Previous Travelers!

Is YOUR group’s photo here?

Here are 75 photos of groups of previous travelers from the past twenty+ years, all the best digital shots we could find so far. See if your group is here.
Not in chronological order, sorry! Let me know if any dates are incorrect. We feel very lucky to have known all these wonderful people.

Textile tour visits renowned kente strip cloth weaver.

GHANA 2020: Susan just bought a big kente cloth from a renowned weaver on this textile tour; leader Barou Samake.

 

PERU 2019: Textile tour takes a break to admire Inka stonework at Sacsahuayman, archeological site above Cuzco.

 

BHUTAN 2019:  At a 14,000 foot pass, briefly – five of us knitting! Prayer flags flutter to bless departed family members. Tej, our excellent driver, at far left.

 

Morocco textile tour travelers with friend who makes trim for clothing.

MOROCCO 2019: Textile tour group shares a laugh with Bouchra who came to the hotel to teach us plaited trims; Fes.

 

ARGENTINA 2018: Knitters at the countryside estancia near Buenos Aires where we had a private knitting retreat and relaxing time on 200 acres.

 

BHUTAN 2020:  Hardy hikers who ascended to the famous Tiger’s Nest Monastery in Paro; other people decided to relax at the hotel for the day! Complete group below.

 

Cooking class in Bhutan hotel in Bumthang Valley.

BHUTAN 2020:  In the Bumthang hotel kitchen, we made buckwheat noodles and garlic potatoes for dinner. BTSA team’s guide Sonam at center and driver Tej on far right.

 

Lush garden by Niger River, Mali.

MALI 2011: Taking a break from painting mudcloth to crunch on fresh carrots in Papou’s riverside garden.

Previous travelers on Argentina Knitting tour with Cynthia Samake.

URUGUAY 2018   Happy knitters with big bags of yarn from the Malabrigo mill. Montevideo. I’m sure we all needed yarn….

 

Past group of knitters in Buenos Aires, knitting tour.

ARGENTINA 2016: Dressed up for the Tango Dinner and Show in Buenos Aires!

 

MOROCCO 2019: Taking a break from climbing around the Roman ruins of Volubilis, near Meknes.

 

Southern LAOS 2006: With Wat Phu Champasak in the background, UREP group relaxes before climbing to the top.

 

Ikat weavers, India.

INDIA 2018: Renowned family of master silk ikat weavers explains their complex technique of making double ikat on a slanted loom.

 

Group on steps in Chefchaouen Morocco.

MOROCCO 2018: We’re headed to a cooking class in the blue city of Chefchaouen. Great driver Abdul at right.

 

 

Cambodian cooking class group.

CAMBODIA 2018: We’re learning the basics of Cambodia cuisine while we make our delicious lunch; mangoes and sticky rice are for dessert!

 

LAOS: Textile tour travelers rest on the hike up to see spectacular Wat Phu, in the southern part of the country.

 

Archeological sites are included on most of Behind the Scenes textile tours of Turkey.

TURKEY 2005:  On the steps of ancient amphitheatre in Selcuk. Some of these loyal previous travelers have gone on many trips with us since this long-ago adventure!

 

INDIA 2015: Visiting a tea plantation and meeting the workers before a tea-tasting.

 

Group of textile tour people, India

INDIA 2018: Happy day at the salty lakes of northern Gujarat state; we had just seen a herd of wild asses!

 

Group of hikers on Turkey coast.

TURKEY 2013: Hiking trip on the woodsy Mediterranean coast with our wonderful guide Zeynep in purple and trekking guide Ozgur at left.

 

Knitting and weaving tour to the Andes. Group at hotel in Cuzco

PERU 2018: Textile Tour group with Nilda Callañaupa at center, heading out for a great natural dye workshop in Nilda’s hometown. Cuzco.

 

Group with bead artist, Cedi in Ghana

GHANA 2018: Barou and BTSA group, ready to start a bead-making workshop with Cedi, famous glass bead artist, at center.

 

Previous travelers with silk scarves made in dye workshop with Master Ali M. Katri

INDIA 2018: We just made the most beautiful tie-dyed scarves, with Master Bandhini artist and his sons.

 

group from the past Morocco textile tour

MOROCCO 2016: Argan tree with goats (above Ali’s head) who eat the nuts. The rest are made into argan oil.

 

Ghana textile tour previous travelers learn making adinkra printing ink.

GHANA 2018:  Peter shows the textile tour group how to make ink for the Adinkra printing workshop. Photo: Tour leader Barou Samake.

 

Group at Machu Picchu with Inca stones.

PERU 2009: We’ve climbed to the top of Machu Picchu and the Inca stonework is amazing!

