Friday, July 16, 2004

WE WON!!!

JULY 16, 2004
 
For those of you who don’t go to the SlowTrav website (www.slowtrav.com) or chat on the SlowTalk message board (www.slowtalk.com) , yesterday was a very exciting day!
 
In celebration of the message board’s three year anniversary, Pauline, the creator of the website(s) decided to have a contest, and yesterday was when the winners were chosen.  Let me tell you a little about how the contest worked.
 
On the SlowTrav website, there are many different categories.  Italy seems to be the most popular, but whether you’re off to Spain or Disneyland, there’s something here.  And of course if you really don’t find the answer to your questions, there’s’ always the message board. 
 
One of the best features of this site is the reviews and trip reports sections.  After returning from a vacation, people often write “trip reports” and post reviews of the places they stayed.  This keeps the info up-to-date and interesting.  Of course the reviews and reports are very personal opinions, but if you want to find out about traveling with kids, traveling with a large group, or visiting hill towns in Umbria, you can bet you’ll find something here.  One of the members posted info about riding the buses in ‘Rome, another about the Italian train system.
 
In celebration of the third anniversary of the message board, Pauline decided to hold a contest, and asked people to submit trip reports, travel notes, rental reviews and photo essays.  I think she expected to have about ten prizes and maybe one hundred entries, but boy was she wrong!  In the end, FIFTY prizes were donated, and I can’t begin to guess at the number of entries.  That’s a good question for Pauline. 
 
Anyway, the list of prizes was unbelieveable!  Lots of people who are in travel-related businesses participate on the message board, and their generosity was amazing.  The grand prize was a villa for TEN people for one week.  The villa is just south of the Amalfi coast…I’ll bet the winner has no trouble at all finding ten friends to go! 
 
There are also weeks in Rome and Venice, oh, and also in Sicily.  There are guidebooks and cases of olive oil.  There are original works of art, guided tours, car rentals, and cell phones.  A truly amazing list!  There are also lots of prizes giving discounts for various rentals and services.  Something for everyone. 
 
Art and I entered our blog, and also the trip report and picture essay from our trip to Prague.  These past few weeks, as the entries were posted, I have been busy printing some of them out…a suggested driving tour of southern Tuscany, a story about apartment renovation in Rome, travel stories from places I love, and some from places I’ll probably never go to. 
 
I guess it was about a week ago that Pauline started to list the winners of each category.  Some categories had more than one winner.  There were two winners for best blog, and WE WERE ONE OF THEM!!!!!  Hard to believe you can win a prize for talking!
 
Once all the winners were announced, the names were written on pieces of paper and drawn from a hat.  The first person drawn had first choice of the prizes.  Each person has twelve hours to pick their prize, and this will go on until all the prizes have been awarded!
 
Marian’s name was drawn first!  There were a bunch of us in the live chat room, and Marian was there!  Pauline asked her to wait until all the names were announced before making her choice, keeping us all in suspense!  Finally she got the okay after the 50th person’s name was announced…and she chose the villa for ten on the Amalfi coast!  What a prize!
 
Rebecca’s name was drawn second, and Art tried to call her to tell her that she had won and that it was her turn to pick, but she had gone out for the evening!  The Umbrian Jazz Festival is going on this week, and that’s where she was.  Luckily her babysitter spoke English, so we left a message telling her to go online and pick out her prize so that the list can move on!  We’re number EIGHT on the list, and I would LOVE to win the apartment for two in Venice, but we’ll have to wait to see what’s still available. 
 
This contest was a great way to generate lots of up-to date information, and to read some wonderful stories!  The site will be even more informative than it was before.  As I’ve said a million times, if it weren’t for this site, and the knowledge and support of the people who participate, we wouldn’t be living in Italy today!  That in itself was the best prize we could have ever gotten!



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