Popular bloggers experienced transformative tourism in European Capitals of Culture


This summer, bloggers from The Crowded Planet, Margherita and Nick, a videographer, Emiliano Bechi Gabrielli, and a blogger from Pott Spott, Sebastian Becker, traveled and experienced 6 different cities – Burgos, Matera, Rijeka, Gelsenkirchen, Hamm, and Košice. They tried 6 different itineraries with transformative tourism experiences which were carefully planned by the participants during T–Labs workshops. The objective of their journey was to test the transformative experiences and create a first-hand narration of the adventures for our new platform – Game of TraCEs.

Tasting the local

The experiences in Košice were based on their ancestry, including gastronomy, art, architecture, as well as the means of transport. The itinerary also included living life as a regular local. The trip consisted of 3 days. First, the bloggers went on a tour with Igor Kupec from Local Nomad, who offers unusual tours in and around the city. He talked about the history of the city, for example, about how over the course of one century, Košice was part of 7 different countries. Afterward, they went for lunch to Hostinec, the oldest pub in Slovakia, and one of the oldest in Europe where they tried a selection of traditional Slovak food. In the afternoon, they walked around the Terasa neighborhood, built-in socialist times, where the bloggers have the opportunity to appreciate large-scale murals painted during the annual OMG – Open Mural Gallery event. Then they relocated to the outskirts of the city where they visited an abandoned silo, went on urban exploration, and learned how to make graffiti with during a Street Art workshop. The day ended with a visit to Tabačka Kulturfabrik, the biggest cultural and creative independent center in Slovakia.

Traveling back in time

The second day started in Nižná Myšľa, an archeological site, where the bloggers saw a museum with skeletons and handicrafts from the Bronze Age and learned about the life and traditions during this period. They also visited a site with some replica buildings and became archaeologists for the day, discovering bones from the Bronze Age.

The next stop was a visit to Košice Castle where tourists can experience how life was during the Middle Ages by trying fun activities such as cooking a medieval meal, visiting a garden with ornamental and medicinal plants, and trying archery and sword fighting. The day ended with a retro children’s train, where everyone gets to dress up as train inspectors, push the handcart and visit the engine. A real journey through history, local and personal!


Sundays are for the countryside

On the last day, bloggers experienced the life of the locals. They escaped to the countryside and visited a pretty village called Háj, famous for having been the filming set of the movie Behind Enemy Lines with Owen Wilson. They met a local inhabitant called Laci Baci who invited them for aperitives after their hike to a scenic viewpoint where they saw wonderful views across a valley in the National park of the Slovak Karst. They spent their afternoon with Ján and Eva and tasted traditional bean soup and palacinky (pancakes). The bloggers thought their experience in Košice was very fulfilling, they got to know the locals, and experienced how they lived in the present, and in the past.