The British Berliner is 5 years old. Hurrah! Let’s jump up and down and scream!

The British Berliner is 5 years old. Hurrah! Let’s jump up and down and scream!

It’s my blog birthday!

Hip! Hip! Hurrah!

OMG!

I can’t believe that on Sunday, October 21st, my blog was 5 years old.

Honestly, I can’t quite believe that just 60 months ago on an Autumn Sunday evening, I decided to put pen to paper and open up a social media thingy.

I mean, when I first started I didn’t even know what social media was all about, and I had never ever met a blogger.

Never, ever.

In real life!

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

And apart from Facebook and who isn’t on Facebook? I knew zilch about social media.

Yep! Yours truly had known nothing about Twitter. Nothing at all!

I mean, I knew it, but I didn’t know it – know it!

But I quickly learnt.

A first time beginners guide to the ITB Berlin: 10 tips to help you not to lose your mind!
A first time beginners guide to the ITB Berlin: 10 tips to help you not to lose your mind!

I went to the ITB in Berlin and one afternoon, the Head of the European Branch of Twitter did a workshop and showed us step-by-step how it worked. And that was it!

My Twitter page was open and ready to go!

Oh, I used to have a travel diary that was purely set up for friends and family, but this blogging thing was something else.

This.

Was.

Real!

I'm looking gorgeous in the Philippines! ©Scott Herder - BoboandChiChi.com
I’m looking gorgeous in the Philippines!
©Scott Herder – BoboandChiChi.com

Five years.

Wow!

So much has taken place that I can hardly stand it.

As a result, this week’s post is going to be about that journey from when I wrote my first blog, to right now. Five years later. Here we go!

THE BRITISH BERLINER IS 5 YEARS OLD. HURRAH! LET’S JUMP UP AND DOWN AND SCREAM!

The British Berliner is 5 years old. Hurrah! Let’s jump up and down and scream!

Before we go on, why did I start this blog anyway…..?

At the beginning of 2014, I told you that The Tall Young Gentleman was a member of the Boy Scouts of America: Troop 46. Some of the American mothers were new in town and not only was I the only British parent but I was also the New Parent Co-Ordinator at the time….

One of the mothers asked me about skiing in Europe. I recommended the Czech Republic.

Lots of my corporate clients ask me about Britain, I recommend London and my original home-town – Manchester. Thousands, OK, hundreds of people asked me about Germany. I recommend Berlin and then I thought, why don’t I write about my favourite places and they can see for themselves?

So here we are!

Happy Birthday to meeeeee!
Happy Birthday to meeeeee!

My blog is five years old.

Golly!

It’s been an amazing ride. In fact, the last five years have been fantastic!

My blog is a flourishing toddler.

And I am exceedingly proud.

Look, I’m growing! And just like my blog, I’m exceedingly proud.

I’ve had an amazing collection of marvellous stories, visits, and adventures like how I met Prince William.

As you do!

A lot of people, bloggers in particular, don’t like the notion of luck and quite frankly, I’m not one to talk of fate, but when I happen to be in the right place at the right time, I don’t know what else to call it.

So I’m going to say it as I see it.

Are you ready?

Here it comes!

Me being thoughtful during a Live TV broadcast in Germany, and looking as if I'm about to sing! ©Pascale Scerbo Sarro
Me being thoughtful during a Live TV broadcast in Germany, and looking as if I’m about to sing!
©Pascale Scerbo Sarro

My toddler blog has been a resounding success because of the jolly good luck I’ve had, flowing with masses of enthusiasm, buckets of really hard work, and shaken and stirred with all the people I have met along the way, who have helped and supported me on my quest to being a fabulous British blogger.

There. I’ve said it!

But before we go any further, I would just like to thank some very important people.

I would just like to thank some very important people - YOU!
I would just like to thank some very important people – YOU!

You!

Yes YOU!

All of you.

Where would I be without your comments, your likes, your opinions and your reads?

Without you this blog would just be an empty piece of cyber-paper floating in the blogosphere. You have all been so amazing and supportive, reading my blog every week, and sharing it with all your friends, family, and associates.

I’ve even had people smiling and recognising me on the streets.

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

In Berlin.

One woman’s smile was so wide, when she discovered that I was just about to sit opposite her on the commuter train! Another guy saw me on my residential gentrified street and screamed outside his van window “Are you that blogger? The British one!” In German of course, so it sounded rather different!

