How to visit the Balkans: Introducing Croatia – the dream of Game of Thrones!

How to visit the Balkans: Introducing Croatia – the dream of Game of Thrones!

We’ve just returned from Croatia.

And OMG!

Even though I’ve travelled to 61 other countries!

Croatia is the first time that I’ve ever been to the Balkan States, my 62nd country, and the first (1st) new country for 2017!

It was better than I ever hoped.

Me in Dubrovnik – Croatia!

My plans for 2017 (in alphabetical order) were:

  1. Austria
  2. Croatia
  3. Czech Republic
  4. England
  5. France
  6. Germany (of course. Ho! Ho!)
  7. Holland
  8. Ireland for TBEX (the Travel Bloggers Exchange Conference)
  9. Poland
  10. Romania
  11. Russia
  12. Slovenia
  13. Sweden

Let’s see how we’ve done so far.

Mozart & Vienna are adorable!

AUSTRIA:

CZECH REPUBLIC:

I went skiing!

I haven’t quite got around to writing about skiing in the Czech Republic this year yet, but this is what I previously wrote!

HOLLAND:

Dutch children in traditional costume.

CROATIA:

  • Yay!
Because Game of Thrones!
Because Game of Thrones!

Now, to be frank, most people have never heard of Croatia.

Game of Thrones?

Yep!

I love that show by the way…!

But Croatia?

Isn’t it somewhere in Eastern Europe?

Yes.

And No!

It can’t be both surely?

The Music Producer in Split. Geographically, Croatia is one of the previous communist states!

Well, geographically, it’s one of the previous communist states.

Don’t worry.

Breath!

However, in recent years, Croatia has managed to re-invent itself, so that even though it is actually in Eastern Europe, it’s marketed as Central Europe too!

Croatia has such a Mediterranean vibe, that you could be in Italy or Austria!

In truth, it has the vibe of the Mediterranean, and you’d be hard pressed not to think that in certain parts of Croatia, you could actually be in Italy, or dare I say it. Austria!

I know!

Book your hotel here!

LET’S GET A LITTLE BIT OF HISTORY!

Ceremonial Officers in Zagreb – Croatia

Croatia, otherwise known locally as Hrvatska, or officially – the Republic of Croatia – is a sovereign state between Central Europe, Southeast Europe, and the Mediterranean!

Croatia covers 56,594 square kilometres (21,851 square miles) and is on the Adriatic Sea coast, which contains more than a thousand islands!

Croatia’s population is just 4.28 million, and the capital city is Zagreb.

A traditional Busker in Zagreb – Croatia!

The Croats arrived in the area of present-day Croatia way back in the early part of the 7th century, before becoming two Duchies in the 9th century.

Croatia became a kingdom in 925 and remained so, for almost 200 years!

After World War I in 1918, Croatia was included in the unrecognized State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs which seceded from Austria-Hungary, and merged into the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. In 1991, Croatia declared it’s independence which sadly, between 1991-1995, became a bloody war with Serbia, then known as part of the ex – Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia!

However, Croatia won it’s independence and since 2013, has also been a fully fledged member of the European Union!

WHY GO TO CROATIA?

How to visit the Balkans: Introducing Croatia – the dream of Game of Thrones!

Why not?!

Well, Croatia is in Europe!

It’s on the map where East meets West.

It’s entwined with civilizations, history and culture, that goes back centuries!

It boasts numerous architectural jewels and a world heritage that make parts of Croatia enviable. And UNESCO locations filled with buildings, marked by world history of thousands of years, that made me practically salivate when I saw them!

It’s modern, but also traditional with folk customs, rural traditions that are still adhered to.

In fact, we were all given traditional Easter eggs and Easter cake, handed out as gifts. And I can’t even tell you how many random people (many of them old), waved and smiled at me, on passing by!

The Tall Young Gentleman at the sea in Split – Croatia!

Croatia is near the sea.

It’s pretty cheap by West European standards.

Fairly developed in services and infrastructure.

And I’ve never been to the Balkans before!

Because Game of Thrones!

Because Game of Thrones!
Because Game of Thrones!

Now when I pitched Croatia to my husband – The Music Producer – he wasn’t initially convinced.

He thought that Croatia would be too far into Eastern Europe, leading into the throngs of Albania, Romania, and Bulgaria.

He wasn’t excited at all!

The Tall Young Gentleman & The Music Producer were pretty excited once they got to Zagreb – Croatia!

However, one of the things that changed his mind, was the personal contact that I made with the Zagreb Tourist Board at the ITB travel trade fair in Berlin!

I was so excited to be visiting their country, and they were wonderfully helpful.

Thanks so much!

