Virtual European Experiences – Travel from Home!

Our Virtual European Experiences” project is a way for you to “travel from home” until we can travel to Europe again. Thanks to everyone who participated in one of our first four sessions and for the valuable feedback. We’re learning more about how to organize and run these sessions… it’s very different from being with a group in Europe!

Virtual European Experiences

Now we’re announcing our next group of sessions, which will take us through the end of 2020. We hope one or more of these programs will help you learn more about an area or culture, offer you a look at a place you might want to visit in the future, or bring back memories of a special place you’ve already enjoyed. We’ll announce more sessions in mid-December, which will begin again after the first of the year.

Each session will last up to an hour, including a short introduction, a 40-minute program, 10 minutes for questions and answers, and a short wrapup. Sessions are always at 2:00 pm EDT/EST (east coast USA). Click here to find out what time this is in your location.

Anyone is welcome to join us– you just need to register in advance.

Our Virtual European Experiences are hosted on Zoom and involve many of our trip co-leaders, partners and friends in Europe. These are “webinars,” where you can see and hear the moderator and presenter(s) and their slides, photos and video. But you won’t be on camera and your microphone won’t be activated. You can submit written questions in a special Q&A window.

If you’ve been participating in similar programs, you’ll be familiar with all this. But for those who are “newbies,” you’ll need to register for a free Zoom account to participate. We’ll provide some quick instructions at the beginning of each session.

Kathy Wood will lead some sessions and will moderate the other sessions. For Virtual Experiences led by others, we’re asking participants to consider making a small optional donation of $10-$20 if you can, all of which will go to our guest presenters. You can make your donation through any of our payment options. We’ll also share this information during each session.

Please click the links below to register for one or more upcoming Experiences. You’ll receive a confirmation and then a reminder about the session. Each session is limited to 100 people, so be sure to register soon if there’s a program that interests you. We’d love to have you join us!

Thursday, October 22
2:00 pm EDT
Carol Jackson
Celebrities in Chipping Campden
Leader - Carol Jackson

Carol will take us on a unique "virtual visit" of the Cotswolds village of Chipping Campden introducing us to a variety of "celebrities" (famous people) who have lived in or spent time in Campden over the past 150 years: artisans, artists, stage and screen actors, writers, and poets. And we'll see where they lived in this beautiful and historic village, home base for our Cotswolds Experience trips.

Carol has lived in Chipping Campden for 32 years, living in a 17th century house with an important role in Campden's history. She's very active in the Chipping Campden History Society and serves as a Voluntary Cotswold Warden, leading guided tours of the village-- including for our Cotswolds Experience groups.

Suggested donation for the leader: $10-$20

Register for "Celebrities in Chipping Campden" here.
Thursday, October 29
2:00 pm EDT
Kathy Wood
Getting to Know... The Luberon Experience
Leader - Kathy Wood

Kathy and Charley hosted their first Luberon Experience groups in September 2006. Two months later they were recommended in a USA Today article about the movie A Good Year, which was filmed in the area. The rest is history! The Luberon Experience was named one of the top 50 tours in the world by National Geographic Traveler in 2012. Kathy and Charley have now hosted 62 groups in the Luberon and have a second home in the village of Bonnieux.

In this session Kathy will introduce the Luberon region of Provence and the village of Bonnieux where our week is based. She'll share highlights of some of the special people and places that make this a unique and memorable experience. This overview is intended for travelers who haven't participated in The Luberon Experience.

No donation for this session

Register for "Getting to Know... The Luberon Experience" here.
Thursday, November 5
2:00 pm EST
Jennifer Dugdale
In Love with Fromage
Leader - Jennifer Dugdale

Our foodie friend in Provence, Jennifer Dugdale, returns to regale us with the world of French cheese. You'll learn how to choose it, store it, serve it, pair it (with wine!) and how to enjoy it. You'll also get a glimpse into French etiquette and how to behave at a dinner party when the cheese plate starts going around the table. Warning: this session might make you hungry!

Originally from California, Jennifer has traveled extensively. In 2004 she settled with her young family in Provence and now lives in Aix-en-Provence. A passionate cook, she was entranced with Provence and its vast market garden. She developed the leading gourmet walking tour of Aix and also developed and led small group tours in France. Jennifer is now working with European Experiences to develop new Experience trips.

