28 Years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall: (Nur Mit Euch / Only With You) – ‘cos Berlin, I’ll never let you go!

28 Years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall: Berlin, I’ll never let you go!

It’s October!

In a few days, Germany will celebrate the Re-Unification of Germany, otherwise known as, the Day of German Unity or Der Tag der Deutschen Einheit!

This most important day will take place on October the 3rd.

October 3rd is a public holiday given to the German people to honour the Re-Unification of the two German States previously called the German Democratic Republic (GDR) or DDR (Deutsche Democratic Republic) otherwise known as East Germany, and the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) or Bundesrepublik Deutschland (BRD), otherwise also known as West Germany!

Me in front of a piece of the Berlin Wall & Street Art!

I cannot under-estimate how much I love this city.

I mean, I shout about it loud enough and it was just five (5) years ago that I introduced myself to you on this blog, when I wondered what the heck Berlin was all about anyway!

Oh yeah, and then I wrote a cheeky article which most people didn’t seem to get. And the title? Germany is Boring.

Oops!

I mean, what is the big deal?

Best German meals to try out in Berlin – Currywurst!

I’ll tell you what the big deal is my good man.

It’s the fact that the city of Berlin.

THIS city of Berlin.

Has been together in peace and harmony for 28 years.

That’s right.

28 years!

28 Years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall: Berlin, I’ll never let you go!

WHY WAS THE BERLIN WALL SET UP IN THE FIRST PLACE?

The Berlin Wall after the opening of the Wall near Brandenburg Gate on November 11th, 1989!
@25 Archiv. Bundesstiftung Aufarbeitung – Uwe Gerig

It’s a little complicated but after WWII, Germany was split and divided by the allies as punishment for Nazi Germany. And you only had to look at the city of Berlin to see who the Allies were namely; Great Britain, France, USSR, and the United States.

It was not long before arguments and squabbling took place in the international political arena and simply put, the Eastern and Western Bloc decided to go their separate ways, and an Iron Curtain ensued.

East Germany went one step further and built a wall in Berlin, cutting a line through the entire centre of the city!

This wall was supposed to prevent East Berliners and citizens of East Germany from fleeing to the West, but the Wall was unable to stop the mass of people from escaping.

As a result, in 1961, the ruling Communist Party in East Germany began adding more border fortifications to the Wall, creating a broad, many-layered system of barriers.

In the West, people referred to the border strip as the death strip because so many people were killed while trying to flee.

I have seen this death wall myself as I live in East Berlin and not 10 minutes away, is the main local park called Mauer Park.

The suburb of Prenzlauerberg where I live, is now enormously trendy and gentrified, and if you’re “in,” or want to be “in,” you strive to live here.

However, let it be noted that “Mauer” in German, means “Wall.”

The Death Strip in now East Berlin but formerly French – Soviet Germany!
©Joyce, S. A.

With the downfall of East Germany in 1989, the Berlin Wall that the Socialist Party tried to use to maintain its power, also fell.

The Fall of the Wall marked the definitive end of its dictatorship.

The Berlin Wall enclosed West Berlin from August 13, 1961 to November 9, 1989.

STREETS ON BOTH SIDES OF THE WALL?

The Berlin Wall.
28 Years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall: Berlin, I’ll never let you go!

A couple of years ago, I wrote about one of my favourite places, and where I first lived in Berlin – Kreuzberg. You can read all about it right here!

In my post, I mentioned that Kreuzberg had the Berlin Wall running right through the middle of it and that during the happy confusion, when the Wall actually fell, young people were leaving the East to go West, or leaving the West to go East!

In fact, I liked Kreuzberg so much that when I first made a documentary about being a British person in Berlin, we did the filming there!

OMG! Don’t I just look like a city babe!
©Pascale Scerbo Sarro

In Prenzlauer Berg where I live now, we’re about twenty (20) minutes from the original East-West border, and about ten (10) minutes from the first border crossing on the bridge of Bornholmer Straße.

If you’ve ever since videos where East Berliners were running through the border with everyone clapping, and cheering, and giving out free beer, it was that one!

I always take my friends to where the original wall used to be!

And let me tell you.

I weep tears of joy because even though I wasn’t in Berlin when the Berlin Wall actually fell, living in Berlin means that I’m able to touch, see and sometimes smell, what it was like to live here pre-1989!

Potsdamer Platz today!
28 Years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall: Berlin, I’ll never let you go!

In fact, I can still remember when Potsdamer Platz was nothing more than wasteland and a piece of the border strip known as No Man’s Land. And looked like it too!

Not far off from Prenzlauer Berg, is a street called Bernauer Strasse, also known as Bernauer Straße!

Bernauer Straße as part of the Berlin Wall in 1961 – Frank Baake © Thomas Gade

As you can see, the Berlin Wall used to go right through it!

In fact, it was pretty horrid for all concerned, as you could actually see the other side of the Berlin Wall from your kitchen window, but you couldn’t go to the Western side without being shot!

Smashing through the wall! ©frizztext
Smashing through the wall!
©frizztext

Imagine the frustration, pain, and horror.

Many people tried to escape from freedom and found ways to be creative by jumping through windows, sailing across in a hot air balloon, digging tunnels underground, pretending to have a funeral and lowering the “dead” person into a pit, hiding inside the seated lining of a Volkswagen car, etc. All for a life of freedom.

