We received 105 entries from 57 people, our biggest photo contest ever. Thanks so much to everyone who entered!
The photos share many different aspects of our trips: scenery, food, unique experiences, fellow travelers, local people, and so much more. Some photos offer long views of the landscape and others focus on small details. But most importantly, each photo represents an important memory for the photographer from their Experience week. We hope you’ll also read the text that each person provided about their photo, as this provides a very special insight.
This slide show includes all the photos entered in our 2018 contest, along with the description provided by each traveler. Each person could submit up to two photos, but only one could be selected as a winning photo. The 16 winning photos are included first, and then the other photos follow, sorted by trip.
Instructions for viewing the slide show: Move through the slide show manually, using the arrows on the left and right of each photo. The caption will appear after a brief delay.
GRAND PRIZE. By Steve from California, USA. "Sunset in Kientzheim: If you have always wanted to stay in a walled city then visiting Kientzheim, France is highly recommended. The walls are ancient stone with turrets at the corners and windy roads that lead you to interesting explorations. Just outside the walls are vegetable gardens, cherry trees, and of course vineyards that stretch for as far as the eye can see. Visiting and staying in this unique village adds so much to the Alsace trip."
RUNNER-UP. By Andy from Florida, USA. "My favorite photo is a panorama of Bonnieux, France. At the moment I took this, a terrible hail storm was pelting the vineyards and olive groves in the valley. You can see the dark clouds in the center of the photo. We found out later there was much damage from the hail." (Photo cropped for album.)
RUNNER-UP. By Eric from Oregon, USA. "Bonnieux was a magical place for us, and we couldn’t have felt more at home than at Le Clos du Buis – a special place to feel nurtured by the ambience of the French countryside."
RUNNER-UP. By Ross from Tennessee, USA. "Day trip to Bavarian Alps. It was easy to get lost in your thoughts looking out the train window, watching the scenery go by. Besides the picturesque scenery, the train would pass children sledding, people skiing or snow shoeing across snow covered fields, parents pushing baby buggies, and people just out getting exercise. I liked visiting all the small towns on our itinerary, but getting there was half the fun."
SPECIAL RECOGNITION. By Cheryl from Alberta, Canada. "On our tour through the countryside in Alsace we visited Bergheim and enjoyed a wonderful traditional lunch, tarte flambée. It was one of my favourite days. During the Christmas season, this lovely village is home to over 80 Nativity scenes or creches—big and small, inside and out. This one especially caught my eye with this big cat sitting in the warm afternoon sun watching passers-by."
SPECIAL RECOGNITION. By Cindy from Florida, USA. "While strolling through the beautiful village of Kaysersberg, I found an idyllic spot to relax and enjoy the sights and sounds of the village. The gurgles of the water, the singing of the birds, and the beautiful blue sky made for a picture perfect day. Now I understand why Kaysersberg was voted 'Le Village préféré des Français'"
SPECIAL RECOGNTION. By Freda of North Carolina, USA. "The Cotswolds Lavender farm delights the senses. Stroll through the rows of lavender, brush your fingertips across the buds and inhale the fragrance of the different varieties. Look down the rows of blooms to the cottage and the patchwork of the farmland beyond. What feels like a perfect movie shot is instead the result of year-round hard work of a family run farm. Such were my feelings during this unforgettable visit."
SPECIAL RECOGNITION. By Gloria from Tennessee, USA. "I found Sankt Gilgen, Austria, to be a serene and majestic village — from the spectacular mountain views, the snow covered trees with stars, the lampposts with red candles or the Christkind (the golden-haired baby, with wings, who symbolizes the new born Christ) simple decorations with a powerful Christmas message, to the woman dressed in blue walking with poles. Also captured in this photo is Kathy, donning her red backpack, who I would follow anywhere for an experience of a lifetime."
SPECIAL RECOGNITION. By Jan from New South Wales, Australia. "The view from our canoe as we, and others from our tour group, went canoeing/gliding 9km down the Dordogne River towards the impressive 12th century castle, Chateau de Beynac, perched 150m above. A treat not to be missed! After lunch we enjoyed visiting the castle and the magnificent wide views of the river and surrounding countryside – wonderful memories!"
