How to start a blog in just a mere 10 minutes: A simple guide!

How to start a blog in just a mere 10 minutes: A simple guide!
How to start a blog in just a mere 10 minutes: A simple guide!

In just 2 weeks, the ITB will take place in Berlin, and it’s so exciting!

In my mind, the ITB is one of the best places to go to if you’re a travel blogger, and for me that is where all the magic happened and I met a real-life blogger for the very first time!

Mind you, not all of them were nice, and one person in particular was pretty awful, but this is where I found out how useful my blog was, and where I received my first press trip. A mere five (5) months after my blog came into existence!

I’ve been very lucky!

I’ve also been at the right place at the right time. And where’s that maestro?

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

Why, Berlin of course!

Berlin is hip and trendy!

Mind you, it really helps if you can speak German, so go ahead, and book a class, and tell them that I sent you!

The other day, I went to a bloggers get-together, and I met a fellow who couldn’t understand how a blog could be made. He thought it was really difficult.

It really isn’t!

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

Having said that, if you’re going to survive in this business, it helps if you can write really well, or you have some other skill….

Now, I can’t help you with that, but I can show you how to start a blog for yourself.

Here goes!

HOW TO START A BLOG IN JUST A MERE 10 MINUTES: A SIMPLE GUIDE!

How to start a blog in just a mere 10 minutes: A simple guide!
How to start a blog in just a mere 10 minutes: A simple guide!

For many, when they think of WordPress, they think blog.

WHAT THE HELL IS WORDPRESS?

What the hell is wordpress?
What the hell is wordpress?

WordPress is web publishing software you can use to create your own website, blog, or app. Since it was released in 2003, WordPress has become one of the world’s largest and most popular web publishing platforms. Today it powers more than 70 million websites!

WordPress is much more just a blogging tool. It’s also a highly flexible content management system (CMS) that enables you to build and manage your own full-featured website using just your web browser. Best of all, it’s completely FREE!

And it’s free of charge because WordPress is an Open Source project beause hundreds of volunteers from all around the world constantly create and improve the code for the WordPress software. And, there are thousands of plugins, widgets, and themes that enable you to build just about any type of website you can imagine!

This post will show you how easy it is to get your blog, or website, up and running quickly.

CHOOSE A WEB HOST:

Choose a professional web hosting programme like Bluehost!
Choose a professional web hosting programme like Bluehost!

There are hundreds of thousands of web hosts out there, and choosing one from the crowd can be confusing. Depending on the country that you live in, choose whichever you are comfortable with.

If you don’t need the flexibility of a full web host, you may consider getting a free blog on WordPress.com. which is how I first started. And there’s perfectly nothing wrong with doing that!

However, I also mixed and blended as I went along mapping my free blog with my premium paid host which is why you either see my blog as this or this and if I leave a comment on your website (if you haven’t got one, all the better to be reading this post!), you’ll see my blog as this!

How to start a blog in just a mere 10 minutes: A simple guide!
How to start a blog in just a mere 10 minutes: A simple guide!

Having said that, if you’re looking for a popular well known host, and a host that won’t suddenly go bankrupt, then Bluehost should definitely be at the top of anyone’s list because Bluehost is one of the only hosting services officially recommended by WordPress and has been the top recommended hosting service for their platform for almost 10 years!

There are many reasons why Bluehost is so highly recommended, but here are just a few:

  • Premium customer service, reliability and usability
  • Easy-to-use control panel
  • Custom-built servers to provide the most stable and reliable hosting environment
  • Quickly get started with a one-click WordPress install, provided by MOJO Marketplace
  • Expert, in-house technical support provided 24 hours a day, 7 days a week
  • Unlimited websites, email accounts, and domains – all on one account, at an affordable price
  • No gimmicks, no contracts so that you can enjoy the comfort of a 30-day money back guarantee and the option to cancel at any time.
How to start a blog in just a mere 10 minutes: A simple guide!
How to start a blog in just a mere 10 minutes: A simple guide!

And to sweeten the deal even more, if you sign up through this tutorial, you’ll get a special offer of shared hosting at $3.95/month for 36 months, as well as a free domain name for a year!

To set up your hosting account with Bluehost, follow the steps below.

HOW TO SET UP YOUR HOSTING ACCOUNT:

Set up your hosting account with Bluehost!
Set up your hosting account with Bluehost!

Once you do so, the next page will see select your plan.

  • Click Get started now and choose which hosting package you want for a special introductory offer and a 30-day money-back guarantee!
  • On this page you will see three (3) different plan options: Basic, Plus, and Prime. I recommend the basic option at the beginning, and then as your traffic begins to grow and your blog expands, you could always consider upgrading to Plus or Prime.
  • If you’re still not sure, go for the free hosting package on WordPress.com but if you’re ready to get professional or at least look professional from the start, then go for self-hosting instead. Bluehost has great rates and they’ll also give you your domain name for free if you decide to host with them!
If you're ready to get professional or at least look professional from the start, then go for self-hosting instead!
If you’re ready to get professional or at least look professional from the start, then go for self-hosting instead!
  • The next page will direct you to the Sign Up Now page.
Choose a new domain name for your website or transfer or map, the one you already have!
Choose a new domain name for your website or transfer or map, the one you already have!
  • If you already own a domain name, you can enter it here, and you will just have to go through a few extra steps to make sure you get your DNS pointed to Bluehost.
  • If you don’t already have a domain name, you can purchase one from right in the sign up process, and the best part is, it comes free with your new WordPress hosting account purchase.

So for this you need to choose a domain name for your site:

Choose a really good domain name!
Choose a really good domain name!

Choosing a blog name is extremely difficult! You need a name that’s going to stick, something that’s catchy and memorable, but also something that you can grow with and that won’t make you look like a Silly Billy five (5) years down the line!

Really think about it!

