We received 81 entries from 40 people. (Several people joined us for two trips in 2018 and were able to submit photos from each trip.) Thanks so much to everyone who entered!
This slide show includes all the photos entered in our 2019 contest, along with the description provided by the traveler. Each person could submit up to two photos, but only one could be selected as a winning photo. The 15 winning photos are included first, and then the other photos follow, organized randomly.
Instructions for viewing the slide show: You can 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. You can also “hover” over a slide to pause the show.
GRAND PRIZE By Patti from Tennessee, USA - The Chianti Experience "This is one of many vistas that captured my eyes in Tuscany. Taken in the courtyard of Castello di Colognole, it preceded an authentic Tuscan dinner lovingly prepared by sisters Rita and Rosita."
RUNNER-UP By Dale from Tennessee, USA - The Cotswolds Experience "Watching the silversmith in Chipping Campden using old tools that were used by previous generations held special meaning for me. I watched my father at his workbench when I was a young boy and have inherited many of his old tools and just a little of his talents. It takes you back in time to a simpler place and represents the peaceful lifestyle in the Cotswolds."
RUNNER-UP By Eric from Oregon, USA - The Alsace Experience "It has three castles and a bakery to die for. Ribeauvillé is as colorful as an Alsatian village can be, but one of the greatest joys of travel is discovering the unexpected. This brave, curious kitten charmed us as she peered through the slats in the fence at the delighted members of our little group."
RUNNER-UP By Helene from Massachusetts, USA - The Cotswolds Experience "Rollright stone circle in the Cotswolds. I loved the “kissing stones” in the ancient stone circle with the dancing maidens in the background. The weather during our visit was unusually hot and dry, but the golden fields in the background enhanced the ancient site."
SPECIAL RECOGNITION By Andrea from Washington, USA - The Luberon Experience "After a beautiful walk through the countryside to the base of Lacoste we rode to the top of the hill and a few of us chose to walk down. The town was like nothing I had seen before. It took me back in time. This is just one of the shots I got while there. I just loved the bell tower."
SPECIAL RECOGNITION By Carol from Georgia, USA - The Cornwall Experience "This photo of the rugged Cornish Coast was captured as we were flying over to the Isles of Scilly. I just love the various colors from the lush green grass, the azure waters, cool sandy beaches and the rugged hard cliffs that are the mark on the Cornwall region. This trip was a grand vacation from start to finish!"
SPECIAL RECOGNITION By Cindy from Florida, USA - The Chianti Experience "After a brief rainstorm, our group was treated to a stunning panoramic view of the sunset from the terrace of Ristoro di Lamole. The food was as spectacular as the vista."
SPECIAL RECOGNITION By Fred from Missouri, USA - The Cotswolds Experience "Our 'Room with a View' at the charming 16th Century coaching inn, The Lygon Arms in Chipping Campden. This was a perfect base of operations for our week-long Cotswolds adventure."
SPECIAL RECOGNITION by Kathy from Georgia, USA - The Luberon Experience "Each morning the view from our hotel window was different, and beautiful each time. This is one of my favorites!"
SPECIAL RECOGNITION By Lorn from Oregon, USA - The Alsace Experience "Why stay in a 1300 year old settlement like Kientzheim? To experience the magic of a tiny Alsatian village while you savor the subtle hues of evening at the edge of the vineyards. With only 800 residents and few tourists, you can be assured of a unique experience."
SPECIAL RECOGNITION By Meghan from Pennsylvania, USA - The Chianti Experience "The view from my window during our wonderful home for the week demonstrates the Tuscan life. Beautiful stone structures with an array of flowers is a typical find throughout the region. The laundry hanging is soaking in the warmth from the Tuscan sun. Definitely a view I could wake up to every morning."
SPECIAL RECOGNITION by Melissa from California, USA The Luberon Experience "In the stillness of our last night in Bonnieux, as we walked back from dinner, the Universe treated us to a show above the village of Lacoste, as if the beauty of the previous days might not have been enough."
SPECIAL RECOGNITION By Pam from Maine, USA - The Cornwall Experience "This photograph was taken at Saint Michael’s Mount. To me the Cornwall Experience represents the beauty of strength, softness, and optimism of a region and people. This photograph depicts all of those qualities. The strength is found in the castle and its longstanding ‘life’ on a rugged Bay. The surrounding gardens in their sub- tropical softness is a subtle reminder of renewal, and a sky, although ever changing, brings the optimism of a new day."