SPECIAL RECOGNITION. By Jim from Texas, USA. "The flowers of France: Roses and trumpet vines climb and twine up the stone wall of this small, private chateau. The vines also frame the lower door so that it is almost hidden from sight. The flowers seemed to be in bloom all over the Perigord and this chateau was no exception."
SPECIAL RECOGNITION. By Linda from Texas, USA. "On our visit to the Abbaye St. Hilaire between Ménerbes and Lacoste, we came upon this passage, where the light streamed in and the beautiful Luberon landscape filled the doorway. For me, it was a lovely metaphor for our travel experience -- opening a door to new experiences, new friendships and a very special time in France."
SPECIAL RECOGNITION. By Lisa from Minnesota, USA. "Since Kathy and Charley live part-time in the Luberon, traveling with them was like visiting friends who are “locals.” Their many friends and acquaintances opened their homes, vineyards and gardens to allow our group to experiences things out of the reach of most tourists. One such place was this peaceful secret garden in Bonnieux, where we received a private tour from the owner/gardener on a lovely September afternoon."
SPECIAL RECOGNITION. By Lorn from Oregon, USA. "Saint Remy de Provence is a sleepy town housing the psychiatric hospital where Van Gogh committed himself from 1889-90 – the location where he painted “Starry Night” and other famous works. Still used for its original purpose, it houses a Van Gogh museum and features this beautiful Romanesque cloister."
SPECIAL RECOGNITION. By Meghan from Pennsylvania. "Back at our home base, we enjoyed a lovely locally-hosted farewell dinner. Dinner was complete with local favorites, wine, live music and fabulous hosts. It was a great way to end the trip with a local experience and truly live the experience. While enjoying the music and an Aperitif, we danced and said our final goodbyes."
SPECIAL RECOGNITION. By Ron from Alberta, Canada. "I thoroughly enjoyed browsing through the Neue Pinakothek museum in Munich filled with this unique collection of 19th century art. As I walked into this room, I noticed Diane as she listened to the narrative and studied the painting. She stood there for quite awhile observing this painting and many others. I believe she enjoyed as much as I did."
SPECIAL RECOGNITION. By Tim from California, USA. "Always surprises during our European Experience... here in the middle of the Provence we discovered the ancient pillars of a thriving Roman colony. Long after the citizens of Glanum left, their legacy bears witness to a new age in Europe... a testimony to a world that continues to welcome and cast its light on travelers and adventurers from every land."
By Doug from California, USA. "Poppies in the Luberon."
By Doug from California, USA. "Through an open door at Saint Paul de Mausole."
By Bill from Ontario, Canada. "I think this photo captures the harmony of the colours in the ochre cliffs in Roussillon, which have been transported into the paint tones used by the villagers. The closeness of the villagers in the Luberon to the land and the history of the area impressed me. It was most obvious in the architecture and the mixing of ancient ruins and modern buildings. But here was another aspect – the colours, extracted from the surrounding land, being used to paint the village.
By Elizabeth from Virginia, USA. "This captures the wonderful outdoor meal we had in the courtyard at Domaine Faverot. It also captures the wonderful friends and conviviality we experienced throughout the trip, aided by marvelous rose wine."
By Nancy from New York, USA. "I liked this photo, taken on my phone… especially like the little pile of rose petals on the step."
By Andy from Florida, USA. "This photo was taken in Lourmarin, France, a beautiful little town near Bonnieux. The light was just right and when I took it, it reminded me of an old photograph from an old travel brochure."
By Andree from Ontario, Canada. "This tower in Roussillon captured my attention. It seemed to sprout from the hill-side, to be an extension of the hill. This was partly because of the earthy colour. But, also because of the way that the plants were growing along the top wall and along the drainage pipe."
By Tim from California, USA. "The joy of the French people, their love for good food and passion for life are all captured in the face of this cheese vendor on market day in 'Isle sur la Sorgue. We learned that while we often live to work, our French hosts love life, and they work to live life to the fullest. We returned home all the richer by what we learned there."
By Madeleine from Western Australia. "Lunch at Domaine Faverot."
By Cindy from California, USA. "Each home we saw in the Provence reflected the desire of the residents for beauty in simplicity; here, this simple French home is cheerfully adorned with an array of flowers, plants, statuettes and other charms. No matter how humble the small doorway of their home, it reflects the passion of the French to turn even the simple elements of their lives into places of beauty."