Is it any wonder that The Music Producer was caught up with my enthusiasm too!

I have a lot of things to write about, and you’ll see them all.

I promise!

No worries!

TAKE ME THERE?

Take me to Croatia by ship!

As you all pretty much know by now, I’m a great believer in train travel. However, Croatia is quite far from Germany, so we flew!

We had planned just ten (10) days in Croatia – three (3) days in Zagreb, three (3) days in Split, and four (4) days in Dubrovnik.

We wanted to spend at least 14 days (yes, please!) but school commitments meant that the German Easter School Holidays this year, only catered for ten (10) days! But as I always advocate, be smart, use all the weekends, and make it work!

It’s not possible to fly non-stop from Berlin, so we flew with Lufthansa, via Munich on the way in, and Austrian Airlines, via Vienna, on the return leg.

Our outward journey from Berlin Tegel (TXL) to Zagreb (ZAG) with a stop-over, took 6 hours and 20 minutes. Our return journey from Dubrovnik with a stop-over, took just 4 hours.

However, you don’t even need to fly, as you can either take a cruise ship in from the Mediterranean States, a ferry from Italy, take a bus-coach from anywhere you like, or simply rent a car and drive from Austria or Slovenia!

Note: There aren’t a lot of inter-city trains. In fact, there’s no train station in Dubrovnik at all!

There actually aren’t a lot of trains in Croatia at all!

If you’re on a tight budget then many bus-coach companies such as MeinFernbus FlixBus also go to Croatia. But do be aware that the fastest routes are usually only sold in Croatia itself.

We decided to use the coach-bus between Zagreb – Split and Split-Dubrovnik.

Zagreb – Split was a straight-forward ride, and took 6 hours and 20 mins. Cost: €24.00 per person.

Split – Dubrovnik proved problematic, as the coach-bus actually went backwards in the direction of Zagreb, then dropped us in the backwater town of Benkovac, at the Benkovac Busbahnhof!

I didn’t like Benkovac in Croatia, at all!

Benkovac was yucky!

As soon as I saw the “bus station,” I wanted to get the hell out of there!

It was practically deserted and every “room” was boarded up.

We had a 1 hour stop-over at 10:30, and the next decent place was a bar. So we ran to it and ordered a few (non-alcoholic) drinks there!

It’s 10:30 in the morning remember.

An early morning shot of vodka in many East European countries, is believed to be quite healthy!

Not that it stopped any of the local punters. Ho! Ho!….!

Our journey took 8 hours and 30 minutes, but the bus was 45 minutes late, so make that 9 hours and 15 minutes instead!

We probably should have rented a car, and be done with it!

Cost: Split – Benkovac €12.00. Benkovac – Metkovic €7.35. Benkovac – Dubrovnik €5.65 per person.

IS IT GOING TO BE CROWDED?

Croatia isn’t crowded in the Spring – Locals in Zagreb – Croatia!

Not in the Spring it isn’t!

In fact, there were very few tourists around as it wasn’t yet “the season,” and many a restaurant were luring customers in with 10% discounts.

But in the summer, prepare to gird your loins, and fight your way through!

Plan well.

Book your hotel here!

Zagreb is the capital of Croatia, and it’s very small!

Zagreb is the capital city in Croatia, and it’s very small!

Split and Dubrovnik are even smaller, and receive up to 3,000 guests per cruise ship, in the summer!

I haven’t a clue how many cruise ships sail by, but it won’t be pretty.

Having said that, if that’s the only time that you can travel, don’t let anything get in your way, as most cruise visitors are only in town for half a day, so that evenings will all be yours!

Book your hotel here!

WHAT IS CROATIA LIKE?

Croatian food is most delicious!

We were only there for 10 days, but Croatia definitely made an impression on me.

It’s of historical and architectural interest, the food and wine is impressive, the waters are clean, green-blue, and crystal clear.

And it’s very, very pretty!

I DON’T SPEAK CROATIAN.

Our guide speaks at least four (4) languages. Possibly, even more!

Not. A. Problem.

It’s amazing how many languages a typical European speaks.

Most speak a minimum of three (3)!

If you speak English, German, Italian or Korean, you’re good to go.

Besides, everyone pretty much speaks English too!

AM I GOING TO LIVE IN A HUT?

A stone house in Croatia!

Ha! Ha! Not unless you want to!

I’M ON A BUDGET. WHAT SHOULD I DO?

This plate of Cevapcici was certainly pretty cheap. Ho! Ho!

Croatia isn’t cheap-cheap.

If you’re from the UK or the US, it’s as cheap as chips.

If you’re from Germany, prices are the same as in Berlin, and you can eat at gourmet restaurants, at far cheaper prices!