A group of teenaged girls followed me about and giggled as I went shopping in my local supermarket. And being that I live in Berlin and not New York, I got thumbs up, the gruff “I saw you on TV” and appreciative looks when running around town with my signature stripped, dotted or Union Jack pop socks!

I’ve spent an evening with Prince William & Kate Middleton. I’ve been flown to London for the BBC.  I’ve been on TV as a sub-presenter on a panel of British experts – Die Queen in Berlin. I’ve been featured in a documentary. I’ve been on the radio. I’ve been in the newspaper.  I’ve been in lifestyle magazines. I’ve been put on the postgraduate recruitment poster of my university! I’ve been invited to the German Parliament (Bundestag). I’ve spoken at serious academic panels on the issue of Europe, British people abroad, and Brexit. I’ve been given awards as an expat writer.

I’ve even been in an independent film!

I’ve already travelled to 8 countries this year. Some of them even twice!

And in the era of Brexit, I’ve written a very comprehensive piece about how to get German citizenship, if you’re British!

And all because of you.

Thank you all so much!

Thank you so much! I love you all!

So let’s go back in time.

WHAT IS THIS BLOG ABOUT?

At the Berlin Music Video Awards with Roc Roc It - 2015. © Pascale Scerbo Sarro
At the Berlin Music Video Awards with Roc Roc It © Pascale Scerbo Sarro

The British Berliner is a lifestyle expat travel blog about culture, history, travels around the world, Brexit, the Royal Family, Europe, and being British in Berlin!

It’s about a British girl from Manchester living in Berlin with her German husband and her half British – half German son, her promotion of British-German life, culture, history, literature, theatre, style, Europe, travels around the world, what she does in normal every day life and where she goes.

THE MOST POPULAR POST EVER

Jesus in Warsaw.
Jesus in Warsaw.

The most popular post is still the one that I wrote about Poland.

It was very tongue-in-cheek. Most people got it, but at the same time most didn’t, so I got a lot of abuse for it.

Ah well!

The blog post was called: Going to Poland: 10 reasons not to go! This post shockingly went VIRAL and I have received 276 comments and up to 255,918 hits in my social media feed!

Two hundred and fifty-five thousand, nine hundred and eighteen (255,918)!

That’s over a quarter of a million views, hits and shares!

Wow!

On the Polish Baltic Sea
On the Polish Baltic Sea

Can you imagine that I wrote it four (4) years ago. And it’s still going as strong as ever!

Absolutely Amazing!

Thank you Poland!

I looooove you!!!

THE MOST IMPORTANT AND UTTERLY RELEVANT POST

How to get German citizenship if you’re British – How to be a German via Double Nationality!

As you all know, I’m a very proud British person.

However, after the very disappointing result of the Brexit Referendum in 2016, many of my fellow British citizens began to wonder whether the discussions and talks would lead to a better understanding of British / European relations, or a hardline stance.

Indeed, I even told a reporter of the Bloomberg newspaper that the only way you would get me out of this country, would be kicking and screaming!

But the writing on the wall was crystal clear, that British – European relations wasn’t going to get better anytime soon, but via Brexit, effectively worse.

I’ve written about both how to be British and how to be a German so it should come as no surprise when at the end of 2016, I decided to apply for dual British-German nationality, and then wrote this post: How to get German citizenship if you’re British – How to be a German via Double Nationality!

It seemed you all agreed ‘cos that article was so relevant in the ugly politics of Brexit, that it went VIRAL too!

And gosh!

I received close to 43,056+ (forty-three thousand) views, hits and shares on a post I wrote just a few months ago!

Thaaaaaaank you!

THE MOST POPULAR BRITISH POST

How I met the future king of England – Prince William, Kate &amp; the Many-Faced God!
How I met the future king of England – Prince William, Kate & the Many-Faced God!

You were very much impressed by the fact that I was one of the distinguished invited guests of a private event to meet Prince William and Kate Middleton – The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge – and not only that, but I also got to meet one of the stars of Game of ThronesTom Wlaschiha!

If you’re a Game of Thrones nut like I am, you’ll know him as Jaqen H’ghar – the handsome hero of the Faceless Men of Braavos, a feared Order of mysterious assassins with the ability to change their appearance at will…

The evening was all a bit of a blur. I’m not easily flustered, but I spent most of the evening with a huge grin on my face, a sweaty forehead, and shaky hands!

I wrote all about it in this post: How I met the future king of England – Prince William, Kate & the Many-Faced God!

