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

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

It’s my blog birthday!

Hip! Hip! Hurrah!

OMG!

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

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

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

Never, ever.

In real life!

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

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

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

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

But I quickly learnt.

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

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

My Twitter page was open and ready to go!

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

This.

Was.

Real!

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

Five years.

Wow!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So here we are!

Happy Birthday to meeeeee!
Happy Birthday to meeeeee!

My blog is five years old.

Golly!

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

My blog is a flourishing toddler.

And I am exceedingly proud.

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

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

As you do!

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

So I’m going to say it as I see it.

Are you ready?

Here it comes!

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

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

There. I’ve said it!

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

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

You!

Yes YOU!

All of you.

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

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

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

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

In Berlin.

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

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

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

I’ve even been in an independent film!

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

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

And all because of you.

Thank you all so much!

Thank you so much! I love you all!

So let’s go back in time.

WHAT IS THIS BLOG ABOUT?

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

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

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

THE MOST POPULAR POST EVER

Jesus in Warsaw.
Jesus in Warsaw.

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

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

Ah well!

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

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

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

Wow!

On the Polish Baltic Sea
On the Polish Baltic Sea

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

Absolutely Amazing!

Thank you Poland!

I looooove you!!!

THE MOST IMPORTANT AND UTTERLY RELEVANT POST

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And gosh!

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

Thaaaaaaank you!

THE MOST POPULAR BRITISH POST

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE MOST POPULAR GERMANY POST

Best of Berlin – 4 years and counting!

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

Ooops!

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

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

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

Ah well, I’m famous now.

Right. Right?!

THE MOST POPULAR BERLIN POST

A map of the Berlin Public Transport Network – BVG

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

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

Incredible!

Haw! Haw! Haw!

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

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

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

Yay!

THE MOST POPULAR INTERNATIONAL POST

Dutch children in traditional costume.

This title went to posts about Amsterdam.

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

Eek!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE MOST POPULAR MOTIVATIONAL /ADVICE POST

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

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

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

Wow!

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

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

Communication would be either in English or German.

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

LET’S EXPLORE AND TRAVEL THE WORLD!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How I got scammed in Berlin!

And most recently of all,

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

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

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

No seriously. Who?!!

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

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

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

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

And why?

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

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

I’m delighted!

WHERE ARE YOU FROM?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Not too shabby I might add!

COUNTRIES I HAVE BEEN TO IN THE LAST 1 YEAR

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

THE MOST POPULAR GROUP PRESS or FAM TRIP

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

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

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

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

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

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

The readers have spoken, now what do I think?

MY TOP BLOG ACHIEVEMENTS

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

MY TOP 9 FAVOURITE POSTS, IN NO PARTICULAR ORDER!

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

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

Happy Birthday. My blog is 5!

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

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

Here’s to the next blog year. Cheers!

Winter’s coming!

Yay!

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

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

Watch this space!

For a limited time only, if you’re always wondered how to start a blog, now’s your chance! BlueHost have given my readers a great deal for super savings!

  • Shared hosting as low as $3.65/month!
  • Your own domain. FREE of charge!
  • FREE SSL Included!
  • 1-Click WInstall
  • 24/7 Support and more

Use my affiliate link for just $3.65 a month!

*Just follow the instructions, and if you have any questions, do let me know!

Let’s do it!

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!

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

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

See you in Berlin.

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

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

Advertisements

My fourth FAM / Press Trip to Hamburg – Holy Hamburg!

My fourth FAM / Press Trip to Hamburg – Holy Hamburg!

So Hamburg.

Yeah!

As you know, last week I told you about how I was invited to Hamburg, as a guest of Hamburg Marketing.

What you don’t know, are the details of my press trip!

BUT WHY HAMBURG?

There’s usually no time to dilly-dally in Hamburg. But this time, there was!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Hamburg – Dec 2017

Why not?

The thing is, I’ve been to Hamburg many times, but I’ve never been to Hamburg as a tourist!

Not Ever!

Why is that, you might ask?

To be honest, I simply don’t know!

But I wanted to shake things up a little, and change!

Book your hotel here!

