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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
If you cannot see the embedded video above, view it on my blog here
Download Cirkus entertainers Wallmans Copenhagen [MP4]
Subscribe to all my videos in I-tunes
If you enjoyed this video, check out the others in my Video archive
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Read my other articles on TBEX Copenhagen
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
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
You’ll also find our sister blog with tips on how to build a successful travel blog at My Blogging Journey