If you make your domain name destination specific, what happens when you move? If you make your domain name age specific, what happens when you grow up? If you make your domain name budget specific, what happens when you start to become successful and can afford much more than a budget of $10.00 a day?

Me - The British Berliner - Live a life of both style & travel.
Me – The British Berliner – Live a life of both style & travel.

There is a reason that my blog is called The British Berliner.

Before this here blog ever existed, I lived in Berlin, and have always called myself The British Berliner. It used to be a running joke but when you think about it, it fits the label and is what it says on the tin!

I have lived in Berlin for over 15 years. I’m married, have a husband, and a teen. I’m pretty settled, and not likely to move anywhere else.

At least I don’t think so lol!

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

I’m also British. And regardless of that awful situation of Brexit, I love my country, and that won’t ever go away.

I’m both British and German.

I am The British Berliner!

So think carefully about your domain name.

Your Account Information for putting in personal details
Your Account Information for putting in personal details
  • Once you’ve entered a domain name, the next page will lead you to creating your account. This is where you should fill in your personal information.

This page will have a section where there’s:

Your Package Information & Payment Information section.
Your Package Information &
Payment Information section.
  • Account Information for putting in your personal details
  • Package Information for choosing which package you want to purchase
  • Payment Information for making payment via credit card or paypal
How to start a blog in just a mere 10 minutes: A simple guide!
How to start a blog in just a mere 10 minutes: A simple guide!

By the way, basic shared hosting is priced at 12, 24 and 36 month terms thus:

  • A Basic 12 month package is $5.45 per month
  • A Basic 24 month package is $4.95 per month
  • A Basic 36 month package is $3.95 per month

To help save you money obviously, the longer the term you purchase, the lower the monthly rate will be. By choosing a 36-month hosting term, you can get the great introductory rate of $3.95 per month. And, because you’ve chosen to host with Bluehost, if you ever need more than a shared hosting account, Bluehost provides seamless upgrades to VPS or dedicated server hosting accounts from inside your control panel!

How to start a blog in just a mere 10 minutes: A simple guide!
How to start a blog in just a mere 10 minutes: A simple guide!
  • After you’ve filled in your information and chosen your hosting package, click the Submit button to complete your purchase.
  • You’ll then be asked to create a password for your account. You can use the Password Generator to create a strong and secure password, or create one yourself.

It is required to have both capital and lowercase letters, a number, and a special character (?!#, etc.) in order to have a strong enough password to protect your account.

Now that you are all signed up and are able to log into your account, you can get started installing WordPress!

HOW TO INSTALL WORDPRESS:

How to install WordPress!
How to install WordPress!

This may seem like the most complicated step, but Bluehost has worked hard to make this one of the easiest things for you to do by using the new MOJO Marketplace for installing WordPress and other applications.

  • In your cPanel, scroll to the section titled MOJO Marketplace and choose the One-Click Installs button.
Installing WordPress via Bluehost
Installing WordPress via Bluehost
  • This will take you to a page inside MOJO Marketplace called Scripts and Platforms. The blog section is at the very top, so all you have to do here is click on the WordPress icon.
  • This will open the installation window.
Click on the green “Start” button that will start the WordPress installation process
Click on the green “Start” button that will start the WordPress installation process
  • Click on the green Start button that will start the WordPress installation process. The next part is easy and only a few steps.
Select which domain you would like to install to
Select which domain you would like to install to
  • Step 1: Choose where you want to install WordPress. This can be any domain on your account, a subdomain, or a folder for one of your domains.
  • Next, click on Check Domain, which will make sure the domain is assigned and pointing to your account. You may get a warning that you are overwriting files, but as long as you don’t have another website built yet, you can check the box and continue. This is mostly to make sure that you really want to install in that location. If you do have other sites built, you will want to make sure you’re not overwriting something important.
  • Step 2: Show Advanced Options. This section allows you to set up your own username and password for your WordPress install. It’s recommended to use a different username than admin and a very strong password.
  • Make sure that the Automatically create a new database for this installation box is checked, unless you have a database already set up that you want to use.
Once you're done, click “Install Now!”
Once you’re done, click “Install Now!”
  • Step 3: After you’ve read the terms and conditions, check the box indicating that you’ve done so, then click Install Now.
Once WordPress is fully installed, it will provide you with your site URL, the admin login URL, your username, and password. Make sure to keep it in a safe place.
Once WordPress is fully installed, it will provide you with your site URL, the admin login URL, your username, and password.
Make sure to keep it in a safe place.
  • Now you’ll see the progress page, which will show you how far along the installation is.
  • Once WordPress is fully installed, it will provide you with your site URL, the admin login URL, your username, and password.
  • You will get a copy of this information, except your password, in your email as well.
  • Make sure to keep it in a safe place.
Type in your username and password and you’re in. Hurrah!
Type in your username and password and you’re in. Hurrah!

 

  • Now you can log into your WordPress site by going to the admin login URL.
  • Enter your username and password, then click Log In and you’re in!

Congratulations! You’ve just created your first website or blog!

Congratulations! You've just created your first website or blog!
Congratulations! You’ve just created your first website or blog!
  • Once you’ve logged in, you’ll be taken to your WordPress dashboard. From here, you can control everything to do with your WordPress site, such as creating pages, writing posts, and changing the appearance.
  • Then all you have to do next is to write something or add a picture, and when you’re ready, hit publish!

Keep it sweet and simple and you’ll be fine!

Welcome to your first post!
Welcome to your first post!

Wow!

Welcome to your first post and the virtual bloggers club, otherwise known as twitter!

Remember, if you sign up through this tutorial, you’ll receive a special offer of shared hosting at $3.95/month for 36 months, as well as a free domain name for a year!

I’m not an expert in the technical field, but if I can setup a WordPress blog all by myself, so can you!

