Five Things I Never Knew Until TBEX Europe 2012 In Costa Brava

Girona Costa Brava WallTravel Bloggers, I can’t stress more about the need to attend conferences and interact with your peers.  You’d be amazed at how much more respect you receive once you’ve met someone in person whom you’ve communicated with online.  I did see/overhear a few people saying “Oh wow, I’ve “talked” with you online for almost two years, its so nice to meet you in person.”  Also, we got to meet the local host from the Tourist Board as well as PR professionals representing their clients whom we want to contact to further our goals.  TBEX Europe 2012 in Costa Brava provided such an outlet for this.

After over 16 years in the airline business, I know a few things about travel, well I thought I did until I experienced TBEX Europe 2012 in Costa Brava.  I thought I’d share them with you in an effort to whet your appetite and entice you to try to attend more conferences to bone up on your skills in the travel sphere. Here are a five things, in no particular order, I never knew until TBEX 2012 Europe 2012 in Cost Brava:

  1. TBEX sign in Girona Costa BravaWill Peach – I had no idea whom he was until I met him at the Equity Girona Hostel before TBEX officially started.  This hostel was home to a number of us during TBEX and if you ever head to Girona, I recommend staying there as its reasonably priced and centrally located.  They don’t have a laundry facility though, so ensure that you sort that out if you need to do some washing if staying there for long term.  The folks at the desk will help you find a place to wash though.But I digress from Will.  Apparently, it seemed that I was in the minority though of not knowing who is Mr. Peach, oops…  He’s a witty, very skinny, interestingly dressed young man with an apparently foul mouth.  No foul mouth at dinner that night though, but his TBEX Wrap up says it all; which was well written by the way.  This is expected though since that was the topic of his TBEX talk.  Which I missed, but he did tell us at dinner not to go :).One thing about TBEX though is that it appears the talks were not recorded, which is sad as there were many good sessions up against each other and I had to choose; sorry Will. I promise that the next time you speak and we are in the same building, I’ll come listen as long as I’m not speaking at the same time though as not sure my audience would appreciate that.
  2. One of Girona's Bridges in Costa BravaPastry of Girona Costa BravaGirona, Costa Brava – I had no idea where this place was, so that made it all the more intriguing to get there and explore it. Of course I had to log the airport (GRO) since I “collect” airports; don’t worry I give them back :-).  As it turns out, my Orthodontist is the only person I knew who had been to Girona; we always have a “travel session” before my appointments, and she was very excited to tell me about her visit.  Of course, she had a fantastic time on her trip.  I mean, what’s not to like about Girona?  The city is full of treasures and wonderful food.  I don’t think I’ve had that much pastry in a long time.  And sadly, I’m not a fan of cured ham, but you cannot go anywhere without seeing it some place.One thing you immediately see when you visit Girona is the colors of the  houses along the river that runs through the city.  You could just sit there all day and just watch it from one of the balconies overlooking the river.
  3. Andorra CenterShuttle to AndorraKerwin in Andorra at Bus StationAndorra – Its on the list of countries for me to visit in my quest to visit all the countries in the world at some point during my existence, but never contemplated when I’d visit it.  For the record, there is no Master Plan as to when to visit which countries, I just let life take its course and lead me to the next one naturally.  In the case of Andorra, I was so close, I had to and so I did.  Usually, I prefer to fly into the country so I could log the airport as well and if that country has an airline, I log that too if possible.  With Andorra, I struck out on both counts; you see it has no commercial airports is landlocked and has no airline of its own.  But, it was only a 3.5 hour bus ride away from Girona; what luck!The folks from our host, the Costa Brava Tourism Board, thought I was crazy and still think I am for just heading up there and back with a one hour layover (we were delayed about 30 minutes).  In fact, the lady at the bus station in Andorra thought I was nuts too when I showed her my return ticket after walking straight off the inbound bus from Girona.  But that’s my signature, I usually go in and out quickly the first time and then do a second visit spending more time; this is changing a bit though it seems.  I reckon you can drive through Andorra in less than an hour and be in France before you know it.  A very beautiful city though nestled in the Pyrenees Valley. Go visit.
  4. Narrow Street in Jewish Quarter in Girona Costa BravaThe Jewish Quarter of Girona – I had no idea at all that this existed until I had the walking tour of the city by Gloria, our distinguished tour guide.  She knows her stuff like no other.  She took us up and down the tiny streets pointing out things I would have missed had I done it all myself.  During the tour, we all wished we had more time to take more pictures.  A quaint part of this walk though is the Arabian Bath.  Girona continued to surprise me and teach me new things every step of the way.  Not only was I fascinated by the Arabian Bath, but by the spiral staircase at the entrance.  If you visited, I hope you did not miss it as its easy to do so since the Bath is so impressive.
  5. Mayors of the Bay of RosesBay of the Roses View From AfarBay of Roses FoodThe Bay of The Roses – Now you may not have known that this Bay was just given the distinguished honor of being the Best Bay of the Mediterranean by UNESCO.  So it was our surprise and delight when we boarded a catamaran and met the four mayors of the region to celebrate their award.  We wined, well Cavaed, ate anchovies and apples from the region as well as got interviewed and had great conversations with the locals celebrating this major event.  Thank you Costa Brava.I’ll tell you that I’m not a fan of anchovies, so it was a little awkward when I sat with one of the anchovy producers of the region to talk fish.  He’s a well mannered, quiet man who’s family has been in the business for a few generations.  I did not tell him I did not like anchovies for fear of insulting my host.  He must have noticed my demeanor as he persuaded me to try it and I did.  WOW!  It’s not like the anchovy in the U.S. at all.  He explained that its prepared differently.  By the end of the boat ride across the bay from the cities of Roses to L’Escala, I’d eaten too much of it served with tomatoes bread, that I needed lots of water.  How delicious.
  6. Now I could go on and on, but I said five and I think by now you get the point I’m trying to make; get out there, mingle and learn.
What did you not know until you made it to Girona? I hope you will make it to TBEX Toronto and expand your horizon and get your brand out there.  See you in Toronto.

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