We pretty much spent a large amount of time drinking a few glasses of wine, whilst people watching. And a few more!

And on this trip, we decided to book apartments instead of hotels or hostels.

Book your apartment here!

Booking an apartment in Croatia is by far better, than booking a hotel!

We had great difficulty with personal space in Madrid last year, as The Tall Young Gentleman has recently turned 15 (OMG!), and is very tall. We decided to either book two (2) hotel rooms, or a large apartment instead.

Prices are low, and the quality and standards of apartments available, are exceedingly high. I’ll write more about it in the next few weeks!

Frankly, if you’re paying between €45.00 – €60.00 per night, for huge apartments with terraces, working kitchens, and a piano, you simply can’t go wrong!

Book ahead to get good prices.

Book your apartment or hotel here!

I’M LOOKING FOR SOMETHING A BIT DIFFERENT. ANY IDEAS?

The Adventure Begins – More next week!

Absolutely!

Too many to write at the moment.

More next week!

WHAT ABOUT TRANSPORT POSSIBILITIES?

A vintage car, ‘cos modern cars aren’t allowed in the Old Towns, in Croatia!

All of Croatia is pretty small, so every city we visited was quite walkable.

In most cases, cars are not allowed into the Old Towns!

However, you could take the bus, the tram, or simply walk!

ANYTHING ELSE?

A Bosnian waitress - Don't forget if you're travelling to Dubrovnik, you'll have to go through Bosnia!<br /> ©Photo Adam Jones - adamjones.freeservers
A Bosnian waitress – Don’t forget if you’re travelling to Dubrovnik, you’ll have to go through Bosnia!
©Photo Adam Jones – adamjones.freeservers

If you’re travelling to Dubrovnik, note that there’s a tiny strip of road that’s actually in Bosnia! It only takes about five (5) minutes, but make sure that you have your passport with you.

The motto in Croatia is to relaaaaaax & not rush things.

I think we did that rather well!

MY VERDICT:

You know nothing Jon Snow except that Croatia is pretty brilliant!
You know nothing Jon Snow except that Croatia is pretty brilliant!

We all loved it!

Croatia has got art and culture, and has a vibrant history.

Because, Game of Thrones!

Just kidding!

Or am I?!

You know nothing Jon Snow…..!!!!

But seriously.

For many international visitors, Croatia isn’t a destination that immediately comes to mind, but if you’re in the Balkan area, make it a point of duty to spend a few weeks days, in as many cities as you can manage.

If you’re looking for a new destination that isn’t really on the beaten path, say hello – CROATIA!

WOULD I COME AGAIN?

How to visit the Balkans: Introducing Croatia – the dream of Game of Thrones!

Totally!

Croatia is a sunny dream, and I can’t wait to visit again.

Let’s do it!

How to visit the Balkans: Introducing Croatia – the dream of Game of Thrones!

HOW TO VISIT THE BALKANS: INTRODUCING CROATIA – THE DREAM OF GAME OF THRONES!

How to visit the Balkans: Introducing Croatia – the dream of Game of Thrones!

This article is not sponsored, and all opinions and the delightful cobbled walks that we happily rambled through, are my very own!

In April & May, I’ll be writing more about Croatia, and visiting  Sweden & Finland!

I’ll be there. Will you?

If you’re not in Berlin in April, you’re quite mad!

April is going to be superb!

How to visit the Balkans: Introducing Croatia – the dream of Game of Thrones!
How to visit the Balkans: Introducing Croatia – the dream of Game of Thrones!

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!

How to visit the Balkans: Introducing Croatia – the dream of Game of Thrones!

Have you ever been to Croatia? Are you a fan of Game of Thrones? 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!

Advertisements

‘Just because I don’t drink coffee. ‘Doesn’t mean I can’t have coffee culture with hot chocolate, in Vienna!

‘Just because I don’t drink coffee. ‘Doesn’t mean I can’t have coffee culture with hot chocolate, in Vienna!

As you know, a few weeks ago, I went to Austria.

And of course, I didn’t just go to Austria, but I decided to visit Vienna!

Visiting Vienna is exciting!

Having a hotdog and beer, on a rainy day in Vienna, is more exciting than you think!

If you’re just joining, and obviously, you’re not, ‘cos you would be following my blog so that you can get weekly updates of what The British Berliner is up to, wouldn’t you?

Wouldn’t you!

However, let’s not quibble, just look to the side of the page and you’ll see a few ways which you can follow this wonderful blog. You can either click on You are following this blog or if you’re a WordPress nerd, just clink on the WordPress symbol followed by Following the British Berliner.

At the Vienna Opera Ball.
@ WienTourismus / Peter Rigaud/Couture Vivienne Westwood

Meanwhile, here’s what you missed:

Phew!