The Hamburg stand at ITB Berlin was very busy & here’s why – An artificially intelligent tourism robot!

If you recall, almost a year ago, I went to the International Trade Fair in Berlin, otherwise known as ITB Berlin, and met up with some of the marketing people of Hamburg.

You could say, that we actually met on Twitter, ‘cos a British blogger – Eat Shoot Sleep Travel asked me about the traditional Fish Market in Hamburg, and I didn’t know!

Cringe!

The fellows at Hamburg.com saw this, reached out and said,”Hey! Come to Hamburg. See for yourself!”

She wanted to know about the Fish Market in Hamburg. Ha! Ha! I still don’t know!

So I did!

Thanks so much Hamburg Marketing!

WHY GO TO HAMBURG?

HafenCity – Hamburg – Summer in Germany – Simply the Best!

Hamburg really isn’t that big, so follow my footsteps and don’t just talk the talk, but walk the walk too!

A BRIEF PIECE OF HISTORY:

Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg!

Hamburg, otherwise known as the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, is the second-largest city in Germany, and has a population of about 1.8 million people!

Just so you know, Berlin, with a population of just 3.55 million people, is the federal capital, and the largest city in Germany!

And let me tell you, it doesn’t even feel like a city…!

Hamburg: An Introduction to a Port City!

Hamburg lies in a very strategic position with Continental Europe to the South and the Nordic States to the North. The North Sea is to the West and the Baltic Sea is to the North-East.

Hamburg stretches out on the River Elbe, has many small islands and lakes, and borders the states of Schleswig-Holstein with lovely places like Lübeck and Lower Saxony.

Hamburg is the type of city that I respect because like Berlin, Manchester and London, it’s a City State and has existed since the time of the Holy Roman Empire!

Book your hotel here!

History & Glory days at the Internationales Maritimes Museum Hamburg, Germany!

Hamburg is also a member of the medieval Hanseatic League, a World Heritage UNESCO site, with signs of wealth and glory all over the region. Of course, during the Great Fire of Hamburg, and during the Second World War, the importance of the harbour made it an important target, such that many parts of the city, was destroyed.

During the 13th – 16th century, Hamburg was considered second only to the port and city of Lübeck, as a central trading hub for sea-borne trade.

With the discovery of the Americas and the emerging transatlantic trade, Hamburg exceeded all other German ports, and became the main Central European hub for freight travel, transatlantic passengers and from 1871, the principal port of trade in Germany!

Wow!

Book your hotel here!

WHAT IS A PRESS OR FAM TRIP?

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

A PRESS TRIP is normally described as a visit to a destination, country, city, hotel, venue etc, organised for media groups.

It usually introduces and presents the best bits of a particular itinerary and is usually for a small group of journalists or bloggers, or an organised private trip.

Although a press trip could be for a few hours, it usually refers to a trip of a few days.

Should I take the train in France or not? It’s obvious though isn’t it!

A familiarization trip, or FAM TRIP as it is better known, is similar to a press trip however, it usually includes a visit to a number of sights, venues, activities, accommodations, or restaurant spots, in one area or region.

It is typically organised for travel industry professionals, to give them a better understanding of the regions and products they are trying to sell to their clients.

Lots of different activities are included so that as much as possible can be experienced. Sometimes journalists might attend a FAM TRIP too.

Book your hotel here!

At the Milk Thistle in Bristol.
©The Milk Thistle.

In both instances your costs will usually be covered, though this will vary depending on the organiser.

I categorise official FAM / Press trips as different to customised press trips.

On official FAM / Press trips, pretty much everything is paid for. Including transport, hotels, food & entertainment such as the following:

FRANCE:

My first press or FAM trip ever to Nord-Pas de Calais otherwise known as, Northern France!

ENGLAND:

10 amazing reasons why you should Visit Bristol!

THE PHILIPPINES:

Is Manila a crime-ridden place or is it something completely different?

GERMANY:

Hamburg: An Introduction to a Port City!

However, once I confirmed it, a very important client also contacted me, so I ended up arriving one day earlier than the other participants, and leaving earlier too, so I paid for my own dinner and refreshments.

