I’m going to the Baltic Region. You know, the “other” Eastern Europe!

At the ITB Berlin.
At the ITB Berlin.

So last week, I wrote a bit of a controversial post about what it is to be a blogger.

Any regrets?

Absolutely, none at all!

I like pushing buttons and gong to places unknown, which leads me to the next question?

What is this blog about? You know THIS blog. The blog called The British Berliner.

MY Blog.

Victoria looking quite model-like, in a Berlin summer, 2014.
Victoria looking quite model-like, in a Berlin summer, 2014.

Well, to put it in a nutshell. It’s about me.

There. I said it.

I write this because an experienced blogger recently asked me (rather nicely I might add) whether last weeks’ post was wavering away from what this blog is about.

That got me thinking?

So let’s go back a bit. What is this blog about? Well according to the About Me page. This blog was about being British in Berlin. And that is true but isn’t exactly accurate and since I started this blog in October 2013. Yay! This blog has developed a life of its own.

God Save the Queen in Cool Britannia!
God Save the Queen in Cool Britannia!

As a result, The British Berliner is now a lifestyle expat travel blog about culture, history, travels around the world, AND being British in Berlin.

It’s about what I do in normal every day life and where I go, and one of the things that contributed to that change was the ITB.

I learnt a lot about how to prepare to go to the biggest travel trade fair in the world, back in 2014. I mean, for goodness sake, I hadn’t even known what Twitter was back then. Thank goodness there was a workshop on it hosted by the European Vice-President, and let me tell you, I learnt pretty quickly so that by the end of the week, my Twitter account was up and running.

Yep! My Twitter account is only one (1) year old!

A WYSE Travel Confederation lecture at the ITB. If you look closely, you can see the back of my head and my red handbag on the side-corner!
A WYSE Travel Confederation lecture at the ITB.
If you look closely, you can see the back of my head and my red handbag on the side-corner!

I write this because before going to the ITB, I had never ever met a blogger in real life! Oh yes, I was fully engaged in the virtual world but I had never met anyone.

In 2014, I met loads of people so before I delve into my next travel adventure of 2015, I would just like to acknowledge and thank all the bloggers or social media professionals that I have actually met since the ITB in March 2014! Since there’s a long list of people, please forgive me if I leave you out.

Bloggers at the ITB in Berlin.
Bloggers at the ITB in Berlin.

I’ve met:

  • Maja Benke of Low Budget Travel. She was lovely and actually the first blogger that I had ever met! I met her at the pre-ITB Travel Massive party in 2014, and kept on bumping into her!
  • Anula Galewska is the Chapter Leader of Travel Massive Berlin. She’s a great girl and I was very interested in meeting her as she is also the marketing person for ExploRussia as I was, and am still, interested in going to Russia via the Trans Siberian train!
  • Adam Groffman of Travels of Adam is a very sweet American guy based in Berlin and apart from the fact that we constantly bump into each other all over town, every now and again we go for cocktails and gossip!

  • Kate McCulley of Adventurous Kate. I met Kate an hour after I returned from our trip to Poland. I knew that she was in Germany, and I had reached out to her that if she were ever in Berlin, to give me a buzz. She did! She’s a cool industrious girl. Even more petite than I am LOL! She was really nice and gave me some blogging tips and a blog leg up. She still does!
  • Kash Bhattacharya of the Budget Traveller. I met Kash the same time that I met Kate. He’s a fellow Brit and a tiny bear of a guy with hugs and jolly laughter for all, but behind the merry exterior is a man with hard-core ideas and a pair of high-flying shoulders! A great guy.
  • Ciki of CC Food Travel. I met Ciki from Malaysia in Berlin along with Kate and Kash. She’s a beautiful girl with a huge sense of humour, and delicious photographs of exquisite food. She’s a real pro. and we still send each other hilarious tweets. I can’t wait to visit her country anytime soon!
  • Mario Cacciottolo of Someone Once Told Me. Mario wasn’t a blogger in the strict sense of the world but a British photographer. He was embarking on a world tour of quotes from random people and asked if I would participate. I sure did! I also showed a bunch of international bloggers where anyone could participate in outdoor tango dancing on the Berlin river-side for absolute no money at all! Oh, and also having great beers whilst pretending to be on a beach. Good Times!
  • Kemkem of the Next Bite of Life. Kemkem is an American married to an Italian. We met as she reached out to me because she and her husband were thinking of perhaps emmigrating to Berlin from Malta. I offered to meet up and show her around and invited them to the Carnival of Cultures or Karneval der Kulturen. They opted to move to Spain instead, but we remain friends.
  • Dale & Franca of Anglo Italian Follow Us. They are an Anglo-Italian couple whom I met at a local bloggers meet-up one morning. They mainly write about slow vegan travel.