Make sure that you get travel insurance before you actually travel!

Now, to be frank, I hate being out of the loop, and I generally prefer to be in the centre of things, and that usually includes staying in the Old Town, or the trendier part of town!

And Vienna didn’t disappoint.

We stayed at a brilliant place called the 25hours Hotel Vienna at MuseumsQuartier, which I found with the help of the Vienna Tourist Board.

We stayed at a brilliant place in Vienna – the 25hours Hotel Vienna at MuseumsQuartier.
Photograph ©Frank Böster

Thanks so much everyone!

Book your hotel here!

Vienna is an imperial beauty. You’re welcome!

I’ve already written about the history of Vienna, but it really does bear to be repeated.

Vienna is an imperial beauty!

It’s the capital of Austria and the cultural. economic, and political centre of Austria.

With a population of just 1.8 million, Vienna is the second (2nd) largest German-speaking city in the world, after Berlin!

Vienna is located in the eastern part of Austria and is close to the borders of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary. In fact, Prague, Bratislava, and Budapest, are but a few cheap hours away!

TAKE ME THERE?

Myself looking glum at the airport. Leaving Vienna!
Photograph ©Frank Böster

As you know, I’m a great believer in train travel, but Vienna is rather far from Berlin, so we flew!

Our non-stop journey from Berlin Schoenefeld (SXF) to Vienna (VIE) took just 1 hour and 25 minutes via EasyJet, but of course, you can easily fly into Vienna International Airport, otherwise known as the Flughafen Wien, a destination flown by many major airlines, from many parts of the world!

If you’re flying from Europe, it usually takes between 1 to 2 hours, and is pretty much an easy ride!

IS IT GOING TO BE CROWDED?

I didn’t find it crowded in Vienna. And neither did they!

It depends!

I didn’t find it to be necessarily so, as we went in March.

It’s been some time since I had last been to Vienna, so we booked a walking tour. But the tour guide didn’t show up!

We were all sort of hanging around, and (ahem), I’m quite bossy and so at one point, everyone thought that I was the tour guide.

If only!

Mind you, if we were in Berlin and that happened, I would happily take the tourists with me, and do the tour myself!

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

However, Vienna is a place that everyone would like to go to at least once, as it’s rather nice and serene!

Who wouldn’t want to visit?

‘Best to book early!

WHAT IS VIENNA LIKE?

Mozart & Vienna are adorable!

It’s adorable!

I’ve been there a few times over the years!

Having said that, the last time that I was in Vienna, “The Tall Young Gentleman” had just been born twelve (12) months prior!

My mother-in-law had decided to give me a weekend break, so I was in Vienna and literally, still breast-feeding!!!

A Viennese speciality of a glass of beer mixed with fanta orange, was not a very good idea!

I had tried a Viennese speciality of a glass of beer mixed with fanta orange. A sort of shandy.

It was a mistake.

We went to the Prater.

The Prater is one of Vienna’s most popular amusement park, and it’s star is the Giant Ferris Wheel!

The Prater is one of Vienna’s most popular leisure areas with a world-famous amusement park opened in 1766!

One of the highlights of the Prater is the Giant Ferris Wheel – a masterpiece of 19th century technology – and one of the largest wheels in the world!

Did we go on the Giant Ferris Wheel back in 2003?

Nope!

We went on the wheel called the Blumenrad, otherwise known as the Flower Wheel!
Photograph ©Frank Böster

We went on the wheel called the Blumenrad, otherwise known as the Flower Wheel!

The seats are shaped like huge teacups which were twirled around.

And around.

And around.

I turned a ghastly shade of green!

I turned a ghastly shade of green.

Let’s just say that it took a huge amount of effort for me to keep things together.

We got off the Blumenrad, and I vomited the wheat beer and fanta orange concoction.

Everywhere!

We went on the Blumenrad / Flower Wheel, but we really should have gone on the Giant Ferris Wheel instead!
Photograph ©Frank Böster

I’ve never had a mixed beer since!

I DON’T SPEAK AUSTRIAN GERMAN or GERMAN AT ALL.

Singing will do just as well!
©WienTourismus Lukas Beck: Vienna Boys’ Choir

Not. A. Problem.

Lots of people speak English. Or High German, otherwise known as Hochdeutsche!

AM I GOING TO LIVE IN A HUT?

Living in a hut, is not at all the done thing. In Vienna!

Ha! Ha! Not unless you want to!

I’M ON A BUDGET. WHAT SHOULD I DO?

If you’re on a budget in Vienna. Let them eat cake!

I’ll be honest with you. Vienna isn’t known as a cheap destination.

Quite the opposite in fact!

