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Burning the midnight oil – my TBEX Copenhagen diary – video

I recently attended the Travel Blog Exchange or TBEX conference in Copenhagen, where I was also thrilled to be one of the speakers – a first for me after nearly 3 years of blogging. I had such fun, meeting  fellow bloggers, soaking up the laid back Scandinavian vibe of Copenhagen and being treated to many amazing entertainments and excursions laid on by Wonderful Copenhagen and the other sponsors . Here’s my diary of the 3 days I was there……

I arrive in Copenhagen early afternoon on Thursday, passing through Schiphol airport and a quick tour of the Rejksmuseum exhibition of old masters.  I’m feeling a little apprehensive about my first time presenting at this kind of event – talking about how to use images effectively on your blog in partnership with Bart from Spotted by locals who is covering  Branding in the same session.

On arriving at the airport it takes me a good 15 minutes in front of the ticket machine trying the work out the different permutations of tickets – price depending on the time of day as well as how many zones you are covering. Finally I jump on the train and after 20 minutes reach the stop only 5 minutes away from Avenue hotel, the charming boutique hotel where I’m staying. First impressions are of a busy main road outside but inside the hotel is warm and welcoming and my room is spacious.

Avenue Hotel, Copenhagen

Avenue Hotel, Copenhagen

After a quick review and some last minute tweaks to my presentation for the next day I head downstairs ready for the first event of the day, a champagne reception at Georg Jensen that is mainly for TBEX speakers. I unexpectedly bump into Kim Mance one of the TBEX organisers as well as Robert Reid from Lonely Planet who are also staying at Avenue Hotel, so we share a taxi together.  The lovely Anne Mitte, all blond Scandinavian good looks, gives us the tour of the silvermaker’s workshops where the larger statement pieces of silverware are being made. We hear about the history and heritage of the company and end up with drinks in the showroom  where we meet the CEO who tells us of his plans to reinvent Georg Jensen as the leading luxury Scandinavian brand.

Georg Jensen silver workshop, Copenhagen

Georg Jensen silver workshop, Copenhagen

Georg Jensen silver workshop, Copenhagen

Georg Jensen silver workshop, Copenhagen

As I once worked in the fashion business I love every minute of our tour but wonder what the other travel bloggers will make of it. Unfortunately the company doesn’t offer such tours to the general public, so while it was a special experience I wonder how to work the story into the blog, and later that evening have the brainwave of writing a post about the Georg Jensen grape ring that all the ladies present were so admiring.

Andrew Evans and Johnny Jet

Andrew Evans and Johnny Jet

Lola Akinmade, Marian Goldberg, Karan Bryan

Lola Akinmade, Marian Goldberg, Karan Bryan

We move on the the speaker’s dinner sponsored by Vail Resorts at the Dining Room on the 26th floor of the Radisson Blu Scandanavia . The dinner is delicious and the view over the night lights of Copenhagen even more stunning and I note the couples dining beside the window with envy and make a mental note to come back for a romantic dinner with my husband. The networking has started as I make friends with my fellow speakers, talking video with Tim from MyDenmarkTV sitting next to me  and start working out how I can wangle a trip from the Vail girls that includes my snowboarding mad teenage kids but also has something a bit more relaxing for me, as a girl who spent 3 months in the French ski resort of Meribel but more of it clubbing than on the slopes.

Cherry Heering Cocktail TBEX

Cherry Heering Cocktail TBEX

Next it’s on to Toldboden a newly opened waterfront warehouse of a club where we follow the flaming lights into the huge bar area. I have a moment of extreme panic when I realise that I’ve left my phone in the taxi but luckily by ringing it it’s found and the sweetest taxi driver returns it to me. Now I can concentrate on the demo going on with Gromit Eudardson who’s apparently a star bartender and maker of the Copenhagen cocktail made with Cherry Heering liqueur. I try to video a bit of the cocktail demonstration, but when I taste the Copenhagen cocktail it’s so eyewateringly strong that I have to park it and leave it behind – I guess it’s back to the orange juice then. The Nordic style canapés are by another renowned Danish chef called Jesper Julian Moller who owns Toldboden but after the dinner I’m feeling too full to appreciate them. So it’s back by taxi to Avenue hotel where I stay up chatting with the other bloggers and then do some internet work. When I next look at  my watch and realise it’s 1am Eek!