At ITB Berlin.

At the ITB a fortnight (two weeks) ago, I met:

  • Melvin Böcher, the founder of Travel Dudes. He’s a young German guy with a crazy hairdo. We met virtually when he asked whether I would like to join Travel Dudes and write something. I wrote about how to order a pint at an English pub. We met for the very first time at the ITB. I’m thinking of interviewing him!
  • D. J. Yabis of Dream Euro Trip is a flamboyant stylish guy from The Philippines, living in Cologne. He was a great laugh and so bitchy and funny. A great new friend to have LOL!
  • Raphael Alexander of A Journey of Wonders is a writer/photographer from Mexico. I met him at the Travel Massive party and it wasn’t that difficult to spot him LOL. He’s going places and I like his blogstyle!
  • Keith Jenkins of the Velvet Escape. Keith is a quiet unassuming man but a man with brains. He is the founder of iambassador and such projects as Blogville.
A yummy shrimp roll from #WeAreInPuglia!
A yummy shrimp roll from #WeAreInPuglia!
  • The lovely Stefania Albanese, of #WeAreInPuglia. She and her team were so kind and friendly and encouraged me to make Focaccia and not only that, but stuffed my bag with the bread dough, Italian bread sticks called Taralli, olive oil from Puglia, and a huge bottle of red Italian wine!
  • Christina Nagel-Gasch of Mrs Berry. When I was originally looking for information about the ITB last year, this was the only place that I found it. In German! This year, we found ourselves waiting for the same Dresden contact and as soon as I heard her name, I just wanted to hug her. Oh, and I also gate-crashed a bloggers event that she was hosting, but nobody seemed to mind LOL!
  • Carly Hulls of Austrian Adaptation. Carly is a fun-loving Australian expat who lives in the Sound of Music Hills of Austria. We met at the ITB and with jolly glasses of wine, we bonded rather well. I can’t wait to see her again somewhere LOL!
  • Natasha Semmence of Eat Shoot Travel – ESST. I met Natasha ‘cos she followed me while I was looking for space to hang my coat in the press room. She’s a British photographer, a close mate of Kash, and a very good person to have a natter with.
  • Astrid Zand and the lovely ITB press and marketing team. Again, they were absolutely fantastic and I even got to meet and hang out with them at the Press /Editorial Office. A great bunch of people!
  • And lastly, Lee. A. Evans. Lee is the President of Guides Berlin – the official Berlin Guide Federation – and I’ve known Lee personally for probably three (3) years now, well before blogging was ever part of my répertoire. Lee and I are both Committee Members of the Boy Scouts of America – Troop 46 – in Berlin. One of my expat activities even though I’m British LOL!
Kash & I at a bloggers after-ITB party!
Kash & I at a bloggers after-ITB party!

People may say that bloggers are introverts.

I disagree.

Most of the ones that I’ve met can talk the hind leg off a donkey and are as extroverted as they come. Myself included LOL!

And so, back to the topic of this week.

Drum roll pleeeeease!

A map of the Baltic Sea.
A map of the Baltic Sea.

THE BRITISH BERLINER IS GOING TO THE BALTIC REGION. YAY!

 

WHERE AM I GOING?

All the details are not yet 100% cut and dried, but I’m going to Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia & Finland.

Lithuania.
Lithuania.

