10 reasons why Zagreb is a family destination – A great place for teenagers!

The Tall Young Gentleman in Zagreb, Croatia

Isn’t it exciting?

I’m featured in the Metro Magazine – a lifestyle magazine in the Philippines: Metro Magazine Feature (Annual Body Issue) – Lifestyle – April 2017 Edition!

It’s a pdf for now but apparently, there’s a book coming out!

Don’t I look great!

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

I hope you’re enjoying the first post that I wrote about Croatia.

And I’ve got lots more where that came from!

Yes Sir!

However, this post is not only going to be about Zagreb, but about travelling with family.

I don’t often write about family travel as this blog is really all about me. And my travels!

Does it sound selfish?

It does!

Ah well!

10 reasons why Zagreb is a family destination – A great place for teenagers!

I purposely chose Croatia as a place to travel with my family for the reasons that I’ll soon be writing below, but first, let’s get the info!

Teenagers! You’ve got to love ’em!

And when you’re travelling or going abroad, you’ve got to think of things differently, as teenagers are not children per se, but neither are they adults.

They’re gangly young people, looking to explore the world, find their feet, and live life to the full.

And if you’re like me. You’ll let them do it, and give them the  gift of travel!

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

Children are versatile.

And they don’t really need much.

All they need is plenty of food, a safe and clean place to lay their head, wi-fi, a bit of space to lay out all their “stuff”and you!

Yes, you.

The parent!

My family & I in Thailand – All smiles and bunny ears at the end of a great day at Baanchang Elephant Park.

You don’t have to wait until “they’re old enough to know.”

Believe you me. They know!

You don’t have to wait until “they understand the benefits” of travel.

What are you talking about`?

Finding slugs!
Finding slugs!

Any place that is different from home and in which they can learn about other places, other cultures, and other people, is a marvellous thing.

The younger they are, the easier it is, and the better for all!

In Stellshagen – Mecklenburg-Vorpommern – Germany.
Our son as a baby – 20 months old!

I started travelling with our son when he was just 5 months old. I put him in a baby carrier, dumped all his toys and baby stuff in the car, and breast-fed him all the way!

And by the time he was 5 years old, he had been to 32 countries, and at 12, he was already talking about spending his GAP year in Thailand, so there’s that!

There is plenty to do in Lucerne so
“The Tall Young Gentleman” in Switzerland. Give your teenagers the gift of travel!

I love travelling with our son, and even though he’s just turned 15. OMG! It won’t be long until he’ll want to be travelling with his friends. Gulp!

In Northern European countries that age tends to be between 16 and 17 years old as young people are more independent, and their parents liberal, tolerant, and open-minded which is why I decided to go to Amsterdam at the beginning of the year. With our teenager in tow!

How to visit Amsterdam in two days. With a teenager – “The Tall Young Gentleman”

Interestingly enough, our German friends didn’t blink an eye when I told them. Not so my Anglo-American friends who were visibly shocked and worried.

Not to worry. Everything turned out just fine!

Book your hotel here!

And now:

ZAGREB

Zagreb is the capital of Croatia.

Zagreb is the capital of Croatia.

Zag. What?

Zaaaaaaaagreb!

Zagreb is one of the oldest cities in Central Europe as far back as 1094!

It’s located in the northern part of Croatia, just north of the Sava River, and has a population of just under 793,000 people!

We didn't have time to go to the Plitvice Lake nearby, but we'll certainly do so, next time!
We didn’t have time to go to the Plitvice Lake nearby, but we’ll certainly do so, next time!

The local name for Croat is Hrvat. You will see this word everywhere. Hrvat was a powerful military chieftain in the early Middle Ages and also another word for “friend!”

The historical part of Zagreb to the north of the centre of the city is called Ban Jelačić Square. It is composed of the Gradec or Gornji Grad /the Old Town), and the diocese settlement of Kaptol, a medieval urban complex of churches, palaces, museums, galleries and government buildings that are popular with tourists and locals alike!

In fact, if truth be told, April is so early in the season that there weren’t really many tourists at all!

I didn’t hear British voices or German ones. The tourists that were about were either American, Korean, Italian or Croatian!

The tourists that were in Zagreb at this time were either American, Korean, Italian or Croatian!

These two parts of “town” used to be divided by a river and a bridge known as the Krvavi Most, otherwise known as, the Bloody Bridge!

Krvavi Most – the Bloody Bridge – is a street just 2 minutes away from our holiday apartment!

The rather unusual name is so-called after the original bridge which used to lie over the Medveščak creek,and which gained notoriety because of the many conflicts that happened between the citizens of the two parts of “town” – Gradec and Kaptol!

Directions to the Bloody Bridge in Zagreb – Croatia!

The bridge is long gone, as is the river, but the street kept it’s name – The Bloody Bridge!

Zagreb is a small city but a city rich with history, prestigious architecture, and great connections linking Croatia to Central Europe, South-East Europe, and the Mediterranean!

Book your hotel here!

10 REASONS WHY ZAGREB IS A FAMILY DESTINATION – A GREAT PLACE FOR TEENAGERS!

10 reasons why Zagreb is a family destination – A great place for teenagers!

There’s no denying that Zagreb is very much a family destination with plenty to offer, to satisfy both parents, and their accompanying teenager. And with the help of the 72 hour Zagreb Card, courtesy of the Zagreb Tourist Board, we did just that!

Thanks so much!

