Have you ever been to Bruges. In Belgium!

Have a hot chocolate on me!
Have you ever been to Bruges. In Belgium!

It’s April!

Omigosh!

Now just because it’s April, doesn’t mean that it isn’t going to snow!

In Europe, we’re getting all kinds of weather.

One minute it’s a sunny Spring morning.

The next, it’s freezing!

In fact, as I write this piece, it’s snowing.

Again!

Winter in Berlin. Again!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – March 2018

Where have you been?

Ah well!

If you’re just joining, here’s really what you missed:

JANUARY:

Don’t even think of asking me!

FEBRUARY:

Hamburg: An Introduction to a Port City!

MARCH:

Ryanair – A no-frills budget airline. Is it worth the plunge?

Wow!

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

What an exciting first quarter of the year I’ve had!

As you know, The British Berliner is not only a British – German in name, but on paper too.

Yep! Victoria now has Dual Nationality.

Yay!

I’ve written a fantastic post (even if I say so myself) on what you need to do if you’re British, and looking to obtain EU nationality too.

I’m still British of course, but I’m German too.

And isn’t that something!

The Tall Young Gentleman and the Boy Scouts of America – Troop 46 – Berlin. Having German, British, American & French dual citizenships / double nationalities, works just fine!

One of the merits of living in Germany, is the ease in which one can travel through the Continent.

My favourite mode of travel is by train, and sometimes even by coach-bus.

And one of those ways is by flying!

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

Every January, The Tall Young Gentleman and I, spend some quality time together either visiting some dubious destination, or skiing!

This time around, I decided to take him to Bruges.

In Belgium.

But did I tell you that I flew there.

Via a budget airline.

And not just any airline mind you.

But Ryanair!

Gulp!

BELGIUM!

At the Atomium in Brussels – Belgium

Right!

Where to start?

Belgium, otherwise known as the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in the Western part of Europe, unlike Croatia which is in the Balkans, Latvia which is in Central Europe or Poland which is in the Eastern part of Europe!

It is bordered between Germany, Holland, France and Luxembourg.

It’s a very small country and has a population of just eleven (11) million people!

Culturally, Belgium is Dutch-speaking (59%), French-speaking (40%), and if it couldn’t get more complicated, German-speaking (1%) too!

The Dutch-speakers tend to be Flemish and live in a region called the Flanders, the French-speakers are Walloon, and the German-speakers are the minority, who live around the borders of Belgium close to Germany!

Belgium is, like Switzerland, officially bilingual being Flemish (Dutch-speaking) and French, and known as being from the Low Countries, or the Benelux group of states, consisting of Northern France, West Germany, Holland, Luxembourg and Belgium itself.

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

Belgium is a most important nation as it’s one of the six (6) founding countries of the European Union (EU), hosts the official seats of the European Commission, the Council of the European Union, the European Council, as well as a seat of the European Parliament in the country’s capital, Brussels.

Belgium is also a founding member of the Eurozone, NATO, OECD, and WTO, a part of the trilateral Benelux Union and the Schengen Area.

Belgium has had trouble with terrorism in the last few years, as have many other European countries, but it’s a developed country, with an advanced high-income economy, very high standards of living, friendly locals, interesting food, and is relatively safe and peaceful!

A LITTLE BIT OF HISTORY…

The Gravensteen medieval castle in Ghent – Belgium

Belgium was a Roman province known as Gallia Belgica and was a prosperous centre of business, commerce, trade and culture from the Middle Ages, right up to the 17th century. During this period, Belgium became prosperous, and participated in the colonization of the African continent.

During the Belgian Revolution in 1830, Belgium spilt away from Holland, and became independent in its own right. However, Belgium also became the “Battlefield of Europe, ” was occupied by Germany in WWI and WWII, as well as 20th century tensions between the Dutch and French-speaking parts of Belgium, leading to a sort of federal state, controversial language laws, and a distinct type of separatism around the Flemish region.

Having said that, Belgium has seen the flourishing of major artistic movements that have had great influence on European art and culture, with architecture and paintings being especially astounding, and historically relevant.

One of those places is Bruges.

BRUGES

Sunday morning in Bruges – Belgium
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Bruges – Jan 2018

Bruges, otherwise known as Brugge (Dutch) or Bruges (French), is the capital and largest city of  West Flanders in the Flemish Region of Belgium!