It would have been ideal, but my hotel had lost the press package that should have been waiting for me, and by the time I had contacted everyone to find out where it was, all the tourist sights had closed!

I never did find my press package, but that’s a story for another day!

Book your hotel here!

The horror of Christmas shopping – Get me out of here!

My visit to Hamburg was a press trip.

Once the Press trip officially started, we didn’t have to pay for a single thing!

Of course, if you suddenly fancied a spot of your finest whisky, Monsieur. Or felt that snacks and drinks from the minibar were perhaps included. You’d be wrong!

Your hefty bill and service charge, would be all on you!

Book your hotel here!

HOW DID I GET INVITED?

I absolutely love walking! ©Pascale Scerbo Sarro
I absolutely love walking!
©Pascale Scerbo Sarro

Well, my first big break came just five (5) months after I started writing as a blogger.

To be quite frank, I have been extremely lucky to be at the right place, at the right time.

In 2014, I happened to be at the Sony Centre in Berlin where I got chatting to a PR person who promised to put me on the guest list of the Berlin Music Video Awards. She did, and even though, I never saw her again, my pro-active activity coupled with an outgoing personality, and a genuine interest to get involved, opened the door to being invited into the VIP section, a glimpse into the media world, and a whole host of people who had a friendly eye, and were willing to help me in my quest for knowledge and information.

Press documentation for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week - Autumn/Winter 2016.
Press documentation for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week – Autumn/Winter 2016.

A press card and a TV documentary about me came about because of the simple matter that when I undergo to write a piece, I make a thorough job of it.

People really like my personality, so I’ve often been an invited guest of city-destinations in which trips have been organised and customised to my own personal requirements. This is the best type of press trip to have, so I consider myself extremely lucky and very honoured. You can read more about them here.

However, on every group FAM trip, I’m usually either the only blogger in vicinity, or the only European there!

You can imagine my  anxiety.

It's embarrassing. I had no idea who I would be meeting, I just knew that I would be going to France!
It’s embarrassing. I had no idea who I would be meeting, I just knew that I would be going to France!

Book your hotel here!

WHAT WAS I SUPPOSED TO BE DOING ON THE HAMBURG PRESS TRIP?

Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg!

The point of this PRESS trip was to introduce the region as not only an interesting place to visit, but a historical cultural one too. A destination that would hit all the right spots for someone like me.

And ultimately, someone like you!

This press trip was a three (3) day exploration, starting from Friday and finishing on Sunday.

I didn’t have any information as to who was going to be there, and what type of bloggers would be attending.

You tend to get a little anxious that you’re going to be too shy, people aren’t going to like you, you’re not going to like them, you end up being that blogger, or that you’re going to be completely out of your depth and thus, comfort zone.

I also felt a little nervous about the sleeping arrangements.

WOULD I GET MY OWN ROOM ON A PRESS TRIP?

Don’t laugh! Would I get my own room on a press trip?

Don’t laugh.

I always do of course, but still, I constantly worry, and it brings me out in a sweat since nobody actually tells you!

And because I arrived one day (1) day before the others, I was placed in a grown-up more corporate-like hotel called the Scandic Hamburg Emporio, while the others were in a young-ish boutique hotel called the Fritz im Pyjama Hotel.

Book your hotel here!

My bedroom at the Scandic Hamburg Emporio Hotel!
My delicious breakfast at the Scandic Hamburg Emporio Hotel!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Hamburg – Dec 2017

At first, I was a little disappointed not to be placed in the same hotel as everyone else, but when I saw my room at the Scandic Hamburg Emporio, I soon forgot all about it!

Yes, I know.

Silly isn’t it, but there you have it!

Book Scandic Hamburg Emporio, the Fritz im Pyjama Hotel, or your own Hamburg Hotel here!

WERE WE GIVEN ANY DETAILS AT ALL?

Marvellous news. I’m doing a radio programme with the BBC. And other stuff!

Yep!

The Host was Hamburg Marketing. They were highly organised and thoroughly fantastic.

On this press trip we were expected to be doing the following:

HAMBURG PRESS TRIP – HOLY HAMBURG!

