Nearly 3 months in the seaside town of Split gave us lots of time to wander the Dalmatian Coast, and one of our favorite spots was this tiny island. Since our first glimpse of Trogir, as we came in for a landing (yes on a prop plane – how often does that happen?!) at the Split airport, we’ve wanted to explore this intriguing barely-an-island. Just steps from the mainland, it’s connected by a couple of short bridges, then further bridged to a larger island, Ciovo. It’s an easy 30 minute drive from Split and like all of the places we’ve visited this Covid-changed fall, it looks much different, with just a few locals out and about, than the Youtube videos we’d watched before our trip, when each square, promenade or bridge is jammed with people. Imagine standing in front of the Mona Lisa at the Louvre, or in the middle of St. Mark’s Square in Venice, alone, just taking it in at your leisure…it’s a pleasure! We choose a couple of pastries at the first bakery we pass, then settle in with our cappuccinos at a main-square cafe, enjoying the view of Trogir’s showpiece – the Cathedral of St. Lawrence. That gorgeous bell tower alone took 200 years to build – the entire edifice was built from the 13th to 17th centuries. Gothic arches on the first level, then Venetian Gothic (a taste of what we’ll continue to spy along the twisting lanes of the interior) topped by Renaissance – an architectural lesson in stone. Across from the cathedral is the 15th century St. Sebastian’s church, topped by the town clock, added in the Renaissance era. Beside the church, the Town Loggia hides behind cafe umbrellas. The town hall anchors another side of the plaza, inviting a peek into its Gothic courtyard. One of the many Venetian-style wells on this coast, this one is carved with the winged lion of St. Mark, the symbol of the Venetian Republic, which ruled the area in the 1400s. On the walls are coats of arms of noble families of the era. Tiny though the island is, we have no trouble filling a day with wandering its maze of marble streets, enclosed by sturdy medieval walls. From small details to intricate carvings, our eyes dart from one intriguing sight to another. We pass an elegant entry into a palace courtyard, now a vacation rental and keep looking up to take in the Venetian gothic windows scattered through the lanes. Not many places are serving meals in the off-season, but after walking across a bridge to Ciovo island to appreciate the views of Trogir, we return and find a picturesque spot by the old fish market, with our always-a-prerequisite view! Any self-respecting Dalmation Coast town MUST have it’s Riva (seaside promenade) and Trogir’s is wide and welcoming,
popular with young and old. A bulwark of a fortress, Kamerlengo Castle, another Venetian addition, anchors one end.Turn right at the fortress, and a soccer field fills the space between it and a later tower, St. Marks. This must be the most fabulously located soccer field in the world! As the sun sets, we take in the views from one end of the Riva to the other, and take a final stroll inside the walls. The ancient town hall twinkles with fairy lights, and we stop for one more look before driving back to Split. Yes, we filled the whole day with the delights of tiny Trogir!
The best way to describe us (Kirk and Anne Woodyard) is that we’re interested in the stories that make the places we visit come alive. We’ve visited Europe more times than we can count, learned some entertaining stories there, and met some warm and helpful people who also enjoy the wonders of music and life in Europe. We look forward to sharing these stories and friends and experiences with our Music and Markets guests. Since 2003 we’ve hosted Music and Markets tours in France, Italy, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, England and Spain, and in 2019 added Wonder Tours with a more intentional concentration on art and architecture, local culture, food and wine, and less time dedicated to concert-going. We also design and host custom private tours – previous locations include many French, Spanish, British and Italian regions. Between our music-related travels, we enjoy our home in the south of France. While both of us have experience in organizing travel and music groups, Kirk’s background is in project management and competitive writing, and Anne is an accomplished pianist with over forty years of teaching and performance experience.
The best Photographs from our 2020 Photo Tours in Europe (that never took place)
We had been so excited about our10th year of offeringPhoto Tours in Europe and of course, like many of you, we have been forced to stay close to home. Our usual 4-months-long European journey has instead been replaced by daily walks in our neighborhood, growing a vegetable (“victory”) garden, long wonderful backpacking trips in the Cascade and Olympic Mountains in the fall, and more recently brisk days of downhill skiing at Stevens Pass, our local ski hill.
We have never spent so much time daydreaming of past experiences from our travels to some of the most stellar photographic locations in Europe.
We invite you to join us on our photo adventures when it is safe to travel again but in the meantime, we’d like to share some of our favorite images from our favorite locations in Europe. If we can’t travel physically, let’s travel mentally and visually.
If you’d like to see a slideshow with photography tips and listen to our commentary about some of the images below, check out our recent webinar organized by our Slow Travel Tours colleague, Kathy Wood from European Experiences.
