It’s been more than a year since Hype in Tokyo was born, or renewed to become the travel blog that is is now, but it wasn’t until recently that I joined the travel blogging community as it is. That came to an end in Andorra, at the Travel Bloggers Meeting. Sharing the good times and the struggle with dozens of people about being a travel blogger, was one of the best parts at the Travel Bloggers Meeting. Using the social media and the #TBMAndorra as a storyteller of the event, felt that we were a one big family. Let me share my side of the story and invite you to the little country in the Pyrenees, Andorra, through the three days of the event.
Before going into detail, first we need an introduction to the place where the Travel Bloggers Meeting took place. Andorra, bordered between France and Spain, is one of the microstates of Europe. Well known for its ski resorts and shopping tourism, as its located in the Pyrenees mountains, and the capital, Andorra la Vella, is the highest capital city in Europe. The official language is catalan, though as being between France and Spain, this other two languages are used as well. Andorra is divided into seven parishes. Less than 200km from Barcelona, it is a perfect country for a motorcycle day or weekend trip. The low taxes in Andorra were an attractive for tourists to get their hands full of alcohol, tobacco, and electronics among other goods. This has changed through the years and now the prices are just slightly different from their neighboring countries. Coming from Barcelona by road, the access to Andorra is through the N-260 (avoiding toll roads) or crossing the Cadí tunnels paying the road toll. Both saving money and enjoying the scenery, I took the secondary roads to Andorra.
First contact with the travel bloggers meeting
Took me more time than I expected to Andorra and arrived half hour late than the scheduled time for the photowalk tour. Lucky for me, there was a change in the schedule, so I made it to the Hotel Diplomàtic where I booked a room half hour earlier. Kudos for the staff at Hotel Diplomàtic, the service was great and attended all my sudden demands and questions. The hotel was just a ten minute walk to the convention center, and the main meeting point for the weekend. Arrived just on time for the photo walk, and made the first contact with many of the other travel bloggers. Both excited and tired, I just let myself relax in the bus on our way to Ordino and our first activity.
Ruta del Ferro in Ordino
Our bus was headed to Ordino, one of the seven parishes of Andorra, welcomed by a warm sunny day and the staff from Andorra World and Ordino. Our first activity was a photo walk through the Ruta del Ferro (Iron Route). Accompanied also by the photographer Joan Vendrell, we attended the explanations from the tour guides regarding the old Iron Route, the mines, landscape, and sculptures along the route. As well as the photography advice given by Joan, the whole group advanced taking notes and pictures of everything on the route.
The opening act at Travel Bloggers Meeting
Back to Andorra la vella, the opening act was about to start at the convention center. Presentation from the tourism board from Andorra, the sponsorship and companies participating at the Travel Bloggers Meeting and the many contests using our social media thanks to them. The traveler talk, a space for ten travel bloggers to present their projects followed the act, with lots of emotions and good vibes. The presentation act came to an end and then the more than hundred travel bloggers invaded the old city center for a theatrical tour. The tour ended at la Casa de la Vall, the old parliament of Andorra, with a taste of Ratassia liquor and folklore dances and music from Andorra.
Craft beer at Era Bauró
The closure of the night arrived courtesy from Liligo and their Lilibirras (Lilibeers) at the Era Bauró brewery. Until that moment, except from my colleague from Lugares donde that we studied together the travel journalism master’s degree, I barely had the occasion of talking with many other travel bloggers, and seemed that everybody knew from previous meetings. That was the purpose of the event, to know the travel blogger community, so sharing a beer with people that share your passion was the best closure for the day.
The Conferences day
Second day of #TBMAndorra started early at the convention center. With a nice program of conferences, and the delicious break times for breakfast and lunch, it was a pleasure to attend, as if I went back to my college student days. There’s a whole World still to explore and learn about it. The photography tips from Joan Vendrell, or the use of social media by Francesc Grau, and Stefan from Nomadic Boys about the LGBT travel sphere, in the morning conferences. In the afternoon we were astonished by the stories from Aussie YouToo in Australia, the use of crowdfunding for travel bloggers by Lanzanos, and the experiences in Iceland from Adictos a los viajes, la Cosmopolilla, and Tragaviajes.
The long conference day still hadn’t come to an end, going for dinner to Vallnord ski resort, surrounded by the beautiful landscape from the Pyrenees. Conference day coming to an end, there was still the sunday activities for the #TBMAndorra, which I’ll write in the next chapter of the Travel Bloggers Meeting in Andorra.