By Andree from Ontario, Canada. "Saignon is described as one of France’s oldest Villages. This little square, with the contrast of sun and shadow along with the shades of green, seemed like an oasis transported from the past. Without any people around and without any sign of telephone or power lines, or any other ‘modern’ building materials, it was easy to imagine the village as unchanged over hundreds of years. There was no activity except for the pigeons coming and going from the fountain. It seemed like time was standing still."
By Eric from Oregon, USA. "So many villages; so little time! Roussillon was one of the charming places Kathy and Charley shared with us during a relaxed few hours spent exploring its nooks and crannies. At lunch on a terrace overlooking the village center, we had this view of town’s architecture, accented by ochre mined from the surrounding hills."
By Lorn from Oregon, USA. "The Abbey of Saint Hilaire was the last stop our group made before returning for a farewell dinner in Bonnieux. Constructed in the eighth century, the monastery enjoyed prosperity until the thirteenth century, but at the time of the Hundred Years War it suffered the devastations of war, the ravages of the plague and periods of famine. It closed in 1749, with ownership changing a number of times. A private family has endeavored a careful restoration over generations, and this photograph was taken in the refectory, which I found eerily empty on the afternoon of our visit."
By Mary from Indiana, USA. "The joy of Provence: Colors, good food, good friends, of course a glass of wine, and beautiful countryside. I took this photo as we had lunch with Kathy, Charley and friends. It represents all 5 of those attributes for me. One of the delights of traveling with Kathy and Charley is their friendship with us travelers, and also with their friends they introduce to us."
By Madeleine from Western Australia. "Market day in Bonnieux."
By Saen from California. "From Peter Mayle...'What a marvelous sunset,' she said. 'Yes,' replied her husband. 'Most impressive for for such a small village.' And thus, we witnessed this lovely, translucent sunset from our room at our hotel, Le Clos du du Buis, in sweet Bonnieux...we thought it simply stunning."
By Lisa from Minnesota, USA. "One of my favorite things about the Luberon was visiting the charming villages, whether to shop at the markets, have lunch at a scenic outdoor spot, or just meander down the winding lanes. Just after I took this picture in the village of Saignon, a woman appeared at the upstairs window. I don’t speak much French, but I was glad to be able to say “Thank you for the photograph, Madame. Your gardens are very beautiful” in French. We exchanged a smile and I meandered on down the lane."
By Jeanette from South Africa. "This photo was taken on the estate where we had our last lunch, not far from Bonnieux. Being a keen gardener, the various ‘green components’ caught my eye. Looking at it now, it captures the various textures as well as a lot of what the Luberon stands for – the lovely trees, the vines, beautiful produce, olive trees, lavender and much more. In the background is the contrast of the buildings. The Luberon is a tapestry of many textures and colours, flavours and experiences which are identifiable from this photo."
By Cindy from California, USA. "A simple message: The bell calls to us... to see life wherever we are; the small birds respond and alight to take us to new experiences in every direction... wherever we turn the citizens of every village and town charm us with these small jewels that sparkle with their love for life."
By Saen from California, USA. "We hiked up to the expansive ruins of 16th century Fort Buoux, with stonework dating back to prehistoric times. After a steep climb, we found ourselves far above the valley, surrounded by steep cliffs and breathtaking views. The inhabitants of this community must have been a hardy lot, as it is so inaccessible, however perfect for a fort, given its commanding view. We loved the "secret staircase" for a clandestine get away! 100 words can't begin to recount the wonder!"
By Paula from South Africa. "This picture taken at Chateau la Canorgue reflects my love of plants and gardening and the pleasure of seeing structured gardens flow and blend into the surrounding countryside."
By Jackie from Oregon, USA. "After working up an appetite touring the ancient ruins of Glanum, we stopped for lunch at Au Resto in Maussane-les-Alpilles. The most spectacular salads were carried from across the street, so we could enjoy the sunshine in a lovely outdoor setting."
By Roger from California, USA. "Borie in Provence, near Bonnieux. Used by shepherds of old, and now by hikers. Note the conical roof, built without timber or mortar."
By Gail from Oregon, USA. "Here we are on the last day, having a exquisite lunch in the beautiful sunny warm courtyard of Domain Faverot Winery. Jeff from New Jersey was savoring the red wine from their cellar, and soaking in the sun. I would say he epitomizes how we all felt on that last day, with a new appreciation of the beauty of the Luberon.