Suggested donation for the leader: $10-$20

Register for "In Love with Fromage" here.
Thursday, November 12
2:00 pm EST
Arianna and Alessio
November Tuscan Treasures: Truffles and New Olive Oil
Leaders - Arianna Cini and Alessio Di Genova

Husband and wife team Arianna and Alessio will join us from Chianti to share two important activities in Tuscany in November-- truffle hunting and the olive harvest. They'll also tell us about the production of the new olive oil. Arianna and Alessio will bring their experience and enthusiasm as they introduce us to the magical traditions and celebrations of this time of year.

Both natives of Tuscany, Arianna and Alessio are passionate about the Chianti region, its people, and traditions. Arianna studied foreign languages and worked in international business and wine exporting. Alessio has a degree in Agriculture, Food and Agri-environmental Sciences and is also a qualified sommelier. They started their small travel company about five years ago. Arianna has worked with European Experiences for two years, and she and Alessio are Kathy's new co-leaders for The Chianti Experience.

Suggested donation for the leaders: $10-$20

Register for "November Tuscan Treasures" here.
Thursday, November 19
2:00 pm EST
Tommaso Perrone
Puglia - Unexpected Italy
Leader - Tommaso Perrone

Tommaso will take us into the beautiful heart of Puglia, the "heel" of Italy's boot, and will introduce us to the destination of our newest Experience week. Puglia is a unique combination of remote, way-off-the-beaten-path places; delicious food; outstanding wines; a laid-back lifestyle; and vibrant town centers.

A native of Puglia who lives in Lecce, Tommaso worked with us to develop The Puglia Experience and is handling many of the arrangements, drawing on his extensive experience and relationships in the region. He'll join Kathy as co-leader for this trip. After an academic career, Tommaso has now focused on tourism in Puglia for seven years and is a leader in increasing the visibility of this less-discovered region. He's passionate about Puglia and the culture, history, food, wine, art, and ideas of this very special part of Italy.

Suggested donation for the leader: $10-$20

Register for "Puglia - Unexpected Italy" here.
Thursday, December 3
2:00 pm EST
Kathy Wood
Jennifer Dugdale
Christmas Traditions in Provence
Leaders - Kathy Wood and Jennifer Dugdale

The Christmas season (Noël) is a special time of year in Provence: a time for family, friends, food, and traditions.

Kathy, Charley and Kelly have enjoyed the holiday season in Provence many times over the past 15 years. Kathy will share several important Christmas traditions in Provence: the santon figurines, the Christmas crèche, and the midnight mass. She'll introduce the famous crèche in Bonnieux's old church and crèches in other Provençal villages and cities. She'll also take us to crèche festivals in Bonnieux and the tiny village of Castellet.

Jennifer and her family have lived in Provence for 15 years. Jennifer will focus on the food traditions associated with the holiday season in Provence, a very special time of year as people gather to celebrate and socialize with family and friends. One Provençal tradition is the "Treize desserts" (thirteen desserts) enjoyed by many families after the midnight mass. She'll talk about typical foods and beverages served during the holiday season and at the big meal on Christmas day, often a gastronomic feast.

Suggested donation for the leader (Jennifer): $10-$20

Register for "Christmas Traditions in Provence" here.
Thursday, December 10
2:00 pm EST
Kathy Wood
The Spirit of Christmas: Markets and More in Bavaria, Salzburg and Alsace

Leader - Kathy Wood

Many of our beloved Christmas traditions began in Austria, Germany and Alsace, areas where the Advent season is a major time of celebration. After two family Christmases in Salzburg when their daughter Kelly was young, Kathy and Charley returned the last five years to research and then lead The European Christmas Experience. This trip includes four nights each in Salzburg, Munich, and Colmar (in Alsace).

In this session Kathy will share the European origins of special Christmas traditions and how this festive season is celebrated today in Germany, Austria and Alsace. She'll talk about several very different Christmas markets and discuss other highlights of the season. We promise this session will get you in the Christmas spirit! We'll discuss some experiences on our Christmas tour, but this is not intended as an overview of our Christmas tour.

No donations for this session

Register for "The Spirit of Christmas" here.