If you have any additional questions, comments or simply need more help, just ask, and I’ll do my best to help!

*The promotional price is for the first term only and renews at the regular rate.

HOW TO START A BLOG IN JUST A MERE 10 MINUTES: A SIMPLE GUIDE!

How to start a blog in just a mere 10 minutes: A simple guide!
How to start a blog in just a mere 10 minutes: A simple guide!

This article is not sponsored and all opinions and brilliant thoughts, are my very own!

It’s almost March!

On 07.03.17, I’ll be at the Travel Massive ITB 2017 Opening Party!

On 08.03.17, I’ll be at the iambassador – Traveldudes – ITB Travel Tweet-Up event.

On 08.03.17 – 12.03.17, the world’s largest tourism trade fair – the ITB will be in action, and everyone who is anyone in the travel industry, will be here!

On 15.03.17, I’ll be at the Spring Reception for the British Community at the British Embassy in Berlin.

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

And in March and April, I’ll be on the road again to Austria & Croatia!

If you’re not in Berlin in March, you’re positively dull!

Watch this space!

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

A win-win for all!

Thanks a million!

How to start a blog in just a mere 10 minutes: A simple guide!
How to start a blog in just a mere 10 minutes: A simple guide!

Do you have any other questions about how to start a blog? Any comments or suggestions? Let me know below! 

See you in Berlin.

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

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

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A Beginners’ Guide to the Berlinale, otherwise known as the Berlin International Film Festival 2017!

Stanley Tucci as the marvellous Director of the film - Final Portrait, at the Berlinale. ©Berlinale
Stanley Tucci as the marvellous Director of the film – Final Portrait, at the Berlinale.
©Berlinale

OMG!

I’ve told you before and I’ll probably tell you a million times over, living in Berlin is awfully fabulous!

I mean, there’s just so much to do!

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

Only a few weeks ago I was telling you all about how I could afford to travel all over Europe, and using the train no less, as well as floating through Berlin Fashion Week, rushing through windmills in Holland, and skiing in the Czech Mountains, which the official Twitter account of Visit Czech Republic, kindly retweeted and shared!

And just the other week, the Sputnik Kino put out all the stops to bring us the British Shorts Film Festival too!

Diego Luna & Maggie Gyllenhaal at the Berlinale. ©Berlinale
Diego Luna & Maggie Gyllenhaal at the Berlinale.
©Berlinale

And now, ladies and gents, the red carpet has been rolled out yet again, and Berlin has been hobnobbing with the best of the best. I mean, if it’s good enough for Richard Gere and Jonny Lee Miller of T2 Trainspotting. It’s surely good enough for you!

And why forsooth?

Because?

Because the 67th Berlin International Film Festival, otherwise known as the Berlinale, is in town!

Now for those of you interested in getting a piece of the action it’s quite easy.

WHAT IS THE BERLIN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL / BERLINALE?

My press pass at the Berlinale.
My press pass at the Berlinale.

Well, the Berlinale is simply, the world’s largest public film festival which provides an audience of interested film-goers, a city full of excitement, a diverse cultural scene, fascinating new films, and an opportunity to see, talk to, and take close-up pictures, of international stars in the movie world!

The public programme of the Berlinale shows about 400 films per year, mostly international or European premieres of every genre, length and format! Formats such as epic international cinema (Competition), independent art house (Panorama), films for a younger audience (Generation), new talent from the German film scene (Perspektive Deutsches Kino), avant-garde, experimental cinematography (Forum / Forum Expanded), weird black and white science fiction (Retrospective), film classics / rediscovered films (Berlinale Classics), cult films (Homage), and films about food (Culinary Cinema), art house cinemas within Berlin (Berlinale Goes Kiez), cinematic story-telling of Indigenous people around the world (NATIVe – A Journey into Indigenous Cinema), and short pieces (Berlinale Shorts).

Jeanne Werner. And if you look closely, I'm sitting on the right, on the row behind her! You can just about see my hands! Es war einmal in Deutschland - Bye Bye Germany. ©Berlinale
Jeanne Werner. And if you look closely, I’m sitting on the right, on the row behind her! You can just about see my hands!
Es war einmal in Deutschland – Bye Bye Germany. ©Berlinale

And with more than:

  • 335,000 sold tickets
  • 20,000 professional visitors
  • 122 countries
  • 3,800 journalists
Press hacks at the Berlinale!
Press hacks at the Berlinale!

You simply can’t go wrong!

That’s right.

From the 9th of February to the 19th February, 2017, Berlin will be packed solid with members of the film industry.

My heart swells when I know that Berlin is competing with the likes of other film festivals, in Cannes and Sundance.

Alright, not in the same category, but still. A festival to be proud of!

With more than four hundred (400) films, fifteen (15) categories sections, and more than half a million cinema visits, the Berlinale is not only an independent film festival with a difference, but also a film festival that ordinary people can actually visit.

Ordinary punters at the Berlinale. You know. People like YOU! ©Berlinale
Ordinary punters at the Berlinale. You know. People like YOU!
©Berlinale

Yes, that means YOU!

A world international festival can sometimes be daunting, so I’m going to try and make it as easy as possible so that you too can participate. If you want to!

Read my beginners’ guide and find out how!

A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO THE BERLINALE / THE

BERLIN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2017!