You must have liked it as I received 43 comments, and close to thirty thousand (30,000) views, hits and shares!

THE MOST POPULAR GERMANY POST

Best of Berlin – 4 years and counting!

The most popular post is still actually the very first post, that I ever wrote on my blog! The title: Germany is Boring.

Ooops!

Yeah, I got insults and abuse for this post. Mainly from people who never read it.

It received 128 comments and over 46,558 views, shares and hits!

I wrote it exactly five (5) years ago, and it still hits a nerve!

Ah well, I’m famous now.

Right. Right?!

THE MOST POPULAR BERLIN POST

A map of the Berlin Public Transport Network – BVG

Is not actually a post at all, but a map!

The map of the Berlin Public Transport Network System, otherwise known as the BVG!

Incredible!

Haw! Haw! Haw!

I put this map in a post I wrote about how to navigate your way around ITB Berlin – the world’s leading trade show of the travel industry and, at the same time, the biggest travel show for the German public! The venue is huge and there have been incidents of people wandering around and not actually getting to where they wanted to go. Not naming names or anything!

The post I wrote was: How to be a savvy travel blogger with 10 tips to help you prepare, and find your way around! – ITB Berlin.

You obviously found it helpful as up to five thousand readers viewed, hit and shared it!

Yay!

THE MOST POPULAR INTERNATIONAL POST

Dutch children in traditional costume.

This title went to posts about Amsterdam.

I wrote three (3), but two (2) of them seemed to hit a nerve!

Eek!

You’re all pretty much liberal-minded and are tolerant on the European lifestyle circuit.

You were shocked, but not too upset to read the following post about what happened at the sex-show in Amsterdam!

Here it is: I went to a sex-show in the city of red lights and thin canals: That’s right. 48 hours in Amsterdam!!!

Having said that, you also seemed to be able to distinguish between family-friendly Amsterdam, and “the other one,” with this post: How to visit Amsterdam in two days. With a teenager!

How to visit Amsterdam in two days. With a teenager!

I received 96 comments on my blog but I have absolutely no idea how many comments were made throughout the social stratum as I couldn’t follow them anymore.

I also received more than 48,500 hits in my social media feed!

THE MOST POPULAR MOTIVATIONAL /ADVICE POST

How to use the train in Europe: 10 tips to help you.

You obviously love, or want to travel, and need help doing so, as the most popular post of advice was: How to use the train in Poland: 10 tips to help you.

You also liked: How to use the train in Europe: 10 tips to help you.

Wow!

I have been asked to consult and give advice to people, because of the anxiety people have about terrorism throughout Europe, and to calm people’s fears.

If you’re concerned about travelling in Europe, and need a helping hand, I would be available by Skype or by Email to advice you for an initial introductory fee of €50.00 for 60 minutes.

Communication would be either in English or German.

Send me an Email with your details, and we’ll take it from there – victoria@thebritishberliner.com

LET’S EXPLORE AND TRAVEL THE WORLD!

You have to take action to get it!!
You have to take action to get it!!

At the beginning of every new year, it’s the norm to think about what you did last year and what you’re going to do this year.

Travelling and living a life of quality struck a chord with many of you, as readers were worried about how to travel on a budget, how to get holidays / vacations, or even how to take the first step, so I told you how I do it in this post:  How I can afford a life of travel. Don’t choose. Have it all!

And this post: How I can afford to travel around the world. Live the life you want!

This post: How I can afford a life of travel. Don’t choose. Have it all! But you have to take action to get it!!

This post: If you want the sky, you’ve got to reach for it!

This post: Don’t choose. Live a life of style!

This post: If I can do it, so can you!

And also this post: How I got heaps of expat awards, was on radio with the BBC, & met Prince William!

How I got scammed in Berlin!

And most recently of all,

We are Family. And then We Were Three.
In Wales!

Most of my readers are professional upper-middle-class people. Just like me.

Staying at a €5.00 hostel or jetting off to Cambodia on a whim, just isn’t an option these days. I mean, who would look after the dogs, cats, guinea pigs, rabbits or giant iguana?

No seriously. Who?!!

In 2016, I travelled to ten (10) countries and in 2018 so far, I’ve been to eight (8), and counting!

OMG! Don't I just look like a city babe!<br /> ©Pascale Scerbo Sarro
OMG! Don’t I just look like a city babe!
©Pascale Scerbo Sarro

Nevertheless, I shouldn’t fail to tell you that the post that totally changed my career from being just another blogger to being totally awesome was: A light, a camera, and a broken arm: Action and drama at the Berlin Music Video Awards That post was written in May, 2014. A little after the 6 month mark!