By Bill from Ontario, Canada. "Every tour group seems to have someone who is a super keen photographer. Meet Mary - the Number One photo-snapper of our group in the Luberon. Mary is caught here in the act of recording for posterity a scrumptious huge salad that we had for lunch in Maussane after a busy morning.
I think she expresses the desire that we all have – to remember every wonderful image from our amazing week"
By Paula from South Africa "La Louve is a beautiful garden created from 1986 onward by Nicole de Vésian, textile designer at Hermès. When we visited, the garden had come through a hard dry summer but i was still so impressed by the structure and plan of the garden. The range of plants was limited to those that could cope with local conditions and had been placed to create contrasts in colour (mostly shades of greys and greens, there were very few flowers) and texture. A disciplined, carefully planned garden that flows seamlessly into the wilder surrounding countryside."
By Jackie from Oregon, USA. "It was a cool, rainy morning in Saignon, so only a couple of us chose to complete an additional hike with Kathy. I was so glad I decided to follow her up this staircase to some of the most amazing views of the trip."
By Jeanette from South Africa. "I caught this father and son, in the village of Goult on their way to do their shopping. I love this photo as it epitomises life in the little French villages but also represents the lovely ‘surprises’ that Kathy and Charley, treated us to from time to time. Whilst the programme was well organised and planned, there was that special little thing from time to time which took the trip to another level."
By Elizabeth from Virginia, USA. "This picture is of my college roommate and long time dear friend, Sandy Deines, who was on the Luberon Experience trip with me in September. I think this is a good photo because it shows her excitement on the very first day of the trip and our visit to the L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue market on that Sunday. I also think it is a good picture because the lime of her jacket so well matches the brilliant hue of the frisee lettuce. We went on to buy a scarf that equally matched her jacket."
By Sue and Tony from Victoria, Australia. "All the hilltop villages in the Luberon are charming and picturesque but a real surprise and one of the highlights for us was Roussillon because of the stunning ochre colors. Being from Australia we associate ochre with the Australian Outback, but we were not expecting to find similar vivid colours in France albeit in a significantly different landscape."
By Mary from Indiana, USA. "Our Provencal village of Bonnieux’s charming cobbled streets delighted and intrigued me. Early one morning I decided to walk to the high Old Church on the cobbled streets where no cars are allowed. In Provence each village seems to have one or two cats, and usually black. No different for Bonnieux! This young fellow decided to accompany me. Fun. But as he twangled around my legs I was afraid he would trip me and I would tumble down the steep cobbled street."
By Niki from Texas, USA. "Montignac - late afternoon. This peaceful and still scene of the River Vezere under gathering clouds signals the soon-to-be storms leading to the river rising nearly out of its banks only a few days later."
By Stuart from New South Wales, Australia. "Our Perigord Experience in July included wonderful dining experiences at our hotel in Montignac and also lunches and dinners at a variety of locations featuring different food experiences. Saint-Leon-sur-Vezere, a delightful, small village with, surprisingly, a Romanesque church and priory, two chateaux and a 12th century chapel, was the setting for an enjoyable outdoor lunch in dappled sunshine."
By Jan from New South Wales, Australia. "On our first day in the Perigord Noir a visit to the village of St Genies, with its castle and church at the centre resplendent in golden stone and steep lauze (stone) roofs, provided our first visit to a weekly village market. Our visit was made more memorable by the unexpected arrival and performance by a group of Hunting Horn players – what a treat!"
By Suzanne from Virginia, USA. "Wine cask."
By Suzanne from Virginia, USA. "The Dordogne River from Beynac Castle."
By Sue from Massachusetts, USA. "This photo I call "Oldest Horse.' I was so thrilled to see this etching made by human hands 35,000 years ago. The photo helps me imagine myself back in that rock overhang space."
By Stuart from New South Wales, Australia. "Sarlat la Caneda in the Perigord Noir boasts an ‘old town’ of well restored medieval and renaissance buildings. After a helpful guided tour we returned to the restored church of Sainte-Marie, now an elegant covered market. A glass walled lift has been cleverly installed within the original bell tower of the church. From the top, within the glass cube, we had an amazing 360 degree view of the densely built, tall, narrow ‘old town’ buildings topped with steep lauze (stone) or tile roofs – a wonderful conclusion to our visit to Sarlat."