Here’s why:

The Lotrscak Tower & Grič Cannon
©Patrik Macek – Zagreb Tourist Board

1.  The Grič Cannon: Every day at noon, the Grič Cannon is  fired from the Lotrščak Tower and the people of Zagreb set their watches by it. In fact, you can gather under the tower and watch the cannon come out! And without fail, the huge “Boom” will make you jump out of your skin!  I’m guessing teenagers would be too cool to show you that they almost lost their iPhones, due to the shock!

We watched it twice, and we still jumped!

The guy manning the cannon is pretty jolly, as he always waves out of the window to whoever might be nearby!

Don’t look if you’re squeamish – The Zagreb Mummy!
©Archaeological Museum Zagreb

2.  Nesi-Hensu – An Egyptian Mummy: This famous Egyptian “mummy” was a woman called Nesi-Hensu, the wife of a tailor from Thebes. The mummy was wrapped in sliced bands of a linen book which was inscribed and preserved, in the Etruscan language. The mummy was accompanied by a papyrus with a text of several chapters from the Book of the Dead, making it the longest surviving manuscript of the language, in the world!

She can be found at the Archaeological Museum in Zagreb.

Rent a bike in Zagreb. Any type of bike!

3.  Hire a local bike: The beauty of most European countries is how easy and normal it is, to use your bike. Most of the Old Town is car-free so it’s perfectly save for teenagers to ride along by themselves in and around the many parks in Zagreb, or to the surrounding suburbs and countryside.

Museum of Broken Relationships
©Mare Milin

4.  Visit a Museum: Zagreb is home to a wealth of museums including the Croatian Natural History Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb, the Museum of Illusion, and the Archaeological Museum Zagreb. In addition, Zagreb is also the permanent home of the Museum of Broken Relationships!

We had planned to go to the Zagreb City Museum otherwise known as, the Museum of the City of Zagreb, but we were too late to reach it on Sunday, and it was utterly closed on Monday! However, we managed to visit the Museum of Broken Relationships.

My husband – The Music Producer – was sceptical at first wondering how a roomful of broken hearts could cause such an attraction however, it wasn’t like that at all! It’s a quirky museum that exhibits mementos and love tokens donated from broken-hearted lovers, all over the world.

Even The Tall Young Gentleman found it interesting. I’m sure your teenager would too!

Museum of Broken Relationships
©MoBR

In some places, the stories were quite funny and in some, extremely idiotic!

All I can say is Berlin, furniture, and an axe!

Red Srebrnog Zmaja – The Order of the Silver Dragon
@Maja Homen

5.  The Order of the Silver Dragon: Each Saturday, (April – September), tourists can meet members of the Red Srebrnog Zmaja, otherwise known as the Order of The Silver Dragon at St. Mark’s Square in the Upper Town! This Order re-enacts famous historical conflicts between Gradec and Kaptol, and is a great opportunity to see authentic, fully functional, historical replicas of medieval armour!

If all else fails, take the funicular up and down, in Zagreb!

6.  Zagreb is safe: Croatia is an up-and-coming Central-East-European destination with many things to recommend it. It’s small, cheap, fresh and interesting. It’s also easy to move around by bus, tram, bicycle or simply walking around, with plenty of people-watching activity to satisfy any discerning teenager!

And if all else fails, take the funicular up and down!

Officers of the honorary company of the Cravat Regiment, Zagreb – Croatia!

7.  The changing of the Cravat Regiment Guard: Sadly, we didn’t see the Order of the Silver Dragon above, but we did manage to bump into the Cravat Regiment Guards instead!

The Cravat Regiment is part of the Croatian light cavalry from the 17th century. Apart from great valour, its biggest claim to fame was its uniform, especially the distinctive scarves its soldiers wore around their necks, which is where the cravat got its name from! The knotted scarf quickly became a popular fashion accessory, and was already known as cravat (English), Krobatten (German), and Cravates (French)!

A Regency-style Cravat tied in a bow on a Grafton collar.
©Charlie Huang

The Cravat Regiment can be found every weekend at noon, at St. Mark’s Square in the Upper Town, in which you’ll see the two-hour ceremony of the changing of the Cravat Regiment Guard, stemming right back from the 17th century, by the very same regiment soldiers who gave the tie it’s name!

I think we saw them at the end stage of the ceremony as they seemed to be recruiting for new guards, and getting certificates and medals.

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

You know how I always seem to have a nose for these things so when  I spied a couple of local hacks, they took me in, and gave me some titbits. Not only was this ceremony an important part of the recruitment process, but for the first time in Croatian history, a single woman was being added to the team!

How thrilling!

Look at the magnificent view that you can only get from the tallest building in Zagreb – Zagreb 360°!
Zagreb Tourist Board – ©Davor Rostuhar

8.  Zagreb 360°: Go up to the tallest building in Zagreb, otherwise known as the Zagreb 360° – Observation Deck and Event venue!

Zagreb 360° is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Zagreb and can be found on the Ban Jelačić (main) square. In fact, you can’t miss it. Just look up!

On a clear day you can even see as far out into Slovenia!

It’s  on the 16th floor at the very top of the Zagreb Skyscraper and offers a spectacular view of the Ban Jelačić (main) square, the Manduševac fountain, Kaptol, Gradec, the Upper and Lower Town, and the most important cultural and historic structures in Zagreb.

On a clear day you can even see as far out into Slovenia!

We went up there and very much enjoyed the view. In fact, it was so sunny in some parts that it was difficult to take photographs with our iPhones!

We liked Zagreb 360° and enjoyed reading the historical posters and gallery photography, although some of the translated content was a little disturbing…!

“The Tall Young Gentleman” and I played a game of Ludo at the Zagreb 360° which he won!