Hamburg: An Introduction to a Port City!

NUMBER OF PARTICIPANTS: 12

DEPARTURE: December 1st

RETURN: December 3rd

A DESCRIPTION:

My fourth FAM / Press Trip to Hamburg – Holy Hamburg!

SPEICHERSTADT AND HAFENCITY: TRADITION AND MODERNITY

Located in the very heart of the city, the innovative architectural design of HafenCity on the waterfront, make it well worth exploring.

You will find the historic Speicherstadt warehouse district with its beautiful canals, red-brick facades, winding bridges and picturesque views, which together with the Kontorhaus district and Chilehaus, were added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites in 2015.

Speicherstadt is the world’s largest coherent warehouse complex and includes a number of interesting museums and exciting exhibitions!

Hamburg is a city with a rich choice of top-class cultural events for all lovers of culture, renowned orchestras and theatres, a vibrant museum landscape with spectacular exhibitions, as well as experimental dance theatre and world-class ballet productions that reflect Hamburg’s great cultural diversity.

Hamburg has plenty to offer.

All are welcome in Hamburg. And depending on when you visit, not crowded at all!

Yep!

I was excited!

Book your hotel here!

MEDIA TRIP PROGRAMME:

DAY 1

My bottled beer at the Störtebeker Braumanufaktur – Elbphilharmonie
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Hamburg – Dec 2017

Eek!

DAY 2

Our awesome Hamburg guide – Marc Müller –
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Hamburg – Dec 2017

Phew!

I managed to join the group for a quick dinner, had a glass of champagne, then took off!

DAY 3

I wasn’t able to stay, but I did have sushi at Mikawa #2!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Hamburg – Dec 2017

‘Would have been:

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Free time

HAMBURG MARKETING RECOMMENDED ACTIVITIES:

I spent an evening at the famous Hanseatic Gänsemarkt Christmas Market! ©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Hamburg – Dec 2017

I didn’t have time to do any of these activities, but as I arrived a day earlier, I was able to make my own way around, and spent quite a pleasant afternoon (with sprinklings of snow) at the Hamburg HafenCity, the Speicherstadt or Warehouse District, the Altona-Altstadt or Old Town, the UNESCO Kontorhausviertel, and the Elbe Philharmonic Hall, otherwise known as the Elbphilharmonie!

The Christmas Market is not to be missed in Hamburg. Or anywhere else in Germany!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Hamburg – Dec 2017

Since it was around Christmas when I went to Hamburg, I also managed to fit in the historical Roncalli Christmas Market, and the very famous Hanseatic Gänsemarkt Christmas Market, otherwise known as the Goose Market!

Mind you, I would have quite fancied going to the Hamburg Dungeon!

Book your hotel here!

SO HOW WAS IT?

I bet you wouldn’t mind calling this sexy hot German guy!

It was a pretty packed programme, but awesome!

As I write this, it’s February 10th, and so much has happened since!

ANY TIPS GOING ON A FAM TRIP FOR THE FIRST TIME?

Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner for Bild am Sonntag
©Christian Spreitz
  • Leave plenty of time for trips, tours and meet-ups both before, and after the conference
  • You don’t have to have a huge following to be accepted onto a FAM / Press trip
  • Improve your photography
  • Have great content
  • Educate yourself and if you don’t know, ask your fellow invites
  • Networking is key to putting a face to a name in the blogging / press community
  • Take your business cards
  • Try to get some sleep
  • Get comfy but smarten yourself up, if the venue demands it
  • Be punctual
  • Stay professional
  • Don’t whinge
  • Follow the programme
  • Be a team-player
  • Keep smiling
  • Don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone
  • Don’t be stupid either
  • Be yourself
  • Write about your FAM trip and send it to the host or organiser
  • Thank the host or organiser
  • Have a great time

Book your hotel here!

VERDICT?

My fourth FAM / Press Trip to Hamburg – Holy Hamburg!

The staff of Hamburg Marketing (Jessica & her team), and awesome guide for the weekend –  Marc Müller – were all warm, welcoming, hilariously funny (you should hear the stories!!), but very professional.

