Travel blog on one-of-a-kind travel experiences

About one-of-a-kind travel experiences

travelmemo.com specializes in telling unique stories our bloggers uncover during their visits to destinations close to home and far away. We write about our personal experiences, both pleasant surprises and those to be avoided at all costs, so you’ll have a better idea of what to expect before you arrive at your boutique hotel or reserve a table for an intimate candlelight dinner.

The story of travelmemo.com illustrates how we are different from other travel blogs and why we began, and remain – indie bloggers who care deeply about design and boutique hotels, fine dining and the personalized experiences discerning couples desire to create their own memorable travel stories.

Before reading further – understand travelmemo.com’s story almost ended before it began.

Photographer Walter Schaerer

Walter in Sicily

Back in 2010, our founder, Walter Schaerer, was tasked with developing a social media strategy for his employer: a blue chip Swiss media company. Before betting his hard-earned career on the new strategy, Walter decided to test it using his own time and money.

Teaming up with Katja Birrer, a kindred spirit who shares his love for one-of-a-kind travel experiences, the two quietly built and launched reisememo.ch, a German language travel blog. It was an immediate hit, easily outperforming other Swiss travel websites in Google’s search result lists.

Katja Birrer in Puglia's Relais Histo hotel near Taranto

Katja in Puglia

Entertaining dreams of becoming the next TripAdvisor, Walter and Katja committed a near-fatal error by cloning their reisememo.ch blog and publishing it in English under the URL: http://travelmemo.com. Smitten by the euphoria of early blogging success, they assumed the world’s massive audience of English-speaking Internet users would naturally convert into huge numbers of travelmemo.com fans and followers. It was not to be.

When asked about his experience today, Walter smiles ruefully, having paid the price to learn the hard way that, past performance is no guarantee of future results. But as painful as mistakes can be, the dismal results of their first efforts sowed the seeds for travelmemo.com’s future success.

Walter freely admits without those early setbacks, it’s unlikely he and Katja would have kept their day jobs that today permits travelmemo.com to remain proudly independent when so many travel blogs have devolved into thinly disguised advertorial platforms for travel brands’ marketing machines.

One-of-a-kind travel experience

Walter likes to tell the story of a boutique hotel trip he took to near Lisbon, Portugal, a few years ago with Katja. A story that exemplifies their enduring love affair pursuing the next memorable travel experience.

They were in the bar of the Areias do Seixo hotel writing up their travel notes for the day when an unshaved guy with a stark Portuguese accent approached them about an unusual restaurant they simply had to dine at. Skeptical but always curious, Walter pressed him for details. The man sheepishly conceded the restaurant had no Michelin stars, no TripAdvisor ratings; neither did it take reservations or print a menu. “Trust me,” said the stranger, “you won’t be sorry. I’ll have my driver pick you up at nine o’clock.”

Walter was having severe misgivings a few hours later as they were driven down a dark narrow street flanked by anonymous brick buildings that gave the appearance of last being occupied when Wellington fought the French in the Peninsular War of 1808.

The big SUV abruptly turned into and stopped at the end of a dead end alley void of streetlight or commerce. “It was pretty creepy,” Walter remembers. “Like something from a cold war spy movie that ends badly for the hero.”

Their driver ushered Walter and Katja through a wide wooden door and down a long left-winding staircase barely lit by torches to an underground passageway. Another 20 meters further on led into a cavernous room with an arched ceiling and stone floor. The room was part wine cellar but also a well appointed dining room filled with other hotel guests laughing and all talking at once – as though this was the most popular place to dine in Lisbon!

As Walter later exclaimed,

It turned out the gentleman who approached us not only was the hotel owner but also in charge of this hide-away restaurant – and when bad weather didn’t permit his much rumoured beach fireside chats, he opened the cave’s doors for private guests! It was one of those unbelievable serendipitous moments that can happen to anyone when you follow your curiosity to indulge in new travel experiences.

Despite failing to dethrone TripAdvisor

travelmemo.com continues growing rapidly by satisfying readers’ desire to discover one-of-a-kind travel experiences around the world. Using exclusive photos that tell their own stories, combined with emotionally rich narratives, we showcase top destinations from perspectives not found anywhere else.

We invite you to browse our stories and subscribe to our regular travel news briefings to see what Walter, Katja and their cadre of talented travel bloggers have prepared for you.

Subscribe here:

Then use our first-hand experiences to make great choices designing your own unforgettable “travel memos,” ready to share with friends and family.

Contact walter ät travelmemo.com or katja ät travelmemo.com for any inquiries.

Here’s the actual review of Europe’s most enchanting boutique hotel Areias do Seixo. Make sure to book way ahead of time – we were not the first to find out about this hidden gem!

Hotel owner Gonçalo Alves chatting at wine cellar dinner experience

Hotel owner Gonçalo Alves enjoying himself at the wine cellar dinner experience

 

Check out our travel bloggers


Walter Schaerer’s extensive background in the travel industry, passionate enthusiasm for photography and a firm belief that luxury destinations can also be affordable; were some of the main factors that motivated him to create the travel blog travelmemo.com. In his day job Walter is an online marketing manager based out of Zurich, Switzerland.210 Articles


Katja is travelmemo.com’s destination research and booking expert. She always has the upper hand on itineraries and travel details. When not on the road Katja is a corporate communications and events manager.87 Articles


Justine Tyerman is an award-winning New Zealand journalist, travel writer and sub-editor with 18 years' experience in newspaper and freelance work. She has worked as a news reporter, feature writer, designer of an award-winning Newspapers in Education programme and sub-editor on local, national, business, education and international desks.35 Articles


Letizia Lorenzetti travels to the most prestigous places on Earth on a daily basis as she is a graphics artist freelancing for a Swiss tour operator. But when time is up she loves to take to cities she doesn't know yet. Besides of their history she is fascinated by their modern contrast and everyday life. Letizia likes to loose time in museums and is awed as much in front of architecture as well as nature.18 Articles


Charlotte is especially fascinated by the Near East and European cities. When not traveling for travelmemo.com she works as a business engineer / interaction designer with a Swiss software company.5 Articles


Michael Bachmann is a co-founder of the online gourmet magazine gourmetathome.ch. As a passionate hobby chef and connoisseur he takes to Asia as often as he can. In his day job he is responsible for design and communication as well as modern user interfaces at a web agency. In his spare time he is a travel blogger here at travelmemo.com.3 Articles


Claudia Wyss started her career as a diplomated travel professional. She has loved traveling and Mallorca for more than 30 years. She not only knows what to look for and like in the places she visits, but best of all, as a corporate communications manager for the past 20 years, she knows how to make it come alive for readers of our blog.2 Articles


Markus and Alex are avid travelers. They've been to surf camps on the Atlantic coast, to Australia, Argentina and Sweden or Iceland. Both work as software engineers in Zurich, Switzerland, and photography is one of their obvious passions.1 Articles


Tek is travelmemo.com's specialist content wrangler. He just always finds the perfect word when translating our blog posts from the German! Having made some 26 countries unsafe himself during his international banking days, he now gets virtual thrills following the travelmemo crew's adventures from his armchair.


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