Wallmans Cirkus building where TBEX was held

Wallmans Cirkus building where TBEX was held

Friday morning and I arrive at the Wallman’s Cirkus venue where the croissants and coffee are being served in the foyer of this turn of the century building where you can come every night for dinner and cabaret show. I don’t have much time to chat as I’m busy setting up the projector and laptop for my joint workshop with Bart from Spotted with Locals on branding and images – being a bit of a planner I hate to leave anything to chance but everything is working fine. I’m impressed that they managed to rope in Brian Mikkelsen, the Minister of Economics and Business affairs to give us a welcome speech – can’t imagine that happening in London. Next we  laugh at the in-jokes in the comic skit that Kim Mance has put together with Robert , Paul and Johnny and in which Hamlet (Prince of Denmark, Get it?) muses about how to make his writing more creative while Rosencrantz exhorts him to write more top 10 lists to improve his traffic and Orphelia is just the girl with the blog who loves to travel and share her experiences. It all ends with the all powerful Mr Google, beating Rosencrantz around the head for his intolerable his Black Hat SEO techniques. Take a look at the TBEX SEO skit on video here.

Presentations at TBEX, Copenhagen at Wallmans Cirkus

Presentations at TBEX, Copenhagen at Wallmans Cirkus

Karen Bryan at TBEX

Karen Bryan at TBEX

Karen Bryan follows up with a thoughtful talk on keeping it real and building up your blog gradually rather than hoping it will make a living overnight – guess I won’t give up the day job just yet then. You can read Karen’s presentation here. Next we’re into the workshop that I’m presenting together with Bart and I’m relieved that it all goes well, we have a good size crowd of receptive bloggers and we both manage to deliver our presentations and answer some questions in the allotted time. If you want to know what I covered, you can get the PDF version on how to use images effectively on your blog here.

Heather presenting at TBEX

Heather presenting at TBEX

Over a  baguette lunch we have entertainment from circus performers  Karin whose muscular arms are the giveaway as she climbs up the rope above the stage and Jocke who’s a cross between clown and stand up comic while climbing a ladder and juggling with a range of axe and knives while spinning a plate on his head. You can see the video below.

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After lunch I take one of the behind the scene tours to see all the sparkly costumes with Karen the wardrobe mistress and do a quick video interview with her – see the video below. Abi King from Inside The travel lab is also facinated  and you can see her article and video on How sparkly bras save lives here.

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After lunch I catch a bit of the session in which the PR folk are jointly scratching their heads on how best to work with bloggers. It’s pretty clear that it’s a concept that’s new to many of them and although they’re keen many are not quite sure where to start, and it doesn’t help that their clients are still living in a time when print media was king and still talking circulation figures.

Karen Christoffersen in the Costume department of Wallmans Cirkus, Copenhagen

Karen Christoffersen in the Costume department of Wallmans Cirkus, Copenhagen

After tea and carrot cake with more networking thrown in I take the tour of the Meyer Vinegar Brewery and Bakery owned by top chef Claus Meyer that seems to be situated on an industrial park on the edge of town. I was hoping to meet the man himself who someone has told me is the Danish equivalent of Jamie Oliver but instead we get a bakery talk on how to make great Danish bread and then move onto the vinegar bit where the overpowering vinegar smell is rather offputting. We find out about the different kinds of speciality vinegar being made there and get to smell some unusual ones like blackcurrent and rosepetal vinegar as well as a syrupy aged balsamic.

