Food in Germany: 10 delicious best German meals to try out in Berlin – Because German food isn’t as rustic as you think!

Hello from Germany!
Hello from Germany!

Omigosh!

What a week!

Last week, I reiterated over the #InterestingTimes that 2016 has produced, not knowing that just a day later, we too would have a fatal terrorist action that occurred on our very own doorstep, of my beloved Berlin.

The Christmas market in Osnabrück
©Osnabrück Marketing und Tourismus.

In one of the most culturally vibrant German activities – the Christmas Market!

The Christmas Market in Germany, isn’t just any old market.

The German Christmas Market is a way in which we can socialise with our American friends in Berlin!
The German Christmas Market is a way in which we can socialize with our American friends in Berlin!

Oh dear me no!

The German Christmas Market is a way in which people can socialize with their friends, hang out, and just have a fine old time.

The Christmas Markets isn’t Disneyland or some sort of recreational park, it’s a German tradition of browsing at skilled crafts, shopping, eating traditional German Christmas streetfood, and drinking to the heath of one and all, with hot mulled wine, otherwise known as Glühwein. And for those with a far stronger alcoholic tendency than my own, trying out the “Feuerzangenbowle.”

Trying out the Feuerzangenbowle. Again!
Trying out the Feuerzangenbowle. Again!

It can reduce a grown man to tears if care is not taken…!

And then the attack.

The Christmas Market around the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church (the Gedächtniskirche) at Breitscheidplatz. In Berlin © Jens Kalaene - picture alliance dpa.
The Christmas Market around the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church (the Gedächtniskirche) at Breitscheidplatz. In Berlin
© Jens Kalaene – picture alliance dpa.

We were all so shocked at the carnage and death at the very popular Christmas Market around the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church (the Gedächtniskirche) at Breitscheidplatz in Berlin, where the attack took place in the photograph above.

It’s a Christmas Market with more than 100 beautifully decorated market stands and Christmas booths, 70 fairground rides, and lots of  German and Austrian delicacies, not far from the High Street, the zoo, and the aquarium.

We cried, and we talked about what to do next.

And let me tell you what the next step is.

Get up, brush down, wipe away the tears, keep calm, and Carry On with things!
Get up, brush down, wipe away the tears, keep calm, and Carry On with things!

The next step is to get up, brush down, wipe away the tears, keep calm, and Carry On with things!

We’re stoic, and have a stiff upper lip! 

Berlin is the safest West European city that you can ever hope to find.

Germany is open for business, and always will be.

But if you have any concerns about safety, feel free to contact me. I live here. I’m on the ground!

And so, my post this week after much reflection, and because I tossed and turned as to what to write this week, and I have a family…. this post is on:

FOOD IN GERMANY: 10 DELICIOUS BEST MEALS TO TRY OUT IN BERLIN – BECAUSE GERMAN FOOD ISN’T AS RUSTIC AS YOU THINK!

Here we go:

German stodge, such as Mutzen, otherwise known as a German fried doughnut!
German stodge, such as Mutzen, otherwise known as a German fried doughnut!

1.  When people think of German food, you can’t blame them when their impressions tend to lay on the stodgy side of things such as the Mutzen, otherwise known as a German fried doughnut, above!

Not very exciting!

And greasy!

However living in Germany has shown me that of course, German food does lie a little on the heavy side, since it was originally designed for working class peasants, but you know, the modern-day German isn’t a peasant!

Well, not all of them…

Savoury German food such as croquettes, green beans, brussel sprouts, rich venison and home-made gravy! Oh my!
Savoury German food such as croquettes, green beans, brussel sprouts, rich venison and home-made gravy! Oh my!

So you can get lovely food such as croquettes, green beans, brussel sprouts, rich venison and home-made gravy! Oh my!

2.  In fact most Germans are intelligent, tolerant, internationally minded, and open to different life experiences, and that is reflected in the food. In fact, in Berlin where I live, you’d be hard-pressed to find “real” German food!

A most delicious Bosso Spätzle! How to eat cheaply in Luxembourg!
A most delicious Bosso Spätzle!
How to eat cheaply in Luxembourg!

Austrian food. Yes.

Berlin food. Oh yes!

But German food. Eeeh! Umm!

Not quite.

“Typical” German food has a hard, long reputation of being rather stodgy and boring. Pretty much like British food actually! So let’s see what we can find, because our Christmas Eve dinner above, reminded me that food in Germany can be pretty awesome.

If you know where to look!

3.  For those of you who don’t know, the most popular meal in Berlin is not the sausage.

That very famous, most popular, Berlin speciality: The Döner Kebap!
That very famous, most popular, Berlin speciality: The Döner Kebap!

Nope! No sire!

It’s the Döner Kebap!

The kebab is made from small cuts of lamb or chicken meat which is grilled on a spit and then sliced. These slices are put into a Turkish-like loaf of bread with added raw white and red cabbage, slices of onions, tomatoes and cucumbers, and smothered with either garlic sauce, a sort of Turkish-mint sauce, spicy pepper-tomato sauce, or all of the above. The Döner Kebap can be found all over Germany and in pretty much every food corner in Berlin. Yum!

4.  ‘Remember when I said that German food is more than stodge.

Because vegetables...!
Because vegetables…!

It’s true you know, so let’s talk vegetables!

