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Spotting Friends

November 5th, 2012 · 7 Comments · all hail the king, collabs, webstuff

Image by Kamile Naraite

I’m writing for one of Europe’s best blog- and city guide-networks, Spotted by Locals, for a few years now. First as Dublin ‘Spotter’ (or local city expert), and since July of this year as Berlin Spotter. Last weekend, Sanne and Bart, the lovely Dutch couple who run SBL, invited all Spotters from the 44 European cities in the network to Amsterdam for our first ever get-together, the Spotters Weekend 2012. Here are a few random thoughts and impressions from the last days.

So Sanne and Bart invited all Spotters to Amsterdam, the European capital of peanut sauce and weed. I didn’t know what to expect: maybe a highly professional meeting of travelwriters and social media-guys, complete with awkward team-building exercises and boring discussion panels.

Instead, I slept two nights on an old Dutch sailing boat, fittingly named ‘Flying Dutchman’; consumed a typical Polish snack named vodka and a few cans of Heineken, chatted with a poet from Edinburgh, a ‘Republikflüchtling’ from Hamburg and a Russian woman who lost a travel companion on a bridge in Cologne; walked around rainy Amsterdam in a hungover daze; ate a piece of cake dangling from the ceiling; tried to poop a nail into a bottle; took a vintage tram from 1952; ate with my fingers and read a story about spiders; all the while surrounded by an amazing group of people that did not contain one asshole.

Grandfather, tell me a story. Image by Elena Truskova

So instead of some boring travel convention I attended something that reminded me of a school trip without teenage angst and awkwardness; two days during which an atmosphere of good will was tangible constantly and everyone was smiling, content to meet one incredible human being after another (and the occasional glass of Grolsch). I didn’t feel so buzzed and energised for quite a long while, and have the rare conviction that I was part of something good. Sounds cheesy, but is the only way I could come up with to describe it.

We are representing West Germany, the GDR and Poland in the correct geographical order. Image by Magda Przedmojska.

Ideally, I’ve just made a hundred friends in two days. In the worst case, I’ve now got 44 places to crash all over Europe. Thank you, Sanne and Bart.

In case you want to know more about the amazing Spotters and our weekend, you can read the liveblog. In case you even consider supporting Sanne & Bart’s brilliant business, why not download a city guide or install the app on your smartphone? No, I’m not getting paid to write this. I am just convinced.


7 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Alex // Nov 5, 2012 at 6:26 pm

    Marcel, you say it best. I think it is the perfect summery of what happened last week-end and I’m very glad we could all meet.

    All the best. ;)

  • 2 Sabrina // Nov 5, 2012 at 7:56 pm

    That’s the spirit, what a weekend! :)

  • 3 Jana from Prague // Nov 5, 2012 at 11:24 pm

    “Ideally, I’ve just made a hundred friends in two days. In the worst case, I’ve now got 44 places to crash all over Europe.”

    yes :-)

  • 4 Kyra // Nov 6, 2012 at 8:15 am

    Thanks for sharing! Love it!

  • 5 Bart van Poll - Spotted by Locals // Nov 6, 2012 at 11:47 am

    Marcel, wow….this is exactly how I experienced the weekend. We read this just before going to sleep last night and had very sweet dreams. Thanks so much!

  • 6 Report of an epic Spotters weekend 2012 // Nov 16, 2012 at 10:00 am

    [...] good. Sounds cheesy, but is the only way I could come up with to describe it.” (read Marcel’s full blog post on his blog) On the boats (by Ana Maria [...]

  • 7 “Κράτα ό,τι αξίζει” | edessaspotter // Nov 16, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    [...] και την πρώτη τους συνάντηση στο the Spotters Weekend 2012. [ άρθρο ] ,  Διαβάζοντας το (ξανά) παρατήρησα τον όρο Spotter (or local [...]

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