At the Claus Meyer Bakery in Copenhagen

At the Claus Meyer Bakery in Copenhagen

Although the chefs giving the tour are passionate about their products I’m finding it hard to get excited about sourdough, but the biggest talking point of the evening comes when we realise that our coach has left us and we’re unexpectedly going to have to take the public bus back. Shock horror, a group of travel bloggers having to take public transport – but luckily David from Monmondo takes charge and waves down the next bus for us and we all feel safe again. Later, I’m at another speaker’s dinner, this time at an Italian fish restaurant called Acquamarina where we’re served a succession of miniature tasting dishes on gorgeous swirly plates from Murano in Venice. It’s all lovely but by the time the meal has ended people are literally falling asleep around me and I get back to Avenue Hotel at 1am for another far too late night.

Acquamarina restaurant, Copenhagen

Acquamarina restaurant, Copenhagen

Acquamarina restaurant, Copenhagen

Acquamarina restaurant, Copenhagen

It’s Saturday and after the coffee and croissants this morning it’s an inspirational and slick presentation from Thorvold Stigsen, CEO and founder of TBEX sponsor Momondo in which he points out how Apple managed to sell us the ideal that buying an overpriced computer was somehow cool and rebellious and would set us apart from the crowd just like Ghandi, Einstein and Martin Luther King. Our workshop sessions continue as we were due to review the assignments we had given out, but as everyone had obviously been too busy networking or partying to do any homework we just use it as a Q & A session. After Lunch Lola Akinmade of Matador network gives us the A to Z of how to pitch article for editors with plenty of tips for aspiring travel writers. Next I attend the session with Maren on marketing yourself which turns into more of a twitter discussion making me realise I really must ditch that out of the ark Nokia and get that I-phone I’ve been promising myself for ages. Later I find out that everyone else is raving about Andrew Evan’s presentation on storytelling and kick myself for missing it.

Reception at Green Square, Copenhagen for TBEX

Reception at Green Square, Copenhagen for TBEX

To end the evening we head by coach to Green Square, the most amazing series of warehouses stuffed full of antiques for a cocktail reception hosted by Løgismose company owned by the leading Danish Gronlykke family who own a number of top restaurants in Copenhagen. The setting is stunning although I barely know where to put down my glass for fear of spoiling some priceless polished antique as we tour through the warehouse to 3 different reception areas where various canapes have been laid out. There are oysters and lingonberries from the Kong Hans restaurant, salmon delicacies from the Falsled Kro country hotel outside Copenhagen and chocolates from Summerbird. I spend most of the time doing short interviews with the other bloggers to record their thoughts on TBEX but just manage to try one or two of the delicious canapés. You can see my video interviews from TBEX here.

Avenue Hotel, Copenhagen

Avenue Hotel, Copenhagen

Once back in the centre we group up for dinner and I head out with Abi (Inside the Travel Lab), Monique (Traveling Mom), Belladana (BelladanadailyLA), Dylan (The Travelling Editor) and Maren (Marenated) to a Japenese restaurant for Terayaki – my steak cooked on the grill in front of us is amazing but the Americans especially are noticing the high Danish prices, compared to what they’d pay back home. Back to Avenue and determined to have an early night to get rid of the dark rings under my eyes but make the mistake of lingering just a little longer in the cosy Avenue bar soaking up the  laid back atmosphere, when Kim and Robert arrive. We sit gossiping inside stories about Rick Steves and other not to be repeated travel tit-bits. I can’t believe that once again it’s 1am before I get to bed and don’t even dare log on for fear of being even later.

Next morning it’s all over and after the delicious Avenue breakfast I’m off to catch a mid-morning plane back to Bristol – my carry-on luggage bulging with the Snuggie I won from Vail Resorts, which turns out to be a great hit with my kids. I pass time at the airport by stopping in at the Georg Jensen shop,  trying on all the different jewellery ranges, as worn by everyone from the Danish royal family to Lady Gaga before it’s back to Bristol and reality again.

Compare prices and book hotels in Copenhagen through Hotels Combined.