The thing that Germans all rave about is…

Wait for it…

Asparagus!!!
Asparagus!!!

Asparagus!

I know!!

White asparagus, otherwise known as Spargel!
White asparagus, otherwise known as Spargel!

Asparagus, especially white asparagus, otherwise known as Spargel, is a popular summer dish especially in season. It’s a pretty short one of just two (2) months, so we all run around, looking for the nearest farmers market so that you can get can the freshest produce possible.

Luckily for us, we have two (2) farmers markets in my neighbourhood, and one of them is less than one (1) minute away from my house!

5.  Breakfast in Germany is very different from breakfast in Britain.

In Germany, the breakfast tends to be “continental” in style.

And the best breakfast of all is a home-made one made by the very loving hands of a German grandmother!

A most delicious breakfast spread you can expect, in a typical German home!
A most delicious breakfast spread you can expect, in a typical German home!

We had a variety of cold cuts, slices of cheese, slices of ham, freshly cut paté or leberwurst, seasonal fruit, salmon, jam, butter, creams, and sauces, German condiments,  pickles, boiled eggs, a basket of crunchy bread, fruit juice, yoghurt, tea, coffee, and some seafood!

6.  Speaking of seafood.

Magnificent grilled fish over saute vegetables, covered in tomato and a cheese sauce, sprinkled with edible flowers! ©The Music Producer - Frank Böster
Magnificent grilled fish over saute vegetables, covered in tomato and a cheese sauce, sprinkled with edible flowers!
©The Music Producer – Frank Böster

Ha!

Where should I start!

This year, we spent some considerable time on both the German Baltic Sea and the German Northern Sea!

I say old boy! That’s quite a feat.

What!?!

My fish bun (Fischbrötchen) made with pickled or Bismarck herring served on kitchen foil in a bread bun (brötchen) with pickles, lettuce and huge slices of fresh raw onions!
My fish bun (Fischbrötchen) made with pickled or Bismarck herring served on kitchen foil in a bread bun (brötchen) with pickles, lettuce and huge slices of fresh raw onions!

There were lots and lots of possibilities to eat some sort of seafood. In fact, all sorts of seafood. I mean, OMG!

7.  Ah yes. Meatballs!

Are they burgers. Or meatballs!
Are they burgers. Or meatballs!

Some might even go as far as to call them burgers!

In Germany, they’re called different things. In Berlin, these German meatballs are huge pan-fried minced balls of beef, pork, or lamb and are known as Boulette.

In fact, so much so that when I first came to Germany, I didn’t know what they were, so I didn’t eat ’em! Imagine my shock when I discovered that they were actually meatballs!

I wasted two years not eating them!!

A Berlin lunch of Frikadellen, Fleischkühle, Fleischpflanzerl or Königsberger Klopse!
A Berlin lunch of Frikadellen, Fleischkühle, Fleischpflanzerl or Königsberger Klopse!

In other parts of Germany they are smaller and known as Frikadellen, Fleischkühle, Fleischpflanzerl or Königsberger Klopse!

They are not normally eaten with a tomato sauce but with bread! As you can see above, these meatballs were small, topped with apple mousse, accompanied by sliced brown bread sprinkled over with tomato, salmon, and mustard & cress, or sliced brown bread topped with cream cheese, sliced radishes, with more mustard & cress.

In fact they were quite delightful, so I scoffed the lot!

8.  Yummy in my tummy, heavenly, tasty dessert!

A frightfully enticing profiterole, choux à la crème, a cream puff or simply in Germany, a windbeutel!
A frightfully enticing profiterole, choux à la crème, a cream puff or simply in Germany, a windbeutel!

Scrummy desserts can be found all over Germany, as the cake shops are lovely.

Now I wish that I had taken a photograph of my cream puff before I actually pounced on it, but there it is!

The profiterole, choux à la crème, cream puff, otherwise known as a windbeutel in Germany, is a filled choux pastry ball with a typically sweet and moist filling of whipped cream, custard, or pastry cream. The puffs are sometimes garnished with chocolate sauce, caramel, or a dusting of powdered sugar, or simply left plain.

Mine had castor sugar, which I promptly licked off!

The most popular dessert in Berlin however, is the doughnut, otherwise known as a Berliner! And can be quite a classy affair if taken with champagne!
The most popular dessert in Berlin however, is the doughnut, otherwise known as a Berliner! And can be quite a classy affair if taken with champagne!

The most popular dessert in Berlin however, is the doughnut, otherwise known as a Pfannkuchen or a Berliner!

It’s usually filled with plum or strawberry jam, but doesn’t have a hole in it, or sprinkles…! In fact, during our wedding, our pre-lunch snack was the Berlin doughnut, otherwise known as a Berliner, with croissants, orange juice and glasses of champagne!

Cool or what!

9.  Since it’s that time of year, let’s throw in gingerbread and Stollen.

Let's throw in Gingerbread and Stollen for good measure!
Let’s throw in Gingerbread and Stollen for good measure!

I’ll tell you a secret, I don’t actually like German gingerbread, and I can’t eat the Stollen ‘cos of my allergies!

Are you shocked!

I love gingerbread men if I make it myself!
I love gingerbread men if I make it myself!

I do love gingerbread men though. The kind for children, and home-made, and that’s about it!