Sometimes, it takes a holiday to remind you that even though your teenagers might be strapping lads and thoughtful girls, they’re still very much children. The Zagreb 360° had a number of larger-than-sized board games and so The Tall Young Gentleman and I played a game of Ludo.

He won!

My family on our walking tour in Zagreb – Croatia!

9.  Take a city walking tour: I’m a great lover of walking tours, and one of the best ways for your teenager to get to know their way around Zagreb, is to take a walking tour.

We went with a local company called the Free Spirit Waking Tour Zagreb. I believe it’s the only free walking tour of it’s kind in Zagreb!

These are just some of the people that I happened to meet in Zagreb – Actor Musicians!

Generally, the local guide is usually an expert in the area, and shows you around the city that they have either grown up in, or have come to love. It usually last about 2 hours, it’s everyday, and it’s completely free of charge, save for tips!

Our guide – Luka – was great. He really knows his stuff and is fun. And with a child in tow that counts for something. We gave him a very nice tip at the end!

10.   And lastly, the Grič Tunnel – A secret tip: Zagreb has underground tunnels!

I’ve been everywhere. Let’s go out and play cricket with the penguins!

My husband – The Music Producer – was looking for something to surprise me with! As a well-seasoned lifestyle travel blogger, it’s not easy to knock me over with a feather as I’ve either already been there, or done that! And so, he wanted to show me somewhere, and that I wasn’t to check my VoiceGuide Zagreb App, or Google!

Hard stuff!

The Music Producer & The Tall Young Gentleman at the Grič Tunnel – A secret tip in Zagreb – Croatia!

We followed him down a pedestrian tunnel in the historic neighbourhood of Grič, otherwise known as Gradec or Gornji Grad!

And we found a very huge, and very long underground tunnel!

The Grič Tunnel consists of a central hall connected by two passageways to Mesnička Street in the west and Stjepan Radić Street in the east, and four passageways extending to the south.

It was built during World War II to serve both as a bomb shelter and a promenade. However, after the war it quickly fell into disrepair and disuse, until it was used as a shelter during the Croatian War of Independence, and for dance raves in the 90’s!

We found a very huge, and very long underground tunnel – The Grič Tunnel in Zagreb – Croatia!

In 2016, the tunnel was remodeled and opened to the public as a quirky new tourist attraction. And it really does the job.

It was so hot outdoors that the coolness of the tunnel was a welcome relief. I even thought of having a picnic there!

And strangely, there are even public utilities if you’re desperate, too!

Your teenagers will love it, just like we did!

Mmm! Fritule – Croatian doughnuts – are quite yum!

That’s if for now. See you next week!

Where we stayed: Apartment Place4you – Just under €60.00 per night for the whole apartment. Wonderful!

Book your hotel here!

10 REASONS WHY ZAGREB IS A FAMILY DESTINATION – A GREAT PLACE FOR TEENAGERS!

10 reasons why Zagreb is a family destination – A great place for teenagers!

This article is not sponsored and even though we received complimentary 72 hour Zagreb Card, courtesy of the Zagreb Tourist Board,  all opinions and the enticing pork sandwiches that we happily munched through, are my very own!

In May, I’ll be writing more about Croatia, and visiting Sweden & Finland!

I’ll be there. Will you?

If you’re not in Berlin in May, you’ll miss the sunshine!

May is going to be exciting!

10 reasons why Zagreb is a family destination – A great place for teenagers!

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!

10 reasons why Zagreb is a family destination – A great place for teenagers!

Have you ever been to Zagreb? Do you travel with your family? 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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How to visit Amsterdam in two days. With a teenager!

How to visit Amsterdam in two days. With a teenager -
How to visit Amsterdam in two days. With a teenager – “The Tall Young Gentleman”

Teenagers! You’ve got to love ’em!

And when you’re travelling or going abroad, you’ve got to think of things differently, as teenagers are not children per se, but neither are they adults.

They’re gangly young people, looking to explore the world, find their feet, and live life to the full.

And if you’re like me. You’ll let them do it, and give them the  gift of travel!

Teenagers. Give them the gift of travel!
Teenagers. Give them the gift of travel!

Children are versatile.

And they don’t really need much.

All they need is plenty of food, a safe and clean place to lay their head, wi-fi, a bit of space to lay out all their “stuff”and you!

Yes, you.

The parent!

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

You don’t have to wait until “they’re old enough to know.”

Believe you me. They know!

You don’t have to wait until “they understand the benefits” of travel.

What are you talking about`?

Teenagers. Give them the gift of travel!
Teenagers. Give them the gift of travel!

Any place that is different from home and in which they can learn about other places, other cultures, and other people, is a marvellous thing.

The younger they are, the easier it is, and the better for all!

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

I started travelling with our son when he was just 5 months old. I put him in a baby carrier, dumped all his toys and baby stuff in the car, and breast-fed him all the way!

And by the time he was 5 years old, he had been to 32 countries, and at 12, he was already talking about spending his GAP year in Thailand, so there’s that!

There is plenty to do in Lucerne so
“The Tall Young Gentleman” in Switzerland. Give your teenagers the gift of travel!

I love travelling with our son, and even though he’s 14, it won’t be long until he’ll want to be travelling with his friends.

In Northern European countries that age tends to be between 16 and 17 years old as young people are more independent, and their parents liberal, tolerant, and open-minded.

In that wise, I decided to go to Amsterdam for the weekend, with our teenager in tow!