You were fascinated by the fact that Queen Elizabeth came to Berlin and I got to be a part of that story, and had more requests of interviews that I even knew what to do with. I actually had to turn some of them down!

And why?

No need to worry. I'll do the talking!<br /> © Pascale Scerbo Sarro
No need to worry. I’ll do the talking!
© Pascale Scerbo Sarro

The Queen came to Berlin. I’m British so pass me the Pimms. That’s why! – I hope I did you all proud. You seemed to think so!

I’m delighted!

WHERE ARE YOU FROM?

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

THE TOP 10 MOST POPULAR COUNTRY, OF PEOPLE WHO READ MY BLOG IN 2018

  • USA
  • Great Britain
  • Germany
  • Poland
  • Canada
  • India
  • Holland
  • Australia
  • Ireland
  • France
  • And Singapore for the exotic factor!

Singapore for the exotic factor!
Singapore for the exotic factor!

Surprisingly, I also get a significant number of readers from Spain, Sweden, Italy, Switzerland, South Africa, the Philippines, and Thailand!

It’s amazing that even though I only blog a couple of times per month, I still manage to attract a huge number of subscribers and happy Twitter fans who read my blog on a daily basis, and all my funny two-line quips! You too can join in the fun and games right here!

Not too shabby I might add!

COUNTRIES I HAVE BEEN TO IN THE LAST 1 YEAR

I went to Romania. It didn’t wow me!
  • Belgium
  • Czech Republic – twice
  • England
  • Estonia
  • Germany
  • India
  • Latvia
  • Romania
  • Sweden

THE MOST POPULAR GROUP PRESS or FAM TRIP

Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Metro Magazine (Annual Body Issue) – April 2017 Edition – the Philippines!

Even though I have been to many a press trip, my third huge FAM / Press Trip to the Philippines seemed to resonate with you most!

It was a press trip that took place after the TBEX Asia-Pacific 2016 bloggers’ conference!

However, it wasn’t the press trip itself that you seemed fascinated by but rather, what I did in Manila, the capital!

That most popular post is: Is Manila a crime-ridden place or is it something completely different?

I’m so honoured to have been invited. It was great, but bloody hard work LOL!

The readers have spoken, now what do I think?

MY TOP BLOG ACHIEVEMENTS

I'm sorry but I look amazing! © Pascale Scerbo Sarro
I’m sorry but I look amazing!
© Pascale Scerbo Sarro

MY TOP 9 FAVOURITE POSTS, IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER!

The Bee Hive by Simon Adepetun.
The Bee Hive by Simon Adepetun.
Buy on Amazon
Buy on Amazon

THE BRITISH BERLINER IS 5 YEARS OLD. HURRAH! LET’S JUMP UP AND DOWN AND SCREAM!

Happy Birthday. My blog is 5!

Thank you so much everyone. I really appreciate it lots.

Thank you for making this blog real, reading, commenting, and connecting. You’re all amazing.

Here’s to the next blog year. Cheers!

Winter’s coming!

Yay!

This article is not sponsored. It’s my blog birthday!

The British Berliner is 5 years old. Hurrah! Let’s jump up and down and scream!

Watch this space!

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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!

The British Berliner is 5 years old. Hurrah! Let’s jump up and down and scream!

Do you have a blog? How long have you had it? Was there anything that you found surprising? Let me know in the comments below!

See you in Berlin.

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

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

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

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

It’s October!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oops!

I mean, what is the big deal?

Best German meals to try out in Berlin – Currywurst!

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

It’s the fact that the city of Berlin.

THIS city of Berlin.

Has been together in peace and harmony for 28 years.

That’s right.

28 years!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

STREETS ON BOTH SIDES OF THE WALL?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And let me tell you.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Imagine the frustration, pain, and horror.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The film and soundtrack were just so exhilarating.

Even now, 20 years later!

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

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

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

On the border between East & West Berlin in Germany.

SO HOW DID THE BERLIN WALL ACTUALLY FALL?

It’s easy to forget Germany’s history!

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

Let’s get some history!