Read my other articles on TBEX Copenhagen

TBEX Copenhagen – what were the highlights for you? – Video

What the TBEX girls want for Christmas – A Georg Jensen grape ring

SEO for travel bloggers – the Hamlet skit from TBEX Copenhagen – Video

Read what the other bloggers said about TBEX Copenhagen

I Eat my Pigeon: TBEX Europe ’10 Top Ten Lists

MyDenmarkTV: EPISODE # 76 – INSIDERS LOOK INTO TBEX

Nomadic Chick: TBEX – Romantic Backdrops and the Cirkus

Zurika: TBEX Copenhagen: travel that must be blogged

Inside the Travel Lab: Hygge – Copenhagen’s Secret

Inside the Travel Lab: How Sparkly Bras Save Lives

Spotted by Locals:  Enjoyed TBEX Copenhagen Travel Bloggers meeting!

Sophiesworld: TBEX in Wonderful Copenhagen – very international!

Caandaceroserardon: how travel bloggers spend their saturday night.

Momondo: TBEX Europe – The Movie

Kim Mance : TBEX Europe in Copenhagen

Tripbase: 6 Reasons Why I Love Copenhagen

Europe A La Carte: Copenhagen Canal Cruise: A Photo & Video Tour

The Spain Scoop: TBEX – Travel Writer’s Conference, Copenhagen

48 Hour Adventure: 48 hours in Copenhagen

Expat in Germany: Top 10 experiences in Denmark

Learn more from the workshops at TBEX Copenhagen

Karen Bryan from Europe a la Carte on Keeping it real

Lola Akinmade from Matador on the A to Z of pitching outlets

Heather Cowper on How to use images effectively on your blog (PDF)

This article is originally published at Heatheronhertravels.com – Read more travel articles at Travel Blog Home

You’ll also find our sister blog with tips on how to build a successful travel blog at My Blogging Journey

Don’t miss out – subscribe to Heather on her travels

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21 Comments

  • Reply
    Donna Hull
    November 28, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    TBEX has come a long way since the very first conference I attended in Chicago two years ago. I’m very impressed with the various opportunities TBEX provided in Copenhagen. Good planning. Wish I could have been there to attend your presentation. TBEX sure treated speakers royally.
    Donna Hull´s last blog post ..Saturday’s scene- Shopping For Pearls In Shanghai

  • Reply
    TESOL Certification
    November 29, 2010 at 12:57 am

    I know you really had a great time in attending the TBEX convention. It’s good to know that travelers from around the world put much effort to attend this kind of convention.
    TESOL Certification´s last blog post ..What is TEFL TESOL Certification

  • Reply
    greg urbano
    November 30, 2010 at 2:45 am

    i just found your blog and the insight provided by your article that there is a “travel blogging” culture with major events brings a smile to my face
    thanks
    greg urbano´s last blog post ..Hiking Honeymoon Island State Park

  • Reply
    Avenue Hotel Blog » Blog Archive » “Heather On Her Travels” visits Avenue Hotel
    November 30, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    […] on her popular blog “Heather On Her Travels”. Read more about Heather’s event-packed trip to Copenhagen, get her advice on how to succeed with your own travel blog or visit the lounge at Avenue Hotel. […]

  • Reply
    Sherry Ott
    November 30, 2010 at 7:58 pm

    Wow – I don’t recall seeing “sleep” anywhere in that post! Sounds like they had you on a whirlwind tour! Were you able to stay any longer after the event and slowly see Copenhagen?
    Sherry Ott´s last blog post ..signs

  • Reply
    Heather Cowper
    November 30, 2010 at 8:07 pm

    @ Donna Yes, one of the fantastic features in Copenhagen was the number of wonderful social events laid on by the sponsors
    @Greg, yes there’s a while subculture of bloggers getting together in the real world as well as the virtual one
    @ Sherry It did take me about a week to catch up on my sleep, there was just so much fun to be had

  • Reply
    Review of Avenue Hotel Copenhagen | Heather on her travels
    December 9, 2010 at 10:04 pm

    […] Burning the midnight oil – my TBEX Copenhagen diary TBEX Copenhagen – what were the highlights for you? What the TBEX girls want for Christmas – a Georg Jensen Grape ring […]