Not much of the Wall is left today, which was chipped off and destroyed almost in its entirety. However, three (3) long sections still stand:

The Topography of Terror. You can still see parts of the Berlin Wall right behind it!
©Britta Scherer / Stiftung Topographie des Terrors

An 80-metre-long (260 ft) piece of the first (westernmost) wall at the now Topography of Terror, but which used to be the site of the former Gestapo headquarters!

And obviously, after WWII, the original building was razed to the ground.

The Berlin Wall, otherwise known as, East Side Gallery!

A longer section of the second (easternmost) wall along the River Spree, near the Oberbaumbrücke in Kreuzberg / Friedrichshain, which you can see throughout the 1998 cult film Run Lola Run, starring Franke Potente (The Bourne Identity), and otherwise known as, East Side Gallery!

The film and soundtrack were just so exhilarating.

Even now, 20 years later!

Bernauer Straße in both East & West Berlin!
28 Years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall: Berlin, I’ll never let you go!

A third section that is partly reconstructed, in the north at Bernauer Straße, was turned into a memorial in 1999.

And of course, isolated fragments, lampposts, a few watchtowers, and other elements, also remain throughout various parts of the city!

On the border between East & West Berlin in Germany.

SO HOW DID THE BERLIN WALL ACTUALLY FALL?

It’s easy to forget Germany’s history!

It’s easy to forget that this situation was only 28 years ago. Most of you reading this blog, are probably older!

Let’s get some history!


2 May

Hungary begins dismantling the fortifications on the border to Austria.People demonstrate against the election rigging in front of the Sophienkirche (church).


7 May

Local elections in the GDR. Opposition groups prove that the results were faked. People demonstrate against the election rigging in East Berlin on the seventh day of every subsequent month.


4 September

First Monday Demonstration in Leipzig. 1,200 people gather outside St. Nicholas’ Church. Their demands include freedom of travel and democracy.


9 /10 September

New Forum’s initial call-out becomes a signal for change. Further grassroots movements follow.


11 September

Hungary officially opens its western border for GDR citizens, risking a breach in its diplomatic relations with East Berlin.


30 September

West Germany’s foreign minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher informs the East German refugees in the Prague embassy, that they will be allowed to leave the GDR.


3 October

The GDR government bans travel to Czechoslovakia without passports and visas, to stem the mass exodus. Special trains transport people from the Prague and Warsaw embassies to the West, through the GDR. There are violent clashes with police along the railway line, as well as in Dresden.


7. October

On the 40th anniversary of the GDR, several thousand people demonstrate in Berlin outside the Palace of the Republic.  In numerous East German towns and cities, similar protests are broken up by force.


9 October

Despite fear of military repression of the Monday Demonstration, 70,000 people take to the streets in Leipzig. The police, military and civilian forces do not intervene.


11 October

The single ruling political party calls for people to stay in the GDR, offering a “dialogue” concerning the country’s further development.


16 October

The number of people at the Monday Demonstration in Leipzig doubles. The security forces do not intervene.

 


18 October

Erich Honecker is forced to resign after 18 years in office. Egon Krenz is made the new secretary-general of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED).


24 October

Krenz is also elected chairman of the State Council and the National Defence Council. 12,000 people demonstrate against his appointment in Berlin that evening.


30 October

300,000 people take part in the Leipzig Monday Demonstration.


4 November

The largest demonstration in the history of the GDR takes place in Berlin.


7 November

The government of the GDR, and the Council of Ministers collectively resign.


8 November

The Central Committee Politburo, the highest body in the GDR, resigns. West German chancellor Helmut Kohl links economic and financial aid for the GDR to three conditions: the opposition must be legalised, free elections must take place, and the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED) must renounce its claim to sole authority.


9 November

The Wall falls, prompted by a vague, but now famous, announcement of new travel regulations at a press conference. Tens of thousands of East Berliners rush to the checkpoints and force the border open.


22 December

The Berlin Wall is officially opened at Brandenburg Gate. The first concrete section is removed from its beams at 0.30 a.m.


23 December

The offices issuing passes for the GDR in West Berlin close for good. West Germans no longer need a visa, or have to change a certain amount of money, to enter the East.


1990 Chronology

Hurrah! Germany is now united as One as we celebrate the Day of German Unity, also known as Re-Unification Day or Tag der Deutschen Einheit!

31 August

The Unification Treaty is signed in East Berlin.


3 October

Germany celebrates the Day of German Unity, also known as Re-Unification Day or Der Tag der Deutschen Einheit!


28 YEARS AFTER THE FALL OF THE BERLIN WALL

Climbing up the Berlin Wall for Freedom! Freedom!!

It was the people who took to the streets en masse and courageously resisted a dictatorship, enabling both the Fall of the Berlin Wall and the Peaceful Revolution.

The 28th anniversary of the Fall of the Wall is important because Berlin will continue to invite locals, expats, eyewitnesses who were here, and people of the world, to participate in the anniversary celebrations, and to tell personal stories about the Berlin Wall.

The connecting element will be a gallery, the Band der Einheit or Band of Unity showing the road signs of 11,040 towns and cities in Germany that are a blend of East and West Germany, and thus, a united Germany throughout the country.