10.  Finally, I’m not going to leave this post without talking about street food.

A Swedish sausage made from venison, otherwise known as Hirsch!
A Swedish sausage made from venison, otherwise known as Hirsch!

The very highlight of a typical German day is the sausage.

The sausage above was served with thin slices of bread, and a venison light brown sauce. Quite yummy!

Alrighty!

All hail the almighty S!

Germany has loads of different sausages and each comes with its own unique taste.

White sausages. I've tried it every which way, but I still don't like it! ©TakeAway - Wikipedia
White sausages. I’ve tried it every which way, but I still don’t like it!
©TakeAway – Wikipedia

I find the white sausage with sweet mustard or Weißwürst quite disgusting personally, even though I’ve tried it every which way.

Ah well!

Delicious grilled pork sausages, otherwise known as bratwurst. Yum!
Delicious grilled pork sausages, otherwise known as bratwurst. Yum!

The grilled pork sausages with mustard, ketchup or both, otherwise known as Bratwurst can be decisively delicious.

My favourite German sausage however, is the currywurst. The currywurst is Berlin’s most famous sausage.

Currywurst and chips slathered with tomato ketchup, curry powder, and sometimes mayo!
Currywurst and chips slathered with tomato ketchup, curry powder, and sometimes mayo!

Currywurst!

Currywurst is beef or pork sausage grilled and chopped up, then smothered with a spicy ketchup and curry powder. It’s eaten with a pile of chips and a slice of bread or a bun. It’s such a famous icon that it even has its own Currywurst Museum where you can learn how currywurst is made, smell it, watch a film about it, attempt to sell it, and play around with the french fries and chips. You can sometimes even have chocolate and curry ice-cream!

Berlin's most famous iconic meal - currywurst, chips & mayo!
Berlin’s most famous iconic meal – currywurst, chips & mayo!

Currywurst can usually only be found in Berlin everywhere you look. My two favourite places however, are the 1930’s East Berlin historical establishment called Konnopke’s Imbiß in my own area of Prenzlauerberg, and the 1980’s West Berlin trendy establishment Curry 36, in my old neighbourhood of Kreuzberg!

p.s. They speak English in both places so no worries if you don’t speak German!

That’s it from me.

See you next year!

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!

FOOD IN GERMANY: 10 DELICIOUS BEST MEALS TO TRY OUT IN BERLIN – BECAUSE GERMAN FOOD ISN’T AS RUSTIC AS YOU THINK!

Tasty German Bavarian pretzels!
Tasty German Bavarian pretzels!

This article is not sponsored, and the exciting food experience that I’ve always had, is my very own!

In January I’ll be making an announcement that will either having me jumping up and down like a Jack-in-the-Box, or crying over my hot cocoa! Find out in January!

The British Shorts Film Festival will take place from 12th – 18th January, 2017

Berlin Fashion Week will take place from 17th –  20th January, 2017.

At the beginning of  January, I’ll be going to Holland, and at the end of it, I’ll be skiing in my favourite place, Rokytnice nad Jizerou, in the Czech Republic!

January is December is going to be full of excitment!

Have a great festive season, and a stunning New Year!

Food in Germany: 10 delicious best German meals to try out in Berlin - Because German food isn't as rustic as you think!
Food in Germany: 10 delicious best German meals to try out in Berlin – Because German food isn’t as rustic as you think!

Do you like German food? Is a German meatball a burger, or just a huge meatball? Let me know!

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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Visiting Bremen: 4 musicians, a sailing boat, and a German grandfather!

The Musicians of Bremen. In Bremen!
The Musicians of Bremen. In Bremen!

Wow!

It’s been a long interesting year!

And most of it has centered around Europe!

It started with the shocking disaster of Brexit, terrorism in both Belgium and France, devastating earthquakes in Italy, and ending not only with the horrifying news that Donald Trump, is to be the next president of the United States, but a fatal terrorist action that occured on our very own doorstep of my beloved Berlin. In one of the most culturally vibrant German activities – the Christmas Market.

You really couldn’t make it up!

Street Art everywhere in Berlin!
Street Art everywhere in Berlin!

But have no fear.

We’re stoic, and have a stiff upper lip! 

The Christmas Markets, and everything else is open for business, but if you have any concerns about safety, feel free to contact me. I live here. I’m on the ground!

Is it safe to travel to Europe right now 'cos I'm scared to travel abroad?
Is it safe to travel to Europe right now ‘cos I’m scared to travel abroad?

But it hasn’t all been bad. In fact, I had a fabulous summer which I planned and organised. You know the one, Victoria’s Summer European Challenge Campaign, in which I went to a different European country, throughout the summer.

Every weekend!

And travelled to these countries by train!

Well, it was certainly a challenge, but also soooo much fun!

This was where I went:

DENMARK:

Er. Not spending money in Copenhagen Mr. Hans Christian Anderson. What's that now? Surely not! How to visit Copenhagen on a budget. Even though I missed my last connection. Again!
Er. Not spending money in Copenhagen Mr. Hans Christian Anderson. What’s that now? Surely not!
How to visit Copenhagen on a budget. Even though I missed my last connection. Again!

SWITZERLAND:

Why you should visit Switzerland, and eat cheese!
Why you should visit Switzerland, and eat cheese!