By Suzanne from Florida, USA. "Garden at the Chateau de Hautefort."
By Jim from New Hampshire, USA. "A nice picture that I shot of Kathy in the Périgord."
By Susan from New Hampshire, USA. "Le Tour de France was scheduled to pass through Le Périgord on 11 July 2017, and many of the store fronts in Montignac sported wonderful displays painted by artist Phillipe le Paih."
By Sue from Massachusetts, USA. "This photo I call 'Horse of Solitude.' There were no people around as I explored this part of the Eyrignac garden in the Perigord. The only sounds were those of the birds. The sky was immense and so beautiful!"
By Susan from New Hampshire, USA. "The formal gardens in the Périgord were magnificent. This photo captures some of their exquisite complexities."
By Patti from Tennessee, USA. "Nestled in the historical, beautiful village of Kayserberg are many quaint shops and markets. In this photo the proprietor of a gift shop begins her day sweeping the cobblestone walkway in preparation for her customers giving us a taste of everyday life in the village."
By Tom from Louisiana, USA. "Great trip. A little humor along the way. Kaysersberg, Alsace. Those Alsatians are so efficient."
By Karla from California, USA. "A walking tour through the village of Colmar is a feast of flowering crimsons. This is just one of the many amazing hanging baskets planted along the bridge crossing the river. Just another lovely June day in Alsace…."
By Karla from California, USA. "It is Day One of a lovely Spring week in Alsace and we are enjoying a walking tour with Kathy and Charley. The tiny village of Kientzheim is surrounded with an ancient wall of beautiful variegated textures."
By John from Tennessee, USA. "Sitting on beautiful steep hillsides the Memorial du Linge is the sight of a 1915 WWI six month battle between the Germans and the French which this picture represents. Dotted now with crosses where remains of soldiers have been found, canals of trenches and bunkers weave through the sight. As we walked through the area we were reminded of the bravery of the Germans in the trenches and of the French charging the hillside and struck by the devastating hardships they had to endure."
By Steve from California, USA. "Kaysersberg, France is one of the most beautiful villages in the Alsace region. The village is like a fairy tale and this photo of the traditional Alsace home above the river viewed through the portal of an old stone bridge is my idea of Alice looking through her window. Exploring this village it is like being in a modern day fantasyland."
By Sarah from Missouri, USA. "This statue of Lazare de Schwendi located in Colmar reflects the artistry of the sculptor, Colmar native Auguste Bartholdi, and the importance of winemaking to the region. Schwendi is depicted holding in his outstretched hand the grapevines that legend says he brought to the area in the 16th Century. His chateau in Kientzheim, a short walk from Hostellerie Schwendi, is now the home of Confrérie Saint-Etienne D’Alsace, a group dedicated to preserving the local winemaking traditions, as explained during our wine tasting there."
By Desley Williams from Northern Territory, Australia. "Outdoor dining in Strasbourg."
By Linda from California, USA. "One evening we sampled a typical Alsatian pork dish for dinner at the Hostellerie Schwendi, our home in the village of Kientzheim. It consisted of two types of sausages, pork knuckle, pork belly and ham piled high with boiled potatoes on a platter of sauerkraut. Four of us shared this feast and we barely made a dent!"
By Fred from Missouri, USA. "What a wonderful, tranquil spot for a group picnic lunch! From our timber-lined shelter we can admire the historic Church of Hunawihr that we visited earlier in the day. The church, built between the 15th and 16th centuries, sits on the site of an earlier church dating to the 11th century. Interestingly, the church is shared by both Catholics and Protestants. Perched high on a hill, the church is surrounded by Alsatian vineyards busy with workers and modern equipment to harvest the grapes to produce local wines. A truly picturesque setting!"
By Tom from Louisiana, USA. "Hunawihr, Alsace. It’s all about the grapes."
By Margaret from Louisiana, USA. "It was a nice evening, so after dinner I decided to take a walk by myself around Kientzheim, our home for the week. There were many beautiful gardens full of colorful flowers. The roses grow especially well in Alsace. But then I walked out through the wall that surrounds the little village and there was this brilliant sunset set against the lush green hills and vineyards. So peaceful!"