Bruges has a mass of roughly 13,840 hectares and 1,075 hectares off the coast, at Zeebrugge, otherwise known as Brugge aan zee or “Bruges by the Sea.”

It has a population of 117,073, of which about 20,000 people live in the city centre.

The beautiful historic city centre is a UNSECO World Heritage Site and is roughly 430 hectares in size.

Bruges was first mentioned as Bruggas, Brvggas, and Brvccia (in 840–875), then as Bruciam, Bruociam (in 892), Brutgis uico (at the end of the 9th century), Bruggensi (1010), Bruggis (1012), Bricge (1037, in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle), Brugensis (1046), Brycge (1049–1052), Brugias (1072), Bruges (1080–1085), Bruggas (1084), Brugis (1089), and Brugge (1116)!

Bruges is derived from the Old Dutch word for bridge – brugga. But some experts say it could also be from Middle Dutch – brucge, brugge, brugghe, brigghe, bregghe, brogghe, Southern Dutch –  brugghe. Perhaps even from the Anglo-Saxon word –  brugjō – which later became known as the word bridge!

One of the many bridges that you can find in Bruges – Belgium
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner

WHY BRUGES?

Bruges is a city that has a river running through it!
Have you ever been to Bruges. In Belgium!

Because I love to spend all my time rambling!

You know how much I love strolling along cobbled stones of yore, and poking my nose into every nook and cranny.

Belgium does that for you.

Bruges is also a city that has a river running through it ‘cos my love for waterside destinations, and rivers, brooks and lakes, is well known!

Our 4-star hotel – Martin_s Relais – Oud Huis Amsterdam in Bruges – Belgium
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Bruges – Jan 2018

Along with a few other canal-based northern cities, such as Amsterdam, Bruges is sometimes referred to as The Venice of the North.

Our beautiful 4-star hotel – Martin’s Relais was right next to the canal. In fact, it’s historical name is Oud Huis Amsterdam – and between you and me, the view is very much like being in Holland!

Without the seedy bits!

Outside the Groeningemusem Brugge in Bruges – Belgium
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Bruges – Jan 2018

I take visiting museums quite seriously, and was delighted to be able to work in partnership with Musea Brugge, who very kindly gave us complimentary museum passes.

Thank you so much!

So without further ado, here are the museums and galleries that I recommend:

  • The Groeningemuseum: We both absolutely loved this museum of 16th century Flemish paintings. In fact, it was one of our favourites!
  • The Arenthuis: We only had time to sprint through the collections of prints and drawings, but if you have a ticket for the Groeningemuseum, you can visit the Arenthuis for free!
  • The Friet Museum / Fries Museum: We very much enjoyed discovering and learning all about the history of the Belgian chip. As well as sampling it too!
  • The Belfort: The Belfry Tower is over 83 metres tall and will give you fantastic views over the city
  • The Hisotrium Brugge: An interactive virtual reality tour of medieval Bruges. We didn’t have enough time to do this. It’s a bit pricey, but kids will love it!
  • The Choco-Story / Chocolate Museum : I don’t like chocolate, but I was almost tempted to go on a Choco-Story tour of Bruges. Almost, but not quite! However, if you’re a fan of chocolate, don’t let me stop you!
  • The Stadhuis / City Hall: The Bruges’ City Hall is one of the oldest in the country and has been around for more than 600 years!
  • The Volkskundemuseum / Museum of Folk Life: This museum has a collection of eight (8) 17th century buildings depicting the way Flemish people used to live, as well as a collection of puppets. I really wanted to visit this museum as I love museums of ethnology, but I forgot!
  • The Onze-Lieve-Vrouw-Ter-Potterie (O.L.V.-Ter-Potterie) / Our Lady of the Pottery: This museum is a baroque church as well as a historical hospital dating back from the 13th – 17th century! If you’re into exquisite silver collections, tapestries and stained-glass windows, then this is the place for you!

OTHER MUSEUMS & GALLERIES:

Sint-Janshospitaal / Saint John’s Hospital in Bruges – Belgium

Having said that, most of the Bruges museum collection is interesting, historical, and at the same time, perfectly contemporary!

Bruges is a city of history and culture, and since I like Old Art and architectural treasures very much my type of city.

I know!

Laters!