LUXEMBOURG:

A delightful Poulade Auflauf! How to eat cheaply in Luxembourg!
A delightful Poulade Auflauf!
How to eat cheaply in Luxembourg!

SLOVAKIA:

Take photographs and wander at will! Go on a walking tour in the Old Town. Should you visit Bratislava, or stay at home and not bother!
Take photographs and wander at will!
Go on a walking tour in the Old Town.
Should you visit Bratislava, or stay at home and not bother!

GERMANY:

Germany - my adopted country!
Germany – my adopted country!

I always plan to spend a bit more time in other parts of my adoptive country, but I usually never make it. This time I did!

I wanted to go the seaside, and parts of Northern Germany. Here’s where I went:

OSNABRÜCK:

The Music Producer and
The Music Producer and “The Tall Young Gentleman” in beautiful Osnabrück, Germany.

Osnabrück is where my husband comes from. Here’s what I wrote about it last year:

USEDOM:

Take me to the Baltic Sea in Geeeeermany! 51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany! ©Usedom Tourismus GmbH
Take me to the Baltic Sea in Geeeeermany!
51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany! ©Usedom Tourismus GmbH

And then I went to Bremen, but didn’t get around to writing about it ‘cos very soon after,  I went to the Philippines and to a secret location, which I later revealed to be Taiwan. So here it is!

BREMEN

Bremen - a Hanseatic city in northwestern Germany, otherwise known as the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen!
Bremen – a Hanseatic city in northwestern Germany, otherwise known as the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen!

Bremen is a Hanseatic city in northwestern Germany, otherwise known as the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen!

It’s a commercial – industrial city, with a major port on the River Weser.

Bremen is 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 just 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!
I just 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!

I’ve been to Bremen a few times, but I remember the very first time that I visited. I just 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 a German client of mine, told me that he came from Hamelin.

I burst into splutters of laughter!

The Pied Piper of Hamelin ©anastaciarts
The Pied Piper of Hamelin ©anastaciarts

I soon hung  my head in shame when I discovered that not only was Hamelin a real town in Germany, but that also, the fairy tale legend of The Pied Piper of Hamelin actually existed, and is based on a true real event….!

Oops!

Anyhoo, the German grandparents of “The Tall Young Gentleman” live in a small North German town called Achim, about 16 kms from Bremen, in the valley of the river Weser.

Achim was first mentioned in 1091, as Arahem!

The St. Lawrence Church in Achim upon Weser. ©Jürgen Howaldt
The St. Lawrence Church in Achim upon Weser.
©Jürgen Howaldt

I love spending time with the grandparents as it’s lovely and quiet, and so, you know, quite German!

On this visit, I wanted to discover some more of Bremen, and also go sailing, as grandfather is a bit of an old sailor, and has many tales of times gone by.

In many people’s mind, the image of a grandfather is of an old man, sitting by the fireside, a pipe or cigar in hand, slippers on his feet, port in his hand, and huddled beside the fireside.

Grandfather &
Grandfather & “The Tall Young Gentleman”

Grandfather is nothing like that!

He teaches at the local university, he does volunteer work transporting “the elderly,” did engineering projects in Indonesia, is an ex-army officer, and sails!

A most delicious breakfast spread you can expect, in a typical German home! Thank you Grandmother!
A most delicious breakfast spread you can expect, in a typical German home! Thank you Grandmother!
A most tempting breakfast spread of cold cuts.
A most tempting breakfast spread of cold cuts.
Fresh apricots and peaches!
Fresh apricots and peaches!
A mouth-watering platter of cheeses!
A mouth-watering platter of cheeses!
A healthy, but fun, morning egg!
A healthy, but fun, morning egg!

This is the type of breakfast spread you can expect in a typical German home! Thank you so much Grandmother!

If you don’t have German grandparents, book your hotel here!

SAILING IN MARDORF

“The Tall Young Gentleman” taking to the sails in Mardorf.

Mardorf is a district of Neustadt am Rübenberge based in the Hannover Region of Lower Saxony. It’s located on the northern shore of the Steinhuder Lake and within the Steinhuder Meer Nature Park!

The seaside village of Mardorf ©fotocommunity
The seaside village of Mardorf ©fotocommunity

Mardorf means “village by the sea” and in 1171, was first mentioned as “Meredorpe.” It’s a small 850 year old seaside village community of just 2,000 people that is really nice and friendly, surrounded by half-timbered houses, oak trees, farmland, and a 6 km long lakeside path used for walking, cycling, and hiking!

The grandparents have been sailing from there into Hannover and Hamburg, for decades, and this time, I chose to go with them!

Grandfather and
Grandfather and “The Tall Young Gentleman” preparing to sail in Mardorf.
On the pier in Mardorf.
On the pier in Mardorf.
Off to the open sea!
Off to the open sea!
Off to the open sea!
Off to the open sea!

We had a bit of problem with the engine, so we had to make do with the tiller in the stern instead!

“The Tall Young Gentleman” looking displeased in Mardorf!
Grandfather keeping a watch over things in Mardorf.
Grandfather keeping a watch over things in Mardorf.
Grandfather and
Grandfather and “The Tall Young Gentleman” sailing in Mardorf.

This is how things are done on the Steinhuder Lake.

Sailing in Mardorf.
Sailing in Mardorf.
Sailing in Mardorf.
Sailing in Mardorf.
Sailing in Mardorf.
Sailing in Mardorf.