Punters waiting at the Berlinale Palast to see the stars. Be prepared & wrap up warmly! ©Berlinale
Punters waiting at the Berlinale Palast to see the stars. Be prepared & wrap up warmly!
©Berlinale
  • BE PREPARED: The Berlinale always takes place in February so get yourself on the mailing list of the Berlinale, so that you know when the official Berlinale programme is published.
  • USE THE INTERNET: There is a Berlinale homepage in both English and German. On the homepage is a Programme Section which also has a most valuable item called the programme planner. Use this item to search for films so that you have an idea of what you might want to see BEFORE the film festival begins.
Search for a programme at the Berlinale.
Search for a programme at the Berlinale.
  • GET THE PROGRAMME: If you’re not entirely sure what each film is about, you can either download the pdf format or if you’re in Berlin (and why wouldn’t you be!), you can pretty much find the programme brochures in every cinema forum in the city. Just help yourself!
  • USE TECHNOLOGY: Not only can you use the programme planner for your personal searches but you can also get into the 21st century and, for the first time ever, download the Apps (for Android and iOS) which links into the programme planner so that you can mark your favourite film or event at home, or on the move, and still remain up-to-date across multiple devices. The app also provides Berlinale information about festival venues, festival events and an overview of festival video broadcasts, the Opening and Closing Gala, as well as all the fun on the Red Carpet!
Relax & check my social media at the Berlinale Open House! © Berlinale
Relax & check my social media at the Berlinale Open House!
© Berlinale
  • USE SOCIAL MEDIA: The Berlinale is on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube. You can also follow my titbits and little quips here! Not only that, but around the Potsdamer Platz Arcade, WiFi is available for 2 hours per day per person, and there are other WIFI hotspots scattered around in various venues. For free!
  • MAKE A LIST: Once you have a rough idea of what you want to see, go ahead and make a list. Don’t forget to put the date, the name of the film in it’s original language and in English, the venue, and the time. Then make a second list with different films. Just in case. And a third one too!
Look at the packed crowd for the World Premier of Es war einmal in Deutschland - Bye Bye Germany. Aim to arrive early!
Look at the packed crowd for the World Premier of Es war einmal in Deutschland – Bye Bye Germany.
Aim to arrive early!
  • CHECK THE FILM TIME: People get really excited when punters finally get the film of their dream and then discover soon after, that they can’t actually watch it ‘cos they’re still at a previous showing! Just because the film states a starting time of 20:00 doesn’t actually mean that it’s going to start at 20:00! Films start late, discussions over lap. Deal with it! I find that putting films three (3) hours apart generally leaves more than enough room to manoeuvre. So, if for example, a film starts at 09:30, the next film I book is at 12:30 and not anything less! Most films tend to last between 80 and 100 minutes but you want to give yourself time for overlaps and also for getting from A to B. Berlin’s public transport system is fantastic but you still have to wade your way through the crowds to get out of the venue itself, and then go downstairs to your next train station, not to talk of wading yourself through more crowds, at the next film venue!
  • LEAVE EARLY: Doors generally open 10 minutes before the film starts, so make sure you’re in the queue at least 20 minutes before the movie begins. If it’s a popular film, give yourself 30 minutes as there is no allocated seating. First come, first served. No seat is a dud in my opinion, but if you have preferred seating, then get there early.
Get your Berlinale film tickets in person!
Get your Berlinale film tickets in person!

This means that you’re going to have to gird your loins, get all your mates together and be smart and efficient. Each individual can only buy 2 tickets per film, except for Generation (children / youth films) which you can buy 4 tickets at a time, and Culinary Cinema film screenings at 7.30 pm, which you can buy as many as you like! You can of course, cross your fingers and buy on the day if tickets are available at the box office of the cinemas themselves. Ticket counters open daily from 10:00 to 20:00, with people forming a queue from as early as 08:00!

If you don't feel up to being with the rabble, not a problem, use your fingers and go online to buy tickets at the Berlinale instead!
If you don’t feel up to being with the rabble, not a problem, use your fingers and go online to buy tickets at the Berlinale instead!
  • BUYING TICKETS ONLINE: If you don’t feel up to being with the hoi polloi, not a problem, use your fingers and go online instead! On the programme page is an online ticket icon. If you click on it, you’ll be directed to the online ticket shop but be warned, the other buyers are keen film-goers and pros. at this game. You’ll need firm fingers to keep clicking and refreshing in order to get those tickets. Or better still, allocate yourself an army of friends to help you.

You know how concert tickets sell out in 10 minutes? Yep! They use the same method. Friends! Mates! Neighbours! Everyone you know!

Grab a few friends to help you buy your Berlinale ticket!
Grab a few friends to help you buy your Berlinale ticket!

If you click on the Online Tickets icon, you will automatically be forwarded to the website of the Berlinale ticketing partner – Eventim. You’ll have to create an Eventim account with an extra processing fee of €2.00 per ticket. You can also use a major credit card and the tickets will be delivered to you either by Email, on your mobile phone, or you can simply pick the tickets up at the Online Ticket Pick-up Counter in the Potsdamer Platz Arcade shopping centre, by showing your printed confirmation and ID card.

There’s an exclusive ticket counter only for punters with Mastercard!

Berlinale ticket prices are very reasonable!
Berlinale ticket prices are very reasonable!
  • TICKET PRICES: Berlinale tickets are generally between €4.00 – €22.00! A 50% discount is available for selected last-minute tickets and of course, if you’re a student, of school age, on welfare, etc, then a 50% discount on tickets are available too.

If you register by telephone, groups of at least 5 people for Generation tickets, cost just €2.50 each!

Roll up! Roll up! Queue up & come & get your ticket! © Berlinale
Roll up! Roll up! Queue up & come & get your ticket!
© Berlinale
  • NO TICKET: If you still haven’t got the ticket you want, then go ahead and get any other film ticket instead!

The whole point of a film festival are the intriguing films that are made available. Every film has passed muster, and outside of your own personal preference, none of the films are duds. Go on live a little! If you’re still unsure, then go to the venue of your choice and either hold out a sign that you’re looking for an extra ticket, or look for individuals who might want to sell theirs. Don’t deal with touts though. If the individual looks nice enough and has 1 or 2 tickets rather than 20, and is willing to sell it at market price, or even cheaper, then go for it!