How to visit Amsterdam in two days. With a teenager -
How to visit Amsterdam in two days. With a teenager – “The Tall Young Gentleman”

Interestingly enough, our German friends didn’t blink an eye when I told them. Not so my Anglo-American friends who were visibly shocked and worried.

Not to worry.

This is what happened.

HOW TO VISIT AMSTERDAM IN TWO DAYS. WITH A TEENAGER!

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

I took my teenager to Amsterdam!

I know!

I started my international travel adventure for 2017 a fortnight (two weeks) ago, by taking a weekend trip to Holland.

To Amsterdam.

When people think of Amsterdam, their ears immediately prick up, and their eyes bulge intensely at the exotic-ness of that city of sin….

Nightlife in Amsterdam...
Nightlife in Amsterdam…

However, people live in Amsterdam. I mean, people people.

Real people. Ordinary people. People who have to get up in the morning and work in an office, take the train, or in this case, ride their bicycles.

In 2015, I wrote about the other stuff.  The stuff that “decent” people whisper over. The naughty stuff….

And here’s the link!

This time around, I’m writing about the family-friendly Amsterdam.

Here goes!

SOME INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT AMSTERDAM

Dutch children in traditional costume.
Dutch children in traditional costume.

Amsterdam is a small capital city in Europe. It’s one of those places steeped in history and glory.

Indeed, as a 12th century fishing hamlet, it’s done rather well as a naval trading giant in the 17th century hunting for spoils and riches, before Britain came and took away such treasures as New Amsterdam (from Amsterdam in Holland), that later relegated to New York (from York in England). We also know of the conflicts and tribulations that Amsterdam had to go through in order to keep the water at bay, and the canals safe.

Did you know that:

How to visit Amsterdam in two days. With a teenager!
How to visit Amsterdam in two days. With a teenager! And 165 canals!
  • Only 834,713 people actually live in Amsterdam and more than 3.6 million tourists visit every year!
  • There are 881,000 bicycles
  • 213 trams
  • 165 canals
  • 1,281 bridges
  • 2,500 barges or houseboats
  • 8,863 historical 16th, 17th, and 18th century buildings
  • 23 paintings by Rembrandt
  • 207 paintings by Van Gogh
  • And 8 windmills!

DAY ONE (1) – WHAT TO DO WITH A TEENAGER

How to visit Amsterdam in two days. With a teenager - "The Tall Young Gentleman"
How to visit Amsterdam in two days. With a teenager – “The Tall Young Gentleman”
  • Put luggage away as quickly as possible:
How to visit Amsterdam in two days. With a teenager - Get rid of luggage!
How to visit Amsterdam in two days. With a teenager – Get rid of luggage!

Checking in for most hotels is usually between 13:00 – 14:00 so if you’re not driving, put your luggage in the train station locker for efficiency and speed! For 24 hours, it costs between €7.00 – €10. We had just arrived by overnight train from Berlin, so it was well worth not lugging things around..!

Book your hotel here!

  • Feed your teenager:
How to visit Amsterdam in two days. With a teenager - A good meal is essential!
How to visit Amsterdam in two days. With a teenager – A good meal is essential!

Before we were going to do anything at all, I took my son to a restaurant that I knew, that served an English breakfast for under €5.00! He opted for an Italian breakfast instead, and ending up licking his chops at mine!

  • It’s always a good thing to get a local viewpoint of a place or city, and the best way to do so is on a walking tour:
How to visit Amsterdam in two days. With a teenager! Go on a walking tour!
How to visit Amsterdam in two days. With a teenager!
Go on a walking tour!

Now, I’ve been to been to Amsterdam loads of time, but The Tall Young Gentleman has never been to Holland.

In fact, 2 years ago, I did my own personal walking tour in Amsterdam, as my tour guide decided not to turn up!

I’m a great advocate for walking tours and go on many, such as food tours, alternative walking tours, free walking tours, and walking tours in exotic places!

There are many tour groups to choose from, but the one I chose was the Sandemans new Amstedam free walking tour.

  • Learn about Dutch culture:
How to visit Amsterdam in two days. With a teenager!
How to visit Amsterdam in two days. With a teenager!

Our walking tour was great for learning all about how Dutch people live and the alternative lifestyle in Amsterdam, which even included walking through the red-light district at 12:00 in the afternoon!

Funnily enough it wasn’t this that got my teenager blushing and flustered.

After all, a lot of the red light places in Amsterdam are blended into the community, with one red-light street situation right next to a kindergarten, and opposite a church! And as for Germany, prostitution is legal and well, you know, nude or Freikörperkultur beaches abound throughout Germany. All quite normal and family-friendly!

It was this.

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

Our walking tour group gathered around to take photographs of various types, sizes and flavours, whilst my teenager and I wandered further away and talked about the weather.

Neither of us quite knew where to look!

  • Bump into cheese. And eat it:
How to visit Amsterdam in two days. With a teenager! And eat lots of cheese!
How to visit Amsterdam in two days. With a teenager!
And eat lots of cheese!

You surely can’t be in Holland if you don’t try some of their best famous cheese!

If you love cheese, you can pretty much go into any of the cheese shops and get to know all about the flavours, aroma, and quality of an enormous range of cheese.

We went to a place called the Cheese Inn Museum. 

It’s been around since 1967 and specialises in more than 100 different kinds of organic cheese from cheese markets in Northern Holland, as well as other equipment!

How to visit Amsterdam in two days. With a teenager! And eat lots of cheese!
How to visit Amsterdam in two days. With a teenager!
And eat lots of cheese!

That’s right. Amsterdam has a museum. For Cheese!

