First Five Years Photo Contest (January 2011)

Photo taking in the poppiesIn January 2011 we recognized the first five years of European Experiences.  We decided a photo contest was the perfect way to get lots of people involved in the celebration.

Everyone who joined us for one of our first 24 European Experiences trips (2006 through 2010) was invited to participate.  They could enter one or two photos that best represented their personal experience during each Experience week, and we also asked them to provide a few sentences about each photo and why the experience was meaningful to them. 

We received 75 entries, and almost all of our 24 Experience groups were represented.  Every photo captured a special element of a European Experience week, and our judges had a really difficult task to select the ten best photos.

European Experiences photo contestThere were several different ways to win.  Ten “best” photographs were selected by our judges; those travelers will receive $50 Amazon gift certificates.  From the remaining entrants we drew names to award ten $25 gift certificates.  All entrants were then eligible in a drawing for a $500 discount on a future European Experiences trip. Congratulations to Dick H. of Walnut Creek, California, who won the big prize!  Dick and his wife Lynne were with us in Provence in September 2007. They’ll put the prize to good use this summer when they join us for The Chianti Experience in Tuscany.

We’re especially grateful to our three judges, all of whom are passionate European travelers: Pauline Kenny, founder of the Slow Travel and Slow Europe websites and the designer of our original websites; Chris Coburn, a former Slow Travel moderator and the web designer for our new websites; and Bill Steiner, co-owner of Adventures in Italy and a fellow founder of the Slow Travel Tours group. 

See the ten winning photos below, along with what each traveler had to say about that experience. You can see all 75 entries here.

Thanks so much to everyone who participated… it was such fun for us to relive memories from the past five years through these wonderful photos.  Watch for our next photo contest in January 2012!

Luberon Experience (Lindsay from California – May 2010)


Our lively “girls group” had just returned from market day in beautiful L’Isle-Sur-la-Sorgue and were enjoying a luncheon picnic in the lovely garden of Le Clos du Bois. The mistral was blowing, plates flying, wine flowing and roommate secrets were let out of the bag. This trip was my sister’s first to Europe, and it meant so much to me to be able to share such a beautiful part of the world with her and my good friends. We all agreed that it was the absolute perfect “European Experience” where fun and camaraderie abounded. This picture just brings back all the memories! 


Luberon Experience (Sally from Washington – May 2010)

More than the fabulous places, our trip to France let us experience real life in the Luberon. This photo, entitled “Relax,” is actually a member of our group (Adam) sharing a sunny perch with a French feline. Animals help us to realize that no matter what corner of the world we may find ourselves in, we can always find something in common with the lives we cross paths with. 


Luberon Experience (Susie from California – May 2010)


This photo is from our last evening in Bonnieux. Judy and I walked up to the top of the hill over looking the villiage, and as we were meandering down, the sun was setting, and the colors of the buildings just began to glow. It was the perfect ending to the trip, the view, the colors and a slow walk with my sister, enjoying the last moments of a truly enchanting trip. 


Bavarian Experience (Larry from Arizona – June 2009)


The soft blush of sunset cast a magical glow over our evening at the Hotel Riessersee. This Bavarian Experience dinner, like all of Kathy and Charley’s dinners, included scrumptious food, superior wine, fun conversation, and a spectacular setting. 


Luberon Experience (Hal from Illinois – September 2009)

Kind of sad, it’s our last day… however we were totally blown away by Sally and Francois’ hospitality. Here is the table set, teasing you, inviting you to sit and stay a while….  We had classic soupe au pistou, cheese course, and a lovely apricot tart made by Sally. To top it, Francois sang for us! Truly a trip to remember. 


Luberon Experience (Annette from Australia – May 2008)


This field is perfect in describing just one day out of so many fun-filled adventures splashed with beauty and colour. Every day was poised with another surprise just waiting to be discovered around the corner, each one still fresh in our mind. 


Luberon Experience (Duane from Tennessee – May 2008)

The garden inside the sanitarium (near St. Remy) where Van Gogh spent some of his last days and painted some of his most famous works. The beauty of the flowers, the archways in the courtyard, the patterns of light and dark – serene and beautiful! 


Cotswolds Experience (Cheryl from Canada – June 2010)


“Part of the charm and beauty of the Cotswolds and Chipping Campden is its rich history. Part of that history is the Morris Dancers who performed a couple of times at the Old Market while we were there. This little boy dancing with his father and the other men is evident that this tradition is alive and well and will continue for many more generations. It made quite an impression on me to see that traditions like this will continue…so unlike our North American culture.”


Luberon Experience (LoChin from Illinois – September 2009)


This was a major highlight from the trip. The chance to go to Chateau la Canorgue was the most incredible thing! We will always remember the tour and the fabulous job Nathalie did. Loved the chateau. And something about chairs…. 


Luberon Experience (Don from Tennessee – September 2007)


Dejeuner au Domaine Faverot. This photo represents so well the notion in France that a meal is a social event as well as an epicurean one. So, here we all are in the courtyard of Domaine Faverot having an animated, social, epicurean and memorable experience! How un-American of us!