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You wouldn't be here if you weren't curious.*

Hi! I'm Elena! Welcome to my travel blog Creativelena.com.
For me, it is all about “life-seeing instead of sightseeing”: Join me as I create, eat & live my way around the world. Curious?

*Check out my book, “The Creative Traveler’s Handbook”, for learning more about what we mean by creative travel. Travelling means the world to me, makes me fit for everday life and sometimes, I trust, also calmer on the inside. Read this blog with a smile, share what you love and remember to check back regularly: After all, when was the last time you did something for the first time?

#EuropeTour, our European A-Team for cultural tourism development in rural areas, meets again in Potes, Cantabria, Spain!

There is always so much to learn from each other “when Europe meets”. I love our #EuropeTour project meetings on cultural tourism development in rural areas of Europe, such as the one we organised in Austria last year, or the one that had me travel to (and get to know) the culture of North-Eastern Romania for the first time last year.

This year in the spring, our Spanish project partners of the “Camino Lebaniego” located in the Cantabrian mountain district of the “Picos de Europa”, called for a meeting right on time: To celebrate the “Jubilee Year” of the Holy Forgiveness, an important date for pilgrims of all kinds to the Spanish Monastery of Santo Toribio de Liébana. (If you are curious to learn more about this particular jubilee, read more about it here).

 

Once more, it is all about engaging in lifelong-learning opportunities, and providing timely solutions for, cultural tourism development in rural areas across Europe …

… where Cantabria, with its “Picos de Europa” national park & many exciting, cultural traditions, has provided a rather perfect example of small-scale, innovative marketing & networking in cultural tourism for us.

Welcome to Potes ...

Welcome to Potes …

 

... a place of happing meetings ...

… a place of happy and inspiring meetings …

 

... where even the smallest local producers have cared to surprise our European delegates with surprising efforts, such as printing the #EuropeTour logo on this little Orujo spirit bottle for every one of us.

… where even the smallest local producers have cared to surprise our European delegates with surprising efforts, such as printing the #EuropeTour logo on this little Orujo spirit bottle as a takeaway gift for each and every one of us.

 

Together with my colleagues, we have spent two days of continuing our work on the Training Modules for Cultural Tourism in rural areas, as well as the Social Media Guidelines to be published later this year. It was, and continues to be, hard work bringing together specific requirements, different points of view, and interesting knowledge from around the continent, and kudos to our wonderful project team leader Karin Drda-Kühn for always managing the group dynamics just so perfectly!

Check this out.

The EuropeTour family meets again, officially received by the local governor of Cantabria ...

The EuropeTour family meets again, officially received by the local governor of Cantabria …

 

... and to offer you but a glimpse, this is what meeting in a church can mean for continuing work on a European level ..!

… and to offer you but a glimpse, this is what a European project meeting inside an old Spanish church completely modernised, can look like ..!

 

Gracias, Pilar (on the right), for your hard work in putting this meeting together ...

Gracias, Pilar (on the right), for your hard work in putting this meeting together …

 

... and to Karin, for thinking of the simple, yet very sweet gesture to award each one of the #EuropeTour family a medal for already having organised a project meeting before!

… and to Karin (second lady smiling from the left), for thinking of the simple, yet very sweet gesture to award each one of the #EuropeTour family a medal for already having organised a project meeting before!

 

Feels like family : Working with these charming, resourceful, and very talented ladies

Feels like family : Working with these charming, resourceful, and very talented ladies Izabela Matusiak from Poland, Angela Ivanova from Bulgaria (who by the way we know from Karaoke, sings better than Shakira herself!), and Lacra Beilic from Romania.

 

And Juan, THE local police officer. "If you need anything when you come to Spain, call me", he says and smiles. And coming back I will !

And Juan, THE local police officer (you honestly and truly will want to meet him when you are in Potes!). “If you need anything when you come to Spain, call me”, he says and smiles. And coming back I will !

 

Examples for cultural tourism development in & around Potes, Cantabria? We were overwhelmed by just what this area of the world has to offer!

(A piece of the) Cross of Jesus. Mountain cheese made in a cave, following centuries of tradition and protected under European law! Church banks made my architectural master mind Antoni Gaudí, that only we and the royal families of old have had an opportunity to sit on. Finally, an opportunity to almost touch hands with, an ancient cave painting dated 32.000 years old … culture, you ask? Righteously so, it can be called the main travel motive for visiting Europe in the world. Now let’s focus on making the very rural, very sensitive areas of Europe all the better qualified and educated for dealing with good quality cultural tourism.

Charming Potes ...

Charming Potes …

 

... would you believe it has had me touch a piece of the original cross of Jesus Christ, in its nearby Monastery Santo Toribio de Liébana.?

… would you believe it has had me touch a piece of the original cross of Jesus Christ, in its nearby Monastery Santo Toribio de Liébana.?

 

Or tasted cheese from a cave ...

Or tasted cheese from a cave …

 

... in a cultural landscape as charming as this one?

… in a cultural landscape as charming as this one?

 

I wouldn't. Here's to having coffee first, each sugar pack depicting an aspect of local Cantabrian culture by the way (love the little detail here, thanks for sharing with me Juan!) ...

I wouldn’t. Here’s to having coffee first, each sugar pack depicting an aspect of local Cantabrian culture by the way (love the little detail here, thanks for sharing with me Juan!) …

 

And then, there is the living culture of course, such as talking to this farming lady as part of our joint #EuropeTour family pilgrimage ...

And then, there is the living culture of course, such as talking to this farming lady as part of our joint #EuropeTour family pilgrimage …

 

... meeting and exchanging with yet more pilgrims on the Way ...

… meeting and exchanging with yet more pilgrims on the Way, “el Camino Lebaniego” …

 

... visiting the chapel of the small town Comillas, with benches designed by the young Gaudí architect ...

… visiting the chapel of the small town Comillas, with benches designed by the young Gaudí architect …

 

... or the building he created here, called

… or the building he created here, called “El Capricho de Gaudí”, one of the very few he was ever commissioned to build outside of Catalonia.

 

Hands-on, this is what cultural tourism means here ...

Hands-on (and almost touching this ancient cave painting behind my own hand), this is what cultural tourism means here …

 

... gracias Juan, Pilar, and all the rest of the wonderful local Cantabrian team for such a warm welcome to us! You truly warmed our hearts with your efforts and showcasing such interesting examples of rural cultural tourism to us!

… gracias Juan, Pilar, and all the rest of the wonderful local Cantabrian team for such a warm welcome to us! You truly warmed our hearts with your efforts and showcasing such interesting examples of rural cultural tourism to us!

 

Read more about our meetings & work on the #EuropeTour blog:

 

We are looking forward to hearing from you, and welcome any feedback you might have!

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Written by Elena

Elena writes about creative destinations, shares her personal travel stories and brings inspiring photography & interesting news updates home to you. Her mission is: "Continue to be amazed at this world, one creative travel experience at a time."

Ready for learning even more about creative travel?

Elena has recently published "The Creative Traveler's Handbook". Chock full of inspiratinal stories, travel tips and advice, it offers everything you need for planning and managing your next creative escape, addressing beginners and experienced travelers alike. Here's how to get your hands on it now!
Slow (and Solo) Travel on the Camino del Norte in Cantabria, Spain : My personal pilgrimage account.
Along the Danube River in Germany: Hiking, cycling, and eating your way through Bavaria.

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