It’s free to go in, and they give you a little tour and some info so that you can experience the unique flavor of the best cheeses in Holland, and nibble away at many varieties of free cubes of cheese and sauces to taste!

How to visit Amsterdam in two days. With a teenager! And eat lots of cheese!
How to visit Amsterdam in two days. With a teenager!
And eat lots of cheese!

The last time I was there, I was so impressed that I bought some Dutch waffles and biscuits, some very, very, very Old Amsterdam Cheese, for – The Music Producer – who is a connoisseur.

Dutch Farmhouse Cheese with Italian Black Truffle. Mmm.

How can anyone, lest of all teenagers, resist?!

  • Take a leisurely stroll, and walk in and out of little back streets, and on the river-side:
How to visit Amsterdam in two days. With a teenager - You might be surprised at what you might see!
How to visit Amsterdam in two days. With a teenager – You might be surprised at what you might see!

Start from Amsterdam Central Station to Dam Square, and then explore. Just remind your teenagers to watch their bags as the area is packed with tourists, as well as pick-pockets. Think Leicester Square (London), Times Square (New York), or Alexanderplatz (Berlin).

Damrak is crowded and there’s loads of weird people and strange shops. You might not like it, but your teenager will! And for obvious reasons, you wouldn’t want them to be there alone. So take a deep breath and go with them…!

How to visit Amsterdam in two days. With a teenager - You might be surprised at what you might see!
How to visit Amsterdam in two days. With a teenager – You might be surprised at what you might see!

The picture above shows the Waag or traditional weighing house and is a 15th-century building on the Nieuwmarkt Square in Amsterdam.

It was originally a city gate and part of the walls of Amsterdam, and also served as a guildhall, a museum, a fire station and anatomical theatre, and now a restaurant!

The Waag is the oldest remaining non-religious building in Amsterdam and can even be seen in Rembrandt’s 1632 painting The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Nicolaes Tulp!

  • Go ice-skating:
How to visit Amsterdam in two days. With a teenager - Ice-skating galore! @I amsterdam - Hans Guldemond
How to visit Amsterdam in two days. With a teenager – Ice-skating galore!
@I amsterdam – Hans Guldemond

Somehow, I always seem to be in Holland in the winter!

One year, we actually walked across part of the Northern Sea, and people’s yachts and boats were frozen!

Thankfully, Amsterdam isn’t that extreme so merely ice-skating will have to do! The ICE*Amsterdam presents a unique ice skating experience on Amsterdam’s Museumplein, with the Rijksmuseum as a phenomenal backdrop, where your teenager can not only do some nifty ice-skating, but curling and ice hockey too!

How to visit Amsterdam in two days. With a teenager - ice-skating!
How to visit Amsterdam in two days. With a teenager – ice-skating!

You can’t do this every year though as the ice rink is only open from 18.11.16 – 05.02.17, and temperatures have to drop to -4°C or below, for four (4) consecutive nights, to produce ice thick enough to skate on. And it did!

In fact, while we were there, Amsterdam was freezing cold!

DAY TWO (2) – WHAT TO DO WITH A TEENAGER

How to visit Amsterdam in two days. With a teenager -
How to visit Amsterdam in two days. With a teenager – “The Tall Young Gentleman”
  • Take a cruise:
How to visit Amsterdam in two days. With a teenager - Take a boat tour on the river!
How to visit Amsterdam in two days. With a teenager – Take a boat tour on the river!

I just so love rivers.

The waterside tells you such a lot about a place and it’s people. The buildings, the bridges, and the houseboats. The dykes and the street corners where condemned criminals were once hanged for all to see.

The rivers are so exquisite that the canals in Amsterdam have been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Fancy that!

How to visit Amsterdam in two days. With a teenager - Take a boat tour on the river!
How to visit Amsterdam in two days. With a teenager – Take a boat tour on the river!

Or if you’re short on cash, hop on the free public ferry service behind the Centraal train Station and set sail for NDSM-wharf, a derelict shipyard turned avant-garde arts community.

Check out the recycled-junk sculptures, graffiti artists roaming the streets and giant wooden tiki head watching over it all.

It goes to Amsterdam-Noord. There are various routes, but the most common ones are the short ferry to Buiksloterweg (roughly every 10 minutes) and the long ferry (every half hour) to the NDSM Wharf. You can get more information about the destinations, the routes and an interactive map here!

  • Cycle through the city:
How to visit Amsterdam in two days. With a teenager - Cycle through the city!
How to visit Amsterdam in two days. With a teenager – Cycle through the city!

I’m not the best cyclist in the world, but I like places that worship the bike.

In Europe, we love our bikes and use them, and you can’t go far wrong if you want to ride your bicycle in Amsterdam! Even Dutch Royalty are known to go about on their very own bicycles as Amsterdam is enormously flat and quite honestly, was designed very much with 17th century horses and carts in mind!

  • Visit a museum:
How to visit Amsterdam in two days. With a teenager - Visit a museum! @I amsterdam - Philipp Benedikt
How to visit Amsterdam in two days. With a teenager – Visit a museum!
@I amsterdam – Philipp Benedikt

Amsterdam has a variety of really great museums. All which would give your teenager something to do. And if it’s cold, wet and rainy.

All the better.

