2015 Photo Contest

2015 Photo Contest

Our fifth annual photo contest was held in January 2015. The contest was open to everyone who participated in our eleven trips to the Luberon, Chianti, the Périgord and the Cotswolds in 2014. The rules for this year’s contest stayed the same as previous years. Each person could enter one or two photos that best represented their personal experience during their week; they also provided a few sentences about each photo and why the experience was meaningful to them.

This was our biggest photo contest yet, with more entries than ever before! We received 82 entries from 44 people, representing all four of the areas where we hosted groups in 2014. Every photo captures a special element of a European Experience week, and the captions enhance and explain the photo from the photographer’s perspective.

Thanks to this year’s judges for their careful consideration of the entries: Pauline Kenny, who lives in the Cotswolds and runs the Slow Europe website and travel forum; Chris Coburn, the web designer for our websites; Bill Steiner, co-owner of Adventures in Italy and a fellow founder of the Slow Travel Tours group; and Griffin Burr, a well-traveled fourth year student at the University of Chicago who judged the contest while traveling in Sweden. We had so many great photos this year, making their job especially difficult.

Gloria 2Congratulations to Gloria Roy (left) of Harrison, Tennessee, our grand prize winner this year! Her photo from The Chianti Experience was taken at the beautiful Villa Vignamaggio in the Chianti hills.

Gloria and her husband Ross were with us in 2014 for their third Experience trip. Unbeknown to our judges, she was also the grand prize winner of our 2012 photo contest! Her prize is a $500 credit on a future European Experience.

This year we awarded two runner-up prizes of $250 credits on future Experience trips. Steve Le of St. Mary’s, Georgia joined us for the first time in the Luberon in September 2014 and was recognized for his photo of the village of Bonnieux before sunset. Bob Wachunas of Columbus, Ohio was recognized for his photo of a cat in the village of Montignac, from The Périgord Experience. Bob and his wife Marguerite have joined us on previous trips in the Luberon and the Salzkammergut.

Thirteen other photographs were selected for special recognition in this year’s contest. These travelers each won a $50 Amazon gift certificate. See all 16 winning photos below, along with what each traveler had to say about the experience represented in their photo.

You can see an album of all the entries here.

Thanks so much to everyone who participated in this year’s contest!


Grand Prize Winner

The Chianti Experience – June 2014

(Gloria from Tennessee, USA)

Vignamaggio This is a photo of Kathy enjoying a private moment and taking in the stunning beauty which surrounds Vignamaggio, a Tuscan Historical Villa from the 14th century. We had a private tour of the winery. Our guide was excellent, providing information on the current operation of the winery, as well as historical information of the Villa. However, the highlight of the day was the wine tasting and lunch.


Runner-Up

The Luberon Experience – September 2014

(Steve from Georgia, USA)

Bonnieux

The temptation to slow down and just maybe consider a different life.


Runner-Up

The Périgord Experience – June 2014

(Bob from Ohio, USA)

Montignac cat

“Recommandez-vous le canard?”

Wednesday was market day in the town of Montignac, our home base for the Périgord Experience. The morning was picture perfect with colorful stalls and booths displaying all things imaginable. Marguerite spotted this gray cat in front of the bistro and motioned me to the scene. With good luck, a good camera, and a cooperative cat, I was able to shoot this one memorable photo.


Special Recognition

The Cotswolds Experience – July 2014

(Bill from Ontario, Canada)

28 2

Our visit to the Cotswold Falconry Centre was one of the highlights of our trip. It was a great combination of local and imported birds plus a great dedicated staff. This lucky shot – with Chris whipping the lure away from the diving kite – captures some of the exciting action that we had the pleasure of watching.


Special Recognition

The Périgord Experience – June/July 2014

(Dale from Tennessee, USA)

Terrasson bridge

It seems we spend much our time rushing through life. We have a difficult time being in the present moment. This picture calls to us – Slow down and let’s go fishing – I’m waiting for you….


Special Recognition

The Luberon Experience – May 2014

(Dan from Maryland, USA)

Carrieres des Lumieres

We quickly learned to trust Charley and Kathy’s judgment in choosing each day’s activities.Sound-and-light shows are often disappointing, but the Carrières de Lumières near Les Baux is stunning! The multimedia spectacle, “Klimt et Vienne,” displayed 100 years of Viennese artwork culminating in Gustav Klimt’s shimmering creations, all projected on the walls, floor, and ceiling of a gigantic cavern with accompanying soundtrack. The show is a brilliant synthesis of creative imagination and technical prowess.