They made sure that we were well-looked after, nobody got lost or forgot anything.  And nobody got left behind or ostracised.

There were moments of laughter, but most importantly, lots of smiling, laughing, and learning from each other.

We all got on extremely well!

Book your hotel here!

ANYTHING ELSE?

You can just about see some of the other bloggers, while we were at the Ottensen/Altona Christmas Market!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Hamburg – Dec 2017

Yep!

We were a small group of just ten (10) bloggers (including myself) from five (5) international countries.

Our job for that weekend was to visit and see the region for ourselves and hopefully, discover the many interests and joys of Hamburg, so that other travellers and visitors are encouraged to come and visit themselves.

And we did!

Victoria’s Hamburger Labskaus, which I had at Altes Mädchen. Try it!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Hamburg – Dec 2017

By the way, a Hamburger Labskaus is a speciality usually only found in North Germany.

It’s a gripping combination of corn beef or cooked salted meat, beetroot, potatoes, pickled gherkins, onions, rollmop, and a fried egg plopped on top of it all!

Gulp!

Thanks guys!

Book your hotel here!

MY FOURTH FAM / PRESS TRIP TO HAMBURG – HOLY HAMBURG!

My fourth FAM / Press Trip to Hamburg – Holy Hamburg!

This article is part-sponsored, and even though I was invited on this trip as a guest of Hamburg Marketing, Visit Hamburg, Deutsche Bahn and the Scandic Hamburg Emporio Hotel, all opinions and the hearty markets that I visited in Hamburg, are my very own!

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

I’ll be at the UK Germany 2018 Launch Party on Valentine’s Day – on the 14th of February, 2018. Tickets are free of charge, so if you’re in Berlin, join the party!

I’ll be at Berlin’s most famous film festival – The 68th showing of the Berlin International Film Festival, otherwise known as the Berlinale, taking place between 15th – 25th February, 2018.  Everyone’s most excited! Tickets are on sale from 12.02.18.

I’ll be at the ITB Berlin or the Internationale Tourismus-Börse Berlin – the world’s leading travel trade show, taking place between 7th – 11th March, 2018. You can buy tickets here.

Save the Date!

I’ll be there. Will you?

If you’re not in Berlin in February, then move on!

February is going to be busy!

See you next week!

My fourth FAM / Press Trip to Hamburg – Holy Hamburg!

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!

My fourth FAM / Press Trip to Hamburg – Holy Hamburg!

What did you think of press trips? Would you choose sushi with a fried egg, rollmop with a fried egg, or both? Let me know in the comments below!

See you in Berlin.

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

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

How I can afford a life of travel. Don’t choose. Live a life of style!

How I can afford a life of travel. Don’t choose. Live a life of style and travel!

It’s 2018 and it’s January.

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

Last year, I travelled to 8 counties.

8 wonderful countries!

However did I do that?

Have you ever been to Split in Croatia – Bring out the dragons!

I’m not a multi-millionaire. Neither is my husband!

I didn’t win the lottery.

I didn’t quit my job.

I didn’t change my lifestyle.

I didn’t throw my one and only child into boarding school.

I didn’t re-locate to a warmer (cheaper) climate.

I didn’t sell my stuff!

The Tall Young Gentleman & The Music Producer, looking very sorry for themselves at Valhalla – Blackpool

So how did I do it?

Well, if you look at my about me page, you will see that I am married, I have a son, and I have a corporate job in Berlin, as well as this wonderful lifestyle, travel, expat blog!

What I mean to say is that I live a normal life. Just like you.

I’m married, in a relationship with someone, or have been single. Just like you.

I have family responsibilities. Just like you.

I have a full-time job. Just like you.

And by god.

I have a daily budget.

Absolutely.

Just like you.

Book your hotel here!

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

And yet.

And yet…..

There was something that I did differently that might have been slightly the opposite of you.

I wanted to travel to more destinations last year, and I did.

I wanted to get on that plane and go to Vienna. I wanted to take that train to Amsterdam.

OMG! I was so broke at the beginning of last year but I was desperate to go to Sweden, so I took a long-distance-inter-country-coach-bus, to Stockholm.

