Preparing for the Travel Bloggers Summit in Berlin: Nothing Zen Part 5


The Event

I am looking forward to the opportunity: On March 5 and 6, 2008 I will be meeting a couple of fellow Travel Bloggers (T-Listers) at a Travel bloggers Summit at ITB Berlin (International Travel Boerse (or Fair), Berlin.

More about the Summit itself later. For now a link to the Blog that has been launched to keep the community informed: ITB 2008 Tips From The T-List

Nothing Zen
In December 2006 I started my Zen series as a sort of status report about how the Internet is developing to help you with planning and booking a trip. Nothing better than to report about your own travel preparations to see how advanced or not the Internet is with respect to DIY Travel.

My 5 Areas of Interest
As I said earlier traveling is about 4 distinctive areas of interest, but actually there are 5 (I now have added as nr 2: “Where to stay in B?”, because that is also the main focus of this blog). Here is the list:

  1. How to travel from A to B? Like: by plane, train, car or by boat? (I hate buses).
  2. Where to stay in B?
  3. How is B looking? Maps, pictures and descriptions (what you usually look for in a paper guide)
  4. How are the people of B?
  5. Things to do in B? Bars, restaurants, theaters, musea, scenic parts

1) How to travel from The Hague to Berlin?
Well this one is simple this time. First, as a hotelier, it is always difficult to plan well ahead of time as there are always last minute guests and/or last minute changes of guests. I have a decent car. The trip to Berlin is 703 km according to my Tom Tom. Main part of the trip is over German motorways without speed limits, so I can burn the rubber a bit. I also like to tour around a bit by car at destinations, because it gives me a better feel of the geography. I have a laptop and some camera gear to take with me which would be a lot of weight for an airplane and last, but not least I like to smoke which is not allowed anymore in planes and trains. Finally, with the very low level of service at airports (I always feel like being in a lorry of pigs heading to the slaughterhouse) and in airplanes and all the delays, there is not so much time to gain when you travel up to 700/800 km. So I decided to go by car.

More to follow, because I hit the “Publish Button” far too early this time:-)

And p.s.: Happy Leap Day!

Travel Bloggers Hopping – Meet the Blogger

Benji Lanyado, writing for the Guardian and bragging that he is the author of the web’s only regular column on travel blogs has come up with a great Idea: Travel Bloggers Hopping. He himself calls it Meet the Bloggers. The idea is that he visits a different city each month and gets off the beaten track with local bloggers. If you are a travel blogger and fancy showing him around your own back yard… get in touch with him at benji.lanyado{at}

For his inaugural Meet the Bloggers column he hopped on the Eurostar to Paris, and got something of a scoop from Clotilde Dusoulier, food royalty, attracting over 15,000 visits a day to her five-year-old blog Chocolate & Zucchini (already a long time on my sidebar see my post Food blogs: Chocolate and Zucchini), and she agreed to take lunch with him.

Further he visited: Rebecca Perry-Maignant of Chic Shopping Paris, a blog and shopping tour company and

Finally he visited I V Y Paris News a blog that

started life as 5 artists getting together to hold an exhibiton in late 2004 (a painter, sculptor, jewelry designer, photographer and Founder of I V Y paris, Susie Hollands, conceptual artist). Within 2 weeks of deciding we were holding a show we’d found a gallery space, rented it, painted and scrubbed it and sent out a quick email blast to those we’d hoped would come to the vernissage. We split the costs 5 ways to make things affordable. A few finishing touches to the work to be exposed and we were ready. Everyone did something; donated a sound system, brought the wine in a friend’s car, painted, mopped, spoke the necessary French…… voila! It was great success. The space was packed on the opening night and first night sales covered over and above the cost of hiring the space. This proves that if you are motivated it’s possible to hold an exhibition, even in Central Paris. It doesn’t have to be a traditional white-cube type thing either – it can be in someone’s home, under one of the bridges of the Seine, in a Park, or parking lot if you like.

Their idea is
To serve as a comprehensive hub for visual arts information and resources in Paris, nurturing their creative community through a series of art exhibitions and events. For those artists or art-curious already living in Paris, just passing through the “moveable feast,” as so many have done before them or dreaming about doing so one day, they hope I V Y Paris will be an invaluable point of reference.

About Benji Lanyado

Benji Lanyado is the Guardian’s budget travel columnist, a role he first undertook during his final year at Manchester University in 2005. He is also’s resident travel blogaholic. He spends his spare time running, obsessing about West Ham, and waiting for an Acid Jazz revival. Benji has double-jointed shoulders.

Thumbs up for the Idea, Benji!

Cathay Pacific Ace Pilot Sacked after Youtube Publication of his Stunt.

