For those of you who aren't travel writers, VEMEX stands for Visit Europe Media Exchange.
It's been a staple of the travel writing scene for many years but now with online "matches" between journalists and European destination marketing execs, it feels very much like speed dating, travel style.
You get a list of potential dates. (Wales, Istria, Scotland and Ireland were on my "hottie" list). Then you request them and see if it's a "perfect match." If not, you can still get a 15-minute appointment but only if the destination agrees. And yes, there were heartbroken writers who pointed to their date card and said stuff like, I didn't get so-and-so. Was it my hair?
My score card had some good "perfect matches" including Scotland, Holland, Ireland, Istria, Oslo, Zurich, Lake Geneva Region and Spain.
Here's some of what they told me is going to be hot, hot, hot next year and beyond:
--Ireland is spotlighting the entire West Atlantic Coast for the whole year of 2014, including Galway and the ruggedly gorgeous coast up to Northern Ireland.
--Spain is doing a year-long celebration of the painter El Greco and the 400th anniversary of his death (seems just like last year doesn't it?) with a special focus on his iconic city of Toledo (one just wants to pre-write the article with the title "Holy Toledo").
--Istria has a whole series of "Weeks of Truffles" where you can go truffle hunting with dogs (sorry, pigs are used in France) and taste both white and black gold in Mediterranean landscapes.
--Oslo is spotlighting sites used as the inspiration for the Disney film "Frozen" (see blog item above) including their Folklore Museum as well as highlighting a brand new public sculpture garden and a bold new city skyline.
--Zurich says its trendy neighborhood, "Zurich West" continues to be griddle hot, with restaurants, hotels and boutiques blooming like mushrooms after a heavy rain.
But for me, the money shot was at the lunch at the Harvard Club venue, sponsored by Istria and Croatia.
The Museum of Broken Relationships in Zagreb, Croatia was featured on a brief film between the main and dessert. OMG! THE MUSEUM OF BROKEN RELATIONSHIPS?
Yes, Zagreb, bless its heart, has opened a museum dedicated to "failed relationships" where visitors can leave mementos of their own breakups and breakdowns.
That alone is worth the price of admission!