Such a summer feeling!

Sailing in Mardorf.
Sailing in Mardorf.
Myself on the boat in Marsdorf!
Myself on the boat in Marsdorf!
“The Tall Young Gentleman” taking to the sea in Mardorf.

And soon it was time to return to Achim.

Grandfather and
Grandfather and “The Tall Young Gentleman” sailing in Mardorf.

He won’t admit it, but I think “The Tall Young Gentleman” had a good time!

Wow!
Wow! “The Tall Young Gentleman” is a handsome chap, even if I say so myself!

The next day, we went to the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen!

THE FREE HANSEATIC CITY OF BREMEN!

Myself wit the famous Musicians of Bremen!
Myself with the famous Musicians of Bremen!

Bremen is a major cultural and economic hub in the northern regions of Germany, and also home to historical galleries and museums, ranging from historical sculptures to major art museums. In fact, in many parts of the old town, you stumble upon statue after statue! Even though historically, Bremen was known as a working class fishing port, many important manufacturers based their headquarters in the city!

The Focke Museum © Sigrid Sternebeck
The Focke Museum © Sigrid Sternebeck
Ouside the Focke Museum!
Ouside the Focke Museum!

We had a very nice time at the Focke Museum, otherwise known as the museum of history and the history of art, for the city and state of Bremen. In fact, this museum was formed in 1924 by the merger of the museum of industry and commerce and the previous historical museum, and named after Johann Focke, a Bremen privy councillor.

It’s absolutely huge! We spent about 2 hours there, and we didn’t even go to the outside buildings! We only went into the historical rescue boat, where we met an older German who spent his younger years living in England!

Letting us press the buttons of the rescue boat Seenotkreuzer Paul Denker at the Focke Museum was fun! ©Sigrid Sternebeck
Letting us press the buttons of the rescue boat Seenotkreuzer Paul Denker at the Focke Museum was fun!
©Sigrid Sternebeck

He was very pleased to spend a nostalgic afternoon talking about sailing, letting us press all the buttons, and speaking in English lol!

Then we went into various parts of the Old Town. Bremen was undergoing preservation construction work, so it was a little difficult to get decent pictures, but I tried my best!

In many parts of the old town of Bremen, you stumble upon statue after statue!
In many parts of the old town of Bremen, you stumble upon statue after statue!
In many parts of the old town of Bremen, you stumble upon statue after statue!
In many parts of the old town of Bremen, you stumble upon statue after statue!
In many parts of the old town of Bremen, you stumble upon statue after statue!
In many parts of the old town of Bremen, you stumble upon statue after statue!
In many parts of the old town of Bremen, you stumble upon statue after statue!
In many parts of the old town of Bremen, you stumble upon statue after statue!

Statues and sculptures can be found all over the city.

The Statue of Roland in Bremen!
The Statue of Roland in Bremen!

The most famous statue of them all, is the Statue of Roland, erected in 1404! Roland can be found in the market square facing the cathedral. Roland, was a paladin, otherwise known as one of the Twelve Peers, a warrior of the first Roman Emperor Charlemagne, and hero of the Battle of Roncevaux Pass.

Roland is also considered to be the protector of the city of Bremen. Legend has it that Bremen will always remain a free and independent state, as long as Lord Roland stands watch over the city. And just like the ravens in the Tower of London, the legend is taken very seriously such that a second statue of Roland is kept hidden.

Just in case!

One of the highlights of Bremen is Schnoor!
One of the highlights of Bremen is Schnoor!

One of the highlights of Bremen is Schnoor!

We bought ice-cream in the medieval centre of Schnoor!
We bought ice-cream in the medieval centre of Schnoor!

Schnoor is in one of the most famous neighbourhoods in the medieval centre of the city of Bremen, and the only part that remains medieval in character! Schnoor owes its name to old handicrafts associated with shipping as the narrow alleyways between houses, were often associated with occupations or objects. For example Schnoor (String) was so-called, because the area was known for producing ropes, cables, and of course string!

One of the oldest houses in Schnoor!
One of the oldest houses in Schnoor!

The oldest houses today date back to the 15th century, with most, from the 17th and 18th centuries. Famous  for being extremely narrow, Schnoor became one of the poorest parts of Bremen. Luckily, many of the houses are now being preserved and restored.

One of the highlights of Bremen is Schnoor!
One of the highlights of Bremen is Schnoor!

We went to Bremen in the height of summer and there were street entertainers galore. One chap was even giving away a new brand of Bremen’s most famous beer – Becks. For free!

This street performer was very entertaining!
This street performer was very entertaining!

We only had an afternoon to spend in Bremen, but surely, we’ll be back!

Book your hotel here!

I love living in the big city of cosmopolitan Berlin, but sometimes it’s rather nice to visit the grandparents, eat feasts of German food, go sailing, and just hang out!

Thank you so much Grandmother and Grandfather Genschow!

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!

VISITING BREMEN: 4 MUSICIANS, A SAILING BOAT, AND A GERMAN GRANDFATHER!

Grandfather &
Grandfather & “The Tall Young Gentleman”

This article is not sponsored, and the Mardorf sailing experience, is my very own!

In January, I’ll be going to Holland.

The British Shorts Film Festival will take place from 12th – 18th January, 2017

Berlin Fashion Week will take place from 17th –  20th January, 2017.