As a symbol of German Unity, the gallery will span hundreds of metres across the festival area, and will explore the diversity of Germany in a simple yet appealing way, on a journey of discovery throughout Berlin, Germany, and Europe.

More than one million visitors are expected to attend the three-day festival.

Food in Germany: 5 of the Best Ever!

There will be a diverse programme of local street music and street food, DJ sets, dance sets, and karoeke at the Bearpit in Mauer Park, and across the festival.

There will also be an orchestra, and musicians from all over the world, on stage at Brandenburg Gate, resulting in the Grand Finale of a huge open-air concert featuring German artists such as Boss Hoss, Samy Deluxe, Nena, and others.

Absolutely free of charge of course!

I’ll be there. Wil you?

Come join us!

For a full list of participating buildings, maps, and photographic displays, go to the official Nur Mit Euch / Only With You, website here!

 

WHAT IF THE BERLIN WALL ISN’T MY CUP OF TEA?

Two sides and periods, of the Berlin Wall.

As if!!

Keep reading my blog. There is more to come!

That’s it for now.

See you soon!

28 YEARS AFTER THE FALL OF THE BERLIN WALL: (NUR MIT EUCH / ONLY WITH YOU) ‘COS BERLIN, I’LL NEVER LET YOU GO!

Beeeeerlin! I’ll never let you go!

This article is not sponsored and all opinions and the currywurst and bratwurst that I’m sure to be happily scoffing in the next few weeks, are my very own!

I have so much to share with you.

I’ll be writing about my trip to Sweden, Estonia & Latvia very soon, and in the winter, I’ll be travelling to India.

Keep a look out.

Yipee!

October & November is going to be smashing.

The Berlin Wall – 28 Years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall: Berlin, I’ll never let you go!

Watch this space!

Note! I never travel without insurance as you never know what might happen.

I learnt my lesson in Spain. And obviously, in countries like Qatar, where technically the risk is higher, I can’t imagine going that far beyond, WITHOUT INSURANCE. No siree! You can get yours here, at World Nomads!

Please note that there are now affiliate links (for the very first time) connected to this post. Please consider using the links, because every time some sort of accommodation or travel insurance is booked via my links, I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself!

A win-win for all!

Thanks a million!

28 Years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall: Berlin, I’ll never let you go!

Have you ever been to Berlin? Do you remember where you were when the Berlin Wall Fell. Where were you in 1989? Let me know in the comments below!

 See you in Berlin.

If you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

If you like this post, please Share it! Tweet it! Or like it!

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Explore Hansa with me! 5 enchanting Hanseatic cities from Sweden, Estonia and Latvia!

Explore your taste buds & create an inspiring gastronomical experience on the HANSA Culinary Trip!

It’s September!

And just where has the time gone?

I simply don’t know.

Do you?

SUMMER TIME

Summer Loving & my travel plans for the rest of the year!

Well, I for one, have been extremely busy.

And why?

I went to Sweden, Estonia AND Latvia!

Phew!

Quite frankly, they really need no introduction because I have written extensively about them before, but if you insist, here are the articles I wrote previously.

SWEDEN:

A Swedish hotdog in Stockholm – Sweden!

ESTONIA:

Tallinn Medieval Days. Kristina Õllek @Tallinn City Tourist Office & Convention Bureau

LATVIA:

The most popular international post so far was….Latvia!

WHY DID VICTORIA GO TO SWEDEN, ESTONIA AND LATVIA?

A first time beginners’ guide to the ITB Berlin: 10 tips to help you prepare. Bam!

Well, you all know how I love going to the ITB Berlin – the international tourism trade fair, otherwise known as the Internationale Tourismus-Börse!

And for those of you who don’t know, the ITB Berlin represents B2B, hotels, tourists boards, tour operators and providers, airlines, transport operators, responsible travel organisers, information technology experts, social media bloggers, and anybody else interested in travel and tourism.

It’s also the world’s leading travel industry think tank, in which the convention trade fair establishes itself as the industry’s main knowledge platform, with top-notch presentations on global trends, travel innovations and path-breaking events for the entire tourism industry!

Happy bloggers at ITB Berlin – ©Natalie Deduck – Loveandroad.com

It’s one of the highlights of my year, and one of the places that I tend to meet contacts and plan where I’m going to travel to during that year, or the following one.

In fact, my first media trip ever, was sent to me by the virtue that I was chatting to a media person from Atout France – the France Tourism Development Agency!

My first press or FAM trip ever to Nord-Pas de Calais otherwise known as, Northern France!

I didn’t know that at the time, but she was so impressed, that she sent me a FAM Trip invitation to Nord-Pas de Calais.

I thought I was going to Normandy!

Haw! Haw!

I was the only press / blogger person there.

And well as the only British person too!

I had a fantastic time!

Myself on the M/S Star Tallink mini cruise from Tallinn to Helsinki.

A year after, I met another contact who invited me to use their sailing cruises. I didn’t have the time to sail extensively, but I did use the services of TALLINK SLJA LINE to cross from Estonia to Finland.