Special Recognition

The Périgord Experience – June/July 2014

(David from North Carolina, USA)

Chateau de Losse

During our trip to the Dordogne region of France, we visited several castles with their lovely French formal gardens. The Chateau de Losse pictured here, was one of my favorites because we had an informative guided tour and it was a picture-perfect afternoon.


Special Recognition

The Luberon Experience – May 2014

(Lou from Tennessee, USA)

Pont Julien

A view to the ancient past through this beautiful arched bridge that has endured and is entering its third millennium. The Pont Julien Roman bridge over the Calavon River was actually in continuous use until 2005. Now it sits in the calm and peaceful splendor of retirement. Jusqu’à ce que nous nous reverrons. Au Revoir!


Special Recognition

The Luberon Experience – May 2014

(Malcolm from New South Wales, Australia)

A hug from the waiter

Our group had a memorable day touring, stopping at Maussane-les-Alpilles for lunch. Our waiter was asked to pose with one of us, and this is the result. U.S. and French diplomacy has now been considerably improved!


Special Recognition

The Périgord Experience – June 2014

(Marguerite from Ohio, USA)

Dordogne River

View from Beynac

Before we entered the Chateau de Beynac, we had a breathtaking view of the Dordogne River. Our whole group stood snapping pictures. This is just a gorgeous area that shows the peacefulness and beauty of the Périgord Region. Ideal weather, perfect sun and shadows, and two boats to top it off, made this one of my favorite memories of a wonderful day.


Special Recognition

The Luberon Experience – May 2014

(Patti from Tennessee, USA)

Poppies on the walk to Lacoste

This photo was taken in on our hike to Lacoste. With the poppies in the foreground and the valley floor descending from our vantage point, I felt as if I were in an impressionist setting just waiting to be painted.


Special Recognition

The Chianti Experience – July 2014

(Ross from Tennessee, USA)

Ross and John

I first met John on our first tour with European Experiences in the Luberon in 2011. He from Australia, and I from the United States, quickly became friends as we had so much in common. What a pleasant surprise to be reacquainted in Chianti. We picked up right where we left off — as you can see from this photo. Why do I travel with Charley and Kathy? Because strangers become friends.


Special Recognition

The Périgord Experience – June/July 2014

(Sharon from North Carolina, USA)

Foie Gras

Eating Foie Gras…translated as ”fat liver” in English, was definitely an experience I will remember from our trip to France’s Périgord region. (But hey, I’m a trooper, and I’ll try any kind of food!?!). Even though it turned out that I wasn’t much of a fan of this delicacy, I did fall in love with the signs above small family-owned stores which proudly advertised their home-made Foie Gras.


Special Recognition

The Luberon Experience – September 2014

(Steve from California, USA)

Cheese sellers

Charley and Kelly didn’t waste any time getting the Luberon Experience started. They hauled us to L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue market and it was a time to dust off the high school French lessons and mix with the locals. Linda bought a straw bonnet and later some cheese from two traveling vendors who spoke perfect English and said they had no formal training but had picked it up from the tourists. We contributed our cheese purchase to the picnic lunch and left the village market invigorated from the sights, sounds, and aromas.


Special Recognition

The Luberon Experience – May 2014

(Tom from Texas, USA)

Claire in the poppies

Poppies in Provence – This photo seems to have just happened. Kathy just pulled over to stop. Claire purchased the hat on impulse. And God put the poppies there. This picture states the image that I have of Claire and the region. Beautiful and very feminine.


Special Recognition

The Luberon Experience – May 2014

(Wendy from Maryland, USA)

Abbaye St. Hilaire

Sitting on a hilltop near Lacoste, the Abbey of St. Hilaire must have seemed a world apart to the nuns who lived there in the 13th century. While the abbey’s chapel is serene and unadorned, a place for contemplation and prayer, the garden outside with its roses tumbling over trellised arches and flowers pushing between ancient stones opens to views of the greater world. What a treat it was to explore the secret garden.


See all the photos entered in this year’s contest here.