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Dreaming about those pretzels...

Dreaming about those pretzels…

Last night I attended my first-ever TBEX event! TBEX stands for Travel Blog Exchange, an online portal where travel bloggers can come together to share their blogs, pictures, experiences and bounce ideas off each other.  Throughout the year, the TBEX community hosts events in different cities, usually in partnership with a tourism board or tour operator.  The regional events are a great way for new bloggers like myself to meet fellow travel writers, learn about different destinations, and to meet destination representatives.  Additionally, TBEX hosts two conferences a year, one in North America and one in Europe and each conference is quickly gaining in popularity.  The North American conference will be held in Toronto in June 2013.

This particular event was sponsored by Germany Tourism and Brooklyn Buschenschank, a new tavern located in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn.  For the Oktoberfest season, Brooklyn Buschenschank is hosting a pop up Buschenschank in Manhattan at 928 Broadway so if you’re in town, check it out!  In Germany, a Buschenschank is a seasonal private bar usually run by local farmers where the farmers sell their own food, beer, and wine.  At the event we were able to sample typical German food i.e. pretzels and brats and of course sip seasonal German beer and wine.

Love the Beer Steins

Love the Beer Steins

Buschenschank

Buschenschank

Adorable press kit alert! Pretend laptop with a German chocolate keyboard!

Adorable press kit alert! Pretend laptop with a German chocolate keyboard!

I will admit that I don’t know a ton about German culture, but I was able to learn SO much from this event! What intrigued me the most was the traditional holiday markets.  In the 2,000-year-old town of Koblenz, there is a traditional Christmas market directly on the city’s pedestrian and shopping streets throughout the historic Old Town area.  Heidelberg also offers the quintessential fairytale winter experience with shopping, an illuminated Old Town, and open-air ice skating at the foot of the world-famous Heidelberg Castle.  For more information about holiday markets in Eastern Europe, check out my friend Annie’s story for National Geographic Traveler about her time at the Budapest Christmas Market.

While learning about Germany was fun and interesting, I was really impressed by the quality of this event as a whole.  I met so many people who are just as passionate about travel as I am and it was SO refreshing.  I had a long conversation with Melissa and Neil of World Winder, veterans of TBEX (although they would modestly deny this fact), and they completely sold me on how beneficial this unique community is.  First-timers at the TBEX Europe conference in Spain last year, Melissa and Neil spent time with prolific bloggers where they received priceless feedback and advice, and made connections with destination representatives so they could experience other areas of Europe.  They told me they left Spain more motivated and inspired than they had felt in a long time.  After our conversation I was ready to hand over my credit card for TBEX ’13!  Although I’m 99% sure I’ll sign up, I’d love to hear if any of you all have been to a TBEX conference or regional event before.  What did you think? Did you find it beneficial?  Let me know below!

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