A year later, that very same person invited me to fly to Sweden and do a couple more cruises. I still wasn’t able to go since the timing wasn’t right, but she introduced me to a contact from Visit Stockholm instead, and before you knew it, both The Tall Young Gentleman and I were in Stockholm for the very first time!

Hamburg: An Introduction to a Port City!

I also met the PR person from Hamburg about a year ago, and when a window opened, I contacted her, and she invited me to a weekend in Hamburg for their Christmas Market / Holy Hamburg / Winter Event.

I had an awesome time!

In fact, it was at the ITB Berlin, and wandering through the Poland Stands, that some of the Polish staff recognised me from an article that I wrote all of four (4) years ago, they were so excited, and the word soon spread, that that blogger was actually there!

Apparently. In Poland, I’m a bit of a notorious star!

And the title of said piece: Going to Poland: 10 reasons not to go!

Apparently, in Poland I’m a bit of a notorious star!

Is it any wonder that this year, someone else reached out and invited me to a very interesting event, so interesting in fact, that how could I refuse?

The event in question was called Explore Hansa!

EXPLORE HANSA!

Explore HANSA

WHAT IS EXPLORE HANSA?

Explore Hansa with me!

Explore Hansa is a partner project consisting of nine (9) small and enchanting Hanseatic cities from Sweden (Visby), Estonia (Pernau and Viljandi) and Latvia (Cēsis, Koknese, Kuldīga, Limbaži, Straupe and Valmiera), but due to a lack of time, we were only able to visit five (5)!

All of these countries are enormously rich in heritage and tradition, and have developed active and culinary tourism that offers visitors a chance to explore nature, authentic history, and exciting local food!

One of the ways that these lovely cities want to do that is by inviting influencers and media representatives, of which I am one, to experience what these HANSA cities have to offer, feel the charm of tiny Hanseatic cities, immerse ourselves in nature, and to spread the word!

I’m certainly going to do that!

There were two (2) trips organised:

A level of fitness is expected for the HANSA Active trip!
  • THE ACTIVE TRIP route that went through Limbaži (Latvia) – Valmiera (Latvia) – Viljandi (Estonia) and Visby (Sweden), to explore the cobbled streets and cultural heritage of these small Hanseatic cities, as well as the beauty of nature, in which a level of fitness would be expected!

You all know how I am with bicycles!

Ha! Ha! Ha! Haaaaaaaaaa!

Explore HANSA at Pils krodziņš Pils Ķēķis in Valmiera – Latvia!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Latvia – August 2018
  • THE CULINARY TRIP route that will go through Viljandi (Estonia) – Valmiera (Latvia) – Cēsis (Latvia) – Koknese (Latvia) and Visby (Sweden), to explore one’s taste buds of seasonal local produce and create an inspiring gastronomical experience

Aha!

You can guess which one I chose!

I’m most interested in the annual Medieval Week or Medeltidsveckan taking place in Sweden!

There was lots of stuff going on, but one of the activities I was most interested in, was the annual Medieval Week or Medeltidsveckan event taking place in Sweden.

For one week only!

What an event!

Medieval Week is a paradise for all who like jousting, markets, church concerts, street theater, fire shows, storytelling, walks, lectures and more.

It takes place mainly in Visby’s medieval fairytale environments, but also on the rural island of Gotland.

Locals all dressed up & a Medieval Tournament to remember at the annual Medieval Week or Medeltidsveckan taking place in Sweden!

In fact, we got to see knights and maidens, people jousting and battling, locals dressed up as grand nobles, poor peasants and minstrels, medieval street markets, street theatre, fire-shows, storytelling, and a medieval tournament to remember!

It took place from August 5th to August 12th, 2018 and I’ll be telling you all about it in the next few weeks!

Exciting stuff!

Yeah!

Are you ready to Explore Hansa?

Find out more in the following weeks!

‘Rah! ‘Rah!

EXPLORE HANSA WITH ME! 5 ENCHANTING HANSEATIC CITIES FROM SWEDEN, ESTONIA AND LATVIA!

Explore HANSA with me on the island of Visby in Gotland for Medieval Week in Sweden!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Sweden – August 2018

This article is not sponsored, and all opinions and the exciting time that I had in the HANSA cities, are my very own!

Stay tuned.

Yay!

That’s it for now.

See you next week!

Explore Hansa with me in town – Sweden, Estonia & Latvia!

Watch this space!

Note! I never travel without insurance as you never know what might happen.

I learnt my lesson in Spain. And obviously, in countries like Qatar, where technically the risk is higher, I can’t imagine going that far beyond, WITHOUT INSURANCE. No siree! You can get yours here, at World Nomads!

Please note that there are now affiliate links (for the very first time) connected to this post. Please consider using the links, because every time some sort of accommodation or travel insurance is booked via my links I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself!

A win-win for all!

Thanks a million!

Explore Hansa with me!
5 enchanting Hanseatic cities from Sweden, Estonia and Latvia!

Do you want to explore HANSA with me? Have you ever been to Latvia, Estonia or Sweden? Let me know in the comments below!

See you in Berlin.

If you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

If you like this post, please Share it! Tweet it! Or like it!

And while we’re at it – 7 other common travel scams to avoid!

You might be well-travelled, but you can still be scammed!
How I got scammed in Berlin!

Wow!

I’m back!