By Bob from California, USA. "This is a custom metal sign outside a vintners shop in the village of Riquewihr. These signs (works of art) for businesses are typical throughout the Alsace region."
By Cindy from Florida, USA. "In Riquewihr, Alsace, France, I sauntered through the maze of streets, soaking in the different styles of architecture. The colorful flower boxes and the quality workmanship and detail of the metal restaurant street signs were stunning. The array of paint colors of the buildings and assortment of shapes and materials of roofing shingles were striking. The painstaking arrangement of the cobblestone was impressive. It was as if each component was a different musical instrument melding together to create a beautiful symphony."
By John from Tennessee, USA. "Simple in its elements, this photo shows a stork in flight heading to or from one of the many rooftop or steeple perched nests of these beautiful emblems of Alsace. The storks were once in danger of becoming extinct due to conditions in Africa and crashing into power lines during migration. They have been saved by an Association which implemented measures to increase the population which is so fitting of the stork symbolizing birth and now re-birth in this once war- ravaged area of France."
By Linda from Kansas, USA. "Here's a picture of the lovely view from our lunch spot in Hunawihr in Alsace."
By Linda from California, USA. "The Alsace area of France is known for its storybook villages and Riesling wines. Many of the villages are within walking distance of each other and one evening we walked among the vineyards from our base village of Kientzheim to the neighboring village of Kaysersberg for dinner. As we neared the village, the setting sun presented a beautiful sky around the tower of the 13th century Chateau du Kaysersberg. Two days earlier members of our group had climbed to the top of the tower where we enjoyed a wonderful view of the valley."
By Jim from New Hampshire, USA. "We were delighted to experience the excitement in Kaysersberg on the evening of 13 Juin when it was voted Le Village Préféré des Français. It seemed as if every resident was in the main square to play, laugh, eat drink and vote."
By Stacy from Iowa, USA. "Half-timbered houses in Alsace are the local landscape in this region of France. Colorful, decorative and flowery, I was charmed by the warm and welcoming look of windows in Alsace. I snapped an abundance of these types of photos during my week-long tour. It was really hard to pick just one, but I kept coming back to this home in Kaysersberg, showcasing the shutters with heart cut-outs (considered a lucky-charm) and pretty pink geraniums cascading over the intricate timber work."
By Margaret from Louisiana, USA. "On our last evening in Kientzheim in Alsace there was a farewell dinner for us hosted by the family that lives next to the hotel. There were three generations living in this quaint house that had the most interesting courtyard. The family was very gracious and friendly. There was even an accordion player that provided entertainment while we ate our delicious meal in this charming outdoor dining room/kitchen. The evening was the icing on the cake for a wonderful week spent in Alsace."
By Fred from Missouri, USA. "The Alsace region is located in eastern France in the western Rhine River valley. Throughout history, the region has vacillated between French and German control and therefore shares elements of each culture. Alsatian cuisine is especially known for regional wine and specialities such as choucroute and a particular local vegetable... asparagus! Whether known by the French “asperges” or the German “spargel,” it is a delicacy to be enjoyed in late Spring and Summer. Whether purchased in the markets of Colmar or enjoyed in local restaurants throughout Alsace, is a quintessential delicious Alsatian experience!"
By Jim from New Hampshire, USA. "The shadows of war are still felt throughout The Alsace, but the countryside is charming."
By Desley from Northern Territory, Australia. "Half-timbered houses in Strasbourg."
By Susan from New Hampshire, USA. "The shadows of war are still felt throughout The Alsace. The people emphasize that they are French, no matter what country has annexed their lands. This photo of a little park in Kientzheim, with its military tank and the flag of France in the background, captures those feelings."
By Meghan from Pennsylvania, USA. "Little Town, It’s a quiet village… the people wake up to say “Bonjour!" Colmar is the Home to beautiful colors and architecture. Often known to inspire “Beauty and the Beast”, the village was a personal highlight of the Alsace region. The Schwendi Fountain, shown, is a tribute to the war chief and fought against the Turks in Hungary. Also, the name of our hotel in Kientzheim!"
By Bob from California, USA. "This is a photo taken from the Hunawihr village fountain, the location of our picnic on Thursday. The church on the hill is one of several in the Alsace region that are shared between Catholics and Protestants."