I can’t give you any details but for the more budget conscious traveller, there are plenty of hostels and other moderately priced accommodation to be had. Book ahead to get good prices.

Book your hotel here!

I’M LOOKING FOR SOMETHING A BIT DIFFERENT. ANY IDEAS?

I got into contact with a quirky boutique hotel group called 25 Hours Hotels!

Certainly!

You know how much I like boutique  or art design hotels.

Well, on doing some research, I got into contact with a quirky boutique hotel group called 25hours Hotels.

The 25hours Hotels is a young hotel concept which seeks contemporary answers to the requirements of an urban, cosmopolitan clientele, boasting an unconventional mix of contemporary services, coupled with dynamism, surprise and a touch of adventure!

The 25hours brand is currently focused on Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

We went to the 25hours Hotel Vienna at MuseumsQuartier.

The 25hours Hotel Vienna at MuseumsQuartier, is an art design circus-themed boutique hotel!

Just like the hotel in Amsterdam Zaandam, the 25hours Hotels’ quirkiness is plain to see.

Practically every single room had some sort of association with the circus!

And with one of the hotel motto’s being – We Are All Mad Here – is it any wonder that it was pretty much my type of place!

And surely, there wouldn’t be any looking at the ceiling in boredom, here!

We Are All Mad Here!
The 25hours Hotel Vienna at MuseumsQuartier.
©Stephan Lemke for 25hours Hotels

As we were in Vienna to celebrate my husband – The Music Producers’ – birthday, we were upgraded to one of the xl rooms, with a colourful circus theme on the wall!

The room was huge!

It also had a flat screen TV, a free-standing closet place to hang up clothes with long shelves, an imac workstation writing table, a cool vintage sound system bluetooth speaker, an iPod docking station, some leather pouffles, a private terrace with a wooden garden table and chairs, and lots of plug outlets.

My husband was very pleased!

We were upgraded to one of the xl rooms, with a colourful circus theme on the wall!

There was a small fridge, and an extra toilet, so that I could do my make up in peace. Yay!

The bathroom was a sort of internal interior space with a huge sink, a really nice rainshower compartment that had a glass panel, which also had a curtain that could be drawn.

If you so wished!

I very much liked the orange and lemon infused sustainable organic bath gels, shampoo, conditioner and body moisturiser, which all had hilarious save-the-environment instructions on the bottles! And at the end of a long day were awfully welcoming, as well as plenty of fluffy towels, and free hi-speed WiFi!

I did miss my fluffy dressing gowns and fluffy slippers though!

‘Notice the save-the-environment inscription on the bottle at the 25hours Hotel Vienna at MuseumsQuartier!
©Stephan Lemke for 25hours Hotels

The 25hours Hotel Vienna at MuseumsQuartier also had a “mermaid’s cave” which consisted of a sauna, a spa centre, and fitness equipment, free of charge to guests.

You could also have access to a free mini car and bike rental, as well as free bottled water and towels, if you wanted to go jogging!

The view on the rooftop bar of the 25hours Hotel Vienna at MuseumsQuartier, is pretty amazing!
©Stephan Lemke for 25hours Hotels

The lobby was very nice with comfy leather sofas, crisp daily newspapers and glossy magazines. There was also a hotel food truck in the garden.

Being that the hotel is actually located in the Museum Quartier part of the city, the view on the rooftop bar, was pretty amazing!

Breakfast in Vienna was quite marvellous!

For breakfast, we had marvellous cold cuts, bacon, sausages, eggs, and baked beans, a variety of sea-food, vegetables, sauces, and cream. As well as a wide stock of cereal, fruit, cake, pastries, pots of tea, coffee local champagne, and juices.

They also had a wonderful array of crunchy Germanic and French home-made bread, and a variety of jams and pickles! Yum!

It was very nice indeed!

The Music Producer helping himself to morning refreshment, at the 25hours Hotel Vienna at MuseumsQuartier.

The 25hours Hotel at MuseumsQuartier (depending on the room), can be booked from €97.00 per night, which for two (2) people would be €48.50 a pop, and an absolute Vienna bargain!

The buffet breakfast is €21.00 per person. Children up to 6 years old are free of charge. Children from 7 to 11 years old get a 50% discount. Guests can also buy a Grab & Go breakfast from the lobby for €7.00 per person.

Book your hotel here!

WHAT ABOUT TRANSPORT POSSIBILITIES?

Take the tram in Vienna!

Transport in Vienna is excellent.

The trams and horses are romantic, and the trains are easy to use, and very efficient.

You can also walk around quite easily, as Vienna is pretty small!