LITHUANIA:

Lithuania is the oldest state of the Baltic countries and according to Lonely Planet, was named third (3rd) in the top 10 countries to visit in 2015. If Lonely Planet have pinpointed Lithuania as the next trend, I’m in good company LOL! I will be going to Vilnius which is the capital city. The city has been known as “the Jerusalem of Lithuania” because of its strong Jewish past until WWII. Vilnius has also been known as “Little Rome” and “North Athens” and is a treasure-trove of Baroque craftsmanship.

I can’t wait to go there.

This will be a cultural family trip so we’ll be staying at a small family Bed and Breakfast consisting of just seven (7) rooms, and located between the Old Town and a park. This B&B is called Vilnius Home Bed and Breakfast.

Latvia.
Latvia.

LATVIA:

Latvia is a small economy based in between Lithuania, Belarus, Estonia and Russia! It is known as the Pearl of the Baltic States and is on the shores of the Baltic Sea. We will be going to Riga which is the capital city, the largest city in the Baltic State Region, and also listed as historical significant by UNESCO.

Due to other engagements, The Music Producer will only be travelling with us for a week and will be flying back to Berlin. As a result, “The Tall Young Gentleman” and I will continue the rest of our Baltic cultural adventure together.

We will be staying at a four-star boutique hotel in the heart of the old town of Riga. The hotel
is called Hotel Justus.
The Medieval Old Town in Tallinn, Estonia.
The Medieval Old Town in Tallinn, Estonia.

ESTONIA:

Estonia, officially called the Republic of Estonia, is a country surrounded by Finland, Latvia, and Russia. It is considered one (1) of the smallest countries in the European Union, as it only  has a country-wide population of 1.3 million people!

We will be going to Tallinn which is the capital city. An advanced, highly economic country, its history with Finland is tightly connected, coming from an ancient type of Finnish people!

We will be staying at the oldest hotel in Estonia, the luxury 5-star boutique hotel – The Hotel St. Petersbourg and on our return back from Finland, we will also be staying at the 4-star charming My City Hotel.

Visit Finland.

FINLAND:

Full of interesting contrast such as the Midnight Sun and days full of darkness in Winter, over two-thirds of the world’s people who experience the Midnight Sun, actually live in Finland! Wow! In fact, in the most Northern part of Finland, the sunlight can be present for a consecutive number of over 70 days!

I would like to go to Lapland one of these days, but for this journey, we’ll be going to the very cultural city of Helsinki which is the capital, and also has a 100 km long shoreline and around 300 islands!

We will be staying at the very artistically designed GLO Hotel Art which is an exclusive, charming lifestyle hotel built around a century-old Art Nouveau castle, located in the heart of the Helsinki Design District.

Very exciting!

WHY THE BALTIC STATE REGION?

shutterstock-92810047-zob

As of now, the region above has not really been discovered by tourists and travellers. I mean, have you ever heard of Latvia? What about Lithuania? And to be honest, we all know of Finland, but how many of us have actually been there?

Exactly!

These countries are based in Europe and their capital cities have stories of richness, history and grandeur unspoilt by the full-board package set and the larger louts of stag and hen nights. They are sparsely populated, and not your typical cheap and friendly destination. As a matter of fact prices in Finland border on the insane and Estonia has prices that would make your hair stand up, although still considered to be “budget” destinations.

I want to experience these countries for myself.

That’s why!

HOW AM I TRAVELLING?

The Lux Express. And free WIFI!
The Lux Express.
And free WIFI!

We will be on a part-sponsorship with Lux Express.

The Lux Express Group is the largest international express route coach operator in the Baltic region with its head-office based in Estonia. It offers frequent connections to the Baltic States, and to parts of Russia such as St. Petersburg, Moscow and Minsk. ‘Such a shame that we don’t have the time to nip into St. Petersburg as there is a legal way that you can go to Russia for 24 or 72 hours visa-free, as long as you arrive by ship and pre-organise your hotel or sight-seeing activities!