It’s still the summer, and The British Berliner was doing what she does best.

Travelling!

And writing about it!

Summer Loving & my travel plans for the rest of the year!

If you recall, I went on a media trip to Explore Hansa – a partner project consisting of nine (9) small and enchanting Hanseatic cities from Sweden, Estonia and Latvia!

My job was to eat all day!

Ho! Ho! Ho!

Nah!

Explore your taste buds & create an inspiring gastronomical experience on the HANSA Culinary Trip!

Seriously, I went on a culinary trip that passed through Viljandi (Estonia) – Valmiera (Latvia) – Cēsis (Latvia) – Koknese (Latvia) and Visby (Sweden), to explore one’s taste buds of seasonal local produce and create an inspiring gastronomical experience.

It was a lot of fun.

And I’ll be writing about it all by the end of the month!

Aha!

So back to the important stuff of the moment.

My last post was about the disturbing moment when I got scammed for the first time.

In my own lovely city of Berlin!

How I got scammed in Berlin!

I told you that I used to live the iconic Berlin artistic lifestyle.

Think David Bowie!

Think Iggy Pop!

Because I lived in arty, grungy, student, alternative Kreuzberg in West Berlin.

Love conquers all. We had controlled rent, but we didn’t have a bathroom in Berlin!

My boyfriend and I lived in a huge rent-controlled apartment near the river.

It didn’t have a bathroom.

It didn’t have any heating.

Hauling up steel-buckets of coal every week in Berlin, wasn’t as romantic as this!
Hauling up steel-buckets of coal in Berlin, was more like this!

And I had to haul up steel-buckets of coal every week!

It was worth it though ‘cos we were living in a 19th century building, and my share of the rent in those days, was a mere €17.00 per week!

It took me just six (6) weeks to get a well-paid teaching job, and six (6) months later, I was the Head of not one Corporate Language School, but two (2)!

One day, I went to the bank to pick up some money for a summer-BBQ party that I was organising for all our schools in Berlin at the time, and on that day, I got scammed!

What an idiot and an utter fool I was!

BUT WAS THAT THE LAST TIME I GOT SCAMMED?

When you travel as much as I do, scams happen from time to time!
And while we’re at it – 7 other common travel scams to avoid!

Not really!

When you travel as much as I do, scams and weird situations are bound to happen from time to time.

But certainly, I was never so foolish ever again.

And when I did get scammed, it was no fault of my own.

And in many cases, I caught the scammers.

Just in time!

But before we go any further, let me reiterate:

I am an affiliate partner of booking.com. In fact, if you use any of my hotel / apartment links, you’ll see the verified partner symbol of the British Berliner logo, along with each affiliated link. 

This means that every time some sort of accommodation is booked via my links I get a little percentage, but at absolutely no extra cost to yourself!

Thanks a million!

Right.

Here are some more scams!

7 OTHER TRAVEL SCAMS TO AVOID!

Aaah! And while we’re at it – 7 other common travel scams to avoid!

Ha! Ha!

The following scams are tricks that anybody could have fallen for:

1.  THE BANGKOK TUK-TUK SCAM:

My tuk-tuk driver took me to a go-go bar in Bangkok!
And while we’re at it – 7 other common travel scams to avoid!

MY EXPERIENCE:

I’ve been to Bangkok many times, but the first time I visited was an eye-opener!

I ordered a tuk-tuk to take me to a dinner and dance show in Bangkok.

Thankfully, I had been there earlier to buy my ticket, and knew what the place looked like.

The tuk-tuk driver didn’t take me to my nice classy dinner.

Oh dear me no.

He took me to a go-go bar!

My suspicions were aroused when the venue looked pretty dark.

There was an iron-clad door with a man selling “tickets” at a table.

And nearby were a few drunk Thai guys who were getting quite upset!

There was an iron-clad door with a man selling tickets at a table in Bangkok!
And while we’re at it – 7 other common travel scams to avoid!

The man at the door wanted me to buy a ticket.

I was confused ‘cos I had already bought a ticket, and paid a hefty price for it too.

I insisted that they allow me to take a peek through the iron doors.

I did.

I saw that the only woman who had any clothes on was me!
And while we’re at it – 7 other common travel scams to avoid!
The only woman who had any clothes on was me. Eek!
And while we’re at it – 7 other common travel scams to avoid!

And saw that the only woman who had any clothes on was me.

I legged it out of there!

The tuk-tuk driver wanted his “fee.”

I refused to pay him.

I ran to the main road, hopped into a taxi, who then took me to the real tourist-friendly dinner and dance!

Read more tuk-tuk stories here:

HOW TO AVOID THE BANGKOK TUK-TUK:

  • Make sure YOU know, or have a rough idea, where you’re going
  • Confirm the fare, before you hop in
  • Have the exact change
  • Don’t pay the tuk-tuk driver until you have confirmed that the destination is in fact, the place you want to go to.
  • Take a taxi. With the meter on!

2.  THE HOTEL BOOKING SCAM:

Use my link to book a hotel!

You take a taxi.

You do a little chit-chat with the driver.

He then tells you that your hotel is closed, over-booked, or burnt to the ground!

However, he can help you.

He’ll take you to another hotel.