Once again, don’t forget to buy a public transport Vienna card. However, for ease of transport and discounts to attractions, museums, and restaurants, we used the Vienna City Card for 72 hours. Tickets can be bought everywhere that tourists go to, tourist information  points, and on-line!

However, just like in Berlin, and in many European cities, there are no barriers, and we all want to keep it that way, so please buy your ticket!

ANYTHING ELSE?

Apple strudel is a very important part of Viennese coffee culture!

Apple strudel is king!

MY VERDICT:

Vienna Tourist Board. Now. Forever.

I absolutely adore Vienna.

It’s classy.

It’s European.

It’s got art and culture and has a vibrant history.

And even though Vienna is considered to be expensive. It’s not as expensive as you think!

WOULD I COME AGAIN?

‘Just because I don’t drink coffee. ‘Doesn’t mean I can’t have coffee culture with hot chocolate, in Vienna!

You bet!

Vienna is charming.

I really can’t wait to visit again.

Let’s do it!

JUST BECAUSE I DON’T DRINK COFFEE. ‘DOESN’T MEAN I CAN’T HAVE COFFEE CULTURE WITH HOT CHOCOLATE, IN VIENNA!

‘Just because I don’t drink coffee. ‘Doesn’t mean I can’t have coffee culture with hot chocolate, in Vienna!

This article is part – sponsored by the Vienna Tourist Board and I received a press discount from the 25 Hours Hotels but all opinions and the wonderful hot chocolate and delightful Austrian food I happily consumed, are my very own! Thanks so much!

It’s almost Easter!

In April & May, I’ll be visiting Croatia, Sweden & Finland!

I’ll be there. Will you?

If you’re not in Berlin in April, you won’t get any Easter eggs!

'Just because I don't drink coffee. 'Doesn't mean I can't have coffee culture with hot chocolate, in Vienna!
‘Just because I don’t drink coffee. ‘Doesn’t mean I can’t have coffee culture with hot chocolate, in Vienna!

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!

A win-win for all!

Thanks a million!

‘Just because I don’t drink coffee. ‘Doesn’t mean I can’t have coffee culture with hot chocolate, in Vienna!

Are you a coffee drinker? Or are you like me, a person who can’t bear the sight of it! Spill the beans!

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!

Article 50 & Brexit in the UK. Everything you need to know!

Article 50 & Brexit in the UK. Everything you need to know!
©AFP / Getty Images

I didn’t want to write about this.

I wanted to write a bit more about our splendid trip to Austria.

Then Article 50 came up, and I simply couldn’t let it go without writing a few things about it.

On the 29th March, 2017, Britain said goodbye to the European Union (EU).

It was not a happy day.

For months, I’ve been involved in debating, talking, TV, radio and newspaper interviews on why my home-country is leaving the EU. In fact, just a week before Article 50, I received an offer to go on German TV to discuss my hopes and fears for Brexit!

See for yourself: Bye-bye Love: Reactions to Brexit and auf Deutsche – Bye-bye Love: Reaktionen zum Brexit.

Article 50 & Brexit in the UK. Everything you need to know!
@ JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images)

It’s not looking pretty.

All over Europe, British expats are rushing to start the process of double-nationality, or permanent residency.

In the UK, European expats are doing the same.

Luckily for me, I’ve been living in Germany for yonks, I’m married, I’m settled, I have a corporate job, and I speak German. And quite frankly, in these uncertain times, it doesn’t hurt to have double nationality….!

However, just to re-assure you, the British Ambassador for Germany – Ambassador Sir Sebastian Wood – on the status of UK citizens in Germany,  categorically said that “there has been no change to the rights and status of EU nationals in the UK, and UK nationals in the EU.” You can see his video speech here.

Brexit. Please don't go! ©Der Spiegel - Getty Images.
Brexit. Please don’t go! ©Der Spiegel – Getty Images.

After sixty (60) years of friendship, Brexit is the worse disaster that has happened to the EU since the beginning of World War 2!

Last June, my fellow British compatriots voted in a referendum on whether the UK should leave or stay in the EU.

The people voted to leave.

You know my opinion about this, but here’s a reminder:

Brexit: So Britain is out of the European Union.
Now what?
We're not leaving!
We’re not leaving!

It was quite upsetting and begins two years of wrangling, arguing, disputation, and down-right nastiness.

Brexit was triggered by a process known as Article 50.

WHAT IS ARTICLE 50 ALL ABOUT?

Theresa May’s Brexit letter in Brussels.
©Yves Herman / Reuters

Well, Article 50 of the Treaty of Lisbon gives any EU member the right to quit unilaterally, and outlines the procedure for doing so.

It gives the leaving country two years to negotiate an exit deal and once it’s set in motion, it can’t be stopped except by the unanimous consent of all member states.