From Berlin!

Book your hotel here!

Travel through Europe via FlixBus!

Ha! Ha! Ha!

It was crazy, and I vowed never to do it again.

But only two weeks later, I did exactly the the same thing!

I’m totally mad!

But I did it anyway LOL!

The point I’m making is that you don’t have to do anything drastic if you want to afford a life of travel.

You don’t have to choose between having it all and having nothing at all, and you definitely don’t have to quit your lifestyle!

Book your hotel here!

Myself with ski leaders in Rokytnice nad Jizerou – Czech Republic

I’m living proof of that.

Oh yes, I’ve done my GAP year, and my backpacking era.

I’ve slept in a casino, I’ve been in a hostel where not 1 but 2 complete strangers, were sleeping on my €2 /$3 per night bed!

I’ve been to Scotland where my B&B (which I had already paid for mind you), had completely disappeared. Completely!

I’ve booked hotels in Italy and couldn’t remember the names (thankfully I remembered where I first saw it. In the New York Times)!

Heck. I even missed my flight to Qatar, and had to go to Korea instead!

I’ve adjusted my travelling style over time according to my circumstances, who I was travelling with, and my mood!

And let me tell you. I’m not 20 anymore so those fleapit hostels, motels, cheap-I-don’t-wanna-know-who-slept-here-previously are definitely now gone!

Yes, I’m going to keep an eye on my hard-working money, but No, I’m no longer going to be sharing a room with 20 people, 10 people or even 5 other people!

Book your hotel here!

Our bedroom at the Villa Akacja, Leba in Poland.
Our bedroom at the Villa Akacja, Leba in Poland.

Nope!

Those days were fun, but they’re over.

Absolutely.

I think!!

In short, I’m enormously happy to go to hostels and we went to quite a few in the last couple of years, but we paid that little bit extra for a private room (since my child is a great traveller too), privacy, calmness, and security. We’ve also been to fancy hotel resorts and even rented a whole house for two weeks in Bali.

So, how can you have it all?

If you’re under 25 years old, you don’t need it all, and that’s the darn truth!

Book your budget hotel here!

“The Tall Young Gentleman” having fun in Bangkok.

Get yourself a backpack, work for a couple of months in a local shop, pub, or business.

Take a gap year before university or after university, in the summer, in the winter, or whatever, and whenever, have about €1,000 / $1,000 or £1,000 at the initial stage, and you’re good to go.

I’m not talking about an around-the-world trip here or flight costs, just the old let’s-see-how-far-this-money-will-take me scenario. Grab an old car, grab a few friends, and off you go.

If you’re in Europe, stay on the continent and do a road trip. Ditto the Americas. If you’re in Asia, you’re gonna have a thrilling great time.

When it’s over, it’s over!

You come back, buckle down, save up, and then do it again.

Properly!

Book your hotel here!

Get a train ticket and travel through Europe!

Now for those of you over 25 years old with jobs, families, responsibilities, and crossroads in front of you, do what I do.

I live life to the full, I work hard at my office and on my blog, and I get creative.

Yes, creative.

There is plenty to do in Lucerne so “The Tall Young Gentleman” & I made our own independent walking tour instead!
  • Our son is 15 years old which means I can’t travel in the low season. Just like you.

What do I do?

I book ahead. Far ahead!

In 2012, we went on a 3 week trip to Tuscany. In August!

I know. I know. I forgot it was going to be boiling.

Don’t judge me!

Anyway, I took out a map, pinned the places that we wanted to go to, and started doing research and contacting hostels, hotels, villas and castles.

How I can afford a life of travel. Don’t choose. Live a life of style and travel in Italy!

Yes, castles!

And the most we paid for our Royal Victoria300-year-old-5-star-hotel-in-Pisa-on-the-riverside was €52.00 per day! For 2 rooms, en-suite including breakfast! For the 3 of us LOL!

We started planning in 2011.

In 2014, we went to four (4) destinations outside Europe where we live. We went to Thailand, Qatar, Indonesia, and Korea. We started planning it in 2012.