 

Behind the Scenes group on textile tour sit on reed Urus islands in Peru.

PERU 2007   Previous travelers with Cynthia’s 2-year old god-daughter Anita. Her parents let the group participate in her first hair-cutting ceremony, and little Anita let a bunch of strangers snip at her hair! Urus Islands, Lake Titicaca.

 

group from the past in Turkey with Cynthia Samake

TURKEY 2012: BTSA textile/culture tour group among the columns of the Athena Temple, Assos-Behramkale.

 

Northeast India textile tour group rests on the steps of the Nunnery in Tawang.

NORTHEAST INDIA 2016: At Tawang Nunnery with drivers Daniel, Manoj and Nomo. Littlest nun on my lap; not visible are the dark red sheepskin boots I brought for her. Miraculously they fit her cold little feet!

 

Oaxaca Mexico textile tour group of previous travelers, at farewell dinner.

MEXICO 2010: Farewell dinner, previous travelers from our textile tour in Oaxaca; with Chloe Sayer in blue/black huipil.

 

INDIA 2009: To enter a New Delhi mosque, we donned colorful but very modest bag dresses that they have available at the entrance!

 

Group sitting on steps of old building in Bolivia.

BOLIVIA 2017  Carnival and textiles tour group. With Liz Rojas at Candelaria Hacienda outside of Tarabuco.

 

Lunch in Oaxaca Mexico

MEXICO 2010: One of the UREP research groups of previous travelers, headed to the Assumption Festival. With Chloe Sayer.

 

Group from the past, travelers to Peru in Lima

PERU 2015: We visited the little-known Museo del Andres Castillo, with its good collection of ancient artifacts, Lima.

 

TURKEY 2007:  Knitters hit the huge Yarn Market near the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul.

 

MEXICO 2013: Visiting the municipal art museum near Oaxaca city, with Chloe Sayer, far right.

 

MALI 2011: Our Tuareg friend Halis showed us around his Sahara Desert town of Timbuktu; yes, it’s real!

 

GUATEMALA 2014: Ready for the ride across Lake Atitlan to Santiago Atitlan, to see embroidered huipiles.

 

BOLIVIA 2005: My super students from University of CA Davis Summer School Abroad ‘World Textiles’ class; Tiwanaku archaeological site near LaPaz. One of my favorite groups from the past!

 

TURKEY 2008: Learning how rugs are knotted and woven – and how to judge quality – in a little carpet shop in Cappadocia.

 

PERU and BOLIVIA 2006:  Private tour ladies relaxing with our knitting at lakeside Titicaca hotel.

 

Relaxed group from the past, long ago in Thailand!

LAOS 2006:  University Research Expedition Program: Weaving group at dinner break by the Mekong River.

 

Athena Temple- Steve Chun

TURKEY 2014: Amidst the columns of Athena Temple at Assos; guide Zeynep bottom right. (Steve Chun photo)

 

Peru travel group in Lima.

PERU 2010: After a morning of seeing ancient textiles in Lima museums, we had lunch at El Bolivariano.

 

CAMBODIA 2018: Excited to be heading out to the fabulous Angkor Wat temple complexes.

 

Private tour at Tikal, Guatemala.

GUATEMALA Private tour with friends at Tikal National Park, Maya site.

 

TURKEY 2014:  At the UNESCO World Heritage site of Divrigi, beautiful and historical hospital-mosque.

 

TURKEY: Exploring Cappadocia’s eroded sandstone formations and visiting the painted cave churches.

 

MEXICO:  Waiting for the embroiderer to come back so we can see his work! Juchitan. Chloe Sayer, far left.

 

MEXICO 2010: Lunch in Teotitlan del Valle, famous rug weaving town, outside of Oaxaca.

 

TURKEY: Friends on a Textile and Cuisine Tour, at the famous and exquisite Blue Mosque in Istanbul.

 

LAOS 2009: We donated school supplies and met the teachers and girls at a rural elementary school.

 

TURKEY: We have just spent the night in a village homestay; super guide Fatih and best driver Ahmet at left!

 

Showing off our beautiful scarves! Turkey

TURKEY 2012: Showing off our hand block-printed scarves in Tokat. Many friends from Alaska on this trip.

 

INDIA 2013:  Happy with our hand-dyed and tied silk scarves made with the help of a Master Dyer!

 

ARGENTINA 2016: Knitters gather at the Estancia; fabulous cooks Rebecca and Maria on either side of Cynthia.

 

PERU 2006: UC Davis Summer School Abroad camps out in Paucartambo for the Virgin of Carmen Festival.

 

MALI 2011    Headed out to the mudcloth (bogolan fini) village, to try mud painting, with Barou Samake.