  • Reply
    Anil
    December 13, 2010 at 5:35 pm

    Any chance you’ll be in Vancouver this summer for the next TBEX?
    Anil´s last blog post ..Fethiye’s Amyntas Lycian Rock Tombs

  • Reply
    Heather Cowper
    December 14, 2010 at 10:06 pm

    @Anil Not sure about Vancouver – I was there a few years ago and love the city but I’m not sure I can justify to go such a way for such a short time. Perhaps we can tempt you over to Europe instead

  • Reply
    A tour of the Georg Jensen silver workshops in Copenhagen | Heather on her travels
    December 18, 2010 at 11:42 pm

    […] What the TBEX girls want for Christmas – A Georg Jensen grape ring Cosy up in Copenhagen at Avenue Hotel Burning the midnight oil – my TBEX Copenhagen diary […]

  • Reply
    How to make the most of a Travel Blog event
    April 13, 2011 at 10:48 pm

    […] Tales from Travel Bloggers Unite in Manchester Burning the Midnight Oil – My TBEX Copenhagen Diary Travel Bloggers Meet up at the Travel Blog Camp […]

  • Reply
    Top 5 Gastronomic Wonders of Copenhagen | Heather on her travels
    May 30, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    […] A tour of the Georg Jensen silver workshops in Copenhagen Cosy up in Copenhagen at Avenue Hotel Burning the midnight oil – my TBEX Copenhagen diary […]

  • Reply
    opnikkijamesw7
    June 16, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    Good webpage sincerely, Tommie Fabros

    • Reply
      Heather
      June 19, 2011 at 9:45 pm

      Thanks, glad you enjoyed it

  • Reply
    Weekend in Copenhagen in Denmark - Podcast | Heather on her travels
    July 18, 2011 at 10:59 pm

    […] where we stopped in the Claus Meyer bakery, known for the great Danish bread – I had visited the Claus Meyer production bakery when I was last in Copenhagen, so I know how passionate they are about their sourdough! Coffee […]

  • Reply
    Leila Hartman
    August 21, 2011 at 3:30 pm

    An address to this blog post was at Themelis Cuiper’s SocialGarden Biz meet-ups about brand & social advertising’s list of recommended blogs – you are doing an exceptional job as he is pointing towards you. :>

  • Reply
    Eat the Neighbourhood in Nørrebro, Copenhagen | Go Time Travel Blog
    February 3, 2012 at 11:44 pm

    […]  I visited the Claus Meyer factory on a previous visit to Copenhagen for TBEX – where we saw the sourdough […]

  • Reply
    labrador snuggie
    February 16, 2012 at 9:22 am

    I’m feeling a little apprehensive about my first time presenting at this kind of event
    labrador snuggie´s last blog post ..Get your dog snuggie pictures in this week

  • Reply
    Where Heather travelled in 2010 | Heather on her travels
    October 25, 2012 at 3:35 am

    […] at TBEX in CopenhagenIn November I was off to Copenhagen to attend the Travel Blog Exchange or TBEX conference in Copenhagen staying in the cosy Avenue Hotel. The conference was held in the amazing Wallmans Cirkus, an old […]

  • Reply
    Gayla
    December 10, 2012 at 9:54 am

    Enjoyed your diary post. Copenhagen is a great location for a conference. I hope they host another soon, I’d love to attend a travel blogger/writer conference there. It would be my first, though I gather from your diary that TBEX is probably a lot like other conferences I’ve attended in my former life as a client services manager at an investment firm 🙂 Great insight, though, so thanks!

    • Reply
      Heather Cowper
      December 10, 2012 at 10:58 pm

      @Gayla Thanks, hope to see you at TBEX some time. The conference is held in a different destination each time, but Copenhagen is a great place to visit just for a few days anyway. In fact I enjoyed myself so much at TBEX that I returned the next year for a weekend with my husband, so do take a look at some of my other articles from that trip.

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