Climb the 186 stairs in Prague’s Powder Tour for an amazing blue hour experience.
Well worth the detour to Kutna Hora to photograph this yummy stairwell. And also a yummy lunch!
Mid-April is the optimum time to visit Southern Moravia.
Magical ?eský Krumlov.
We choose mid-April to visit the Czech Republic because of the lushness of the bright green rolling wheat fields and, if we’re lucky, golden fragrant canola in full bloom in Southern Moravia. This is also a good time of the year to visit magical Prague and romantic Ceský Krumlov with fewer tourists.
Amsterdam is a blue hour mecca with its tranquil canals and wonderful architecture.
Just north of Amsterdam, the Beemster region offers vast fields of flowers.
The Cube Houses. Rotterdam.
Most of Rotterdam was destroyed in one day in WWII but some of the nearby areas were untouched.
Kinderdijk. So worth the visit. Amazing place to photograph these stately windmills.
Zaanse Schans, otherwise known as the cheese farm which is much easier to pronounce. Just north of Amsterdam.
Only open for a few weeks in the spring, Keukenhof Gardens are simply amazing.
The Netherlands was meant to be an exciting new photo tour offering in 2020. It was a big disappointment that we were not able to share this beautiful country with our tour clients but we look forward to returning in 2022. Again, we chose April for this photo tour to coincide with the amazing tulip blooms throughout the country, especially at the annual Keukenhof Gardens flower exhibit and the Beemster region north of Amsterdam.
The world-class view of Manarola. Grab some tasty takeout and photograph the evening blue hour.
The Rock during the evening blue hour in Monterosso al Mare.
Could not resist this cliché Cinque Terre sunset.
This would have been our 9th time leading tours to the Cinque Terre. We love the unique beauty of these five colorful fishing villages on the Ligurian coast and we look forward to returning in the fall of 2021.
Il Belvedere. Always hoping for early morning mist.
When possible, we time our stay in Pienza for the full moon rise over the Chapel of Vitaleta.
One of the most photographed compositions in the Val d’ Orica and for good reason.
The owner of this 45 foot across tree asked us if we “Liked his plant”.
Pitigliano is built upon ancient Etruscan ruins. Worth the 1.5-hour drive from Pienza.
Tuscanyis very dear to our hearts as this was the first tour we conducted 10 years ago. With 4 courageous souls/clients, we launched Photography Travel Tours.Many thanks and gratitude to Frits, Stephanie, Cacky, and Ellen. The Val d Orcia region of Tuscany continues to be one of our favorite photographic locations in Europe, offering a plethora of amazing photo opportunities very near our 7-night home base in the charming medieval hill town of Pienza. We have a new offering this fall that includes the Chianti region to take advantage of the spectacular fall colors in the vineyards.
You want to be at this location just off of Piazza San Marco an hour before sunrise to get this image.
Sunrise from the Accademia Bridge. The evening blue hour is also great.
The evening blue hour over the Grand Canal. A magical time.
Fresh paint and fresh laundry. We so appreciate how the Burano residents care for their houses.
We love the evening blue hour in Burano but don’t forget the bug juice.
There really is no other place in the world that compares to Venice with its grandeur and crumbling charm. Yes, there are all those negative aspects that you may have experienced or heard of: Crowded, smelly, expensive, hot, buggy. We have encountered all of these at some point yet we still return year after year. Getting off the beaten paths and away from the tourist hordes allows us to discover delightful photo ops. And a 45-minute water bus ride to the north we photograph the over-the-top colorful village of Burano. Think Velvia film on steroids!
Silky water paradise, Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia
A walk in the woods and on water. Magical Plitvice.
The evening blue hour along the shores of Lake Bled in northern Slovenia.
From our home-base of Bled, we have good access to the Chapel of St. Primoz.
We spend the night here in the tranquil hamlet of Monte Lussari. Accessed via a ski lift.
This photo tour offers some of the most photogenic areas of Croatia: Rovinj on the Istrian Peninsula and the Plitvice Lakes National Park. And the Lake Bled area of Slovenia offers yet a different kind of wonderfully photogenic locations. Recently, we added a detour to the NE corner of Italy to the last day of this photo tour (hence “the pinch of Italy”). We ride a ski lift to the top of the charming alpine hamlet of Monte Lussari where we spend the night in an idyllic mountain hotel. We love the stellar views looking into Austria and Slovenia from the solitude of this amazing mountaintop perch.
Looking north across the Douro River with a long lens at sunrise. Porto.
The evening blue hour along the Douro River, Porto, Portugal
We like to photograph the graphic vineyards of the Douro Valley in June for this lush green.