Captain Ian Wilkinson astonished passengers and onlookers by taking a Cathay Pacific Boeing 77-300ER low over the landing strip shortly after take-off for its maiden trip to Hong Kong from Boeing’s US manufacturing plant. The plane was loaded with VIPS including the CP Chairman.

The captain is said to be one of the most senior aviators with the airline, and it is even reported he got a champagne toast upon arrival in Hong Kong.

However footage of the stunt on January 30 was posted on YouTube and Mr Wilkinson was first suspended and later dismissed after a disciplinary hearing. Cathay Pacific executives took a dim view of his stunt without proper authorization by the Airline.

Another senior pilot with the airline is quoted:

Wilkinson was very much one of the elite in Cathay Pacific and would have been very chummy with the airline executives he was flying that day.

If no one else had found out about it, the incident would probably have gone no further. But once it began circulating on the internet and Hong Kong’s Civil Aviation Department got wind of it, that was the end of him.

Maiden flights are treated as a bit of a jolly for executives with lots of champagne flowing and these fly-bys used to be done for a wheeze in the old days.

But they are dangerous because however good the pilot thinks he is, he isn’t trained for it and the planes aren’t designed for it.

Wilkinson was showing off, and most of the pilots might be sympathetic but they feel he got what he deserved when he was sacked.

Someone else commented that if not for the Youtube publication, nothing would have happened.

More reading:
UK Daily Mail and
Times Online

Post Alia

It reminds me of the story of ad guru Neil French who lost his position at WWP after a slip of the tongue that was followed by a Bloggers War back in 2005…hm Time Flies !

Tumblr and Organizing Your Blog(s)



While checking stats of my other Blog, Chair Blog, I saw a referral from a Tumblr account. I didn’t know what Tumblr is about. I got curious and dug further into the phenomenon.

About Tumblr, First Impression

Tumblr is a service to set up a Mini Blog. Its site doesn’t divulge much. It has a Blog, but that is updated scantily. For one reason or another I got curious plunged into it, started with an account and found out that it is really 1 2 3… and you have a mini blog up and running. It provides information about how to host it on your own hosting service. It has a couple of disadvantages: No archive that you can easily organize or navigate and no possibility to comment.

Here is a screen shot from my Dashboard:

Tumblr Dashboard Chair Blog | Tumblr
Tumblr Dashboard Chair Blog | Tumbler

Travel Blog Carnival

I used it to put together my prior post, the week 8 review of Travel Blog Carnival submissions. Darren has organized the submissions via a special GMail account and asks the various reviewers to enter that account and make their choice. When I make my choice I like to scan each entry quickly’, make a first choice and then re read each entry in full. I found that 1 2 3 putting them into Happy Hotelier | Tumblr made it a lot easier to reread them, because the GMail set up is a bit cumbersome: You end up with your screen cluttered with all sort of posts. In this instance there were 17 posts, but some weeks there are many more. For those not into the reviewing process It may be handy to see what was choses from the submissions. A shared Wiki could be a solution, but might be time consuming again for the reviewers.

So whenever I am researching a certain subject for Happy Hotelier it is usable to quickly dump Photos, Links, Quotes in several Tumblr entries and then go back to them to finalize a post here.

Prior to Tumblr

I am a slow 2 finger typist and have far more ideas and pieces of information that I like to share with my readers than I can find time for to write, or cut and paste, neatly in a well organized entry here on Happy Hotelier.

I believed I had solved this problem for the time being by using Google newsreader and by sharing items of interest via a widget here on the sidebar where the shares from this Google reader can be found as mere text links.

In the meantime I also found out I gathered and shared already so much stuff between my shares, that clicking trough to Happy Hotelier’s Shared Items and reading it there is becoming a slow process as well and getting slower and slower, the more stuff I share.

I wasn’t aware of it yet, but I can read my shared items faster in Google reader that as Happy Hotelier’s Shared Items, it offers a RSS feed for those who might interested in my shares.

Getting enthusiastic about Tumblr

I believe any post on a Blog should go together with at least one photo or pictures as they say much more than words. In the Google reader widget you cannot add photos (at least you couldn’t when I installed it).

Some time ago Jens Traenhart of Tourism Internet Marketing suggested to me to use a WidgetBox widget when you have two Blogs and want readers of one Blog being able to notice the other Blog.

Recently I have made a widget for Happy Hotelier and also for Chair Blog.

I found out that you can make a widget of a mini Tumblr Blog with photos. I hoped for a while I could replace the Google reader with shares and widget by a Tumblr account with widget entirely. Not true, because if you have 2 Tumblr accounts you have to log out and log in to change identity (No, I never installed the identity switcher, wouldn’t even now where to look to find it) between the two accounts.