SPECIAL RECOGNITION By Pauline from Manitoba, Canada - The European Christmas Experience "After a busy morning touring the Rezidenz, former palace of the Bavarian monarchs, and visiting a Medieval Christmas Market, our group was ready for lunch. Kathy and Charley led us to Cafe Luitpold, said to be one of the most traditional cafés in Munich. The dessert counter– extending 10 meters and holding an unbelievable selection of pastries, cakes, tortes, strudel, fruit tarts and more– was by far the highlight of our visit to this stylish and elegant cafe. The desserts were a feast for the eyes as well as for the palate! It was almost impossible to choose!"
SPECIAL RECOGNITION By Sarah from Missouri, USA - The Cotswolds Experience "What could be more fun than a trip to the Fleece Inn for dinner in a historic pub, now part of the National Trust, with its timbered low ceilings and ancient pewter on display? The answer— dinner and an unexpected opportunity to see Morris dancing in the courtyard of the Inn. Led by the Inn’s landlord, Nigel Smith, the traditional folk dancers sometimes carried sticks and sometimes handkerchiefs, but always danced to the music with enthusiasm."
By Lorn from Oregon, USA. The Alsace Experience. "Colmar is the heart of the Alsace Wine Route. Its colorful river, the Lauch, winds through town, giving its neighborhood the name, "The Little Venice of Alsace." The stream is populated by half-timbered houses, neatly lining the cobblestoned alleys and walkways."
By Carol-Anne from British Columbia, Canada. The Chianti Experience. "Room with a View. Each morning at Castellina in Chianti this magnificent vista would greet me from my hotel bedroom window; bright mornings with a distant crowing rooster, or a quiet low mist opening into another sunny day. Later as darkness descended, twinkling lights from farms and vineyards with the muffled bark of a dog told me it was time to prepare for another day in Chianti. Bliss! Sheer Bliss!"
By Sue from Massachusetts, USA. The European Christmas Experience. "This sky captures the feeling I had leaving Bergheim. I can still feel the wind and the winter sun, the joy of travel!"
By Kathy from Georgia, USA. The Luberon Experience. "I took this picture in slo motion looking up towards the old church in Bonnieux, wanting to capture the full moon. Looks like a painting!"
By Tim from Queensland, Australia. Return to the Luberon. "Entering L'Isle sur la Sorge on market day I took this picture on the way in from the car to capture the motion of the water."
By Sally from Washington, USA. The European Christmas Experience. "Chestnuts for Sale. Kaisersberg, France. A classic European Christmas scene, almost out of a Dickens novel?!"
By Becky from Vermont, USA. The European Christmas Experience. "Nature’s winter beauty captured in a window on a side street in the Alsatian town of Bergheim- just as exquisite as the art in museums and cathedrals we were so fortunate to savor."
By Anita from Queensland, Australia. Return to the Luberon. "I snapped this picture of Johann at Les Pastras after our truffle hunt and tasting. It shows his excitement about getting a gift from Australia!"
By Sue from Massachusetts, USA. The Alsace Experience. "The Riquewihr tower against a cloudless sky, accompanied by a jet contrail. Medieval and Modern mixed!"
By John from Tennessee, USA. The Chianti Experience. "This photo was taken during lunch at Vignamaggio. We are being educated by our expressive waiter on the wine produced there and its pairing with the food."
By Eric from Oregon, USA. "Cuisine and libations are among the top reasons to visit Alsace. Served this delectable cold soup alfresco at our Kientzheim residence, Hotel Schwendi, one would be hard pressed to pick a favorite meal during our week with Kathy and Charley."
By Becky from Vermont, USA. The European Christmas Experience. "Colors of the season in an early morning view of the Old Town Hall on the Marienplatz in Munich."
By Anita from Queensland, Australia. Return to the Luberon. "Tim and I were walking in the streets of Caseneuve and were walking in Rue du Chat Noir when we saw the subject of the street name."
By Sally from Washington, USA. The European Christmas Experience. "It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas in Colmar. Look closely and you can see the cathedral reflected in the ornament."
By Bonnie from Georgia, USA. The Cornwall Experience. "Entrance to Lanhydrock. After a nice walk through a forested area, we reached the gate. The house and garden beyond were lovely and unexpected."
By Nancy from New York, USA. The Alsace Experience. "Cat in shop in the town of Ammerschwihr"
By Tim from Queensland, Australia. Return to the Luberon. "I snapped this picture of Anita at our picnic in Viens where a stray cat was looking to join the picnic as well."
By Nancy from New York, USA. The Alsace Experience. "Statue in street scene from Ribeauvillé"
By Meghan from Pennsylvania, USA. The Chianti Experience. "After a stormy, rain-filled ride through the hills of Chianti, we had the pleasure of dining in Lamole. As we gathered for several delicious local courses, the rain stopped and this gorgeous sunset truly demonstrated the majesty of the Tuscan sun."