  • WATCH YOUR THROAT: After watching quite a few films, the throat does tend to take a bit of a beating as the rooms can get a bit dry, so arm yourself with water and cough drops. Take a scarf too, in case the air-con is at full blast!
A film industry and press-only conference, at the Berlinale! ©Berlinale
A film industry and press-only conference, at the Berlinale!
©Berlinale
  • PRESS: If you’re a press person, you should have been through the accreditation process and have your badge and Berlinale gift bag! Nevertheless, even press people have to organise themselves, as tickets are only made available one (1) day prior, and so I found myself checking into the Grand Hyatt Berlin on a daily basis!

At 08:00 in the morning. Eeek!

After a hard day at the Berlinale, surely I deserve a glass of champagne!
After a hard day at the Berlinale, surely I deserve a glass of champagne!

On the other hand, free water, free coffee (Ouch!) free WiFi, a press room, comfy seats and a quick means of getting all the press stuff and press tickets that you need, are provided.

Everyone has been so helpful and kind and because I’m now a pro. I’ve gotten each and every film ticket that I have wanted so far.

Thank you Berlinale Press Team!

Bing Lang Xue - The Taste of Betel Nut - A Hong Kong film at the Berlinale. ©Berlinale
Bing Lang Xue – The Taste of Betel Nut – A Hong Kong film at the Berlinale.
©Berlinale

I really don’t think so!

In my case, I aim for weird Asian films, obscure East European films, Anglo-American films with controversial topics, and films over issues that I would never usually go for ‘cos they’re just not shown at your local flick!

Menashe - The first Yiddish film to be presented at the Berlinale. Ever! © Federica Valabrega
Menashe – The first Yiddish film to be presented at the Berlinale. Ever!
© Federica Valabrega
  • STAY FOR Q&A: The beauty of an international film festival or any film festival at all, is that everyone tends to be there. You get stars such as Richard Gere, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey), Gillian Anderson (Scully), Chloë Sevigny, Kristin Scott Thomas, Jonny Lee Miller (Trainspotting), Timothy Spall, Steeve Coogan, Cillian Murphy, Sibel Kekili (Game of Thrones), Moritz Bleibtreu, Jason Issacs (Harry Potter), and Geoffrey Rush. Directors such as Stanley Tucci (The Hunger Games), Danny Boyle (Trainspotting & Slum Dog Millionaire), Gurinder Chadh (Bend it like Beckham), and other directors, producers, actors.

In fact, everyone!

Helena Bonham-Carter sat behind me at the Berlinale,and I hadn't even noticed, until she got up to go to the front of the stage!
Helena Bonham-Carter sat behind me at the Berlinale,and I hadn’t even noticed, until she got up to go to the front of the stage!

Three years ago, Helena Bonham-Carter sat behind me and I hadn’t even noticed, until she got up to go to the front of the stage!

Actors, directors and producers tend to go out to the front and apart from staring at them really closely, you can ask them questions about their films or their thoughts, surrounding that film. And being that this is Berlin, everyone’s really chilled and not freaking out, or going crazy!

Not inside the cinema theatre in any case.

George Clooney © Berlinale
George Clooney
© Berlinale

If there’s a hottie on the red carpet like George Clooney, Jonny Lee Miller or Richard Gere, all that flies out of the window, and people start screaming!

I mean, it sometimes goes insane.

Richard Gere at the Berlinale. Everyone went crazy! ©Berlinale
Richard Gere at the Berlinale. Everyone went crazy!
©Berlinale

The actors are always calm, professional and charming (especially George & Richard. We’re on first name basis now of course..!) but the audience just lose themselves with star-lust, over-whelmingness, or the fact that film premier tickets can sell out surprisingly quickly, and not be found for love or money. If you didn’t know somebody, who knew somebody, who knew somebody, way up there, chances were, you wouldn’t get a look in!

The atmosphere once you get indoors, really is comforting and quite frankly, it’s nice.

Practically every member of the T2 Trainspotting cast got mobbed at the Berlinale. Even Ewen Bremner - Spud! ©Berlinale
Practically every member of the T2 Trainspotting cast got mobbed at the Berlinale. Even Ewen Bremner – Spud!
©Berlinale

And all for the price of a cinema ticket.

Less in some cases!

  • MAKE FRIENDS: Chat to the person next to you. Find your friends and partners and go for a well deserved late night drink!
Make Friends at the Berlinale! ©Berlinale
Make Friends at the Berlinale!
©Berlinale
  • TAKE ACTION: Now that you know what to do, go ahead and get yourself a film ticket and do it all over again the next day!

See you at the Berlinale!

A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO THE BERLINALE / THE

BERLIN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2017!

Laura Hajek & the hilarious Steve Coogan at the Berlinale. ©Berlinale
Laura Hajek & the hilarious Steve Coogan at the Berlinale.
©Berlinale

This article is not sponsored and even though I received press tickets, all opinions and the excellent festival films that I chose, are my very, very own!

It’s February!

I have so much to share with you.

Next week, I’ll be reviewing the films that I saw at the Berlinale.

February is enjoyably rushed!

Catch me if you can!

Please also note that there is now a Booking.com affiliate link (for the very first time) connected to a few hotels. Please consider using the link, because every time some sort of accommodation is booked via my link I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself! A win-win for all!

Thanks a million!

A Beginners' Guide to the Berlinale, otherwise known as the Berlin International Film Festival 2017!
A Beginners’ Guide to the Berlinale, otherwise known as the Berlin International Film Festival 2017!

Have you ever been to a film festival? What actor would you like to see in real life? Let me know!

See you in Berlin.

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

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

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

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

So a fortnight (two weeks) ago, I told you about how many countries that I travelled to in 2016. And if you’re just joining us, it was 10!

I also told you how I did it, and the plans that I have for 2017. 

In 2016, I’ll be travelling to thirteen (13) countries.