The best museums / attractions to visit with a teenager are the following:

How to visit Amsterdam in two days. With a teenager - Visit the Amsterdam Dungeon!
How to visit Amsterdam in two days. With a teenager – Visit the Amsterdam Dungeon!
  1. The Amsterdam Museum
  2. The Rijksmuseum
  3. The Van Gogh Museum
  4. The Ann Frank House Museum
  5. Micropia
  6. The Rembrandt House Museum
  7. The Joods Historisch Museum or the Jewish Historical Museum
  8. The Tassenmuseum Hendrikje or The Museum of Bags and Purses
  9. The Museum Willet-Holthuysen
  10. Het Grachtenhuis or The Museum of the Canals
  11. The Woonbootmuseum or the Houseboat Museum
  12. The Heineken Experience
  13. The Amsterdam Dungeon
  14. Body Worlds Amsterdam
  15. And the Amsterdam Light Festival

We didn’t have as much time as we would have liked, and only managed to get to the two (2) museums below:

  • The Amsterdam Museum:
How to visit Amsterdam in two days. With a teenager - Visit a museum!
How to visit Amsterdam in two days. With a teenager – Visit a museum!

I was very eager to visit the Amsterdam Museum as it focuses on the story and history of Amsterdam through a large number of masterpieces, such as an aerial map from the Middle Ages, Breitner’s The Dam, and lots of interactive material and images that you could touch, see, listen to, use, read, and experience.

I love museums where you don’t have to treat things like delicate treasures, and can really get to grips with “using” the items!

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

An audio guide is provided so that you can do your own self-guided tour, in a variety of popular languages. And it’s free of charge, which I greatly appreciated!

Verdict: Both my teenager and I loved it.

And if you’re short of time, or don’t feel like doing anything too “heavy” the interactive Amsterdam DNA exhibition, can be “done” in just one (1) hour!

Cost: Adults: €12.50. Students: €10.00. Children 5-18: €6.50. Under 4: Free of charge.

  • The Rijksmuseum:
How to visit Amsterdam in two days. With a teenager - Visit a museum!
How to visit Amsterdam in two days. With a teenager – Visit a museum!

The Rijksmuseum is the iconic museum of the Netherlands.

The Rijksmuseum’s world-famous collection was presented via going on a journey through the ages, and a sense of beauty and of time.

In 80 galleries, 8,000 objects tell the story of 800 years of Dutch art and history, from the Middle Ages to Mondrian. And even though The Tall Young Gentleman is just 14 years old, he really enjoyed the Rembrandt art and imaginary mythical creatures, and was upset when after just 2 hours, it was time to leave!

How to visit Amsterdam in two days. With a teenager - Visit a museum!
How to visit Amsterdam in two days. With a teenager – Visit a museum!

Verdict: Both my teenager and I loved it and Night Watch alone was amazing!

Cost: Adults: €17.50. European Youth Card Holders (EYCA) / Students: €8.75. Under 18: Free of charge!

We ran out of time this time around, but if you have longer, check out the others!

p.s. Don’t forget to book or reserve museum tickets online, in order to escape the queues at peak periods!

How to visit Amsterdam in two days. With a teenager - Visit a museum! The Heineken Experience!
How to visit Amsterdam in two days. With a teenager – Visit a museum!
The Heineken Experience!

Sadly, by 17:00, it was time to take our train back to Berlin.

It was clear that we had a most interesting time.

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

My blog is not about what’s right and what’s wrong. If you look deep enough you’ll see that it’s all about what’s different, the other, the edge. It’s also all rather tongue-in-cheek!

And Amsterdam is a perfect example. It’s a lovely quaint city with an exposed diverse edge. It’s cosmopolitan, and at the same time Dutch in style. It’s romantic and beautiful, but tolerant and diverse. It’s rich and lively, but quiet and authentic. It’s charming and also like any other capital city, beautifully flawed.

Go see for yourself.

Thanks so much Amsterdam Museum and the Rijksmuseum!

Book your hotel here!

HOW TO VISIT AMSTERDAM IN TWO DAYS. WITH A TEENAGER!

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

This article is not sponsored and even though I received complimentary museum tickets, all opinions and the delightful Dutch cheese that I happily consumed, are my very own!

It’s January!

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

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

If you’re a blogger and you’re in town, then come and meet us at the Berlin Travel Massive February MeetUp on February 9th.

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

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

If you’re not in Berlin in January, what are you waiting for!

January is going to be striking!

Watch this space!

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

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

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

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

A win-win for all!

Thanks a million!

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

Have you ever been to Amsterdam? Would you take a teenager? Have your say!

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 reasons why being a British European is a really good thing!

The last week has been extremely stressful!
The last week has been extremely stressful!

The last week has been extremely stressful, and we have the awful outcome of the Brexit Referendum to thank for that, and by all accounts, it isn’t a pretty story.

The Prime Minister – David Cameron – handed in his resignation. So did Boris Johnson.

The leader of the Labour Party is struggling to keep his head, Scotland and Northern Ireland are talking loudly about secession, and the pound lost a third of it’s value, and has never been lower!

The idea of BREXIT is gloomy and frightening.
The idea of BREXIT is gloomy and frightening.

The idea of BREXIT.

Is.

Frightening.

And.

Totally Awful.

But let me be clear.  I’m still British, and I’ll be British to the end.

A potrait of William Shakespeare.
A potrait of William Shakespeare.

Yes, those losers voted for Out. But they’re not my people. They’re not the British people that I know.

And.

They don’t represent me.

The people who voted for Remain ARE my people. And even though we lost the Referendum. We haven’t lost our spirit.

I’m proud to be British.

Berlin - very British - rbb
Berlin – very British – rbb

Being British has never been about self.

Being British has always been about supporting the common good, the underdog, freedom and fairness.

I may not agree with the verdict, but it’s democracy, and that vote has been taken, and so we must bear the consequences.