HAVE YOU EVER BEEN TO BRUGES. IN BELGIUM!

Victoria in Bruges – Belgium
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Bruges – Jan 2018

This article isn’t sponsored, and even though we received complimentary museum passes from Musea Brugge, absolutely all opinions, and the great time that we had, are my very own!

I went to Belgium. Find out more, next week!

I’ll be continuing my last visit to the UK and telling you all about it, later in the season!

In a few weeks, I’ll be on the road again to my 65th country and a new destination.

Can you guess which one it’ll be?

If you’re not in Berlin in April, you’re going to miss all the fun!

April is going to be blooming!

See you next week!

Belgian chocolates in Bruges – Belgium
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Bruges – Jan 2018

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!

Have you ever been to Bruges. In Belgium!

Have you ever been to Belgium? Would you go to Bruges? Let me know in your 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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3 days in York – 33 things to do!

The real Diagon Alley or The Shambles - a 14th century cobbledstone street in York!<br /> 3 days in York - 33 things to do! ©VistBritain / Andrew Pickett
The real Diagon Alley or The Shambles – a 14th century cobblestone street in York!
3 days in York – 33 things to do! ©VistBritain / Andrew Pickett

So, last week, I introduced the city of York to you, including ten (10) exciting things you probably didn’t even know!

Oh, and if you didn’t know, where have you been?

 

 

 

Our very own Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are finally engaged!

You know how much I adore the Royal Family, not only doing documentaries about the Queen, but getting to hobnob with Prince William and Kate Middleton too!

I am delighted for them.

North America. You’re welcome!

Book your hotel here!

How I went to Liverpool, and I wasn’t robbed!
© Liverpool 360

As you know, I spent the Autumn visiting the UK and travelling around Cheshire, Staffordshire, Manchester, Blackpool, Derbyshire and Yorkshire! And Liverpool!

If you’re just tuning in, here’s a recap:

Ye-Ha!

And of course, if you want to read about Scotland and other British things, just follow the link here!

Book your hotel here!

YORKSHIRE:

3 days in York – 33 things to do!

Yorkshire, otherwise known as Yorks or the County of York, is a county in Northern England, and the largest in the UK!

Within the borders of the historic county of Yorkshire, are areas which are widely considered to be among the greenest in England, due to the vast stretches of unspoilt countryside in the Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors!

The emblem of Yorkshire is the White Rose, of the royal English House of York.

The War of the Roses – Elizabeth Woodvill (Rebecca Ferguson) – The White Queen

If you are versed in English history, you’d know well the Wars of the Roses between the two rival branches of the royal House of Plantagenet: the House of Lancaster – a red rose – and the House of York – a white rose. If you enjoy watching British cultural dramas, you might recognise the name in the wonderful BBC TV series – The White Queen!

I have happy childhood memories of camping in the Yorkshire Dales, but this time we visited the lovely historical city of York!

Book your hotel here!

The Music Producer & Victoria on Bootham Bar – York City Wall – York

Ha! Ha! Ha!

You won’t believe it, but before this visit, I had never previously been to York!

I know!

Why you should visit Switzerland, and eat cheese!

It’s as bad as when I didn’t go to Switzerland, even though Switzerland is literally next door!

In order to rectify this, I reached out to the very nice people at Visit York, and they were great! We used VIP press passes in order to experience the attractions of the York Pass.

Thanks so much!

Book your hotel here!

YORK

 

 

York is one of the oldest cities in the UK!

York is a historic city, and like Chester, is also a walled one! It has a rich heritage, and has been around for more than 2,000 years!

It was previously an Anglo-Saxon trading port known as Eoforwic, and then became more established under the Romans.

In 71 AD, it was known as Eboracum!

Return of the Vikings – Wolf Burning

As far back as 866, the south of Northumbria – otherwise known as modern-day Yorkshire – was invaded and conquered by fierce Norsemen from Scandinavia, which is present day Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, known as Jórvík!

In medieval times, York became a most important political region via the House of York and an even more important religious symbol from which people did pilgrimages, and the seat of the Archbishop of York since AD 735!

Trains were an important part of the Industrial Revolution
North York Moors Railway – Yorkshire © Welcome to Yorkshire

By the 19th & 20th century, York was part of the Industrial Revolution that would turn the fortunes of Britain forever!