Most of them will be in Europe, and plenty of them, I’ll be reaching by train!

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

But why?

Why the train?

Why not fly?

Why not fly?
Why not fly?

Well, to Russia, I’m thinking strongly of taking some sort of ship or cruise, and to England and Ireland, perhaps flying would be quicker….!

And then again. Perhaps not!

But the fact remains.

I live in Berlin.

In Germany.

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

And Germany is right in the center of Europe.

It has airports, train stations, bus stations, bicycle stations, cars and every possible means of transport.

I travel a lot for leisure and pleasure, and many a time, the adventure is in the getting there rather than the destination itself!

Zoooooop! Don't say it! @eatdrinkandrun.com
Zoooooop! Don’t say it!
@eatdrinkandrun.com

And let’s not forget the hassle, long queues and stringent baggage requirements that airlines require these days. Quite frankly, for a 1.5 hour flight you’re looking at arriving the airport (if flying to the UK) at least 2 hours before, if flying inter-continental, at least 3 hours. Not to talk of actually getting to the airport itself!

Luckily for me, Berlin has excellent local public transport that is cheap, efficient, clean, and reliable. I can’t say the same if you’re trying to get to London Heathrow, which is the busiest airport in the world. And equally as complicated, if you don’t know your way around London.

Me!
Me!

Being that I live in Berlin, makes it an extremely easy way to travel.

In fact, travelling by train through the European continent is one of the most comfortable ways to travel with ease, from one country to the other. And by far, one of the cheapest!

Is it any wonder that one of my favourite forms of transport is the train!

WHY TRAVEL BY TRAIN IN EUROPE?

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

There are many reasons why travelling by train in Europe is a most excellent idea, here are some below:

  • It’s cheap:
Travelling by train is a cheap as a bunch of locally grown flowers!
Travelling by train is a cheap as a bunch of locally grown flowers!

I bought a twelve-hour (12) direct train ticket from Berlin to Budapest. In first class for €69.00. Second class was just €10.00 cheaper at €59.00! I couldn’t believe it , so I bought it! My child was free of charge!

I bought a seven (7) hour train journey (second class) train ticket via the Hungarian Railways or MAV at a cost of 11,780 Ft or €38.40 to travel from Budapest to Prague. Child included in the cost!

A five (5) hour train journey ticket (second class) to travel from Prague to Berlin in August, was just €29.00! My child cost nothing at all!

Over the Landwasser Viaduct in Switzerland. ©Michaa Ludwiczak / Getty
Over the Landwasser Viaduct in Switzerland.
©Michaa Ludwiczak / Getty

For Switzerland, we took the Sparpreis Europa city night line train, and the eleven (11) hour return ticket journey from Berlin – Lucerne – Berlin, including reserved seating in July. Cost just €98.00. My child was free!

As a matter of fact, our return ticket from Berlin – Copenhagen – Berlin was a mere €58.00! And even though we actually missed our connection on the way home, and had to buy another ticket…it was still a sweet deal!

  • Kids travel for free:
Children under 15 travelling inter-city or inter-country, with their relatives, usually travel on the European train, for free!
Children under 15 travelling inter-city or inter-country, with their relatives, usually travel on the European train, for free!

Throughout last summer, I took an international train every weekend, and the price for our son – The Tall Young Gentleman was nothing at all!

His fare was completely and utterly free.

Yep!

Free of charge.

Nada!

Children under 15 travelling inter-city or inter-country, with their relatives, usually travel on the European train, for free!
Children under 15 travelling inter-city or inter-country, with their relatives, usually travel on the European train, for free!

In Germany, children under 15 travelling inter-city or inter-country, with their parents, grandparents, or relatives, travel on the German Rail, otherwise known as Deutsche Bahn (DB), train for free!

Note that if you book Spar Preis Europa trains with the German Rail on this version, your children will be free of charge too!

Other European countries do the same and either have free transport for children, or special prices for families too.

Our son as a baby - 20 months old!
Our son as a baby – 20 months old!

On our last visit to the UK, we bought an Advance Single train ticket – via the National Rail – from Manchester Oxford Road to a station in Cheshire. Our adult tickets for a 30 minute inter-city train were £3.00 each, and £1.50 for our child. Our Express Train tickets from Manchester Airport to Manchester Oxford Road (in the city) were just £5.00 each per adult, and £2.50 for our child.

  • Delays are minimal and compensated:
The German Rail / Deutsche Bahn train leaving Berlin.
The German Rail / Deutsche Bahn train leaving Berlin.

When travelling by European train, there is very little fuss to it, and far fewer delays than flying

In fact, European Regulation (EC) 1371/2007 on rail passengers’ rights and obligations (2009), state that passengers are entitled to standardised rights in the rail sector in Germany and in Europe.

If there are delays of at least sixty (60) minutes or more, you are entitled to compensation, and if you were to take a taxi, or another mode of transport up to €80.00, you could have that refunded too. Make sure you get the correct documentation at either the train station concerned, from another station, or from the train staff!

  • Luggage:
Get a train ticket and travel through Europe!
Get a train ticket and travel through Europe!

Train travel means that there is plenty of room for your luggage. And if you wished to take the kitchen sink with you (within reason), you probably could. No need to worry about how heavy your luggage would be and how much. There is relatively little or no fuss. In many cases, the railway staff would even help you carry your bags!

No when was the last time that you saw airport staff carry luggage for anyone!

  • Personal space:
You can strech your legs in the corridor of the Polish Train.
You can stretch your legs in the corridor of the Polish Train.

Unlike air or bus travel, there is room to move around, and really stretch your legs. And depending on how long the journey is, they sometimes have some dedicated time for passengers to go outside, buy some refreshments, get some fresh air, take photographs, or get some WiFi!

  • The social factor:
On the Czech-infused train from Berlin to Budapest!
On the Czech-infused train from Berlin to Budapest!