2 May

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


7 May

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


4 September

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


9 /10 September

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


11 September

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


30 September

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


3 October

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


7. October

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


9 October

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


11 October

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


16 October

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

 


18 October

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


24 October

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


30 October

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


4 November

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


7 November

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


8 November

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


9 November

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


22 December

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


23 December

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


1990 Chronology

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

31 August

The Unification Treaty is signed in East Berlin.


3 October

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


28 YEARS AFTER THE FALL OF THE BERLIN WALL

Climbing up the Berlin Wall for Freedom! Freedom!!

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

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

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

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

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

Food in Germany: 5 of the Best Ever!

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

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

Absolutely free of charge of course!

I’ll be there. Wil you?

Come join us!

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

 

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

Two sides and periods, of the Berlin Wall.

As if!!

Keep reading my blog. There is more to come!

That’s it for now.

See you soon!

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

Beeeeerlin! I’ll never let you go!

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

I have so much to share with you.

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

Keep a look out.

Yipee!

October & November is going to be smashing.

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

Watch this space!

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

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

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

A win-win for all!

Thanks a million!

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

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

 See you in Berlin.

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

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

How to live in Dresden. For longer than a day!

How to live in Dresden. For longer than a day.

So Dresden.

A Baroque Old Town.

A garden suburb.

A cultural metropolis.

What a beautiful city!

As I told you last week, Dresden has a long rich history as the capital and royal residence of the Electors and Kings of Saxony, who furnished the city with cultural and artistic splendor, and was once known as the Jewel Box of Germany, because of it’s Old Town city centre which is crammed with baroque and rococo architecture.

Sadly, when the international community think of Dresden, they make no mention of German splendour and historical treasures, but rather the horror of the Second World War!

War is a terrible thing, and Dresden paid the price.

Towards the end of World War II, Dresden was pretty much flattened and destroyed, and became unrecognisable.

After the war, restoration work helped to reconstruct parts of the historic inner city, including the Dresden Cathedral, the Zwinger Museum Complex and the very famous Semper Oper.

Victoria at the River Elbe in Dresden – Germany
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Dresden – April 2018

Outside of the Old Town, Dresden has a trendy New Town – Neustadt – a nearby Saxon Switzerland National Park, the Ore Mountains which borders both Germany and the Czech Republic, the Moritzburg Castle, impressive countryside around the Elbe Valley, etc.

And.

It’s.

A.

Waterside City with the River Elbe running right through it.

Yeah!

Germans are enormously open-minded so nude beaches as Freikörperkultur, or FKK movement – Free Body Culture, was set up
©Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-1984-0828-411A / Settnik, Bernd / CC-BY-SA 3.0

I hadn’t visited Dresden in more than twenty (20) years, and when I first visited, my German boyfriend at the time tried to persuade me to join him, at one of the family-friendly nudist Free Body Culture (FKK) beaches.

With his friends!

As if!

I did however, agree to join him alone.

And only him.

I was very conscious of the fact that people would stare at my body.

They did!

I was the only person wearing items of “clothing.”

With chocolate-brown skin.

Wearing a bikini.

That was bright yellow!

You could see Victoria – in her bright yellow bikini – from the moon!

You could see me from the moon!

Cue 2018.

Like Hamburg, I had of course, breezed through, on my way to Prague, but I hadn’t stopped there for a very long time.

Dresden was better than I ever hoped.

Exciting Times in Dresden – Forgive the casual look. I was previously wearing heels!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Dresden – March 2018

Last week, I told you what to do if you’re a tourist. But what if you wanted to stay a little longer?

A couple of days. A week. Perhaps, even for a few weeks!

Make no mistake, I’d still highly recommend Berlin as your go-to-city, but if you insist, Dresden will do just fine!

The Tall Young Gentleman had a fine time in Dresden. You will too!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Dresden – April 2018

Being that my new job as the Referent Interne Trainings or the Internal Training Manager, is in Dresden, I’ve been doing a lot of research which has not only been exhausting, but pretty expensive too! 

Having said that, my experience has allowed me to stay in a wide variety of accommodation providers spanning from a collection of hotels, apartments, and even a hostel!

Yep!

I do these things, so that you don’t have to!

I know!

Let’s get started, shall we?

WHY VISIT DRESDEN?

Martin Luther in Dresden

Why not?!

Well, I wrote quite a bit about it last week.

And anyway, Dresden is in Germany!

So what?

You really can’t go wrong there.

Why not?

Well, it’s Germany!

TAKE ME THERE?