It’ll be significantly more expensive, of far lower quality, and in the wrong part of town.

You check your original hotel the next day, and your hotel is perfectly fine.

As is your hotel reservation.

Meanwhile, your driver gets a hefty commission from the hotel, and a generous tip from you!

Now, you wouldn’t usually fall for such a crap story but you’re in a new country, you’re probably quite tired and confused. Could it be true?

Nope!

The Indian taxi driver tells you that your hotel is closed, over-booked, or burnt to the ground!
And while we’re at it – 7 other common travel scams to avoid!

MY EXPERIENCE:

I was nervous about my first solo visit to India.

Back in 2005.

So I did my research for a nice hotel and asked STA Travel to book it for me.

They did.

And I paid them the handsome price of €17.00 or $15.00 per night.

Complete with hotel voucher!

I double-checked with the Delhi hotel via telephone, fax, and Email.

All seemed to be well.

They even sent a car to collect me from the airport.

The hotel in Delhi sent a car to collect me from the airport, then claimed they had never heard of me!
And while we’re at it – 7 other common travel scams to avoid!

But when I got to the hotel, they told me that they had never heard of me!

Even though I had spoken to them on the telephone just a few hours prior.

They knew nothing about it!

However, if I went to the luxury hotel down the road…

Perhaps they might have a spare room…!

It was 2a.m.

I was scared to leave the hotel.

So I refused.

Two hours later, they “found” my room!

Two hours later, my hotel room in India suddenly appeared!
And while we’re at it – 7 other common travel scams to avoid!

Read more hotel stories here:

HOW TO AVOID THE HOTEL SCAM:

  • Use my booking.com link!
  • Pre-book a hotel for the first night
  • Call your hotel in advance, and make sure they’re open
  • If the hotel has an airport shuttle service, use it
  • Tell the driver that you already have a reservation (even if you don’t)
  • Make sure YOU know, or have a rough idea, where you’re going
  • Trust your own instinct, as opposed to a random stranger
  • Insist that they take you to the hotel that you have booked
  • Double-check that the rooms have all you were promised, before accepting it, ‘cos “hot water” doesn’t always mean hot water from a tap but hot water from a bucket!
  • Use Uber. Here’s my link!

3.  THE TAXI SCAM:

No matter how experienced you are, a taxi scam will happen to you, at least once!
And while we’re at it – 7 other common travel scams to avoid!

No matter how experienced you are, a taxi scam will happen to you, at least once!

And the drivers are good at cheating innocent tourists.

Very good.

You take a taxi.

You do a little chit-chat with the driver.

He asks you where you’re from, and if this is your first visit?

You’re excited to be at this new destination, and in your innocence, tell the driver more than you should.

He tells you that the meter is broken, and then charges you an exorbitant rate.

Or the taxi driver takes you the long way around.

Or worse, just goes around in a circle while they aim for the part of town notorious for traffic lights or traffic jams.

Yep! It’s a thing!

Myself in Prague reading something and looking all serious, but not completely serious!

MY EXPERIENCE:

Too many to mention.

However, one taxi scam comes to mind.

In Prague!

I knew a Czech / American restaurant that served a four-course New Year’s Eve meal, and a bit of a dance.

I invited some girls to join me.

Then I went to the Opera!

The performance was fantastic, but I was running late and needed to get to my hostel as quickly as possible so that I could have a quick shower, and change into my glad-rags.

4 days in Prague – 40 things to do!

I took a taxi.

I knew my way around Prague but wasn’t really concentrating as I was anxious to get to my hostel.

And anyway, the Czech Republic is cheap.

But he didn’t take me there!

I was annoyed.

I was piss-off.

And I was scared.

We were beginning to leave the confines of  Prague.

And I was alone.

I asked the driver to take me to the nearest train station.

The cost – €64.00!

I was fuming as I was expecting to pay between €5.00 – €7.00!

I then took a train.

The cost – 12kc or €0.46 – 46 cents!

Yeah, I didn’t do that again!

I was scammed by a taxi in Prague. Yeah, I didn’t do that again!
And while we’re at it – 7 other common travel scams to avoid!

Read more taxi stories here:

HOW TO AVOID THE TAXI SCAM: 

  • Don’t try to be clever. Ask your hotel to send you a car
  • Get yourself a pre-paid taxi. And KEEP the receipt until you get to your destination
  • Let the driver see you taking a photograph of the taxi drivers’ documentation and car registration
  • Make sure YOU know, or have a rough idea, where you’re going
  • Confirm the fare, before you hop in
  • Have the exact change
  • Don’t pay the driver until you have confirmed that the destination is in fact, the place you want to go to.
  • Take a taxi. With the meter on!
  • Make sure the meter works!
  • If the taxi driver refuses, get out and take another taxi
  • Negotiate rates ahead of time and make sure that the taxi driver understands that the $50.00 you confirmed is per car. Not per person!
  • Do NOT allow the taxi driver to pick up random passengers, if you have booked the taxi for yourself and/or your party
  • Never get into an unlicensed taxi — no matter how amazing the deal is
  • Trust your own instinct, as opposed to a random stranger
  • If you feel threatened at any time, don’t argue, pay the driver, get out of the taxi in a safe place, then report him/her to the police
  • Use Uber. Here’s my link!