Once in the EU, there has never be a way, or a need, to legally leave the EU before the Treaty of Lisbon was signed in 2007.

WHEN DID THE UK JOIN THE EU?
The UK joined the European Economic Community (the forerunner of the EU), on January 1st, 1973.

WHAT IS THE EUROPEAN UNION?

The European Union – otherwise known as the EU – is an economic and political partnership involving now, twenty-seven (27) European countries!

The European Union – otherwise known as the EU – is an economic and political partnership involving twenty-eight (28) European countries!

The idea of fostering economic co-operation, began with the Second World War notion that countries that trade together, are more likely to avoid going to war with one another!

Since then, the EU has grown to become a “single market” allowing goods and people to move around, as if the member states were one country. The EU has its own currency – the euro – which is used by nineteen (19) of the member countries, its own parliament, and it’s own laws, rules and regulations. With a GDP of more than $18,000 billion, and a population of more than 500m, the EU is the largest economy in the world!

HAS ANY MEMBER STATE EVER LEFT THE EU?
No nation-state has ever left the EU before. Except for Greenland – an overseas territory of Denmark!

THE UK HAS LEFT THE EU. WOULD IT BE ABLE TO REJOIN IN THE FUTURE?

No nation-state has ever previously left the EU.
Except for Greenland – an overseas territory of Denmark!

Yes!

The UK would have to start from scratch with no rebate, and enter in to accession talks with the EU. And every member state would have to agree to the UK re-joining! However, the issue of UK demands which Britain had before, would no longer be put into consideration.

WHAT IS THE LISBON TREATY?

The Lisbon Treaty (which became law in December 2009) is designed to make the EU “more democratic, more transparent and more efficient” and is an agreement signed by the heads of state and governments of countries that are EU members.

WHEN WAS ARTICLE  50 TRIGGERED?

Article 50 &Brexit in the UK. Everything you need to know!

Prime Minister Theresa May triggered Article 50 shortly before 12:30pm on March 29 2017, giving Britain a final official date of leaving the EU of no later than April 2019!

WHAT ARE THE REAL DETAILS OF ARTICLE 50?

The real details of Article 50…!

There are five elements to Article 50:

1. Any Member State may decide to withdraw from the Union in accordance with its own constitutional requirements.

2. A Member State which decides to withdraw shall notify the European Council of its intention. In the light of the guidelines provided by the European Council, the Union shall negotiate and conclude an agreement with that State, setting out the arrangements for its withdrawal, taking account of the framework for its future relationship with the Union. That agreement shall be negotiated in accordance with Article 218(3) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. It shall be concluded on behalf of the Union by the Council, acting by a qualified majority, after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament.

3. The Treaties shall cease to apply to the State in question from the date of entry into force of the withdrawal agreement or, failing that, two years after the notification referred to in paragraph 2, unless the European Council, in agreement with the Member State concerned, unanimously decides to extend this period.

4. For the purposes of paragraphs 2 and 3, the member of the European Council or of the Council representing the withdrawing Member State shall not participate in the discussions of the European Council or Council or in decisions concerning it. A qualified majority shall be defined in accordance with Article 238(3)(b) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

5. If a State which has withdrawn from the Union asks to rejoin, its request shall be subject to the procedure referred to in Article 49.

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

Article 50 means that for the next two (2) years, Britain must thrash out a deal for leaving the EU. It’s a process that’s likely to be lengthy, complicated, and painful for all, as any deal must be approved by a “qualified majority” of EU member states, and can be vetoed by the European Parliament.

WHAT IS BREXIT ALL ABOUT AGAIN?

Article 50 & Brexit in the UK. Everything you need to know!

Brexit is a shorthand way of referring to the British exit from the EU. It is a word that merges “Britain” and “Exit” thus creating “Brexit” similar to the term “Grexit,” which was used to refer to the possibility that Greece might leave the Eurozone.

WHAT IS A REFERENDUM?
A referendum is a vote in which anyone of voting age can take part, normally giving a “Yes” or “No” answer to a question. Whichever side gets more than half of all votes cast, is considered to have won.

Yes (leave), won!

WHY DID WE HAVE A BREXIT REFERENDUM IN THE FIRST PLACE?

I might not have liked the outcome, but a Brexit Referedum was promised!
©Reuters / David Moir

David Cameron – the then British Prime Minister – promised to make this happen if he won the 2015 general election.

He won!

This act was in a response to the “European question in British politics,” reduced influence in European rules and regulations, and agitated calls from members of his own political party – the Conservatives – and the UK Independence Party (UKIP), who argued that Britain had not had a real say about issues since 1975, when it voted to stay in the EU, in a referendum at the time!