Today, the population of York is roughly 153,717, and is otherwise known as the City Of York, but certainly, not to be confused with any Cities of York ork Cities in the United States of America!

3 DAYS IN YORK – 33 THINGS TO DO!

My piece of fudge in York! 3 days in York – 33 things to do!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner

1.  Ramble through the cobbled streets of York

2.  Put on some horns and be a viking for the day at the JORVIK Viking Centre

3.  Heave yourself up the York City Wall – the longest medieval town walls in England – and walk along ’em!

4.  Have traditional Afternoon Tea at Bettys Café Tea Rooms – one of York’s best, and oldest places to have High Tea!

5.  Climb the magnificent York Minster – the largest Gothic cathedral in Northern Europe!

Victoria & The Tall Young Gentleman outside the York Castle Museum – York
©Frank Böster – The Music Producer

6.  Climb up the last remaining part of the intriguing medieval Norman York Castle – otherwise known as Cliffords Tower! 

7.  Visit Kirkgate (built in 1938) at the York Castle Museum, and put yourself in the streets of Victorian England!

8.  Search for magic in the original Diagon Alley and get yourself a bit of Potter memorabilia at The Shop That Must Not Be Named!

9.  Lose yourself in the historical street of York – otherwise known as the Shambles – a 14th century cobblestone alley, and the most medieval street in England!

10.  Invest in a York Pass so that you can get into many places of interest for free!

Horrible Histories – Vikings

11.  Scare yourself silly at the York Dungeon, where the Horrible Histories of York can be learnt, audience participate in the stories, and actors pop up surprisingly!

12.  Learn about the history of chocolate in York where not only is it an important industry, but it also has it’s own museum!

13.  Walk along the beautiful riverside in Bishopthorpe. Simply one of the best things that you can do, in any riverside city-destination!

14.  Go on the River Ouse, sail along on a river cruise, and listen to the history of York at the waterside.

15.  Explore life in the Middle Ages, touch, feel, dress up and hear, as you imagine yourself living in mediaeval times, as the Lord Mayor of York, at his 14th century home at Barley Hall!

 

16.  We all know Henry VIII, but did you know his father – Henry VII – who was the first Tudor King of England! Why not visit the Henry VII Experience to find out who he really was!

psst. If you’ve watched the BBC version of the White Queen, you’ll know!

17.  And while you’re at it, you might as well get to know Richard III, the last Plantagenet King of England, and also it was rumoured, the person who gave the word for the two (2) little princes (Edward and Richard) to be murdered in the Tower of London in 1483, and their bodies never to be found, until 1674! But is it true? Visit the Richard III Experience and find out for yourself!

18.  Hop on the historical train and learn all about 300 years of history at the National Railway Museum. And it’s absolutely free of charge too!

19.  Learn all about Guy Fawkes, and his 1605 Gunpowder Plot. Thankfully, he didn’t succeed, and every year on November the 5th, we celebrate that fact with singing, fireworks, an effigy, and a bonfire!

20.   York’s history is full of death, blood and gore. Join a sinister production of the York Terror Trail, and be a part of the story!

The Original Ghost Walk of York, believed to be the first exclusive ghost walk in the world!

21.  Go on a ghost walk. There are plenty throughout the city of York. We went on two of them! Not only did we go on a terror trail, but on the Original Ghost Walk of York, believed to be the first exclusive ghost walk in the world!

Gulp!

All you have to do is choose one, and go screaming through the streets!

22.  See great drama at the 270 year old York Theatre Royal. With a wide variety of performances, events, activities, and pantomimes featuring the UK’s longest-running Dame, there’s bound to be something you like!

23.  Have a drink at the Golden Fleece Inn – reputedly the most haunted pub in York. And see whether you actually see ghosts. Or something else!

24.  And if you’re full of courage, visit the Kings Arms Pub – said to be the most famous pub in York – otherwise known as The Pub that Floods –  due to the fact that when the city floods, the pub floods with it! It has even been known to have punters standing on upturned crates and floating in and out with canoes, so that they can keep on drinking! Now that’s what I call the British spirit!

25.  Marvel at the smallest street with the longest name in the world – Whip-Ma-Whop-Ma-Gate!

Victoria in front of the carousel fairground – York
©Frank Böster – The Music Producer

26.  Get yourself a home-made roast beef sandwich at any of the locally owned sandwich cafés

27.  Indulge your inner-child and take a horse-ride on the carousel fairground, which has been around for over 100 years, and is a well-loved York institution!

