It’s been a rough few weeks.
The citizens of France are in a state of shock.
The world is in a dreadful state.
Our sympathies and condolences are with the people, family and friends of Nice.
First, we had that horrible referendum in which my fellow Brits voted to Leave the European Union, and won!
Shortly after, we had situations of terror in France, mindless shootings in the US, the senseless mass killing of the gay community in America, a mad axe-wielding teenager in Germany, an airport terror attack and a near military coup in Turkey, and the awful fact that Donald Trump, a laughable figure, might in fact, end up being the next President of the United States, and thus, the leader of the Free Western World!
And just recently, very very recently, we had another disturbed teenager run riot of an evening, randomly shooting innocent shoppers, after luring them to a free McDonalds’ burger, in Germany!
Just what is the world coming to?
I’m in shock.
And I’m just so sad.
The terrorist attacks have struck my continent.
This wonderful continent of Europe might make tourists and visitors wonder.
They might think that perhaps travelling abroad isn’t all it’s made out to be.
They might think that Europe isn’t the place to be after all!
My blog isn’t about politics, and I’m not a politician or a secret agent, so outside of the odd look-between-the-lines rant, I can’t tell you what to do, or advice you as to who best to run your country. Or mine!
What I can tell you is how to cope, and how to keep on living, doing whatever it is you’re doing.
I’m a British person and I live in Europe. People are worried and concerned:
I’M SCARED TO TRAVEL ABROAD!
You don’t need to be.
I’ll tell you something for nothing.
We Europeans are as stoic as we come.
Europe is thousands of years old and has been through battles many, many times.
We’re not strangers to attacks.
You’ve only got to look through the last century to see that.
Britain has been blighted by the IRA in Ireland for years, and tourists still love to come to the UK.
Spain has had train explosions from people fighting for the separation of the Basque Region from the country, and tourists still love to visit Spain.
Heck! World War II was started by a madman from Austria, who terrorised the whole continent by his fantasy of German supremacy. Not to talk of the Berlin Wall that was to divide a nation for 38 years, and tourists still love to come to Germany too!
The point I’m trying to make is:
DON’T LET FEAR TAKE CONTROL
Walk outside your front door.
Drive your car.
Get on that train.
Take a flight.
Sail on a ship.
Take a step at a time.
Don’t let fear take control!
IS IT SAFE TO TRAVEL TO EUROPE ‘COS I’M SCARED TO TRAVEL ABROAD?
Sure it is!
Millions of international tourists and travellers visit and travel through Europe every year, and most visits are completely and utterly trouble-free.
However, if you have any concerns, or need help, or information, I recommend the following:
- As much as possible, stay away from large crowds and high-profile events.
- Don’t leave bags or baggages unattended. Take care of your belongings and passports at all airports and train stations.
- Remain vigilant but don’t go crazy and finger-point at random innocent people, going about their business.
- Follow the instructions of the local authorities.
- Monitor media and local information sources.
- Allow extra time for your journey due to increased security measures at airports, important train stations and international borders.
- If you’re British, contact GOV.UK for foreign travel advice to any country!
- If you’re German, contact the Außenministerium der Bundesrepublik Deutschland – Andere Länder.
- If you’re American, contact the Embassy of the United States in whichever country you’re in.
- Take out travel and medical insurance BEFORE you travel.
Don’t panic remember:
Crime rates in many countries are low.
Standards of living are high.
Education is free, therefore literacy is high.
Many Europeans speak at least three languages.
There is social security, therefore the social gap is lower than outside the European continent.
Health and health insurance is taken seriously and in many cases, is the law.
Social infrastructure works wonderfully and is available to all.
Tolerance is extremely high.
Fairness and truth are important.
Ordinary people don’t carry weapons of any kind. There isn’t a need to!
They say that most accidents and deaths occur near to, or in the home. Statistically, you’re safer outside your home!
And if you’re still not sure take a peep.
Victoria’s Summer European Challenge Campaign!
Yes, that time is soon nigh.
Get ready for…..
Victoria’s Summer European Challenge Campaign!
European Challenge what?!
Oh. Cooooome. On!
Every weekend, I’m going to be visiting a different European city.
For six (6) weeks!
So, since I’m a happily married woman, a responsible mother, and it’s going to be the summer holidays (being smart here), I’m going to be taking the “Tall Young Gentleman” with me!
We’re going to be travelling completely by train!
WHERE ARE WE GOING?
Copenhagen is the capital of Denmark and has a population of just under 600,000 people!
Copenhagen is situated on the eastern coast of the island of Zealand, partly located on Amager, and is separated from a town called Malmö which is actually in Sweden, by the strait of Øresund!
Originally a Viking fishing village founded in the 10th century, the name of the city reflects its origin as a harbour and a place of commerce. The original Danish name was Køpmannæhafn, meaning “merchants’ harbour,” or often simply Hafn or Havn meaning “harbour” and so in the early 15th century, Copenhagen became the capital of Denmark.
Since the turn of the 21st century, Copenhagen has seen strong urban and cultural development facilitated by investment, in its institutions and infrastructure. It is one of the major financial centres of Northern Europe and has become integrated with the Swedish province of Scania and its largest city, Malmö, forming the Øresund Region!
I’ve been to Denmark many times, but it’s been twelve (12) years, since I was last there, and we’re going to be staying at a hotel hostel-style, ‘cos Danish prices are out of this world!
Lucerne is a city in the German-speaking part of central Switzerland and is the capital of the Canton of Lucerne, and the capital of the district of the same name!