It’s true that I have the luxury of a double nationality if I so wish, and I have the right to do so.

I live in Germany. We can all choose our lifestyle.
I live in Germany.
We can all choose our lifestyle.

I have lived in three European countries as an expat, and each nation has been left better off than when I found it. They have benefited not only from my expertise, but also my money.

I am the British Berliner.

I’m a strong advocate for Europe and I will keep on advocating. Here’s why:

10 REASONS WHY BEING A BRITISH EUROPEAN IS A REALLY GOOD THING!

10 reasons why being a British Eurpean is a really good thing!
10 reasons why being a British European is a really good thing!
  • Being a British European means that you can learn a second, third, or fourth language:
Being a British European means that you can learn a second, third, or fourth language!
Being a British European means that you can learn a second, third, or fourth language!

Living in Europe means that you get to learn another language. Our son – “The Tall Young Gentleman” – speaks German, English, Spanish, and a bit of Chinese, although he would actually like to learn Japanese! My husband – The Music Producer – speaks German, English, Latin, and a bit of French. Myself – The British Berliner – well, I speak English, German, a bit of a Czech, a bit of Polish, and a weeny bit of French, although I would like to learn Hindi or Mandarin!

Now of course, the reality is, if you’re an Anglo-American expat and your native language is English, you don’t really need to but… And this is a huge but.

If you want to be truly a part of your new country, it helps if you try. They appreciate it.

  • Being a British European means being widely travelled:
Being a British European means being widely travelled.
Being a British European means being widely travelled.

I have been to 30 countries in Europe, 10 countries in Asia, 6 countries in Africa, 2 countries in North America, 1 country in South America, 1 country in the Middle East, and 5 dependent islands.  In 2014, I travelled to 10 countries, in 2015, I travelled to 11 countries. That makes a grand total of 55 countries and 5 continents!

I love re-visiting countries that I like, and so in 2016 I returned to Spain, Portugal, Belgium, and England of course!

In the summer, I’ll be travelling to 5 countries, and two of them will be new – Switzerland and Luxembourg – and in the Autumn, I’ll be in Asia again travelling to the Philippines, but open to China and Taiwan while I’m there, and trying to squeeze in France somewhere along the way lol!

Not too shabby!

I’ve said it before, and I’ll probably say it again, if you live in Europe (and that includes the UK), you have no excuse not to travel all around this beautiful continent.

While we still can!

  • Being a British European means free education:
Being a British European means free education. I prefer paper or hard back!
Being a British European means free education. I prefer paper or hard back!

In March 2016, I went back to England and attended the very dignified graduation ceremony for my MA Degree.

Yep!

I obtained an MA – Masters of Art Degree at the University of Chester.

In England!

My specialisation was in Education Management and Training. A bit like an MBA for teachers!

I am extremely pleased. And very proud!

My first degree was obtained at an elite university abroad, with a BSc. honours degree in Political Science! I then did a Master’s Degree at Durham University which is the 3rd oldest university in England!

I'm an MA graduate from the University of Chester. Whoopee!
I’m an MA graduate from the University of Chester.
Whoopee!

Now I’m a corporate inter-cultural life coach and an educational English language trainer and teacher in Berlin, as well as being an International Social Media Lifestyle & Professional Travel Blogger!

I love teaching and training others, and that is why I wanted a second Masters Degree. I might even go for a Phd sometime in the future. Who knows?

And I paid thousands of pounds for that esteemed and elevated education. And so did my parents!

In European schools and most European universities, you don’t pay a single penny.

Not a single penny!

Being a British European means free education at the Humboldt University, in Berlin!
Being a British European means free education at the Humboldt University, in Berlin!

Of course, you pay student union fees and probably for transport (student discount of course), but no school fees!

The point I’m trying to say is that education is free to all.

Our son used to go to an international school and we paid just €6,000 a year! He now goes to an elite school for scientists – and we don’t pay a cent!

In a few years, he’ll be off to university, and the money that I would have saved will go to his exchange year abroad, when he’s 16 years old, and his GAP year-around-the-world, when he’s 18!

  • Being a British European means excellent healthcare:
Being a British European means excellent healthcare.
Being a British European means excellent healthcare.

In the UK, the NHS is free of charge but there’s a hell of a lengthy queue and as a result, many people have opted for private care. On the continent, your health card will cover you in every European country, there are no fees to be paid, medication is subsidised, and healthcare for children is absolutely free!

Lat year, I went skiing in the Czech Republic and became enormously ill, but I didn’t have to pay for anything, except for prescription drugs that cost me all of €13.00!

Being a British European means tolerance on sexual orientation, and exploring your sexuality.
Being a British European means tolerance on sexual orientation, and exploring your sexuality.

There I said it. SEX. If you’re an adult. Yes. You. Can!

I wrote a post about this a few years ago, and it was based on another post that hit a nerve and got lots of people very upset!

There are many advantages to living in Europe. People fought for a right to choose their own way of living.

We’re liberal.

We can choose without eyebrows raising.

We can marry or not marry.

Be single or in a relationship.

Be committed or be free-loving.

Have a lover or have a million lovers.

Being a British European means tolerance on sexual orientation, and exploring your sexuality.
Being a British European means tolerance on sexual orientation, and exploring your sexuality.

Be gay, straight, bi-sexual or transsexual.

Have children or have none.

And isn’t that the point?

CHOICE.