Aveiro reminds us of a blend of New Orleans and Burano, Italy.
Lovely Óbidos is a perfectly preserved, walled, medieval village.
No shortage of photogenic doors and bougainvillea in Óbidos.
An easy drive from Óbidos is the charming village of Nazaré.
With 11 nights spent in various exciting locations in Portugual, this is the longest photo tour we offer and perhaps the most diverse. Porto, the Douro Valley, Aveiro, Obidos, and Lisbon are all places we love to visit and photograph. We choose mid-June for this tour to ensure the greenest green in the graphic vineyards of the Douro Valley.
The Alpe di Siusi is one of the reasons we love the Dolomites!
High above the Val Gardena, the Seceda is a magnificent massive to photograph.
In addition to mountains, we also find one of our favorite subjects to photograph…..architecture. Castelrotto, Italy.
Near Cortina, The Tre Cime is one of our favorite photographic subjects.
The Chapel of St. Barbara, Wengen, Dolomites, Italy.
We love the Italian Dolomites — majestic mountains, inviting valleys dotted with charming villages, wonderful alpine hotels and cuisine, and an amazing blend of Austrian and Italian culture. Because of the vast network of ski lifts, we easily reach stunning mountain tops. Plus, all these high altitude locations feature restaurants with local treats. Think savory alpine fare for lunch followed by the best apple strudel and cappuccino you’ve ever tasted.
The vast fields on the Valensole Plateau are the best place to photograph lavender.
Valensole Plateau, Provence, France.
The ochre tinted village of Roussillon is great for blue hour photo sessions.
This is the most exciting photography that Magrit & I have ever experienced. Hang on to your hats!
The lone runner. The Camargue, Provence, France.
Another diverse photo tour, with exciting photography locations, Provence offers vast lavender fields on the Valensole Plateau, charming French villages in the Luberon, and the white horses of the Camargue. We conduct this photo tour at the end of June to take advantage of the lavender and sunflowers in full bloom.
Jim and Magrit have been photographing professionally and traveling in Europe for the past 20 years.
They started Photography Travel Tours in 2011 with the goal of educating and guiding photographers to some of the most beautiful and iconic scenes in Europe.
The tours are not just about getting great photographs but also have the side benefits of doing so in wonderful environments. Great food, wine, people, and ambiance.
Happy New Year! or as we say in France, bonne année!
The Randle’s Winter Mooring In Auxerre, Bourgogne-Franche-Comté
Small group barge travel offers our guests an unique and privileged view of rural France and the French lifestyle well away from crowds and mass tourism attractions, working closely with local suppliers and families of the region we offer an intimate and detailed insight to French way of life not available to travellers just passing through.
The Randle moored on the Canal du Nivernais at Lucy sur Yonne
2020 brought many changes to the world, but between lock-downs and quarantines we cruised and enjoyed the summer in France. Now with winter mists rollings along the canal we look forward to 2021 with increased hope and optimism that travellers will be able to return to France again.
Safely aboard the floating island which is the Randle, and your home for your stay aboard, the countryside just drifts by, what could be a better way to relax and escape the worries of the world.
Canal-du-Nivernais River Section at Rochers-du-Saussois
Your private onboard chef prepares delicious cuisine from fresh local produce, enjoyed with fine wine from vineyards above the river we cruise. It is sometimes just the simple things; fresh bread warm from the baker’s oven, honey from the lock-keeper’s bees, and wild oak truffles in the autumn that make the French lifestyle such a daily joy to be lived, no wonder a two hour lunch break is still the norm, not the exception, what the French call the art d’vivre, the art of Living.
Our Favorite Boulongerie In Auxerre, Maison Roy
Small group barge travel offers our guests an unique and privileged view, if you thinking of travelling to France in 2021 or in the future then what better way to enjoy and explore than by a private inland voyage, please feel free to contact us anytime or at firstname.lastname@example.org for any queries that you may have about cruising through this beguiling and historic land.
For Passenger hotel barge the Randle
May I take this opportunity to wish you a happy a prosperous 2021 wherever you are and whatever you will be doing.
Tim Harrold is owner and captain of the Randle, a beautiful and classically styled river boat fitted with two en-suite cabins and all the modern facilities to travel in comfort.
Tim offers private barge tours on the picturesque Burgundy Canal du Nivernais and river Yonne. A luxury cruise with Tim and his crew includes gourmet cuisine, fine wine, and guided tours by private car to vineyards and chateaux. Learn more about Edge Charter and barge trips on the Randle along Burgundy's canals and rivers here.
Slow Travel Tours is an affiliation of small-group tour operators who offer personalized trips in Italy, France and other European countries.