The European train is a little like the Indian train in the sense that you actually get to meet people. And talk to them.

I mean, you’re sitting elbow to elbow, you’re probably going to an international country, the passengers are either locals or tourists themselves, and to be frank, everyone is quite interested in your journey. And if you’ve got a bottle of booze somewhere.

All the better!

So now to the real McCoy!

HOW TO USE THE TRAIN IN EUROPE: 10 TIPS TO HELP YOU

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

Depending on where you are coming from, you need to:

1.  Get a train ticket:

Get a train ticket and travel through Europe!
Get a train ticket and travel through Europe!

The cheapest way to ease into buying train tickets through most European countries (not all), is to actually book through the Deutsche Bahn portal on the local German English version not the UK or USA version! Note that for Germany, Austria, Belgium, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Holland, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden and Switzerland, if you’re going by train, I don’t recommend that you do so by InterRail or EuroRail passes, if you’re only travelling to one country, as the prices are ridiculously expensive and children have to be paid for!

The snag is to book tickets with the national train companies, directly. On their own websites, or through the German Rail otherwise known as Deutsche Bahn. Most websites have an English version. Some can be admittedly slightly hidden, but persevere, or contact them directly by calling, or via Email!

Get a train ticket and travel through Europe!
Get a train ticket and travel through Europe!

But don’t forget. Not all train companies allow you to pay online, or even to buy local tickets at local prices! Some train companies only allow you to buy a Eurail ticket if you’re buying from abroad, and which you can only pay for with a credit card. For more info on that check here..  And some do, but you either have to buy the ticket on the train, or have to pay online and then collect the train tickets once you’re in the country itself, or change the language of the website!

For train travel all around the world check out the website of The Man in Seat Sixty-One . . . or Deutsche Bahn.

A goat on the train? Ah well, anything can happen. I've seen worse. Swans for example!
A goat on the train? Ah well, anything can happen. I’ve seen worse.
Swans for example!

But remember, if you’re using the Deutsche Bahn website, change the location to Germany and use the English word for Deutschland which is Germany! NOT the UK/Ireland one! And then change the language to English!

2.  Check online for best routes:

A map of the European High - Speed Train Network!
A map of the European High – Speed Train Network!

Many train companies have their own website which you can access for routes so that you can see where you want to go. Or better yet. Where they actually go, and how to get there!

3.  Do your research:

Do you need to get a bus and then the train? Or vice-versa in Barcelona. Spain?
Do you need to get a bus and then the train? Or vice-versa in Barcelona. Spain?

I live in Berlin and the Polish border is just under two hours away as such, there are discount prices from the German Railway Service known as Deutsche Bahn or DB. You can get a one-way single ticket from Berlin to Stettin or Szczecin in Poland, for just €11.00. Reduced tickets for €8.30. If you want to make a day of it, a day ticket would be €22.00 and €16.60 respectively. You could use it for every local transport in Stettin and the ticket is valid until 03:00 the next day!

Or you could get the German Regional tickets also known as the Länder-Tickets. These are fantastic bargains as the Berlin-Brandenburg regional one day ticket is only €29.00 and can be used by up to 5 people! That’s right! 5 people can travel on this ticket and they don’t have to be related! This ticket is valid from 09:00 to 03:00 the following day, and on the trams and buses in Stettin (Szczecin), and can be used to get to the Polish border!

Yeah well, no promises on the Bogus Bus!
Yeah well, no promises on the Bogus Bus!

You sometimes see people hustling for ticket holders in Stettin (Szczecin) ‘cos if you have 5 people travelling together that’s €5.00 each. A bargain if ever I saw one!

You can get this ticket from the VBB Verkehrsverbund Berlin-Brandenburg website or DB online. For more information check here and here.

4.  In fact, if you are in Germany, why not hop to some of our neighbouring countries too:

"The Tall Young Gentleman" didn't look too happy that for Switzerland, we took the Sparpreis Europa city night line train!
“The Tall Young Gentleman” didn’t look too happy that for Switzerland, we took the Sparpreis Europa city night line train!

It might take you a while, but you can take the train from Berlin to London for as little as €59.00, to Belgium, the Netherlands, France, Austria, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Italy, Denmark, Croatia, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovenia, Slovakia, and Poland for as little as €39.00 per single ticket or one way trip!

And if it’s not too far away. And being that this is Europe we’re talking about, so it isn’t! Fares can sometimes go as low as €19.00 for destinations such as to Prague for example!

The Deutsche Bahn building in Berlin!
The Deutsche Bahn building in Berlin!

For more information check here.

5.  Reserve your seat:

Me relaxing at the Berlin Music Video Awards.
Me relaxing at the Berlin Music Video Awards.

Now as a blogger, I’m always online in some form or the other, and it really surprises me how travellers and tourists leave their train bookings until the very last minute!

Believe me. Don’t do that!

It was lovely having a Bristol cab and driver waiting for me!
It was lovely having a Bristol cab and driver waiting for me!

Trains are popular in Europe. And if the destination is on a well-worn track, then the trains will be packed. And if it’s the weekend or a public holiday, you won’t get a seat, and will be forced to stand….!

In the summer, it’s not unknown for teenagers to be sitting on the corridor floor with their mates for a few hours.

But they can cope. Can you?

Try to reserve a seat on the European train!
Try to reserve a seat on the European train!

Now if you really don’t want to pay for a reserved seat, then the trick is to either go to the very front of the train, or the very back of it. And be quick about it!

However, if you’ve got luggage or kids, somebody from your party ought to sprint in and bagsy a couple of non-reserved  seats, or you might as well do the decent relaxing thing, and reserve the seat of your choice, in a compartment that you prefer.

Our tiny Czech train in the middle of no-where!
Our tiny Czech train in the middle of no-where!