I need the Tumblr set up more for Chair Blog than for Happy Hotelier because I now know the Google with widget and RSS feed isn’t so bad after all, at least for the time being. The areas I cover here at Happy Hotelier are already wide enough. Chairs shouldn’t be added to that process. So I was looking for a separate sort of scrap book for my Chair Blog. Off course I could have created a separate Google Account for the other Blog, but that has has as mayor disadvantage that you have to switch identity at Google each time I would like to add an item for a possible Chair Blog entry. That switching slows down the process considerably.

So I set up a second Tumblr account Chair Blog | Tumbler. Chair Blog is much more a mono subject Blog than Happy Hotelier. I only want to publish there about everything that has to do with chairs and chair design. Frequently there are chairs shown at fairs or exhibitions among other furniture or art. I want to pick them up. Chairs are auctioned among other items: I want to pick them up.

The quick and easy way of Tumblr got me hooked. Over a very short period of time I was able to collect photos and links of over 250 chairs at .


  1. I decided to keep the Google Reader set up with widget here for time being. Those readers who like my Happy Hotelier shares I suggest to subscribe to the RSS feed of Happy Hotelier’s Shared Items
  2. As to the Travel Blog Carnival: Whenever I review a week, I will post all entries to . Then everybody can see for themselves
  3. For my Chair Blog I can now rapidly create overviews of chairs exhibited at fairs, exhibitions and chairs to be auctioned and summarize them easier in the Blog from time to time
  4. I see it as a temporary solution, because when you cut and paste stuff from elsewhere on the web, it can disappear. For instance when you refer to newspaper or auction sites there is the risk that they move their content around or hide it behind a subscription bar so that your links get lost. So in order to keep your content intact it is always better to have a self hosted blog and to keep a copy on your own hard drive (with a backup off course)
  5. I am more Happy now that I am a bit more organized

More about Tumblr

Before I dug into it I missed it, but Tumblr has its own Wiki Tumble Log If you read that and the posts they refer to you get a reasonable idea of what it is about.

Gina Trapani at Lifhacker had a nice entry about it. If you look up Tumblr on Mashable you get some more background information. I for instance learned that only in November 2007 they came around with the present version 3 that works as it does now.
Last, but not least this Read Write Web Interview with Tumbler founder David Carp gives some additional information.


I’ve devoted a whole page at Chair Blog to the subject, in case you are interested.

Last edited by GJE on September 8, 2012 at 12:20 am

Travel Blog Carnival Week 8

Travel Blog Carnival Venetian Logo
Travel Rants’ Travel Blog Carnival Week 8

Darren is forgiven. Week 7 passed without review by sheer lack of time on his side (Happy Birthday again Darren!) and on the reviewers side. However I have expressed my concern that it is a bit much for a one man blogger earlier.

I offered to do a review of this week which Darren accepted.

Since I liked Gudrun ‘s style of reviewing most, I will try to copy that. There were 17 posts submitted. I chose 4:

  • Vicky Brock of Tracking Tourism: The Tourism Research Blog | Travel industry thinking from Stephen Budd and Vicky Brock at Highland Business Research – Note: As I am a slow two finger typist, I do suggest she abbreviates her blog title – gives us in her post Get to grips with monitoring online reviews and comments | Tracking Tourism: The Tourism Research Blog, subtitled “Time to stop searching and start finding” (again very long!) some very interesting suggestions how a travel supplier can monitor what the word of mouth on the web is about the supplier.
  • Martin Cowen of Travolution Blog comments in his post Social media versus Search on FaceBook plans presented at TMF&A to insert adds in discusions between FaceBook members. If I discuss New York with you on FaceBook, then, according to these plans, immediately a couple of ads of NYC hotels and restaurants will pop up. Also the down to earth comments are interesting to read. However I have seen an Inn owner claiming selling a room via FaceBook. I must admit that Travolution writes sometimes so much as an insider that i need a decoder to understand what they are writing about 🙂
  • Barbara Ann Weibel of Hole in The Donut – Traveling the World presents in Never Keep All Your Money in One Place some clever and some hilarious hiding places to stash away your cash when on holiday.
  • Elizabeth of Go Green Travel Green – Green Travel Tips for Savvy Travelers which for me is a new Blog on the block gives some down to earth advice to travel light derived from an instant unplanned trip from Russia to Estonia in
    McDonald’s Bathrooms are Lifesavers & 16 Other Travel / Life Lessons from Estonia | Go Green Travel Green

The posts not chosen are good as well. You can find all at my Tumblr miniblog : Happy Hotelier | Tumblr that I have just set up in order to see if I can organize myself better with it. More on Tumblr l8ter!