The next time I’m in Finland or Estonia, I’m going to do just that, as I’m desperate to go to Russia. Even for a day but hopefully, for much longer LOL!

We will be travelling with the Lux Express Group from Berlin to Estonia and back again!

HOW AM I GOING TO CROSS THE SEA INTO FINLAND?

Sailing away! Photo @AS Tallink Grupp
Sailing away!
Photo @AS Tallink Grupp

We will be on a sponsorship deal with TALLINK SLJA LINE.

TALLINK is an Estonian shipping company currently operating Baltic Sea cruise ferries and ships from Estonia to Finland, Sweden, Latvia and Germany. We will be sailing with them from Estonia to Finland and back to Estonia. In fact, the E-commerce Manger offered us a complimentary sailing to Sweden but in this trip, I had already fixed the itinerary and moreover, I wanted to go via overland. However, watch this space for a future visit to Sweden, Finland, Latvia, and Estonia!

It’s going to be quite a trip!

Food Glorious Food!
Food Glorious Food!

This article is part-sponsored by Lux Express and TALLINK SLJA LINE, and we get a little discount on the hotels, but all opinions and the exquisite shrimps that I ate, are my very own!

I have so much to share with you.

Next week, I’ll be writing about the British Shorts Film Festival 2015.

In the next few months, I’ll be travelling to Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Finland.

I’ll also be going to TBEX (Travel Bloggers Exchange) an International Networking Conference, for the first time! It’ll be taking place in Costa Brava, Catalunya, Spain from 30.04.15 – 02.05.15.

I’ll be there. Will you?

As usual, you can also follow me via daily tweets and pictures on Twitter & FB!

If you’re not in Berlin in March, you’ve lost your way!

March is going to be warming up.

Watch this space!

Pelmeni, a type of dumpling served with sour cream in Latvia.
Pelmeni, a type of dumpling served with sour cream in Latvia.

Have you ever been to the Baltic States? Have you ever heard of Lithuania or Latvia?

See you in Berlin.

If you like this post or if you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

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36 thoughts on “I’m going to the Baltic Region. You know, the “other” Eastern Europe!

  1. Lovely post! I like the start of it where you state what the blog is and what its about. I think the need to make a buck blogging notwithstanding, people should be free to be the captain of their ship…eerrm blog, which you are doing quite nicely.
    You’ve met quite abit of folks from the travel blogging sphere..which is really awesome! I think you’ll have a great time in the Baltics..I was there for a week (only Latvia) but I came away feeling I hadn’t seen everything so I will return to Latvia in late April for a second visit and go to Jurmala for a chocolate body mask or something of the sort..haha! (I think I’m abit spoilt). I hope to squeeze in Estonia while there and see how that goes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you my dear! Yep! I think it needs to be said even though it makes me sound like an arrogant Miss So-So, but ah well! It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to n’ all that LOL!

      Oh yes, happily I’ve met quite a few bloggers and actually, I probably met another 30-50 odd people but I can’t put them all on. I’m not doing the Top 100 Bloggers or anything LOL! Meeting people made me feel so much better about what I’m doing as blogging can be isolating, which is why I do a lot of lifestyle stuff so that I can get out there and meet if not some of my readers, a number of people who have the same interests as I! I’m so looking forward to our trip. And what an adventure it will be LOL!
      Ah, going back to Estonia I see. Niiiiice! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. OMG this is SOOOOO exciting. I am very curious to compare our experiences – it’s one thing to read about places you havent been to, the curiosity only takes you so far. But comparing notes, and being all ‘OMG ME TOO!’ or ‘OMG YOU’RE SO WRONG!’ is the best part 😉
    And in Tallinn dont forget to try all the awesome food – so that I could relive it through you :)))
    https://gohomeandaway.wordpress.com/2014/12/24/tallinns-unexpected-culinary-adventure/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is Anna! It is! I’m curious too. I loved your pictures and your outlook on the area. The food? You bet!
      It’s probably not going to be a budget trip with the hotels that I’ve chosen LOL but I want it to be somewhat relaxing, as I’ve done so much running around in the last few weeks, and a good bed, a very nice power-shower, bath, sauna, and full breakfast, does that LOL! In fact, I’m not looking forward to the sauna experience, as I don’t like the nudity aspect of it. I’m British you see but I’ll try again. Gulp!