By Linda from California, USA. Return to the Luberon. "As we began our tour, Return to the Luberon, we were looking forward to seeing fields of poppies. As we traveled from village to village during the tour we saw a few poppies here and there but it wasn't until our final day in Provence that Kathy found this gorgeous field of poppies."
By Margie from Massachusetts, USA. The European Christmas Experience. "A Bear's View. Later we were looking for late lunch, and somehow every place we looked into was full, all the tables seemed to have just turned over. Getting hungrier by the moment, I walked upstairs to a second floor restaurant and found a window table for Sue and me. After sitting down I was so surprised and delighted to discover I was up with the very same bears I had photographed that morning!"
By Margie from Massachusetts, USA. The European Christmas Experience. "The Bears of Colmar. Our first full day in Colmar, and on our way to the Unterlinden Museum we kept passing houses with white bear decorations. Adorable!"
By Sarah from Missouri, USA. The Cotswolds Experience. "Initially, I was somewhat skeptical about how interesting the stop off at the Cotswold Falconry Center would be. But hearing about the habits of the birds of prey and seeing the staff interact with them was fascinating. Here one of the birds of prey has just landed and is being rewarded by Chris with a snack."
By Susan from Washington, USA. The Alsace Experience. "This little cat was the star of the window display in a store in Kayserberg. He drew a small crowd of admirers before disappearing into the shadows."
By Kim from Florida, USA. The Luberon Experience. "Bonnieux wall art with a smile."
By Rebecca from Michigan, USA. The European Christmas Experience. "Capturing the ambiance of an early November evening in Salzburg, this photo reflects my first impressions on the Christmas Experience tour. Every street was adorned for Christmas, and the lights on Linzergasse were some of the most lovely. Our hotel's elaborate iron sign on the left was an early introduction to the many beautiful iron work signs we would see throughout the trip. The hint of fog and the shape of the Alps in the distance add to the beauty of a city set to celebrate the winter holidays."
By Linda from California, USA. Return to the Luberon. "Most days with Kathy and Charley are filled with a variety of experiences. 'Truffle hunting day' was no exception. We began the day with a tour of the lovely Chateau d'Ansouis. Next came lunch and a walk around the charming town of Cucuron. After spending the afternoon in Lourmarin we went on a truffle hunt complete with two hard-working truffle dogs. Bruce was delighted to be in charge of the basket of truffles that the dogs had found."
By Rebecca from Michigan, USA. The European Christmas Experience. "In this photo I see the Rhine River which is the life blood of the city and the Notre Dame Cathedral of Strasbourg which is the heart. The quiet life of the Petite France neighborhood is reflected in the river. Yet, on the right, French security guards dressed in yellow vests, check the bags of those who are crossing the bridge to visit the Christmas markets. This peaceful view including those who are working to protect against violence, captures a moment before Strasbourg was stuck by a terrorist attack in the Christmas markets 5 days later."
By Dale from Tennessee, USA. The Cotswolds Experience. "I played under a covered bridge in a quiet meadow catching turtles and minnows when I was a boy. This bridge brought back memories of that time. While the bridge is different, the meadow is very much the same. Just one of many beautiful scenes you encounter in the Cotswolds and surrounding areas."
By Melissa from California, USA. The Luberon Experience. "The Luberon is a fertile land full of possibilities. We found it filled with farms, fields, families, friends, flowers and fruit."
By Sandy from Tennessee, USA. The Cotswolds Experience. "Our journey through the Cotswolds brought joy in every moment but the lavender fields swept me away. I called this place "my happy place"! This memory will go with me forever!"
By Bruce from New York, USA. Return to the Luberon. "Truffle Treasure"
By Susan from Washington, USA. The Alsace Experience. "This friendly dog and his little pig kept us entertained during the dinner with the family that lived next to our hotel. He's a reminder of the special experiences one can have on a trip with Kathy and Charley."
By Diane from New York, USA. Return to the Luberon. "Cool thread holder in L'Isle sur le Sorgue. We'd own it, but couldn't find a way to get it home."
By Kim from Florida, USA. The Luberon Experience. "Sunset in Heaven"
By Sue from Massachusetts, USA. The European Christmas Experience. "Strasbourg Cathedral’s rose window. Sacred year round, not just at Christmas."
By Nancy from Washington, USA. The Luberon Experience. During our visit to the Luberon Kathy kept talking about the bories in the area. One day as we were driving to Saignon she stopped in a field up at the top of Bonnieux and we got out to take a closer look. The sky was perfect and this little borie caught my eye."