I’ve used FlixBus for both local & international travel. Great prices!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Dresden – April 2018

As you all pretty much know by now, I’m a great believer in train travel. However, depending on where you’re coming from, taking the bus / coach might actually be cheaper. And far more efficient!

I’ve been taking FlixBus, and their prices have been marvellous.

At one point, I actually took a bus for €4.99!

The average price is usually between €6.00 – €10.00, depending on how flexible you can travel.

I’ve used FlixBus for both local (within Germany), and international travel, and if you’re on a budget, you’ll be hard-pressed to find anything cheaper!

I was having a fine time flying all over Europe, thank you very much!

Of course, if you’re coming from abroad, flying might prove more economical.

Dresden is quite a small city, so you might actually find yourself either flying to Dresden Airport (DRS), Leipzig-Halle Airport (LEJ), Berlin Tegel Airport (TXL) or perhaps, even Berlin-Schönefeld Airport (SXF)!

If you’re not sure which airport in Berlin, you’re supposed to be flying to or out of, here’s a link to the website of Flughafen / Airport Berlin Brandenburg GmbH which has comprehensive information on both airports BerlinTegel (TXL) and Berlin-Schönefeld (SXF) as they’re at opposite ends of the city, and you don’t want to find yourself in the wrong one!

IS IT GOING TO BE CROWDED?

There are tourists in Dresden. But I wouldn’t call it crowded!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Dresden – April 2018

I didn’t think so!

In fact, as it wasn’t yet “the season,” some places and operations were still closed or had reduced hours.

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

Plan well.

WHAT IS DRESDEN LIKE?

Frederick Augustus II of Saxony or Augustus II the Strong – the Golden Rider!

I was pleasantly surprised.

It’s a small city of historical and architectural interest, the food and beer is impressive.

And it’s very, very pretty!

I DON’T SPEAK GERMAN.

How to be a German – 10 ways to do it!

Not. A. Problem.

No really.

No worries.

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

Most speak a minimum of three (3)!

If you speak English, German, Russian, or Chinese, you’re good to go.

And get this.

I couldn’t believe it!

Most things were written in German.

And.

English!

Hurrah!

AM I GOING TO LIVE IN A HUT?

You’re not going to live in this abandoned hut, so don’t worry!

Ha! Ha! Not unless you want to!

I’M ON A BUDGET. WHAT SHOULD I DO?

At the tip of the River Elbe and the Elberadweg cycle path, in Altpieschen – Dresden
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Dresden – May 2018

Ha! Let me help you here.

Dresden isn’t as cheap as I was expecting.

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

If you’re from Germany, food prices are the same as in Berlin, but accommodation was far cheaper!

I mean, I was able to get a studio apartment with two (2) bedrooms, a small kitchen / dining room, and an en-suite bathroom for just €30.00 a night.

Thirty Euros (€30.00) a night!

And it wasn’t via Airbnb, but booking.com

But before we go any further, let me reiterate:

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

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

None of the hotels / hostels / apartments that I used were comped, or sponsored. All were paid for, absolutely by myself! As a result, you’ll also see my honest and verified view of what I thought when I stayed there, as a legitimate customer too.

Thanks a million!

Here’s all the variety of places where I stayed:

HOSTELS:

The Königssuite – Kings Suite at LaLeLu Hostel in Dresden
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Dresden – May 2018

It’s a boutique “mini-hostel” with just seven (7) rooms, which was why I booked it!

It’s in the trendy hip Äußere Neustadt, otherwise known as Antonstadt and just a 20 minute walk from the AltStadt! In fact, when I got there, I immediately felt quite at home!

I was in the Königssuite or the Kings Suite which was a romantic suite covered with gold and lots of red!

The bathroom and lovely kitchen is shared, but there’s a fee for bed sheets and towels.

Excellent WiFi!

I paid €39.00 per night for a private double room suite. If there’s two of you, that’s €19.50 a pop!

BED & BREAKFAST / GUEST HOUSES / PENSIONS:

The Hotel Pension zu Dresden Altpieschen in Dresden
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Dresden – May 2018

I was there for a week and really wished I could have stayed longer!

It’s a 1901-ish charming Guest House that is in the lovely district of Pieschen, about a 10 minute walk from the AltStadt, a 10 minute tram-ride to the NeuStadt, and a mere 250 metres from the river Elbe!

My room was in the loft, was absolutely huge, and had 20th century wooden beams features everywhere. I also had my own landing, my own staircase, and my own entrance door that could be securely locked!