      Like

      1. I’m not a cheapie backpacker any moooooore! I’ve got reeeeeeeeesponsibilities ie. “The Tall Young Gentleman” and a German husband. My boy is demanding and a right diva LOL! So what, If I can’t buy myself a new dress and strappy shoes at the moment. It’s painful though as my fashion taste has gone upmarket too and I’ve been looking at dresses that go for €300. Dresses! Prioooooooorities!! 🙂 🙂

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  3. Controversy? Sounds like the Prince song! Who really cares what anybody else thinks about your blog? I am quite happy in my own little bubble and it will develop the way it does, not by some all important high and mighty , legend in their own mind twat :-). It only becomes a big deal if you make it so. Sounds like you have a great trip coming up.. Good for you! I am sure you will have loads of fun, you always do!!!! :-). In Brussels now, heading back to Spain tomorrow after a week!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hear ya sister! And yes, I’m pretty excited about going to the Baltics as I’ve never been there before! I know. Right?! Hopefully, the weather’s going to be nice, and it won’t rain LOL!
      Ooooooh! Looking forward to reading all about Brussels. I love the place. 🙂

      Like

    1. Heeeeeeeey boy! Everyone has said that the Baltics will be a scream so reaaaaaaally looking forward to it. Also, I told Prince Erick to send you kisses. I was quite specific about that LOL. He told me that he, Wandering Earl, Raphael of A Journey of Wonders and your good self, are all meeting up in Bucharest. You guys are going to have a blast and I’ll see you all in Spain. ‘Hold the champagne! xx

      Like

    1. Thanks Adam! ‘Same here my sweet! ‘Really looking forward to the Baltics. Yes, indeed! Thanks so much for the Huffington Post link shout-out. I’m very excited about that as I think, most of us didn’t know that it was now there LOL! A very nice piece of work indeed. 🙂
      How was Hamburg? I’m not going to Leipzig since I’m booked out at that time but I can’t remember if you’re going to TBEX? Are you? And have you been previously as I’m a little nervous LOL?!

      Like

  4. Isn’t it interesting how our blogs take on a life of their own. Yours is awesome and I always love reading it. You have really put yourself out there, I am always in awe of all you are able to do on this!
    I have never been to the Baltic States, but would love to soon!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It so does Jenny! And thanks so much. You’re awfully sweet to say so. 🙂 🙂
      Yes, I’ve really put myself out there as I’m a bit of a show-off LOL, but you haven’t done badly yourself as you have plenty of engagement with your readers, who trust and love you. And isn’t that what it’s all about LOL! p.s. I’ve never been to the Baltics either so I’m pretty excited about going to totally new countries as I tend to go back to countries that I like LOL! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. aww.. thank u sweetie! And it was a pleasure meeting u too! Hope to see you at STS in Hamburg next month so we can yack the hind leg off a donkey yes?!! LOL

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Totally! They’re a great company and really delivered on their promise. 🙂 It was a pleasure to use them. ‘So glad that you liked them. Thanks so much for your comment!
      p.s. Which of the countries did you go to?

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  6. It’s so great that you are interested in Baltic Countries! Which one did you like the most? We took some tours in Vilnius last year and it’s now definitely the most favourite European city I’ve ever visited! Next time I strongly suggest taking some walk around with locals – that’s the best way to know the culture 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Rugile! I looooved the Baltic Region. All the countries were just so interesting in their different ways, and extremely easy to get to, so that you could actually visit all of them in a fortnight (two weeks).

      I really liked them all lol! But if I had to choose only one, I would choose Latvia as Riga was most charming!

      p.s. We did take local walks. Have a look here: https://thebritishberliner.wordpress.com/2015/04/27/gosh-riga-in-latvia-is-gorgeous-10-reasons-to-go-there-right-now/

      Enjoy!

      Like

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