By Fred from Missouri, USA. The Cotswolds Experience. "The Cotswold Falconry is hardly your typical European excursion. It provides an up-close experience with a variety of birds of prey including eagles, hawks, vultures and owls as they soar great distances in the wild before returning for treats from their trainer who is only a few feet away from the audience."
By Diane from New York, USA. Return to the Luberon. "Coffee and pastries on a beautiful day in Lourmarin."
By Effie from South Australia, Australia. The Chianti Experience. "At home with the winemaker - so much more than a wine tasting! We heard the story of the family as well as the rules for 'Chianti Classico' (note the black rooster symbol). We felt like guests not customers."
By Helene from Massachusetts, USA. The Cotswolds Experience. "Gifford’s Circus..a highlight of our trip to the Cotswolds. Such a wonderful, homespun and old fashioned family Circus. It was the essence of the 'European Experience'...grateful to Kathy and Charley for bringing us there."
By Sean from California, USA. The Luberon Experience. "As I wandered up this path, admiring the big old vine against the many shades of orange, breathing the damp air and feeling the coolness of the morning upon my face I had but one thought in my mind; anticipation. What would I discover around the next turn?"
By Cathy from Virginia, USA. The Cornwall Experience. "Cape Cornwall view from the plane trip from the Isles of Scilly. We were able to visit Cape Cornwall by land and air!"
By Bruce from New York, USA. Return to the Luberon. "Antique car outside of Goult"
By Bob from Oklahoma, USA. The Luberon Experience. "Home Alone in Bonnieux"
By Sonia from Virginia, USA. The Cornwall Experience. "I was intrigued by the abandoned homes and mines, standing as stark reminders of Cornish miners' lives——but softened by golden bushes and green hills."
By Sandy from Tennessee, USA. The Cotswolds Experience. "Sudley Castle was a place where my imagination ran wild. A window into times gone by, I was awestruck by the grounds, gardens, display of past queens, and more. The perfect afternoon just filled with wonder!"
By Bonnie from Georgia, USA. The Cornwall Experience. "Beach at Porthcurno. The beaches and plant life in Cornwall are so unexpected. If one did not know where this is, they would think they were in the South Pacific. That is the beauty of Cornwall."
By Sean from California, USA. The Luberon Experience. "I found surprises of color and beauty everywhere during my stay in the Luberon even in the cracks of the medieval walls around the village of Saignon. "
By Lisa from Minnesota, USA. The Cornwall Experience. "Since it was a rainy spring day when we visited Lanhydrock House & Garden near Bodmin in Cornwall, most visitors chose to tour the grand house, where it was warm and dry. However, I was eager to see the gardens, so my umbrella and I set out to explore. I got lucky and the rain stopped just in time for a leisurely meander through the grounds. The rain and wind had had their way with the magnolia blossoms, giving this little structure and its surroundings a magical sprinkling of pale pink 'snow.'"
By Janan from California, USA. The Alsace Experience. "It's all about the wine in Alsace!"
By Bob from Oklahoma, USA. The Luberon Experience. "Bonnieux at Night"
By Cathy from Virginia, USA. The Cornwall Experience. "Cornwall Coast view from a small plane."
By John from Tennessee, USA. The Chianti Experience. "As an American traveling in Italy, I was amazed by the beauty of The Florence American Cemetery. I was struck by the immaculately maintained grounds, the symmetrical lines of the crosses, the monuments and pavilion, I felt much gratitude to Italy for this cemetery and its continued honoring of the American lives lost in Italy during WWII."
By Lisa from Minnesota, USA. The Cornwall Experience. "As a fan of the British TV series Doc Martin (which is set in Cornwall), I was looking forward to experiencing the Cornish scenery in person. Shortly after arriving at our hotel in the village of Mousehole, I slipped out the back gate and came upon this lovely coastal pathway. These young ladies reminded me of the ones who walk around laughing at and mocking the doc in the series. They were chatting and laughing, but the doc was nowhere in sight. Maybe he was at Mrs. Tishell’s pharmacy, picking up supplies."
By Andrea from Washington, USA. The Luberon Experience. "Lacoste- such a beautiful little town. This picture just makes me think about whats around that corner. Every turn was a new discovery!"
By Carol-Anne from British Columbia, Canada. The Chianti Experience. "Sunset over Lamole. After a drive hugging the hillsides of Chianti olive groves and vineyards, we reached Ristoro di Lamole perched above the village. As we devoured the locally sourced delicious cuisine and Chianti wine, the heavens opened with a short rainstorm obliterating the magnificent view overlooking Greve. Just as quickly as the rain came, it subsided, turning the sky hues of red, yellow, orange and blue, making a perfect frame for this impressive sculpture."