 

INDIA 2017   We’re proud of the scarves we stamped with hand-carved blocks at  friend Deepak’s studio.

 

MALI 2012  Nighttime celebration at Papou’s wedding festival in Barou’s hometown of Segou.

 

BOLIVIA 2006   At the Benito Cruz mask-maker studio before heading to Oruro for Carnival; La Paz

 

GUATEMALA 2016: Dear friend Tomasa with us at a restaurant outside of Patzun. She embroidered my huipil.

 

ARGENTINA 2016:  Taking a break on our Street Art Tour in Buenos Aires. It’s everywhere and all legal!

 

Group of women with white masks wait to tour a hat factory in Sucre.

BOLIVIA 2017: We’re here to tour the SUCRE Hat Factory, not to stage a hold-up! Masks ostensibly will protect us from flying fleece.

 

GUATEMALA 2014: Leaving the hotel for the airport, to fly to the Tikal Mayan ruins in the jungle.

 

MOROCCO 2008: Travelers at Volubilis Roman ruins; 32-day private tour. Mali and Ghana were next….

 

N.E. INDIA 2015  Ladies play dress-up in Saris at the Good-bye Party on the Brahmaputra River beach!

 

INDIA 2017   Checking out the organic cotton fields. The guide sews his own exquisite handspun cotton clothes!

 

CAMBODIA 2015  Angkor Thom – Ancient Khmer temple with strangler fig roots, and our driver, Sai.

 

GHANA 2011:  At Jamestown fishing port with school director Mark, who showed us the boat building processes.

 

ARGENTINA 2015  Happy Knitters’ group with Joji Locatelli and Alejandra Pont, and other great knitters!

 

BOLIVIA 2018: We just toured the Sucre Hat Factory.

 

PERU 2011 Visiting friends on the totora reed Urus Islands, floating in Lake Titicaca.

 

INDIA 2011: New Delhi visit to the tall brick minaret, Qu’tub Minar, a UNESCO World Heritage site, with great guide Manish.

 

Knitters in Cuzco hotel courtyard.

PERU 2008:  Knitters and two of my wonderful cousins. BTSA knitting and weaving tour group, in Cuzco hotel courtyard.

 

INDIA 2011: Showing off our hand-tied and dyed silk scarves with the master bandhini artist; Bhuj.

Textiles of India Tour

Our popular Textiles of India tour will be repeated in 2021. Check back for dates.

Family we met in Rajasthan on textiles of India tour.

A Rajasthani family. Women in this area are expert embroidery artists.

Come with us on the exciting Textiles of India trip, to the fabulous textile-producing states of Gujarat and Rajasthan, then finally relax in tropical Kerala!
• Print or dye your own fabric in three private textile workshops.
• Go on a desert Jeep safari to see elegant wild asses of Kutch.
• Travel with expert textile guide in Gujarat and Rajasthan.
• Visit our friends among the artists and craftsmen of the north.
• Meet Rabari women and learn their unusual embroidery stitches.
• Finally, head to Cochin and relax on a wooden houseboat in tropical lagoons.

This is a trip for creating, learning and observing the textiles of India as well as meeting the welcoming and wonderful Indian people. To start out, we’ll visit several museums to see historical textiles including the world-famous Calico (textile) Museum with its exceptional cloth and clothing collections. As we visit textile artists, we’ll learn the detailed techniques of the dyeing and printing processes, beginning with a visit to the place where slabs of wood are carved into intricate designs for the printing blocks. At the block-print studio, we will be welcomed to watch the artists stamping designs onto the cotton fabric to get the hang of it, before we start our own projects. After we have mastered block-printing, we’ll meet a Master dyer and he will show us how to make silk Bandhini-style dyed scarves. The Bandhini technique involves tying off or stitching the areas to be resisted from the dye, and results in exquisite scarves that you will be proud to wear at home. There may be an opportunity to purchase some of the Master artist’s beautiful work also, below.

Silk tie-dyed scarf before white threads were taken out.

Silk tie-dyed bandhini scarf before white threads were pulled out.

One afternoon, local women who are experts in intricate shisha mirror embroidery, one of the best-known textiles of India, will show us their secrets in our embroidery workshop. After shopping in the local market full of textiles, we’ll head north to meet the famous double-ikat weavers of Patan. They have organized an amazing private museum of the ikat technique with examples from all over the world. Seeing their own complex silk warp dyeing techniques and finished masterpieces is totally fascinating.