  • Being a British European means parental leave for both genders:
Being a British European means paternity leave for both genders - All smiles and bunny ears at the end of a great day at Baanchang Elephant Park in Thailand!
Being a British European means parental leave for both genders – All smiles and bunny ears at the end of a great day at Baanchang Elephant Park in Thailand!

Germany gives both genders, the right to parental leave, for up to three (3) years. As do many other European countries! Either gender or both, can stay at home to look after their children.

When our son was born, I stayed at home for a year, and my husband stayed at home for the other two!

We were also entitled to a home water-birth (which I took) and a girl who came in and did the cleaning and shopping for a fortnight (two weeks), all paid for by my health insurance!

The child benefit is generous as the state would like people to have more children, sadly most of us either have “an only child” or none at all.

Ah well!

  • Being a British European means having a holiday and using it!
Being a British European means having a holiday and using it - Turtles in the Philippines!
Being a British European means having a holiday and using it – Turtles in the Philippines!

Europeans take their holidays and vacations seriously, and they’re not afraid to use them! You get a minimum of 24 holidays per year (by law), and between 11-15 public holidays on top of that. That makes 35 days.

You are also allocated breaks and if you’re ill during your vacation, you’re entitled to get those days back! Even I didn’t know that, until last year when I was so ill on vacation, I couldn’t ski. But when I contacted my company, they’re were great, and when I contacted my health insurance, they were fantastic, and gave me the complete week back again!

  • Being a British European means free or cheap access, to sport and exercise:
Being a British European means free or cheap access to sport and exercise
Being a British European means free or cheap access to sport and exercise

In the summer, most Europeans are out and about, either on holiday / vacation, out of the city, or on their bikes. It’s great. Everyone does things outdoor.

In Berlin, it’s so green that you would hardly know that you’re in the capital city of Europe’s strongest economy, and one of the largest countries in the European Union. And if you didn’t already know, Berlin is a river-city too!

In fact, 44% of Berlin is covered with parks, forests, fields, rivers, lakes and canals, and Berlin has about 30 beaches and 960 bridges, which is far more than the ever romantic city of Venice!

I mean, thirty (30) beaches!

So is it any wonder that water activity is an important aspect of living in Germany. As well as mountains, hiking, fields and beaches.

I’m quite lazy but in the last three years, I have done tango dancing, hip-hop, skiing, a little bit of horse-riding, tai-chi, Broadway Musical dancing classes of “Chicago” – that was a killer! And a bit of ballet.

I would like to go back into ballet again. Eeeeek!

  • Being a British European means cheap and available public transport:
Being a British European means cheap and available public transport.
Being a British European means cheap and available public transport.

As you know, I don’t drive, although my husband does, and in only a few years, our son will too!

And it hasn’t been a problem!

I use other alternative means of getting around. And living in Europe makes that extremely easy to do so! I can, and do love using the train as you can spread out, you can read, you can walk about, and you can take as many suitcases as you want (within reason of course)!

I also love flying and flying within the EU is a doodle, as everywhere is just so close by.

And if you’re really short on cash, taking the coach or bus, is not a problem as nowadays, they’re as fully equipped as planes with wi-fi, flat-screens, free drinks, and everything!

If you’re as romantically inclined as I am, then go ahead and take a ferry cruise, or go the whole hog, and cruise around Europe instead!

  • Being a British European means a work / life balance:
Being a British European means a work / life balance.
Being a British European means a work / life balance!

I don’t need to tell you how important this is.

So how did I do it?

Well, if you look at my About Me page, you will see that I’m married, I have a husband, a tween child and a very nice corporate job, as an inter-cultural life coach, educational English language trainer and teacher in Berlin, so if you need help with anything, just let me know lol!

And I have this wonderful lifestyle, travel, expat blog!

In short, 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 so I get smart. And work things around family life, and I have an understanding German husband to thank.

10 REASONS WHY BEING A BRITISH EUROPEAN IS A REALLY GOOD THING!

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

I’ve always been a supporter of Germany – my adopted country – and I’ll continue to do so.

I’m a strong advocate for Europe and I will keep on advocating.

I’m the British Berliner – a British European.

And I’m proud of it!

I'm the British Berliner - a British European. And I'm proud of it!
I’m the British Berliner – a British European.
And I’m proud of it!

This article is not sponsored, and all opinions and the wonderful things associated to living in Germany, and being a British European, are my very own!

Next week, I’ll be writing about Berlin Fashion Week!

July is Pride Week!

From 02.07.16 – 24.07.16, the LGTB (community), well-wishers and gay-friendly supporters will gather in Berlin to celebrate and advocate a tolerant and open-minded society.

The Lesbian-Gay City Festival will take place from 16.07.16 – 17.07.16.

CSD on the Spree (River) will take place on 21.07.16.

Dyke * March Berlin will take place on 22.07.16.

Our main Gay Pride Day otherwise known as Christopher Street Day (CSD), will take place on 23.07.16.

The Berlin Chapter of Travel Massive and Terminal 3, will be hosting True Stories. Told Live. Digital Nomad Style as part of the Tech Open Air Festival on July 14th, at Spielfeld Digital Hub.

I’ll also be attending an Exclusive Food Tour with Fork & Walk on Wednesday, August 10th.

Save the Date!

July is going to be flamboyant!

I’ll be there. Will you?

As usual, you can also follow me via daily tweets and pictures on Twitter & Facebook!

If you’re not in Berlin in July, you’re missing all the excitement!

Watch this space!

10 reasons why being a British European is a really good thing!
10 reasons why being a British European is a really good thing!

Is being a British European a jolly good thing, or utterly rubbish`? What do you think? Have your say?

See you in Berlin.

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