In 2015, we went to the Baltic regions of Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Finland. Actually, we took a ferry to Helsinki, but still! Anyway, we took a bus-coach. The journey took us 26 hours, and we were knackered and exhausted, but we didn’t die!

We started planning it in 2014.

Book your hotel here!

Paella in Spain is just all you need!

In 2016, I went back to Asia, but our family trips were firmly based in Europe. Brexit or not! We went to Spain, Portugal, Denmark, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Slovakia, and other parts of Germany.

We started planning it in 2015.

In 2017, all our of family trips were in Europe, regardless of the countless terror acts throughout the continent. We went to expensive Sweden, Austria and England, dependable Holland, Germany, and the Czech Republic, as well as new and exotic parts of Eastern Europe – Croatia and Slovenia.

Book your hotel here!

A 5 minute introduction to Slovenia!

Again, planning started in 2016, and all were in consideration of the school holidays!

So book your hotel sooner, rather than later.

Right here!

You have to take action to get it!!

If you live in Europe, you get a minimum of 24 holidays per year, and between 11-15 public holidays on top of that. That makes 35 days. Many get more!

If you start your holidays on Friday evening or Saturday morning, you’ve got the weekends too. When I went to India, I went for 4 weeks but on paper, I actually went for 17 working days or 2.5 weeks.

And how did I do this?

Over Easter and May Day weekend!

And depending on the year, if the public holiday is in the middle of the week (like Xmas 2018), you can just take the Thursday and Friday off, and you’ve got the weekend on both sides anyway. That makes 11 days off, (including weekends),  but using just 2 days booked off your holiday space!

Boom!!

Taking a taxi in Lisbon.

If you live in Europe, everywhere is so close. Poland is 1.5 hours away from Berlin. Denmark about 4-5 hours. By car.

England is 1.5 hours away by plane. France. Spain, Portugal, Italy, and Greece are about 2 hours. Turkey, Morocco, Egypt about 3-4 hours.

By train, the sky is the European limit. As for coaches or buses, Linda from Expat Eye on Germany travelled all the way from Latvia (not far from Russia) for all of €50!

We did it for even less!

In short, distance isn’t an issue.

You can fly, take the car, train, bus, sail, or even cycle! Europe is great for the bicycle.

If cash is short, camping is available all over Europe, as well as bunkhouses, hostels, and couchsurfing, for absolutely free!

Or book your hostel or apartment here!

Under the waterfall in Yosemite, USA.
Under the waterfall in Yosemite, USA.
  • We’re comfortable.  And we’re middle-class. Just like you.

What do we do?

We save, budget, and plan how much we can reasonably spend.

It took us 2 years and so our budget in Asia was €100 per day.

I went to Korea, but I should have been in Qatar!

We spent about €850 for a flight from Berlin-Bangkok-Bali-Berlin each. We spent about €150 flying around in Asia itself each, rather than taking the rickety all night train, and we spent between €18 per person for a lovely wooden chalet in Thailand, and €70 per night for a complete house in Bali!

We were there for a month.

Book ahead.

Far ahead!

Catching a fish on the Polish Baltic Sea.

And as for Poland, I paid €26 per night for the lovely floor-heated-free-WIFI-on-the Baltic-Sea double room!

If the budget is “reasonable” then book B&B’s, pensions, and small or “budget” hotels.

Book your hotel here!

Between you and me, Prince Harry and Ms. Meghan Markle, are very much a Berlin fit! –
©Alexi Lubomirski

If you’ve got the cash. Go for it.

There are plenty of wonderful places in which you’ll be treated like royalty!

Cool Britannia!
Cool Britannia!
  • We keep our eyes open and go on various mailing lists. Just like you.

Register with airlines and transport corporations that you like, and as many as you like.

Register with hotel and hostel brands that you like. They always have special deals and discount offers for their members. I once flew to Krakow with Easyjet for free! And why?

Because I was on their mailing list and it was a new destination.

Book your hotel here!

Or simply, sing for your supper. Vienna – the world capital of music, music everywhere!
  • Be creative with flexibility!

We have school and jobs. Just like you.

Just because you have a fixed job, doesn’t mean that you can’t be flexible.