By Stacy from Iowa, USA. "One of the fun parts of a European Experience tour is a little time to venture out and discover! Hidden treasures and unique sites are found around every corner. Strolling thru the village of Turckheim our last afternoon, I was still looking for just the right picture to capture the spirit of Alsace. And I found it! Inside a small residential courtyard, are hand painted dancers in Alsatian folklore fashion; artwork that represents traditions, customs, and a little bit of whimsy."
By Sarah from Missouri, USA. "The horrors of the Natzweiler-Struthof concentration camp are reflected in these wooden carvings at the entrance to the camp. They stand in sharp contrast to the scenic beauty of the surrounding area."
By Patti from Tennessee, USA. "Sifting through all the photos from the visit to Alsace, this one stood out to me, not because of the photographic elements so much. For me, it reflects the fun and relationships shared among fellow travelers against the background of the colorful architecture of Colmar. European Experiences not only provides us with visits to unique historical places, but also the chance to meet and get to know other folks from all over the world!"
By Phil from North Carolina, USA. "I found this bee busy gathering a free meal in the Gardens at Kiftsgate Court, near Chipping Campden. He was not a bit interested in me, but I found him terribly interesting."
By Jacquelyn from North Carolina, USA. "Somewhere on the road in the bucolic Cotswolds. This photo depicts the region, which is historic and rural with a wonderful closeness to unmanicured nature."
By Freda from North Carolina, USA. "Hidcote Manor Garden is one of the most famous gardens of the National Trust. Through the maze of garden rooms, each is comprised of a new theme of color and texture. The ‘red border’ pulls the visitor down the path to explore what lies beyond the gate at the end. Each garden provides the same intrigue. From each garden room, there is always a peek into the next—an enticement to move forward to satisfy one's curiosity. As a gardener, Hidcote had been on my bucket list and I was thrilled to finally visit this fabulous garden."
By Jacquelyn from North Carolina, USA. "Typical stone wall seen while exploring the beautiful Cotswolds countryside, near the 2nd century BC Rollright Stones. Touring through the countryside was always an adventure, because of the historic nature of the area."
By Phil from North Carolina, USA. "The original home security system. One looks up; one looks out. Beautiful home in Chipping Campden."
By Diane from New South Wales, Australia. "The trip on the funicular to the top of the Hohensalzburg fortress was great fun, and the view at the top was breathtaking. The beautiful baroque buildings in Salzburg city center outlined in their snowy dress were unforgettable, with the Salzach River winding through the middle and the stunning mountains behind."
By Gloria from Tennessee, USA. "Our day trip to Salzkammergut with Michaela was one of my favorite. We visited a salt mine, had lunch at a family farm, and visited the historic church where the wedding scene from “The Sound of Music” was filmed. This was the view as we entered the salt mine. The entire day was filled with picturesque scenery, historical facts, cultural experiences, music, and singing."
By Bobby from Louisiana, USA. "I love the way this photo captures the quaintness of Colmar, the sense of the Christmas season and the festive feel of the Christmas markets. The visit to Colmar at Christmas time was a feast for the senses and this photo captures a bit of the feeling that was Colmar on this trip."
By Debbie from New South Wales, Australia. "The streets of Colmar were deserted and silent except for Charley leading our little group on the way to the Unterlinden art museum. The treasures inside were equalled by the special memories of that little walk with new friends through a town that looked like a scene from a postcard."
By Ross from Tennessee, USA. "Looking out our window at Hotel Saint-Martin on a quiet Sunday morning in Colmar, France. Saturday night we experienced the lights and sounds of Colmar through this window, but Sunday morning we appreciated the beautiful architecture, the colorful buildings, the church steeple in the background, and the snow covered street."
By Diane from New South Wales, Australia. "I was very much looking forward to seeing Salzburg because it is the birthplace of Mozart. But it is so much more, and when we visited, it looked like a scene from a dreamy winter postcard. This photo was taken from the DomQuartier looking over the top of the Christmas markets and the outdoor ice skating rink towards the medieval city wall across the river."
By Michell from Louisiana, USA. "Reflections of Colmar: This photo was taken of a shop window just steps from our hotel in beautiful Colmar, France. The display was of Colmar-style buildings decorated in Christmas finery. To my delight, the actual buildings along the street behind me were reflected in the glass capturing a mesmerizing view of this quaint and charming street alive with the Christmas season bustle. Magical!!"
