A travel bloggers event? In Extremadura? I can’t miss that! That’s exactly what I thought when I found out the Travel Bloggers Meeting would land in my home region on 8th-10th May. Moreover, the flights were dead cheap and so was accommodation. I really couldn’t miss it.
Although I had been (corporate) travel blogging for three years, this was my first time to attend an event as an independent blogger and as the proud author of Piggy Traveller. How exciting!
These three days full of activities, food, presentations and surprises gave me the chance to meet interesting people I only knew by name (or by blog name) and share travel adventures. In this blog post I share with you a brief summary of my experience.
Day 1 – Taking it easy, opening and guided tour
My trip to Plasencia didn’t start very well. I was supposed to meet other fellow bloggers in the centre of Madrid and drive to Plasencia, but I was stuck in traffic and they had to leave without me. I took a train instead, and arrived in Plasencia too late to join my first activity, which was a treasure hunt.
What did I do? As I couldn’t leave my bags at the station (they don’t have lockers) I decided to take a seat in one of the terraces in the main square, have a long lunch, followed by a coffee and a mojito ice cream and finish the book I was reading.
During the opening event the organizers and Extremadura tourism authorities presented an ebook organized by HomeAway and entitled El norte de Extremadura a través de sus blogueros. Seven local bloggers show you the best bits of northern Extremadura. As the author of Piggy Traveller I contributed with two articles about La Vera and Jerte Valley areas. Feel free to download it here if you want.
After a relaxed dinner in the main square I joined a guided tour around Plasencia’s historical centre. The buildings looked beautiful at night and the tour guide was lots of fun. We learnt that Plasencia’s Jewish community was forced to move to the main square area or the story of Abuelo Mayorga, the little man up in the townhall’s clock tower.
Day 2 – Presentations, workshops, prizes and cooking session
The second day of the #TBMPlasencia was all about learning and surprises. We learnt many things about sustainable tourism in Norway, videoblogging and entrepreneurship and listened at the fascinating travel adventures of Miquel Silvestre, a writer that only started travelling at 40 and now has its own TV series.
Some lucky bloggers won accommodation and travel prizes. I didn’t, but we all received a 20% discount in The Urban Suites, in Barcelona, and a €75 voucher in Sixt car hire. Not too bad!
The highlight of day two was a MasterChef-like cooking competition. Three local chefs explained how to cook three different tapas – a crispy filo pastry stuffed with local cheese and a berries-based side, a white gazpacho-style soup with Iberian ham tartar and a toast with thin slices of Iberian pork, wild mushrooms and a mustard-based sauce. It all sounded very complicated, but turned out perfect in the end.
The kitchen was a battlefield of boiling hot pans, pots, blenders and knives. People were running around, arguing about this or that ingredient and getting stressed because they were running out of time.
I consider myself a decent cook and I enjoy trying out new recipes, but I didn’t think my team would come second in the competition. We won a selection of Iberian cold meats and were absolutely thrilled. I bet you can easily tell from the pictures!
Day 3 – Canyoning and cathedrals
My last day at the Travel Bloggers Meeting started with something I hadn’t done before – canyoning in the Jerte Valley. I was nervous and excited at the same time and, although it was an activity aimed at beginners, I found it quite challenging. Our instructors from Guia2 were lots of fun and very encouraging. I’m definitely going back.
A few hours and some bruises afterwards we went back to Plasencia to do a guided tour to visit the local cathedrals, which are actually two cathedrals in one. We could enjoy great views of the temple from above and were even allowed to walk on the roofs. Seeing baby storks barely two metres away from you was incredible.
More detailed information about Plasencia and my canyoning experience will follow soon, so keep an eye on the blog!
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