4.  THE RESTAURANT / BAR BILL SCAM

I’ve experienced the restaurant bar bill scam in both Slovakia AND the Czech Republic.
And while we’re at it – 7 other common travel scams to avoid!

MY EXPERIENCE:

I don’t like Slovakia.

I don’t like Romania either!

But that’s neither here or there.

I’ve experienced the restaurant / bar bill scam numerous times in both Slovakia AND the Czech Republic.

Prices are so cheap that it’s easy for the staff to change the order around, add “extra” bits that the customer didn’t request, or just simply, serve the most expensive item on the menu, even though the customer ordered something completely different!

We went to Bratislava.

We had lunch in the Old Town.

At a restaurant called Venturska Kubovna.

A huge “Klubovňa” hamburger in the Old Town in Bratislava, Slovakia

The food was great.

The outdoor location was lovely.

The prices were fantastic.

But the service was utterly rubbish.

We were over-charged twice!

Twice!

Even though we’re tourists, stop cheating us!
Should you visit Bratislava, or stay at home and not bother!

In this case, not only did the restaurant get our order wrong, they even had the cheek to charge the complete bill of their local Slovakian mates, from the next table!

My suspicions were raised when the bill started with the butter that I ordered, but never received…!

I mean.

Come on!

Really?

Really!&$%!

Scammers are everywhere through Europe!
How I got scammed in Berlin!

Read more stories here:

HOW TO AVOID THE RESTAURANT / BAR BILL SCAM:

  • If prices are extremely cheap, you really need to double-check your bill
  • Use a currency exchange App such as XE to check if 830,000 Indonesian Rupiah for a glass of wine means €5.00 or €50.00!
  • If the “bill” is hand-written, insist on checking if what you ordered is what you paid for
  • Watch out for expensive menus given to “tourists” and a different menu given to “locals”
  • Don’t be pressured into ordering stuff when you’re not ready
  • If you don’t know what’s on the menu ask for it to be translated
  • Eat what the locals eat
  • If you see a long queue outside a local establishment, that’s the place to go to!
  • If the restaurant is empty, don’t go in
  • Don’t be too fussy
  • If you’re in a developing country, be reasonable with diet restrictions and allergies
  • Use TripAdvisor!

5.  THE FLIRTY ATTRACTIVE YOUNG WOMAN / STRIP BAR SCAM:

A lovely attractive young woman starts to chat you up.
And while we’re at it – 7 other common travel scams to avoid!

It’s funny how many readers think I’m a man. Perhaps it’s because of posts such as this or this.

Either way, I’m going to write about it, but don’t expect intimate details. That’s creepy!

So here goes:

You land in a new country.

You immediately head for a local bar.

A lovely attractive girl starts to chat you up.

You feel good ‘cos she’s giving you the eye and laughing at all your jokes.

You have a couple of drinks.

She suggests moving on to a great club that she knows.

You agree.

You head out to a club. Gorgeous girls immediately start to surround you!
And while we’re at it – 7 other common travel scams to avoid!

You head out to this club.

All these gorgeous girls immediately start to surround you.

Some even sit on your lap.

You order more drinks.

You’re having a great time.

You look around, and the “original” girl has disappeared, but the bill hasn’t.

You immediately start to sweat.

The”bill” is €3,000!

You wonder if you can make a run for it.

A couple of burly nasty looking chaps soon make you change your mind!

They give you the shake down.

They force you to pay up.

If you’re lucky, you might get away with paying €300!

If not, you’re smacked around.

Or worse.

Drugged and ultimately robbed of your dignity, all your credit cards, cash, and belongings.

Drugged & robbed of your dignity, credit cards, cash & belongings in Hong Kong!
And while we’re at it – 7 other common travel scams to avoid!

MY EXPERIENCE:

None whatsoever!

I’m a girl!

Read more flirty attractive young woman / strip bar stories here:

HOW TO AVOID THE FLIRTY ATTRACTIVE YOUNG WOMAN / STRIP BAR SCAM:

  • Guys, use your common sense!
  • Don’t be too greedy!
  • Be wary of attractive women who are unusually forward or hitting on you aggressively
  • If you aren’t god’s gift to women, and model-type girls suddenly start swarming around you, think why!
  • If you’re the only person being approached, be on guard
  • If it seems too good to be true, there’s a reason!
  • Never give your personal credit card to the bar
  • If you feel uncomfortable, get out of there as quickly as you can
  • If you feel threatened at any time, don’t argue, negotiate if you can, but pay up, get to the driver, get to a safe place, then report him them to the police
  • Buy travel insurance. I use World Nomads. Here’s my link

6.  MOTOR BIKE / SCOOTER / JET SKI / CAR RENTAL SCAM:

You rent a motorbike, scooter, jetski or car. You return it & then the fun begins!
And while we’re at it – 7 other common travel scams to avoid!

You’re in a developing country.

You need to get around without the hassle of local transportation or a chicken bus

You rent a motorbike / scooter / jetski /car.

It was at a really generous price and you had heaps of fun.

You bring it back, and then it begins.

The owner demands additional payment or charges you for expensive repairs as a means of compensation.

And why?

Because the motorbike / scooter / jetski / rental car, is damaged!

Or worse.