28.  If you’ve never had English fudge, you’ve never lived! And don’t even get me started on treacle toffee. I have very fond memories of almost breaking my jaw ‘cos of all the toffee, that I had bought. Yum!

29.  Go shopping in York. And why not?!

30.  Visit the farmers market and other traditional markets, opened on various days of the week, in York

My mojito cocktail – 2 for the price of 1 in York!

31.  Have cocktails during Happy Hour! We found a gastro-pub – the Slug & Lettuce York – which had fantastic cocktail prices. I mean, on the day that we “stepped in, it was a Monday night, the offer on was 50% Off Food Monday! And cocktails were 2 for 1, ALL day EVERY day! And with mocktails going for as little as £3.95 for a Bambini Bellini, thus £1.97 a glass, my pocket was very happy! We didn’t have our dinner there, but a few snacks and a couple of drink, certainly went down very well…!

32.  While in York, visit any one of the UK’s loveliest national parks – the Yorkshire Dales and the North York Moors.

33.  York is home to the Yorkshire Pudding! A Yorkshire pud is often served with roast beef, roast potatoes, a selection of seasonal vegetables, generous lashings of thick gravy, and is one of Britain’s most important food item, when having the all-important traditional Sunday roast!

Oh yeah!

So, there you have it.

Book your hotel here!

3 DAYS IN YORK – 33 THINGS TO DO!

My pint of beer at the Kings Arms Pub – The Pub that Floods – York
3 days in York – 33 things to do! ©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner

This article isn’t sponsored, and even though we received VIP press passes, courtesy of Visit York, all opinions and the great #YorkAdventure that we experienced, are my very own!

I have so much to share with you.

I’ll be writing about my visit to the UK, and travelling around Cheshire, Staffordshire, Manchester, Blackpool, Derbyshire and Yorkshire! And Liverpool!

I’ll also be visiting Hamburg in December. Watch out on Twitter!

Yippee!

December is going to be sparkling!

Victoria outside Monk’s Bar – York City Wall – York
©Frank Böster – The Music Producer

Watch this space!

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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!

3 days in York – 33 things to do!

Have you ever been to York? What would you choose to do if you could have a #Yorkadventure? 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!

10 exciting things you didn’t know about York!

10 exciting things you didn’t know about York!
My pork pie in York! ©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner

Isn’t the North of England just so interesting?

If you’re just tuning in, I’ve just returned from visiting the UK and travelling around Cheshire, Staffordshire, Manchester, Blackpool, Derbyshire and Yorkshire! And Liverpool!

I love living in Germany, but I also very much enjoy visiting my home-country of England and showing my German-British family, the country of my birth!

Here’s what you missed:

Ground-breaking stuff!

And of course, if you want to read about Scotland and other British things, just follow the link here!

Book your hotel here!

YORKSHIRE:

A fishing village in Yorkshire!

Yorkshire, otherwise known as Yorks or the County of York, is a county in Northern England, and the largest in the UK!

Within the borders of the historic county of Yorkshire, are areas which are widely considered to be among the greenest in England, due to the vast stretches of unspoilt countryside in the Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors!

The emblem of Yorkshire is the White Rose, of the royal English House of York.

The War of the Roses – Elizabeth & Edward IV – The White Queen

If you are versed in English history, you’d know well the Wars of the Roses between the two rival branches of the royal House of Plantagenet: the House of Lancaster – a red rose – and the House of York – a white rose. If you enjoy watching British cultural dramas, you might recognise the name in the wonderful BBC TV series – The White Queen!

I have happy childhood memories of camping in the Yorkshire Dales, but this time we visited the lovely historical city of York!

Book your hotel here!

The Tall Young Gentleman in York, for the very first time!

Ha! Ha! Ha!

You won’t believe it, but before this visit, I had never previously been to York!

I know!

How to spend 48 astonishing hours in Lucerne, otherwise known as Luzern – On a budget!

It’s as bad as when I didn’t go to Switzerland, even though Switzerland is literally next door!

We used VIP press passes in order to experience the attractions of the York Pass.

In order to rectify this, I reached out to the very nice people at Visit York, and they were great! We used VIP press passes in order to experience the attractions of the York Pass.

