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      January 2011 > What is the essence of an Inntravel holiday?

What is the essence of an Inntravel holiday?

Slow: Life in a Tuscan Town by Douglas GayetonIt is something that our customers understand and appreciate but is something that is hard for us to communicate to people who are not yet familiar with Inntravel. That is why we were particularly intrigued when we were introduced to Douglas Gayeton’s beautiful book ‘Slow: Life in a Tuscan Town’.

In his book, Gayeton not only perfectly captures the life of local people but also the essence of the Slow Food movement in Italy – a movement which grew up in response to the opening of the first McDonald’s fast-food outlet in Rome, near the iconic Spanish Steps.

Although we were already familiar with Slow Food, we also learned how the wider concept of Slow is about balance and creating space in our lives to experience and appreciate things for what they are. We recognised the similarities with Inntravel holidays – discovering the lesser-taken path, easing into the rhythms and patterns of everyday local life, connecting with local people, and taking time to relax and relish local food, all experienced in your own way at your own pace. And what really caught our attention was the unique way Gayeton combined images and words to communicate these elusive concepts.

‘Slow: Life in a Tuscan Town’ is based on the time Gayeton spent living in Italy and focuses on people he met in the town of Pistoia. He describes their lives and celebrates their traditional approach to the production, preparation and enjoyment of food. Gayeton, an award-winning film-maker, uses his unique style of photography to convey the rich traditions of rural Italy and transports you right into the heart of local life. 

The olive harvest, AndaluciaHis photography, which art critics term ‘flat films’, represents a complete memory of an experience – perhaps a family meal or a bustling market scene. His photographs capture the passing of time or a sequence of events in one evocative image, something which he achieves by taking hundreds of shots over an extended period and then weaving them together. He then adds handwritten notes to the image, recollecting names and relationships between people and details that stuck in his mind which are significant to his personal memory of what he has experienced.

The result is very powerful, adding a new dimension to photography that puts you right there sharing his experience. We were keen to see if Gayeton would work with us to help us to communicate Inntravel in the same way – and we are very pleased that he said yes.

For Douglas to create photographs that convey the authentic encounters and unique memories which characterise Inntravel holidays, we set up a photo shoot in Andalucia in southern Spain. This is a region which is a favourite among Inntravel customers, and in which we have many friends, not least David Lanfear, who has researched and written the route guides for numerous holidays for us over the years. After 30 years in Andalucia, mostly as a walking guide, David knows the region and its paths intimately. What’s more, his partner, Linda Lashford, is a skilled landscape photographer whose shots frequently feature in our brochures and on our website, so she also proved an invaluable adviser.

Kim foraging for mushrooms in AndaluciaBetween them, David and Linda were able to suggest the best locations for the shoot and introduce Douglas to a host of local people who are keeping the region’s traditions alive: Kim, who supplements the income he makes from crafting stools from cork by foraging for wild mushrooms, asparagus and more in the woods; the family which owns an olive farm and which devotes two months each winter to harvesting the fruit entirely by hand; and Antonio, who heads up into the mountains with his faithful mule each morning to help his father milk their goats, then ferries the churns back down to the village for his mother to make into hand-pressed cheeses.

Chance encounters with people like these are very much a part of a wonderfully Slow Inntravel holiday, not just in Andalucia, but in any of the timeless regions featured in our programmes. We are very pleased with the resulting photographs, which you may have seen in recent emails and which are being used in adverts in The Times, The Telegraph and the Guardian newspapers, as well as various magazines over the coming months. We are also delighted with how they have been further brought to life as a film on

We hope that you feel that the essence of an Inntravel holiday has been captured in our new approach. As usual we value your opinion; so, if you would like to, please let us know by posting a comment below.

Posted: 20/01/2011 14:38:17 by | with 0 comments
Filed under: opinions, photography, slow, Spain

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