Stolen!

You didn’t do it of course, and in some cases, it’s the owner or his mates, who have knowingly caused the damage or stolen the motorbike / scooter / jetski / rental car.

And that’s the scam!

There’s no getting out of it either!

The owner demands payment or charges you for repairs ‘cos the rental is damaged!
And while we’re at it – 7 other common travel scams to avoid!

MY EXPERIENCE:

Luckily for me, the only time that I rented a motorbike / scooter / jetski / car, was with the driver / sailing crew included, so there was no question of who was responsible for damages.

It certainly wasn’t me!

However, this is a potential scam to lose huge amounts of money.

Read more motorbike / scooter / jetski / car rental stories here:

HOW TO AVOID THE MOTORBIKE / SCOOTER / JETSKI SCAM:

  • You took the motorbike / scooter / jetski / rental car therefore, you’re the responsible party
  • Read the small print
  • Take photographs of the vehicle
  • Document any previous damage
  • Confirm all photographs / documentation with the owner
  • Use your own lock as the owner might have another set of keys…
  • Park the motorbike / scooter / jetski / rental car, in a safe and secure place
  • Make sure you have a valid international licence for the rental
  • Wear a helmet / seatbelt
  • Take your time, and don’t speed, as conditions are rougher than you might be used to
  • If damage does occur, take your object to a repair shop recommended by someone other than the owner!
  • Buy travel insurance. I use World Nomads. Here’s my link!

7.  THE GET RICH QUICK SCAM:

I don’t know how to tell you this, but there really is no easy way to get rich!
And while we’re at it – 7 other common travel scams to avoid!

I don’t know how to tell you this, but there really is no easy way to get rich.

Well there is.

But you’re not that type of person are you?

Are you?!

The essence of this scam is to persuade you that you can make a quick buck.

You’re on holiday, and a local person casually tells you that they own a lucrative business buying expensive items such as jewellery and antiques from the country where you just happen to be, and selling them back home in the US, UK, Germany, Japan, etc.

They offer to “introduce” you to their contact so that you too, can enjoy this great “opportunity.”

The products are fake.

Or what about that old chestnut of a “lucrative business venture” if only you’d “invest” €20,000 / €50,000 / €100,000 as soon as possible so that you can reap a 60% “guaranteed” profit “potential.”

Within a month.

And don’t even get me started on the “My Father is the ex-President..” of some random country that you have previously never heard of, but somehow you are able to picture, because “If you send me a small amount of €30,000 in order to “release” the “oil money / hidden stash in some Swiss Bank / tax haven,” AND your bank account / passport / security number details, you’ll be able to get a slice of the illegal €10 billion that was hidden away during some dictator / politically unstable / obscure regime.

A slice of €10 billion.

Not €10,000.

Not even €1,000.

Which by any account, is a huge amount to give to a stranger, not to talk of millions of €/$/£!

But somehow you believe it.

MY EXPERIENCE:

None at all!

I too get Emails claiming heaven and earth.

I put them into the spam filter, ignore them, and sleep well at night.

I can make you rich scam.
And while we’re at it – 7 other common travel scams to avoid!

Read more get rich quick stories here:

HOW TO AVOID THE GET RICH QUICK SCAM:

  • Don’t be greedy
  • If it seems too good to be true, there’s a reason!
  • Use your common sense
  • Unless you’re an expert in jewellery and antiques, don’t try to sell them
  • If you’re on holiday, don’t buy expensive items that you know nothing about!
  • If you’re the only person being approached or contacted, be wary
  • Never give your bank account / passport / security number details to a random stranger
  • If you feel uncomfortable or believe a crime has been committed, or about to be committed, contact the police
  • Buy travel insurance. I use World Nomads. Here’s my link!
We’ve all been scammed at some point, but no matter how well we prepare, it happens.
And while we’re at it – 7 other common travel scams to avoid!

We’ve all been taken in or scammed by tricksters at some point, but no matter how well we prepare, it happens.

And if it does, it’s horribly frustrating, but it’s not the end of the world.

My advice.

Make sure you buy travel insurance for peace of mind.

Good Luck!

AND WHILE WE’RE AT IT – 7 OTHER COMMON TRAVEL SCAMS TO AVOID!

Oh no. I’ve been scammed!
And while we’re at it – 7 other common travel scams to avoid!

This article is not sponsored, and all opinions, experience situations and words of advice, are my very own!

Stay tuned.

Yay!

That’s it for now.

Even the toughest among us, can still be scammed!
And while we’re at it – 7 other common travel scams to avoid!

Watch this space!

Note! I never travel without insurance as you never know what might happen.

I learnt my lesson in Spain. And obviously, in countries like Qatar, where technically the risk is higher, I can’t imagine going that far beyond, WITHOUT INSURANCE. No siree! You can get yours here, at World Nomads!

Please note that there are affiliate links connected to this post. Please consider using the links, because every time some sort of accommodation or travel insurance is booked via my links I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself!

A win-win for all!

Thanks a million!

And while we’re at it – 7 other common travel scams to avoid!

Have you been cheated, tricked, conned, lost some money, or had something stolen? Have you ever been scammed? What did you do? Spill all, and let others learn from your mistakes in the comments below!

See you in Berlin.

If you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

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