We visited many important historical attractions, and I’ll be writing about them in the following weeks!

Thanks so much!

Book your hotel here!

10 EXCITING THINGS YOU DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT YORK!

It's embarrassing! I had never previously been to York, but that all changed!
It’s embarrassing! I had never previously been to York, but that all changed!

We were travelling with The Tall Young Gentleman, and when travelling with a teenager in tow, you have to spend time doing more exciting things!

So we did.

Here are some of them below:

  1.   Diagon Alley is in York!
An illustration of Diagon Alley ©Pottermore

I’m a huge Harry Potter fan.

No really!

So I was amazed to walk down a narrow street in York that looked an awful lot like Diagon Alley!

Victoria outside the real Diagon Alley – York!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner
The real Diagon Alley – York
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner

It was!

Imagine my surprise when I discovered that the Harry Potter franchise films was inspired by this very same street, and copied almost to the letter! Not only that, but there’s a recently opened shop on the Shambles called The Shop That Must Not Be Named!

And.

The North York Moors Steam Railway was actually the location of the very first Harry Potter film! Once you see for yourself, you’ll be in doubt that you’re in the world of Harry Potter!

Wow!

Diagon Alley – The Shop That Must Not Be Named – the Shambles – York
©Monica Harmony

Note: The crowds are huge, and the street is quite narrow, so watch your handbag and wallets, queue smartly, and elbows at the ready!

2.   York is a Viking city.

Return of the Vikings ©JORVIK Viking Centre

York was once dominated by the Norse warrior kings and known as Jórvík!

As far back as 866, the south of Northumbria – otherwise known as modern-day Yorkshire – was invaded and conquered by fierce Norsemen from Scandinavia. Previously before that, York was the pre-Roman Anglo-Saxon trading port, known as Eoforwic!

The JORVIK Viking Centre was created to show visitors the sights, sounds and even the smells of York or Jorvik, and what it was like in AD960!

We decided to find out!

Experience the ‘time capsule’ at the recreated Coppergate JORVIK Viking Centre – York!
©Anthony Chappel-Ross

We used the York Pass.

There are great artefacts and exhibits and depending on the time of year, performances, but the bit that we liked the best, was the seating in a ‘time capsule’ which transports visitors around the basement. There’s a touch screen display so that you can choose your own language, and off you go.

Some of the animatronic models were so realistic, it was difficult to know if they were actors or plastic!
© JORVIK Viking Centre

It reminded me a little of the York Dungeon where the actors pop up surprisingly!

In fact, some of the animatronic models were so realistic that it was sometimes difficult to know if they were actors or plastic! At one point, we almost got the scare of our life when one of the “models” picked a piece of fish up. She was real!

Note: Queues at the JORVIK Viking Centre are long. Pre-book your time slot if you can.

Cost: Adults – £10.25. Children ages 5-16 – £7.25. York Pass holders – £0.00 – Included in the price. Most importantly, if you live in the UK or visit the UK on a regular basis, there is free admission for 12 months included in your ticket, so don’t throw it away!

3.   York is one of the oldest cities in the UK!

The plaque on Bootham Bar, shows the history of York City Wall – York!

York is a historic city, and like Chester, is also a walled one!

York has a rich heritage and has been around for more than 2,000 years!

It was previously an Anglo-Saxon trading port known as Eoforwic, and then became more established under the Romans. In 71 AD, it was known as Eboracum!

As far back as 866, the south of Northumbria – otherwise known as modern-day Yorkshire – was invaded and conquered by fierce Norsemen from Scandinavia, which is present day Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, known as Jórvík!

Outside Monks Bar – York City Wall – York!

In medieval times, York became a most important political region via the House of York and an even more important religious symbol from which people did pilgrimages, and the seat of the Archbishop of York since AD 735!

By the 19th & 20th century, York was part of the Industrial Revolution that would turn the fortunes of Britain forever!

4.   York and chocolate are one and the same!

York and chocolate are one & the same – Chocolate all over!

If you thought chocolate was the preserve of the Americas, you’re very wrong! We went to the York Castle Museum and discovered the history of making chocolate, at the new exhibit Chocolate: York’s Sweet Past. We had contemplated on visiting the York’s Chocolate Story too, but figured it would pretty much be the same, and anyway, I don’t like chocolate, ‘cos it takes like coffee!