At the end of January, I’ll be skiing in my favourite place, Rokytnice nad Jizerou, in the Czech Republic!

December is going to be filled with stuffing!

Have a great festive season, and an amazing Christmas!

Visiting Bremen: 4 musicians, a sailing boat, and a German grandfather!
Visiting Bremen: 4 musicians, a sailing boat, and a German grandfather!

Have you ever been to Bremen? Would you go sailing in Germany? Let me know!

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!

10 Christmas gifts that don’t cost a single thing, and 10 gifts that do!!

10 Christmas gifts that don't cost a single thing, and 10 gifts that do!!
10 Christmas gifts that don’t cost a single thing, and 10 gifts that do!!

I do so love winter!

It’s that time of year.

Christmas!

I love the crispness of the air, the early evenings, the freshness of the cold, and the darkness  when the lights come out.

I love it so, because December is my most favourite month ever, and also the month of my birth!

It was my birthday a few days ago.

Yay!

img_2803-2

Just look at my delightful yummy birthday cake. It’s cherries and cream, but it sure does look like cherry tomatoes.

But that would be weird…!

The horror of Christmas shopping!
The horror of Christmas shopping!

And even if you’re not into the horror of Christmas shopping, you are still liable to the festive season.

At least in Europe you are!

However of late, Christmas has been high-jacked by activities contrary to what this season is all about. Everywhere you look there’s some disaster or another, and then in a few weeks, merriment galore, then huge bills!

Yikes!

So let’s make a deal. Instead of wasting a huge amount of money on things you either don’t need, or probably already have, making the issue of #firstworldproblems completely and utterly true. Let’s figure out a way to make Christmas time as pain-free as possible.

So come with me as I feature 10 Christmas gifts that don’t cost a single thing if you’re broke, and don’t have a penny to your name. And 10 gifts that do, for those who have the dosh, and really want to spend it!

Here we go!

10 CHRISTMAS GIFTS THAT DON’T COST A SINGLE THING, AND 10 GIFTS THAT DO!!

  • MAKE A PERSONALISED MIXED TAPE
A personalised mixed tape doesn't cost a single thing!
A personalised mixed tape doesn’t cost a single thing!

IT DOESN’T COST A SINGLE THING!

Ha! Ha! Not a real tape. I mean tape!? Tape?!&%!!

When was the last time that you actually saw a good ‘ol cassette player?

Like never!

Nevertheless, the sentiment remains the same. Why not make a customised mixed playlist from your huge collection on iTunes or Spotify, and make a CD! You can even sing on it….!

IT DOES! IT’S CHRISTMAS!!

It does. It's Christmas!!
It does. It’s Christmas!!

On the other hand, if you don’t want to embarrass yourself or your family, perhaps getting an actual musical CD is the way to go!

I recommend the highly successful soulful talented Scottish singer/songwriter – Emeli Sandé. Get your hipster friends Emeli Sandé: Long Live The Angels. If you can find it…! If you’re in Britain buy it via Amazon UK. If you’re in the US buy this CD via Amazon.com. If you’re in Germany, buy this CD via Amazon.de.

  •  MAKE A PHOTOGRAPHY ALBUM
Photographs don't cost a single thing!
Photographs don’t cost a single thing!

IT DOESN’T COST A SINGLE THING!

In todays’ world, pretty much everyone and his mother has a mobile phone. In many cases a smart phone too. It doesn’t take a genius to take a photograph or two of yourself, your friends, and family, or even your hobby using stuff like postcards, ticket stubs, old T-shirts, money, etc, making your photography more than just a bunch of photos, but a scrapbook of your life. And theirs!

Then all you have to do is upload the photographs, edit as appropriate, then send off to your loved ones by Email.

IT DOES! IT’S CHRISTMAS!!

fujifilm-instax-mini-8
It does. It’s Christmas!!

Buy your loved ones a fun retro camera via Amazon UK. If you’re in the US, buy this camera via Amazon.com. If you’re in Germany, buy this camera via Amazon.de.

  • MAKE YOUR OWN COOKBOOK
I'm a terrible cook, but I do like writing about food! How to eat cheaply in Luxembourg!
I’m a terrible cook, but I do like writing about food!
How to eat cheaply in Luxembourg!

IT DOESN’T COST A SINGLE THING!

I’m not the best of cooks. In fact, although I love eating wonderful food and I have a whole bookshelf of cookery books. I CAN’T COOK! But if you can, why not make your very own cook and recipe book for your friends and family. Add personalised notes and extra information about why you chose that particular recipe, ‘cos who doesn’t like something delicious. Or even the secret to making a good cup of tea!

IT DOES! IT’S CHRISTMAS!!

It does. It’s Christmas!!

If you fear that you might kill people, leave it to the experts and buy your loved ones a cookery book so that they can make it like mummy used to, properly! Why not try one of the best food books of 2016 – Salt is Essential by Shaun Hill. And if you’re really quick, you can have an extra book – Rib Ticklers & Choux-Ins: 110 sensational recipes, from steaks & bakes to cheesecakes by Glynn Purnell, bundled in at no extra cost too. But hurry, there’s only nine (9) left!

If you’re in Britain buy them via Amazon UK. If you’re in the US buy these books via Amazon.com here and here. If you’re in Germany, buy these books via Amazon.de.

