously spent a very successful month with Cynthia on a similar culture and textile tour in Peru and Bolivia.
We spent approximately equal time in Morocco, Mali and Ghana. Cynthia is a recognized expert in hand weaving, knitting and dyeing of fabrics, a focus shared with my wife. I am an accomplished photographer and besides an interest in fabrics and their makers. I am trying to document third world societies before they are over run by the West. The Samakes’ “behind-the-scenes” adventures are perfect for meeting the people  and for experiencing the realities of another country first-hand.
Cynthia is a joy to travel with. She plans well, in advance, to see/visit points of your interest but remains flexible enough to change en route should some unexpected “must-see” event arise. She is fun to be with and skilled enough to make all things work out well. Barou is an invaluable source of knowledge, customs and language in these “near home” countries. Additionally, Barou’s family and friend connections, insight and general sense of adventure make touring with them a pleasure.
These two trips are among the most memorable we have undertaken.   J. & B. Roth, California

Showing off our beautiful scarves! TurkeySince I hadn’t traveled to any of the countries ‘south of the border,” the thought of a visit to South America filled me with many nights of ‘what-ifs’…but I needn’t have worried!  Cynthia and Claudia of Behind the Scenes Adventures were leading the tour, and couldn’t have been more helpful. The whole experience has left me wanting more!
The trip started in Lima, Peru, and the museums we visited whetted my appetite for the entire trip. Then we flew over the Andes to Cuzco, for breathtaking adventures, with trips to highland villages where the amazing handicraft of the indigenous people—spinning alpaca and llama hair into thread, and dyeing the wool before knitting and weaving—was an experience that thrilled me. These co-operative, community ventures are a hopeful sign of the hardworking indigenous people earning a fair living.
Our day-trip by coach and train to Machu Picchu was awesome, as much for the countryside we traversed, as for the actual place itself.  I was awestruck by its beauty and remoteness.  Then Lake Titikaka and its floating islands can only be described as amazing, and its people resilient.

By the time we reached La Paz, I was so impressed by the beauty, starkness, aaahhness at every turn on the often mountainous roads, much of it above 12,000 feet, that I could barely keep my excitement under control.
We spent four days in Oruro to experience the annual Carnival celebration.  It was fascinating– the daily parades by the populous in amazing costumes with superb colours, dancing and singing, and the pride in their art was contagious. We left Oruro, happy, contented, and delighted that it all went so well.
Throughout our trip we were housed well, dined well, and informed well of the history and the many places and their cultures.  I had a wonderful time and learnt so much about the cultures! Thank you, Cynthia and Claudia.
Z.Whitaker, California

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