By Janan from California, USA. The Alsace Experience. "Alsatian stork in flight."
By Nancy from Washington, USA. The Luberon Experience. "Market day in Gordes. This day brought me back to one of my favorite movies, A Good Year. The movie was one of the reasons I wanted to come to the Luberon. This day did not disappoint. I chose this picture because the incongruity of the vendor with the colorful market stall makes me laugh! He looks like he wished the day was over soon!"
By Carol from Georgia, USA. The European Christmas Experience. "If nature could create 'The Kiss' by Gustav Klimt, this might be it. The golden leaves appear to be slowly, floating down, carpeting the worn, stone street. The half-timbered houses in their colorful shades of green, ecru, yellow and even the red door are all colors within Klimt's painting. I came across this while strolling along a side street in the ever charming and always alluring Kaysersberg, my favorite Alsatian village."
By Sonia from Virginia, USA. The Cornwall Experience. "I love the contrast of the ancient carved cross 'resting' in a backdrop of springtime flowering trees with hardy flowers blooming in abandon. I marveled at this as we toured Lanhydrock House and Garden."
By Cindy from Florida, USA. The Chianti Experience. "While strolling along the cobbled streets of Montefioralle, I came upon a very inviting potted flower garden. The lounging cats basking in the sunshine reflect the beauty and peacefulness of the setting. "
By Carol from Georgia, USA. The European Christmas Experience. "This, to me is a serendipitous photo capturing the beauty of Salzburg. Magnificent lighting dancing on the water and spotlighting it's historic structures are all mesmerizing! Charley, mom and I happened upon this spectacular view coming back from a beer hall as we decided to take a more gentle path crossing the river and walking along the river back to the hotel. The best things are often not planned, they just happen!"
By Carol from Georgia, USA. The Cornwall Experience. "Karma is a very good thing! Karma St Martin on the Isles of Scilly that are just off the Cornish Coast. This was the crown jewel on the Cornwall Experience. To have any meal here taking in such a breathtaking ocean and sunset views is sublime!"
By Pauline from Manitoba, Canada. The European Christmas Experience. "On a day trip to the Salzkammergut lake district of Austria we visited the village of St. Gilgen on the shores of Lake Wolfgang. It would have been easy for me to spend the whole afternoon at this spot soaking up the atmosphere and the beauty. The village is colorful but what could be considered a grey day is also bursting with color."
By Patti from Tennessee, USA. The Chianti Experience. "The cooking class at Fagiolari offered more than a delightful cooking lesson with gifted chefs. The setting, along with the prepared food, was deliciously rich with photo opportunities like this vignette of a cafe table looking out on the landscape."
We (Kathy and Charley) judged the contest together. Our daughter Kelly Wood managed the contest, which allowed us to judge “blind.” We didn’t know who entered or who submitted each photo until after we made our decisions. We considered the photo along with its description, selecting a final portfolio of winners that we 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.
Patti from Tennessee, USA
Grand Prize Runners-Up
Our three runners-up will each receive a $250 discount on a future European Experiences trip.
Dale from Tennessee, USA
Eric from Oregon, USA
Helena from Massachusetts, USA
Special Recognition Awards
These 11 photographers were also recognized for their photos. They each won a $50 Amazon gift certificate or a $50 discount on a 2019 or 2020 trip.
Andrea from Washington USA
Carol from Georgia, USA
Cindy from Florida, USA
Fred from Missouri, USA
Kathy from Georgia, USA
Lorn from Oregon, USA
Meghan from Pennsylvania, USA
Melissa from California, USA
Pam from Maine, USA
Pauline from Manitoba, Canada
Sarah from Missouri, 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.
Anita from Queensland, Australia
Becky from Vermont, USA
Bonnie from Georgia, USA
Bruce from New York, USA
Carol-Anne from British Columbia, Canada
Cathy from Virginia, USA
Diane from New York, USA
Effie from South Australia, Australia
Janan from California, USA
John from Tennessee, USA
Kim from Florida, USA
Linda from California, USA
Lisa from Minnesota, USA
Margie from Massachusetts, USA
Nancy from Washington, USA
Nancy from New York, USA
Rebecca from Michigan, USA
Bob from Oklahoma, USA
Sally from Washington, USA
Sandy from Tennessee, USA
Sean from California, USA
Sonia from Virginia, USA
Sue from Massachusetts, USA
Susan from Washington, USA
Tim from Queensland, Australia
We’ll feature these photos on our websites, in our newsletters, on our Instagram page, and on our Facebook page over the next year and in the future. Thanks to everyone for sharing their special photos and memories with us!