DETAILS:
During the trip, we’ll travel by private van and plane, and stay in fascinating Heritage hotels in towns, [even a Majarajah’s palace!]. A couple of nights we’ll sleep out in the country in new, traditional bunghas in the little-visited northern Gujarati area of Kutch. The round earthen bunghas with thatched roofs are embellished with floral scrolls of bas-relief mirror. Hand-formed mud decorations around the windows and doors add a charming touch.
We will visit many ancient temples and other architecturally fascinating sites such as the famous Adalaj and Rani Ki Vav stepwells. These ancient and elaborate fresh water wells were built between the 11th and 16th centuries, with carved marble columns and decorated niches.

Amber Palace carved and inlaid flower panel

Cynthia with flower panel at Amber Palace in Jaipur.

In Jaipur we’ll meet the director and the girls at a workshop and home established to help girls stay in school and learn skills. Experience in sewing and craft projects that they learn to make and market will eventually help the girls to make a living on their own. If you’d like to bring them some sewing or school supplies, they would be thrilled! They need good quality scissors like Fiskar snips, trims, cloth scraps, and so forth. And they can always use pens, art materials, pencils and notebooks.

Later, in Jaipur, we will also visit the excellent Anokhi Printing Museum for a great introduction into our next workshops of wooden blockprinting! In a nearby village, we’ll visit an expert block print artist for a complete introduction into block-printed or stamped fabric. At his studio, you can print 2 yards of light cotton cloth suitable for clothing or a tablecloth, or a cotton scarf.

Then when we have made some wonderful projects in our workshops, and have seen all the art and architecture that we can possibly absorb, we will fly south to the state of Kerala. We land in pretty coastal town of Cochin, and see the Chinese fishing nets at the beach, India’s oldest synagogue, and Mattancherry Palace. The palace was a generous gift presented to the Raja of Kochi, Veera Kerala Varma (1537–61), as a gesture of goodwill by the Portuguese in 1555. There is also an excellent privately-owned folk art museum that we will visit, and we’ll see traditional Kathakali dances.

Cynthia dips her stamped piece in indigo dyebath.

Cynthia dips her mud-resist stamped piece in the indigo dyebath.

Finally we’ll head to the gorgeous backwater lagoons and spend twenty-four hours floating on luxurious, private wood and wicker houseboats with our own chefs!

Smiling man holding Indian hand-printed fabrics

Deepak gathers up new block print cloth at his Gujarat workshop.

We will float by trees full of weaver bird nests, as we enjoy the peaceful ambiance. Bring a ‘real’ book or a book on your iPad or Kindle, your knitting, or your yoga moves! Thoroughly relaxed from our houseboat cruise, at the end of our great tour, we return to our modern hotel on the water,  for the Farewell Dinner.
Next day, we fly home from Mumbai on September 18th. Plan your flights to depart BOM anytime after 9:30 pm.

TRIP PRICE:  $4960    (Single Supplement: $875)    Maximum 12 travelers.
Includes:
17 nights accommodation (double rooms with private bath) in charming heritage hotels, modern hotels in cities, and clean local hotels in remote areas. On the houseboat, the comfortable, A/C cabins are double share (singles subject to availability).
The itinerary for the Textiles of India tour has been carefully planned to cover a lot of ground, but also not to move around every night. We spend 2 or 3 nights in each destination; for example, 3 nights in both Jaipur and Bhuj.

We’ll cruise tropical lagoons of Kerala in a lovely wooden houseboat!   

Finally, there will be a pre-tour of the Taj Mahal and SOS Bear  Rescue Center in Agra for those interested, at a modest extra cost. Info to come after you’ve signed up.

The following are included.

All meals and tea breaks, water/tea/coffee and soft drinks with meals.
Local transportation in good vans with professional, good-natured drivers.
Three interior flights to see as much as possible.
Bottled water on road trips and on houseboat.

All village visits and museum entrances as on itinerary.
All temple and cultural site visits as on itinerary.
Airport arrival and departure transport (on group arrival and departure days).
Luggage porter tips.
Professional English-speaking guides, with expert on textiles in India joining us for the Gujarat region.
American Cynthia Samaké to accompany entire itinerary
Plus a custom travelogue photo book sent to you after the trip.
Breakfast and Lunch only are included on September 18, departure day.

Not included: International airfare, visa for India, required travel insurance (recommend Travel Guard); alcoholic beverages, tips for guide and driver, laundry, between-meal snacks and water (although we will have bottled water in the van for all the day trips); internet charges if any, and camera/video fees if required. You will need a visa for India; information will be forthcoming for online application.
Tipping Guidelines will be sent with trip information.

Artist using small chisel to cut flowers into wood block for printing.

Hand-carving a woodblock to print Indian fabrics.

Indian Lord Ganesha elephant god of success and good fortune.

Fancy Ganesh, God of Prosperity statue at a temple in Gujarat.