With a population of about 80,501 people, Lucerne is the most populous city in Central Switzerland.
Owing to its location on the shore of Lake Lucerne (der Vierwaldstättersee), within sight of Mount Pilatus and Rigi in the Swiss Alps, Lucerne has long been a destination for tourists.
The official language of Lucerne is Swiss German, which is very different from German-German and very sing-songy…!
I live in Germany and Switzerland is practically next door but…
Shock & Horror!
I’ve never actually been!
Mainly ‘cos it’s frightfully expensive!!
This time I’m going to cough up, and just go for it. And with a demanding growing lad too.
Its capital Luxembourg City, together with Brussels and Strasbourg, is one of the three official capitals of the European Union, and the seat of the European Court of Justice, which is the highest judicial seat in the EU!
The culture, people, and languages of Luxembourg’s are highly intertwined with its neighbors, making it essentially a mixture of German and French!
With an area of just 2,586 square kilometres or 998 square miles, it is one of the smallest sovereign states in Europe, and about the same size as the state of Rhode Island in the US, or the county of Northamptonshire in England!
Luxembourg has a population of just 524,853 and is one of the least-populous countries in Europe!
It is a democracy with a constitutional monarch, headed by the Grand Duke of Luxembourg, and is the only remaining grand duchy in the world! Not only that, but Luxembourg is considered to have the world’s highest GDP per capita!
Luxembourg will be a new country for me, and I’ve heard lovely things about it.
To put the cherry on the cake, we’re also going to be guests of Visit Luxembourg.
I’m pretty excited to visit, aren’t you?!
Bratislava is the capital of Slovakia, and with a population of about 450,000 is Slovakia’s largest city!
Bratislava occupies both banks of the River Danube and the left bank of the River Morava, which borders on Austria and Hungary making Bratislava, the only national capital in the world, that borders two independent countries!
In fact, Bratislava is so small, that most people end up taking a day-trip to Vienna (Austria) that is just one (1) hour away by train!
I’ve always been impressed by the history of Slovakia as after the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in post World War I, the Slovaks and Czechs established Czechoslovakia!
On 1st January 1993, Slovakia became an independent state after the peaceful dissolution of Czechoslovakia. A very prime example of how two nations, even after separation, still live together and or are, connected to each other, without hate and strive!
In those days, there was hardly any difference at all, so I’m going to have to find out if it’s still true!
Bremen is a Hanseatic city in northwestern Germany, otherwise known as the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen!
Bremen is a commercial – industrial city, with a major port on the River Weser.
It’s part of the Bremen/Oldenburg Metropolitan Region and is with 2.4 million people, the second most populous city in Northern Germany!
Bremen is a major cultural hub and home to historical galleries and museums, ranging from historical sculptures to major art museums.
I’ve been to Bremen a few times, but I remember the very first time that I visited. Over twenty (20) years ago…!
I couldn’t believe that the animal statues that were dotted all over the city, were the animals in the old Grimm folk story – The Musicians of Bremen!
You can imagine how I felt when I found out that Hamelin from the The Pied Piper of Hamelin fame, actually existed and is based on a real true life event….!
About 80% of the island belongs to the German district of Vorpommern-Greifswald in the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.
The other side and the largest city on the island, are part of the Polish West Pomeranian Voivodeship!
The island’s total area is 445 square kilometres (172 square miles). The German part is 373 square kilometres or 144 square miles, and the Polish part is 72 square kilometres or 28 square miles.
With a population of just 76,500 people – 31,500 on the German side and 45,000 on the Polish side, Usedom is the sunniest region of both Germany and Poland, and it is also the sunniest island in the Baltic Sea Region!
I’ve never been to Usedom before, so I just can’t wait to experience 42 kms of beach, which is even said to rival that of Brighton!
I am excited to be able to see the magnificent historic bath architecture villas on the German promenade, the echo of nobility and the wealthy bourgeoisie, artists and intellectuals of the 19th century, as well as lakes, marshes, dunes and woods, all blended into tiny countryside villages within a Natural Park!
Yes! Yes! Yes!
I live in Berlin.
And Germany is right in the center of Europe.
It has airports, train stations, bus stations, bicycle stations, cars, ships, ferries, and every possible means of transport.
I travel a lot for leisure and pleasure so we’re going to be travelling by one of my favourite forms of transport.
We’re going to be travelling by train!
See you next week!
This article is not sponsored, and all opinions about taking control of travel nightmares, are my very own!
July is Pride Week!
From 02.07.16 – 24.07.16, the LGTB (community), well-wishers and gay-friendly supporters will gather in Berlin to celebrate and advocate a tolerant and open-minded society.
Throughout the summer months of July & August, all the museums in Berlin will be open each and every day! This will conclude with the bi-annual Die Lange Nacht der Museen otherwise known as the Long Night of Museums taking place on 27.8.16 from 6p.m. in the evening ’till 2a.m in the morning!
The Pop Kultur Festival is a new festival based in hipster Neukölln, over three (3) exciting days of new international and German bands, live concerts, performances, talks and reading, taking place from 31.08.16 – 02.09.16.
Berlin Art Week will take place from 13.09.16 – 18.09.16 so if you like contemporary art, this is the place for it!
Save the Date!
July is going to be hot!
I’ll be there. Will you?
If you’re not in Berlin in July, you’re missing all the action!
Watch this space!
Is it safe to travel to Europe right now? Are you scared to travel abroad? Will you let terrorism take control? Have your say?
See you in Berlin.