I don’t like coffee either!

Rowntree’s Cocoa advertisement – York ©York Castle Museum

The story of chocolate in York can be summarised as Rowntrees (otherwise known as Nestle), Tuke, Craven, and Terry’s (otherwise known as Kraft), and began in York 300 years ago!

The world’s first chocolate bar ever made was in 1847, in Bristol, by Joseph Fry! After that came our most beloved John Cadbury (1849) of Cadbury’s milk chocolate fame, in Birmingham!

The first succesful chocolate bar to be launched in York was Kit Kat in 1935 by Rowntree, and it’s still the biggest seller of chocolate bars today!

However, the chocolate that I can just about tolerate is an English milk chocolate bar.

Even better, if there’s no cocoa in it. At all!

Cost: Adults – £9.09. Children 16 and under – free, with a paying adult. York Pass holders – £0.00 – Included in the price.

5.   York has the largest Gothic cathedral in Northern Europe!

York Minster – the largest Gothic cathedral in North Europe – York!

York Minster is 800 years old, took 250 years to build – from 1220 to 1472 – and is home to almost 2,000 years of the most important and irreplaceable art, of the medieval art movement!

It’s also the largest Gothic cathedral in Northern Europe!

York Minster – the largest Gothic cathedral in North Europe – York!

We’re not religious people, but we enjoyed a splendid time going from floor to floor. My husband and son also went up the 275 steps and 230 foot, winding Central Tower – the highest point of York – and were rewarded with breathtaking views over York. There’s even a museum – the Undercroft – in the basement!

A side view of York Minster – York

We spent a little over three (3) hours at the Cathedral, and could quite happily have spent much more!

Cost: Combined Ticket (Minster cathedral and Tower) Adults – £15.00. Children under 16 – free, with a paying adult. York Pass holders – £0.00 – Included in the price. Note: To climb the tower kids must be 8+ Most importantly, if you live in the UK or visit the UK on a regular basis, there is free admission for 12 months included in your ticket, so don’t throw it away!

6.   Guy Fawkes was born in York. Or was he!

Guy Fawkes was a Catholic rebel who had planned to assassinate King James I & blow up parliament!
©Getty

Guy Fawkes was a Catholic rebel who had planned to assassinate King James I, in order to restore a Catholic monarch, to the English throne.

Thankfully, the Gunpowder Plot of 1605 – in which he planned to blow up Parliament at Westminster Palace – was a disaster and everyone was discovered…

Guy Fawkes was born in Stonegate – York

Legend states that Guy Fawkes was born in Stonegate – York, and records confirm that he did indeed go to school there, but there is much speculation as to how he died.

Some say he was questioned, tortured, and eventually hung, drawn, and quartered. Others say, he fell from the hangman’s scaffold, and broke his neck!

Whatever.

Since 1605, every English school child knows the song:

Remember, remember, the 5th of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot
I see no reason why Gunpowder Treason
Should ever be forgot!

A burning effigy of Guy Fawkes. ©Gareth Fuller – PA Archive

And then we make an effigy of Guy Fawkes, put him in a wheelbarrow, ask for “A penny for the Guy,” then at the end of the evening, throw him on a bonfire, and burn him!

7.   York is a bloody gruesome city.

Mad Alice – York ©The Bloody Tour of York

York has had over 2,000 years of death, blood and gore.

Is it any wonder that the city is choc-a-bloc with stories and tales of Viking invasions, battles of the Normans, civil unrest, unusual sightings, mysterious disappearances, and ghosts?

We were in York during the best time of all – Halloween – and it was thrilling!

Halloween isn’t fun in Germany!

The Music Producer and The Tall Young Gentleman had never been in the UK during Halloween before, and seriously, Halloween in Germany, just isn’t the same.

And there’s no Bonfire Night in Germany, either!

It’s all wrong!

Nightshade Productions – York Terror Trail – York © York Terror Trail

We partnered with the York Theatre Royal who were promoting a Halloween Special production of the York Terror Trail.

We joined a historical night walking tour of the dark side of York’s past – The Hallows Gate: The Eyes of Time!

Hallows Gate – The Eyes of Time – Nightshade Productions – York Terror Trail – York © York Terror Trail

It started at the Golden Fleece Inn – reputedly the most haunted pub in York – and ended up with our small group of local and international visitors, sprinting through the nooks and crannies of historical York with torches, a Dr. Who-like character, and being chased by zombies!