I had a huge bathroom that was so big I couldn’t reach the mirror, so they had to had to get me a small one, for my tiny height!

A fridge was included, complete with a bottle of water!

Everything was delightful, except for the WiFi.

Quite adequate for your average tourist, but utterly useless for someone like me!

I paid €42.00 per night for a spacious loft. If there’s two of you, that’s €22.00 a pop!

Highly recommended!

The Pension Dresdener Berge in Dresden
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Dresden – April 2018

I couldn’t believe how cheap, but safe, the Pension / Bed and Breakfast would be!

This was my first hotel in Dresden, and if I had known then what I know now, I would have blocked-booked it, as I never got that fantastic price ever again!

In fact, I wasn’t even able to get the studio apartment either, as someone had booked it!

I highly recommend it as a budget option for 1 person, a couple, or a couple with a child!

I had a 2-bedroom studio apartment for just €30.00 a night!

It had a large bedroom, a small bedroom for a child, a small kitchen / dining room, and an en-suite bathroom.

Excellent WiFi!

I paid €30.00 per night for a 2-bedroom studio apartment. If there’s two of you, that’s €15.00 a pop, and your child is totally free of charge!

Book ahead!

APARTMENTS:

The work of a lifestyle, expat, travel blogger is never done. There’s just so much to dooo!

I stayed at two (2) different hotel – apartments. And one of them, I even stayed at twice!

The Hotel & Apartment Altstadtperle in Dresden
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Dresden – April 2018

With houses dated from the last century and older, genteel street lamps, and 300 year old churches scattered everywhere, it was no wonder that I found the quiet neighbourhood appealing.

I stayed in two different apartments at this hotel, and they were always quite large with a huge bathroom, and a small kitchen. And the cleaner came in every day!

I loved the hotel itself, the location was fantastic, and my apartment was great.

But the staff were lazy, and the WiFi pretty much non-existent. They also wouldn’t waive the City Tax even though they were supposed to!

I stayed here twice spanning almost two (2 weeks), as I really thought that the issues were a one-off.

They weren’t!

If you’re on holiday, it’s a really lovely apartment-hotel and I’d recommend it, but if you’re on a business trip, book somewhere else!

I paid €40.50 initially, and the following week I paid €46.08 per night. For two people, €20.25 and €23.04 a pop!

Stirl Apartments in Dresden
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Dresden – April 2018

My husband – The Music Producer and our son came to visit me in Dresden, so I booked a larger apartment in a residential area.

It had a fully equipped kitchen and dining room, a bedroom, a third bed, a sofabed, and a very nice bathroom!

The third bed was in our bedroom, but “The Tall Young Gentleman” was horrified when he saw it, so we used the sofabed in the “living room area” instead!

WiFi was excellent!

It was a little further away from the action than we would have wanted, but the neighbourhood was very quiet and peaceful.

We paid €85.00 per night which for three people would be €28.50 a pop!

SMALL HOTELS:

The Hotel Windsor in Dresden
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Dresden – May 2018
  • I stayed at the Hotel Windsor which is a very nice small hotel, which had the look of grandeur, but at surprisingly, “small budget” prices!

I had an en-suite bathroom, a double bed, a tiny writing-table and my own balcony.

Excellent WiFi!

I paid just €37.52 which is even less than I paid for the hostel above!

TRENDY FANCY HOTELS:

Aparthotel Am Schloss in Dresden.
©booking.com

It’s a hotel which is famous for it’s architecture, location, service and facilities.

It’s right in the center of the AltStadt, about 350 meters away from the Zwinger Palace in Dresden, and a few minutes from the Frauenkirche with the castle very, very close by!

We unfortunately couldn’t stay here as I had accidentally pre-booked Stirl Apartment as a last cheaper resort, just in case we couldn’t get the Aparthotel Am Schloss, and then I forgot!

I only remembered when I got a message stating that my reservation was now booked. Oops!

While we were in the AltStadt, I had a quick peek inside the Aparthotel Am Schloss.

It was exactly as I would have wished, and we really would have loved staying there!

Even though it was far more expensive than the hotels that I had previously been to, I would have preferred it, for the mere fact that it was exactly where we wanted to be.

In the Old Town!

It would have been €117 per night, but very much worth it!

Book ahead to get good prices.

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

Just because you have a fixed job, doesn’t mean that you can’t look for an adventure!

Sure!

