The European Travel Bloggers Exchange (TBEX 2015) kicked off Thursday, April 30th with an Opening Night Party at Santa Christina Beach. Thank you, Costa Brava, for giving me a night to remember. Thanks to last night’s hosts– Costa Brava Pirineu de Girona, Catalynya, and Lloret de Mar–and to TBEX for a great gathering this weekend.
The boat bucked and sprayed waves past rugged cliffs into the beautiful bay. Candles flickering in the sand and strung lights blowing in the breeze were our sentinels after sunset. The food and wine was fresh, local, delicious. I especially loved the Cava, cheeses, fresh anchovies, grilled sardines, and strawberry basil sorbet. The mayor and other tourism board members welcomed us followed by a human tower, live music, and even Marvin Gaye. Best was releasing balloons with tweets. As if a giant pearl necklace has been broken, they scattered, then rose toward the moon.
Best was meeting kindred spirits–fellow writers who share gypsy souls–now new friends. Like Janice Chung. A retired educator, the Canadian blogger has been to France 24 times and is my new go-to for advice. Her Francetraveltips.com is especially timely since today one of the travel reps offered me a press trip there. We also met Camille Rumani, Co-founder of Viz Eat. The site is to home cooking what airbnb is to home stays. I’m excited about finding her host houses for authentic meals in Marrakesh, then this summer scouting southern cooks to entertain tourists in Nashville.
Today I enjoyed Gary Bembridge and Heather Cowper‘s advice on moving from press trips to paid campaigns. Thanks to the folks at Eurail for hosting the rooftop sangria and tapas party tonight. Can’t wait to see what I will learn and love tomorrow.