  • GO ON A WALKING TOUR
Me being a tourist in trendy Ximending 16 brilliant reasons why you should visit Taiwan!
Me being a tourist in trendy Ximending
16 brilliant reasons why you should visit Taiwan!

IT DOESN’T COST A SINGLE THING!

You’re broke and you can’t afford to travel the world. Not to worry. Let the world travel to you! Join a walking tour in a major city near you. Completely and utterly free (except for the tips of course. We said save money, not steal it!).

IT DOES! IT’S CHRISTMAS!!

Me in the Philippines, but could this be a James Bond moment! ©Scott Herder - BoboandChiChi.com
Me in the Philippines, but could this be a James Bond moment!
©Scott Herder – BoboandChiChi.com

On the other hand, you’ve got holiday time due to you, or you want to surprise a loved one, then don’t be shy take the next train, or flight, and book a hotel to anywhere in the world. Go on. You deserve it!

If you’re in Britain, book a hotel room via Booking.com. If you’re in the US, book a hotel room via Booking.com. If you’re in Germany, book a hotel room via Booking.com auf Deutsch.

  • MAKE JAM or CHUTNEY
Plum jam doesn't cost a single thing!
Plum jam doesn’t cost a single thing!

IT DOESN’T COST A SINGLE THING!

We all eat far too much! Using the fruit and vegetables from your garden, your terrace, or even your window sill, can give you jams and chutney galore. Instead of throwing out your excess fruit, make jam and give them to your friends and family.

We have a plum-tree, a blackberry tree, and hundreds of tomatoes. Fresh produce doesn’t do itself justice, bearing in mind that there are no added chemicals. In fact, no added anything! Just put in a little sunshine, a bit of water, some basic pruning from time-to-time, a couple of old teabags, and you’ve got yourself a vegetable patch, and freshness to last you through the winter!

IT DOES! IT’S CHRISTMAS!!

It does. It's Christmas!!
It does. It’s Christmas!!

If you’re as bad a cook as I am, get yourself a cookery book and learn how to to find fruit and vegetables all around us. Buy your loved ones a book that has never been out of print called appropriately: Food for Free by Richard Mabey! If you’re in Britain buy it via Amazon UK. If you’re in the US buy this book via Amazon.com. If you’re in Germany, buy this book via Amazon.de.

MAKE A HOME-MADE MOVIE

A home-made film doesn't cost a single thing!
A home-made film doesn’t cost a single thing!

IT DOESN’T COST A SINGLE THING!

If you have a smart phone, a camera, or a selfie stick, you can start making your very own-home movie, starring YOU. Produced by you, and directed and scripted, completely and utterly by you. Boy, but what a thrill!

I’m not going to show you any of my own home-movies. I’m not mad you know! But if you want to see some of my professional ones, click here!

IT DOES! IT’S CHRISTMAS!!

It does. It's Christmas!!
It does. It’s Christmas!!

If you’re serious about movies and films, and want to take making a movie to the next level, why not go to film festivals for inspiration, then enrol at a film school nearby. I’m constantly being asked to make some sort of film production, made and produced by myself.

Er. Nope!

I love watching films. I love being in films, but I’m not skilled enough to actually make the film! And nor do I want to. I love being in front of the camera, rather than behind it!

I was even asked by the BBC to take part in an creative art make your own digital film project, but I turned it down. The BBC. I know!! Having said that, I love learning stuff which is why I’m always at one workshop or another, and there’s nothing wrong with adding to the skills that one already has. So I might book one of the MET practical filmmaking world renowned weekend courses after all. And certainly, if you’re serious about this stuff, you should do the same, or get one of your grannies to pay for it!

  • READ A BOOK
Reading a book doesn't cost a single thing!
Reading a book doesn’t cost a single thing!

IT DOESN’T COST A SINGLE THING!

If you’re clever, getting a book for free is as easy as getting a slice of bread, all you had to do is search for a classic book online, or go to your local library, and the book is yours. Certainly the Berlin Central and Regional Library (ZLB), yearly library membership cost between just €5.00 – €10.00 a year and include being able to borrow DVDs, Videos, Music CDs, Booklets, Audio books, Art related items, and up to 60 books at a time! On top of that, you have access to every other public library in the city. All pretty much free of charge.

Gosh!

IT DOES! IT’S CHRISTMAS!!

It does. It's Christmas!!
It does. It’s Christmas!!

Why waste time. Buy your loved ones a kindle, and they can have a book for life!

Kindles are on special offer right now and they’re much cheaper than an iPad! I have Kindle on my iPad, and my phone, and a few years ago we bought “The Tall Young Gentleman” a Kindle Fire Tablet, and he’s still using it! For children, teenagers and millennials, Kindle Fire is your man!

If you’re in Britain, buy Kindle Fire via Amazon.uk. If you’re in the US, buy Kindle Fire via Amazon.com. If you’re in Germany, buy Kindle Fire via Amazon. de.

If you’re a dedicated reader, then a Kindle Paperwhite is more useful! If you’re in Britain, buy Kindle Paperwhite via Amazon.uk. If you’re in the US, buy Kindle Paperwhite via Amazon.com. If you’re in Germany, buy Kindle Paperwhite via Amazon. de.