If you’re looking for an adventure. Use skycanner and go for “anywhere” within your budget.

Go to Eastern Europe instead of Western Europe.

Go to South America instead of North America.

Go to Wales instead of England.

Or not.

Don’t choose. Go where you want to go.

Book your hotel here!

Don’t choose. Go where you want to go – Live a life of style and travel!

If you live in North America, I know that it’s more complicated.

However, if you’ve worked hard, don’t feel guilty. TAKE your holidays and USE them for your own pleasure.

Don’t paint the porch. The porch can wait.

Go to that place that you’ve always wanted to go to.

Do the road trip.

Or fly to Argentina.

Whatever.

Book your hotel here!

If you’re American, and you only feel comfortable visiting other American cities, that’s alright too!

If you feel more comfortable staying in North America, then stay in North America. North America is an amazing destination and so beautiful.

I’m not here to guilt trip you. It’s your holiday.

If you feel more comfortable, going on a package tour. Go for it.

If you feel more comfortable travelling with the whole family. It’s your call.

Book your hotel here!

Stuffed sticky rice wrapped up in a banana leaf in Bangkok. Go on. Try it!
Stuffed sticky rice wrapped up in a banana leaf in Bangkok. Go on. Try it!
  • Don’t forget to ask. We love a bargain. Just like you.

Ask for discounts.

Ask for a bigger room.

Ask for an included breakfast.

Ask for WIFI.

Ask for an extra bed.

Ask for free parking.

Ask about children prices, student prices, senior citizen / retiree prices, corporate prices, even regional or local prices.

If you’re from “there” let them know. You never know. If you don’t ask, they can’t help you, or reduce the prices.

Ask, and ask again.

It doesn’t matter if it’s “only” 2 months, 2 weeks, or 2 days. Just know that you can afford to travel.

You can have it all.

Book your hotel here!

Don’t even think of asking me!

And now for what you’ve all been waiting for…..Where am I going in 2018?

Drum roll pleeeeease!

Travel plans this year are:

Romania

Romania

Belgium

Bulgaria

Bulgaria

Czech Republic

Norway

Norway

Poland

India

India

And of course, Germany! Ho! Ho! Ho!

Book your hotel here!

BMW Munich – Summer in Germany – Simply the Best!

I travel a lot for leisure and pleasure.

I live in Germany, which many consider to be an expensive Western nation. I can afford a life of travel and a comfortable Berlin lifestyle.

I choose to have it all.

HOW I CAN AFFORD A LIFE OF TRAVEL. DON’T CHOOSE: LIVE A LIFE OF STYLE AND TRAVEL!

How I can afford a life of travel. Don’t choose. Live a life of style and travel!

This article is not sponsored, and the exciting countries that I plan to visit in 2018, all my very own!

In January, I’ll be making an announcement that will probably surprise you. Find out throughout January!

I went on a press trip to Hamburg. Watch out for the details!

I’ll be continuing my last visit to the UK later in the month!

In a few weeks, I’ll be visiting Belgium!

I’ll be at the British Shorts Film Festival taking place between 11th – 17th January. If you’re an aspiring film-maker submission is free of charge, so hurry!

I’ll be at the most famous burlesque-fantastic Berlin operetta – Frau Luna – Operette in zwei Akten, taking place at TIPI AM KANZLERAMT, between 11th January – 11th March. Everyone’s most excited!

I’ll be at Berlin Fashion Week taking place between 16th – 18th January.

I’ll be at the 33rd British Council Literature Seminar – #BritLitBerlin taking place between 25th – 27th January, 2018. If you want to attend or join in, registration is now open!

Save the Date!

I’ll be there. Will you?

If you’re not in Berlin in January, then where the hell are you?

January is going to be splendid!

See you next week!

How I can afford a life of travel. Don’t choose. Live a life of style and travel!

Watch this space!

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

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

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

A win-win for all!

Thanks a million!

How I can afford a life of travel. Don’t choose. Live a life of style and travel!

What do you choose to do with your holiday/vacation time? Where are you going in 2018? Have you been to any of the countries above? 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!