By Wendy from New South Wales, Australia. "My Mum Diane is 82 years old and had never left Australia before our holidays with Kathy and Charley. We had never seen snow before this trip, and the absolute joy on her face as the snow was falling more than made up for the long flight from Australia."
By Debbie from New South Wales, Australia. "This is the view from my window at the lovely family-run Hotel Stadtkrug in Salzburg. It was softly snowing and the only footprints in the snow are mine. An Aussie who had never seen snow or experienced a white Christmas left her footprints and a little bit of her heart behind in that beautiful snowy corner of Austria."
By Cheryl from Alberta, Canada. "I love France, and after visiting Alsace I now have another favourite. Besides its quaint charm is the rich history. I find myself wanting to learn more. This picture is in the train station in Colmar. The original stained glass windows were destroyed by an explosion of ammunition in 1944. This window and one other are by French painter, conceptual artist and photographer Jean Le Gac, installed in 1991. I am puzzled by such a bizarre choice of topic for a train station. Perhaps he wanted to say something about the strife the area endured during WWII."
By Ron from Alberta, Canada. "This picture is from Kaysersberg, a picturesque medieval village in Alsace. It was voted France’s favourite village in 2017 and it’s easy to see why. This picture was taken from the bridge looking up the river—just another perspective."
By Wendy from New South Wales, Australia. "Just as our little group set out on a morning stroll through the beautiful streets of Colmar, it began snowing. To three Aussies who had never seen snow, an already gorgeous place became utterly magical."
This year Kathy and Charley judged the contest and worked together. Their daughter Kelly managed the contest. Kathy and Charley judged “blind” and did not know who entered or who submitted each photo. They considered the photo and the description together, selecting a final portfolio of winners that they felt represent the many different aspects of the European Experiences trips.
And the Winners are…
Grand Prize for Best Photograph
The prize is a $500 discount on a future European Experiences trip.
Steve from California, USA
Grand Prize Runners-Up
Our three runners-up will each receive a $250 discount on a future European Experiences trip.
Andy from Florida, USA
Eric from Oregon, USA
Ross from Tennessee, USA
Special Recognition Awards
These 12 photographers were also recognized for their photos. They each won a $50 Amazon gift certificate or a $50 discount on a 2018 or 2019 trip.
Lisa from Minnesota, USA
Cheryl from Alberta, Canada
Cindy from Florida, USA
Freda from North Carolina, USA
Gloria from Tennessee, USA
Jan from New South Wales, Australia
Jim and Niki from Texas, USA
Linda from Texas, USA
Lisa from Minnesota, USA
Lorn from Oregon, USA
Meghan from Pennsylvania, USA
Ron from Alberta, Canada
Tim from California, USA
Everyone else who participated in the contest will receive a special gift from us to thank them for sharing their memories and being part of our contest.
Andree from Ontario, Canada
Bill from Ontario, Canada
Bob from California, USA
Bobby from Louisiana, USA
Cindy from California, USA
Debbie from New South Wales, Australia
Desley from Northern Territory, Australia
Diane from new South Wales, Australia
Doug from California, USA
Elizabeth from Virginia, USA
Fred from Missouri, USA
Gayle from Oregon, USA
Jackie from Oregon, USA
Jacquelyn from North Carolina, USA
Jeanette from South Africa
Jim from New Hampshire, USA
John from Tennessee, USA
Karla from California, USA
Linda from California, USA
Linda from Kansas, USA
Madeleine from Western Australia, Australia
Margaret from Louisiana, USA
Mary from Indiana, USA
Michell from Louisiana, USA
Nancy from New York, USA
Patti from Tennessee, USA
Paula from South Africa
Phil from North Carolina, USA
Roger from California, USA
Saen from California, USA
Sarah from Missouri, USA
Stacy from Iowa, USA
Stuart from New South Wales, Australia
Sue and Tony from Victoria, Australia
Sue from Massachusetts, USA
Susan from New Hampshire, USA
Suzanne from Florida, USA
Tom from Louisiana, USA
Wendy from New South Wales, Australia
We’ll feature these photos on our websites, in our newsletters, and on our Facebook page this coming year and in the future. Thanks to everyone for sharing their special photos with us!