The AltStadt is the historical part of town, but the The NeuStadt is a grungy hipster sort of place. It’s for the young and trendy, but you don’t have to be young or trendy to visit, and it’s not Copenhagen or Amsterdam, so you can definitely take your children!

There’s a lot of free stuff happening in the city. Most of the available info is in German, but if you check the website of Visit Dresden on a regular basis, keep your eyes open, or just ask a local where you can meet other locals, you’ll find them!

WHAT ABOUT TRANSPORT POSSIBILITIES?

Like any other typical German town, public transport in Dresden, is pretty efficient!

Dresden isn’t as large as Berlin, and as such public transport is like any other typical German town – trams, buses, ferries, and overland trains.

And like any other typical German town, public transport is pretty efficient.

When using public transport, there are many possibilities to buy a ticket. You can buy:

A variety of Dresden public transport tickets!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Dresden – April 2018
  • A short-trip ticket – €1.70
  • A single ticket – €2.30
  • A day ticket – €6.00
  • A four (4) journey ticket – €8.20
  • A family day ticket – €9.00
  • A small group ticket – €15.00
  • A weekly pass – €21.50
  • A monthly pass – €60.50
  • A season ticket (per month) – €50.90

I have bought them all, and since I’m a regular in Dresden, I decided to buy a season ticket to cut down on cost and for flexibility!

There are ticket machines pretty much everywhere, so you can buy your ticket whenever and wherever you want!

The ticket machine accepts cash, EC cards, and pretty much, most “recognised” credit cards!

As in Berlin, you buy your ticket and either validate it by clicking the ticket on a blue-standing object, which you’ll find on the train platform BEFORE you actually get on the train, or if using trams and buses, look for a sort of orange-standing object which is not far from the doorway, as soon as you get on.

Don’t forget, as in Berlin, there are no barriers to using public transport. However, there are random inspector checks, and if you are found NOT to have a valid ticket, the penalty is €60.00. Or more!

Dresden VVO – DVB public transport info & season ticket!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Dresden – May 2018

So in order to keep German public transport a non-barrier one, please buy your ticket!

The marvellous thing about using the trams and buses in Dresden is that they actually have information on the monitor display INSIDE the tram or bus stating the name of the next stop, the details of the next available buses, trams, and train numbers at the stop, as well as how long the waiting time would be!

The frequency isn’t every 3-5 minutes as in Berlin, but the monitor display tells you all the information that you need to know, so that you can make choices as to which transport provider to use.

Great stuff!

ANYTHING ELSE?

Lovely hotels, but why are there no Reception Desks?!

Surprisingly, most places in Dresden don’t actually have a Reception Desk!

And if they do, it isn’t manned or even open!

You generally have to let them know when you’re going to arrive so that they’ll be there to meet you, but if you arrive after-hours there’s a telephone number to call or instructions as to how to get the key, which is usually in some sort of secure coded box near by.

Oh, and just so you know, the City of Dresden also puts a Tourism Tax of €1.30 per person. Per night!

However, if you’re in Dresden for business reasons (and can prove it), the tax is waived.

MY VERDICT:

The Music Producer & Victoria at the Zwinger Palace in Dresden – Saxony!
©Frank Böster – Behind The Couch Studios – Dresden – April 2018

We quite like Dresden!

Dresden has culture, and a vibrant history.

For many international visitors, Dresden isn’t a destination that immediately comes to mind, unless it’s Christmas.

Because Dresden Stollen!

But if you’re in Saxony region, make it a point of duty to spend a few weeks days, in Dresden or as many as the surrounding area, as you can manage.

If you’re looking for a new destination in East Germany, and you’ve “done” Berlin (As if!), say hello – DRESDEN!

WOULD I COME AGAIN?

Obviously!

My office is in Dresden, so I sort of have to!

Let’s do it!

HOW TO LIVE IN DRESDEN. FOR LONGER THAN A DAY!

Tea for everyone!
How to live in Dresden. For longer than a day!

This article is not sponsored, and all opinions and all the beds that I bounced up and down on, are my very own!

Next week, the last post on Dresden!

And in a few weeks, I’ll be revealing my next summer trip!

Stay tuned.

Yay!

That’s it for now.

See you next week!

The Lighthouse of Moritzburg – Saxony.
How to live in Dresden. For longer than a day!

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 live in Dresden. For longer than a day!

Have you ever lived in Dresden? Do you prefer hostels, pensions, guest houses, B&B’s, apartments, or hotels`? Would you know how to navigate yourself around trams, trains, buses & horses?! 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

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