Whatever. Buy a kindle!

ps. Fire Kindle does Snapchat too, if you download Google play store…

  • CHARITABLE GIFTS THAT YOU CAN SEE!
Donating an old toy, doesn't cost a single thing!
Donating an old toy, doesn’t cost a single thing!

IT DOESN’T COST A SINGLE THING!

I personally like to donate clothes, books and toys. I’ve also donated my time by teaching for free, or offering some other service. At one point, I was a Charitable Director of a Woman’s Shelter in London, and a civilian sergeant in the Engineering Unit of the Territorial Army!

IT DOES! IT’S CHRISTMAS!!

It does. It's Christmas!!
It does. It’s Christmas!!

Most people by their very nature are charitable and want to help others, but sometimes there’s a nagging feeling if you’re really doing what you can? Is your money going to the people who need it most, or some administrative office in Switzerland?

Some organizations offer more tangible ways to do this. I’ve donated to UNESCO for children and natural disasters. I’ve also given money to start-up organisations in Berlin, as I like to support up and coming talent in various ways!

I was first introduced to a company called Kiva.org via my previous company who made a donation of $25 on my behalf, promising to double whatever I donated myself.  It’s a non-profit organisation that allows people to lend money via the internet to low-income entrepreneurs “to alleviate poverty.”

It does. It's Christmas!!
It does. It’s Christmas!!

I donated another $25 and got to choose who I would give this loan to. I chose the owner of a small corner shop in South America. She paid me $2.00 every month and paid back the loan. But not to worry, I didn’t take the money. It’s put into your account where you can loan it out again!

Well-known charities like Oxfam, allow you to donate a specific animal – a goat or llama – or other basic items needed by the village.  You can also “adopt” endangered animals through animal conservation organisations such as the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

  • FAMILY HISTORY 
Researching your family history doesn't cost a single thing!
Researching your family history doesn’t cost a single thing!

IT DOESN’T COST A SINGLE THING!

Research your family history  and ask your grandparents about your ancestry, your roots, and your family history. You can also go to the local library, local burial grounds, church, place of worship, the town hall or failing that, get online and do some digging via  Ancestry.com! You’ll be surprised at what you find!

Via an old newspaper article, I found out that my dad was the first engineer of colour, in his Northern England unit! He’s in his 70’s now, so you can imagine what an achievement that was at the time!

IT DOES! IT’S CHRISTMAS!!

It does. It's Christmas!!
It does. It’s Christmas!!

You can hire an expert historian who will do the digging for you and make your genealogical tree, or you can get your family tested for DNA. After all how do you think I know that I’m descended from royalty. I always tell people that I’m related to the other Queen Victoria. I’m not. It’s different royalty. But I might be!

Failing that why not go to Europe and find out. Many of you are descended from people in England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Poland, Ukraine, Eastern Europe, Scandinavia. Don’t you think it’s time you took a plane and found out!

  • WRITE YOUR OWN BOOK or START YOUR OWN BLOG
How to write & publish a book! I prefer paper or hard back!
How to write & publish a book!
I prefer paper or hard back!

IT DOESN’T COST A SINGLE THING!

Get yourself a glass of wine, grab some plain  white paper or your laptop, and get writing!

IT DOES! IT’S CHRISTMAS!!

The Bee Hive by Simon Adepetun.
The Bee Hive by Simon Adepetun.

Buy the book of someone else. An ordinary person. Just like you.

Someone like my very own  brother, who wrote a children’s book called THE BEEHIVE, in just three (3) months!

If you’re in Britain buy it via Amazon UK. If you’re in the US buy this book via Amazon.com. If you’re in Germany, buy this book via Amazon.de.

Also, if you want to be like me when you grow up – a well-respected smart British – German blogger, all you have to do is to get yourself a website host such as Blue Host, and open up the website of wordpress.com.

It’s really easy and can be done in all of 10 minutes! If you really want to know how to set up a WordPress website in any language, let me know, and I’ll set up a post about it in January! Speaking of languages, have you seen my language tab at the top of the page? Now you can switch my post to any language you desire! Nifty!

I'm a very happy British lifestyle, expat, travel blogger. Right here in the beautiful city of Berlin - © Pascale Scerbo Sarro
I’m a very happy British lifestyle, expat, travel blogger. Right here in the beautiful city of Berlin –
© Pascale Scerbo Sarro

So what are you waiting for, Xmas is just around the corner, get to work!

And good luck!

10 Christmas gifts that don't cost a single thing, and 10 gifts that do!!
10 Christmas gifts that don’t cost a single thing, and 10 gifts that do!!

This article is not sponsored and all opinions and amazing gifts, are my very own!

In January, I’ll be going to Holland.

The British Shorts Film Festival will take place from 12th – 18th January, 2017

Berlin Fashion Week will take place from 17th –  20th January, 2017.

At the end of January, I’ll be skiing in the Czech Republic.

Save the Date!

December is going to be bouncing!

Watch this space!

Please also note that there are three affiliate link companies (for the very first time), connected to this Christmas gift time post! Every time one of those services are used,  booked, and paid for via my link, I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself! A win-win for all!

10 Christmas gifts that don't cost a single thing, and 10 gifts that do!!
10 Christmas gifts that don’t cost a single thing, and 10 gifts that do!!

Which of these gifts would you use?  Do you prefer to buy, or give away? Let me know!

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, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com