Having fun in York!

It was such great fun as York is quite tiny, and the other tourists that we bumped into, were either completely shocked by our shrieks and screams, or utterly delighted, to be unsuspecting witnesses of a free show!

Stay together – Nightshade Productions – York Terror Trail – York ©York Terror Trail

There are loads of night events and ghost activities in the city. York is pretty small, so we frequently met other groups, but it was pretty well organised, as times were staggered so that you weren’t all standing in the same corner!  There were a couple of whoops, and “get them,” but it was all in good fun.

Other ghost walks in York....!
Other ghost walks in York….!
The Great York Ghost…. ©Visit York

They say, York is the most haunted city in Europe!

It probably is!

Cost: Adults – £5.00. Children – £2.00.

8.   The smallest street with the longest name in the world, is in York!

The smallest street in York is called Whip-Ma-Whop-Ma-Gate!
The churchview of the smallest street in York – Whip-Ma-Whop-Ma-Gate!

We’re all about breaking world records in the UK.

The shortest street in the world is called Ebenezer Place – Wick in Scotland and the smallest street in York is called Whip-Ma-Whop-Ma-Gate!

I know!

The origin of the name is unclear however, there’s a plaque that indicates the origin of the street derives from the phrase used as far back as 1501 – Whitnourwhatnourgate – meaning “What a street!” Nevertheless, modern sources translate the phrase as “Neither one thing nor the other!”

9.   York is home of the Yorkshire Pudding!

A Yorkshire Pudding in the making! © J. Kenji Lopez-Alt – Serious Eats Inc.

To put it plainly, Yorkshire Pudding, otherwise known as a Yorkshire pud, is a British meal from batter made out of eggs, flour, and milk. It was even found to have been written in a (modern) controversial Georgian book The Whole Duty of a Woman… published in 1737!

A Yorkshire pud is often served with roast beef, roast potatoes, a selection of seasonal vegetables, generous lashings of thick gravy, and is part of the all-important traditional Sunday roast!

Delish!

A traditional Sunday lunch anywhere in Britain! ©Time Out London Food & Drink

As a British expat living abroad, you can’t under-estimate how important this is.

We used to have a British restaurant in Berlin that would serve a lovely Sunday roast, and if you didn’t pre-order the day before, you wouldn’t be having any! The food was the best British food I have ever had in Germany. Sadly, the locals complained that it was “too authentic,” there wasn’t enough custom to keep it open, and it had to close down!

10.    York, isn’t New York!

York, isn’t New York!

In fact, without York, there would be no New York!

If you look deeper into American history, most of the most influential and fairly important places, are named after European locations. Hence:

  • York (England) – New York. Tick!
  • Orleans (France) – New Orleans. Tick!
  • Jersey (Channel Islands – UK) – New Jersey. Tick!
  • Mexico (Mexico) – New Mexico. Tick!
  • Harlem (Holland) – Harlem New York. Tick!
  • Berlin (Germany) – Berlin New Hampshire. Tick!
51 reasons to visit Manchester. And more!
51 reasons to visit Manchester. And more!
  • Manchester (England) – Manchester New Hampshire.

And let me just say that the film Manchester by the Sea is most annoying, as everyone now things that Manchester is a sleepy little fishing village in Massachusetts! It isn’t! Tick!

  • England (England) – New England.

I mean, come on. That’s just plain lazy! Tick!

Ah well. That’s it for now!

Book your hotel here!

10 EXCITING THINGS YOU DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT YORK!

10 exciting things you didn’t know about York!

This article isn’t sponsored, and even though we received VIP press passes, courtesy of Visit York, all opinions and the delightful York Castle Wall that we skipped across, are my very own!

I have so much to share with you.

I’ll be writing about my visit to the UK, and travelling around Cheshire, Staffordshire, Manchester, Blackpool, Derbyshire and Yorkshire! And Liverpool!

I’ll also be visiting Hamburg in December. Watch out on Twitter!

Yippee!

December is going to be twinkling!

Victoria in front of the carousel fairground – York ©Frank Böster – The Music Producer

Watch this space!

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10 exciting things you didn’t know about York!

Have you ever been to York? Have you ever seen a ghost or been to a haunted house? 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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