Having said that, lots of small rural or regional trains have no possibility to reserve seats at all, so either jump in and turn left, or go upstairs!

6.  Take some refreshments with you:

Take some refreshments with you!
Take some refreshments with you!

If you’re on a regional or rural train, no refreshments will be sold on the train. And don’t even think that you can buy “something” at the next station as countryside train stations are either tiny little things, or simply non-existent!

Generally, super-clean-fast-efficient-modern-high speed trains have restaurants and trolley service throughout the train, but you can’t be sure that you’ll like either what they’re offering, or the prices!

Refreshments on the European first class train usually include a small bottle of wine or beer. But not always!
Refreshments on the European first class train usually include a small bottle of wine or beer. But not always!

‘Best to bring your own stuff if travelling in second class. Refreshments are usually given for first class customers and usually include a small bottle of wine or beer. But not always!

7.  Talk to the locals:

Don't be afraid to talk to locals or your fellow travellers on the European train!
Don’t be afraid to talk to locals or your fellow travellers on the European train!

My fellow travellers were always very helpful and we usually spoke in a mixture of English or German and a splattering of whatever the local language happens to be. With a lot of hand gestures, acting, drawing, and generally making quite a fool of myself, they usually understood what I was asking! The local travellers always helped us get off at the stop that we usually required too.

Many a time just looking anxious, or “other,” tends to open a conversation. And really, you don’t ever have to worry. The locals will help you. Just ask. Promise!

The locals will help you. Just ask. Promise!
The locals will help you. Just ask.
Promise!

In some cases, even the train driver will help you!

8.  Be prepared:

Have the correct documentation with you when travelling on the European train, and be prepared!
Have the correct documentation with you when travelling on the European train, and be prepared!

When travelling through Europe, you’re likely to go through different countries, each with it’s own distinct flavour of technology. In highly advanced countries such as Germany, Switzerland, Holland, and the Nordic countries, technical equipment will be at it’s highest, with power outlets either in between your seats, on the table, or on the side of the wall near the window!

In less advanced nations such as in Eastern Europe and even in Southern Europe, not so much!

There might be wifi and a power outlet. And there might not!
There might be WiFi and a power outlet. And there might not!

There will be WiFi, but it probably won’t work, or will be spotty at best. And there will be no power outlets! On our 15 hour train journey to Hungary, I spent hours searching the train for a plug-hole. And where was it?

In the restaurant, hanging dangerously on the wall of the heavy main train door, or in the toilet!

Er No!

Have the correct documentation with you when travelling on the European train, and be prepared!
Have the correct documentation with you when travelling on the European train, and be prepared!

Oh by the way. Europe isn’t a country. It’s a continent, so if you’re travelling on an international train, you must take your passport with you. Train officials never used to check people in the past due to the European law of Free Movement, but as a result of strengthened alertness due to the increased height of terrorism, and to ensure our safety, they are now. So make sure you have everything in order.

Otherwise, you’ll be escorted off the train and your holiday could end right there!

9.  If you miss your train stop, don’t panic:

How to use the train in Europe: 10 tips to help you - don't panic!
How to use the train in Europe: 10 tips to help you – don’t panic!

Once travelling through Poland, I realized that we had missed our train stop as the countryside scene that was I expecting, did not show up on my horizon!

Hmm!

I couldn’t really look outside the window as the window was blocked with passengers in the corridor.

I couldn’t check the train map that you normally see in the corridors either as I couldn’t get to the corridor, and I didn’t have an iPhone in those days.

We had missed our train stop! Oh no!
We had missed our train stop! Oh no!

A girl in her early 20’s noticed that I kept attempting to leave the compartment. She confirmed that I had missed our stop.

OK. I’ll get off at the next stop!

Oh, I’ve missed that too!

And the train is now going East further into Poland, whereas I was supposed to be going to the sea which was in the West!

We got off the train!
We got off the train!

We got off the train.

Unfortunately, the train officials weren’t really very helpful and pointed at contrasting directions, so I decided to look around the station myself and peek onto other platforms and lo and behold, the connecting train that I wanted was still ON THE PLATFORM!

I checked and double-checked that it was indeed the right train, then we hopped on!

Then we hopped back on the train again!
Then we hopped back on the train again!

I so bugged the train conductor as per how many stops we had left, and what time we were expected to get to a certain seaside village, as there are no announcements and no destination indicators.

It was a case of watching and counting, each and every train stop…. 75 minutes later, we were there!

10.  If it all goes bananas, use your head:

Use your head at foreign train stations!
Use your head at foreign train stations!

There are 101 ways to travel through Europe, and the train is just one of them.

Sometimes it makes sense to choose another form of transport to get to your final destination.

It isn’t the worse thing in the world if you do!

HOW TO USE THE TRAIN IN EUROPE: 10 TIPS TO HELP YOU

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

This article is not sponsored, and the excitement of using the train in Europe, is my very own!

For travelling across Europe, or from Germany, please contact: Deutsche Bahn or take a look at my country destination page!

It’s January!

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

The 10th British Shorts Film Festival is taking place from 12th – 18th January, 2017

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

The British Council Literature Seminar – #BritLitBerlin – will take place from 26.01.17 – 28.01.17

The 67th Berlin International Film Festival, otherwise known as the Berlinale, will take place from 09.02.17 – 19.02.17

Strictly Stand Up – The English Comedy Night will take place at the Quatsch comedy Club on 15.02.17. Save the Date!

If you’re not in Berlin in January, it’s a darn shame!

January is going to be dramatic!

Watch this space!

Please also note that there is now a Booking.com affiliate link (for the very first time) connected to a few hotels. Please consider using the link, because every time some sort of accommodation is booked via my link I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself! A win-win for all!

Thanks a million!

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

Have you ever used the train across Europe? What are your stories? Spill the beans!

See you in Berlin.

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

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