HOW LONG WILL BREXIT TAKE?

The official process of Brexit is supposed to take two years, but experts believe that it could take longer. The timescale can be extended, but only by the unanimous consent of the European Council, which technically means that every member state would have to agree.

The terms of exit will be negotiated between Britain’s 27 other counterparts, and each will have a veto over the conditions. Triggering Article 50 starts the clock. After this, the Treaties that govern membership no longer apply to Britain.

IS BREXIT REALLY GOING TO BE AN ISSUE FOR THE UNITED KINGDOM?

Article 50 & Brexit in the UK. Everything you need to know!
©Jonathan McHugh

On paper, not at all.

In reality, it’s all very complicated.

The agreement of a new trade relationship, economic tariffs, and the issue of free movement is going to be a sore topic, and could take a process of up to five (5) years!

WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL ANYWAY?

The EU is like a family and like all families, you have disagreements, and quarrels.

Well the thing is, the EU is like a family and like all families, you have disagreements, and quarrels. What you don’t do is threaten to leave the family unit, and hope to live happily ever after. Or worse, have all your demands fulfilled.

The fact is, other family members, although they love each other, believe in tough love, and don’t want to encourage tantrums, otherwise, everyone else will be threatening to leave too!

In short, European leaders want the agreements and conditions to be effective and brutal, so that other member states are discouraged from following suit…!

WHAT’S THE NEXT STEP FOR THE UK?

The Govt & many of the British working classes want Hard Brexit, but hopefully, common sense will allow a softer Brexit instead!
©NurPhoto via Getty Images

Theresa May (the British Prime Minsiter) plans to transpose EU laws onto British statutes allowing the Government to analyse and reject whatever laws it sees fit.

To do this, the UK government would have to perform three acts simultaneously:

  • Negotiate a new deal with Brussels
  • Win a series of major bilateral trade deals around the world
  • Revise its own governance as EU law recedes

The Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union – David Davis – will be supervising the process.

ANY POSSIBLE FUTURE PROBLEMS AS A RESULT OF BREXIT?

The potential for the United Kingdom itself to Break Up is more possible than you can ever imagine, as Northern Ireland might decide to Re-Unite with the Republic!

Sadly, yes.

AND WHAT ABOUT THE EU ITSELF?

Article 50 & Brexit in the UK. Everything you need to know!
©Claudio Cadei – CartoonMovement

The focus is on driving a hard bargain on the rights of European citizens in Britain, and likewise, British citizens in Europe, making negotiations with the UK that we can all live with whilst at the same time, keeping the EU together, making demands that still open markets for trade on friendly terms, and unity on security and military co-operation to fight terrorism and crime, whether the nation-state is part of the EU or not.

WHY I THINK BRITAIN SHOULD HAVE STAYED IN THE EU?

The outcome of Brexit was crazy!
@Visit England – Rich J Jones

Britain is important. What we do or don’t do, matters.

Moreover, being a part of the EU gives Britain a boost in almost every way. We’re able to do business in the “single market,” we would be able to attract the best minds all over the world, who complement our economic prosperity, as well as our social future in the guise of helping to pay and provide for public services. To stay in the EU is to receive a big boost in reciprocal membership.

It’s simple really.

If we’re in the European Union, we have a say on what goes on within – economically, socially, and politically. We’ll be a secure part of one of the best clubs in the world – a 28-nation club – exclusively set up to protect and look out for each other.

At a time of extreme danger to our way of life, and an increase in terrorism, we  need the EU.

Now that we’ve opt to leave the Union, as an island nation. We’re out. Alone.

And really isolated from the rest of the Continent.

Now that Brexit & Article 50 has been triggered, as an island nation. We’re out. Alone.

Is anyone going to win?

Not really.

ARTICLE 50 & BREXIT IN THE UK. EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW!

Article 50 & Brexit in the UK. Everything you need to know!
©Kate Green/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

This article isn’t sponsored and all opinions connected to Brexit & Article 50, are my very own!

Next week, I’ll be writing my last article about Austria!

In April & May, I’ll be visiting Croatia, Sweden & Finland!

From 07.03.17 – 09.03.17, our friends – the British musical and comedy duo – Carrington Brown – will be performing Germany’s premiere of Carrington-Brown feat. The Swonderful Orchestra: Comedy meets Classics at Tipi!

I’ll be there. Will you?

If you’re not in Berlin in April. Well then?

Article 50 & Brexit in the UK. Everything you need to know!

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!

Article 50 & Brexit in the UK. Everything you need to know!
Article 50 & Brexit in the UK. Everything you need to know!

What do you think of Brexit & Article 50? Do you fear it,or do you agree with it? Share & let me know 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!