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

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

So I know you’re thinking.

Oy!

Who do you think you are?

Ah!

Wrong question my man!

I’m the girl who caused controversy with viral posts like this one, this one, this one, this one, this one, and this one!

I’m not afraid to write an article. With an interesting twist!

I like the attention.

Who knew?!

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Winnats Pass, Hope Valley – Derbyshire

But seriously, when I wrote to you a few weeks ago, I told you that I was going to visit Cheshire, Staffordshire, Manchester, Blackpool, Derbyshire and Yorkshire! At no point did I say Liverpool!

But that’s the beauty of travel and the nature of the beast, you sometimes change direction!

The Music Producer and “The Tall Young Gentleman” in beautiful Osnabrück, Germany.

Now when travelling with family, I keep those impulses down to a minimum, in order to give them a good time, rather than my travel madness spurts, but I have been known to “just” take a ferry to Finland ‘cos it’s two (2) hours away.

I’ve also taken a bus from Berlin – London – Berlin ‘cos I was home-sick, taken a 26 hour bus from Estonia to Berlin as a challenge, decided it was hell, and then did a far worst thing by taking a bus from Berlin to Sweden. And back again!

Ho! For the the luck of the lovely Irish!

I’ve thought about taking a ferry to Ireland ‘cos we were in Wales, and the ferry port was on the island of Anglesey where we happened to be spending a very nice three (3) days on the sea coast! Our B&B (bed and breakfast happened to be in Holyhead, and not far away was a ferry linking Wales to Ireland and sailing for Dublin and Dún Laoghaire!

I’ve also gate-crashed an Embassy party in Hong Kong ‘cos I saw the event in a society magazine and thought it might be fun!

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I gate-crashed an Embassy party in Hong Kong ‘cos I thought it might be fun!

It was!

Perhaps, I’ll write about it one of these days!

And why did I do this?

Just because!

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

But I digress, back to Liverpool.

Ah, Liverpool!

Liverpool doesn’t really need an introduction, so before I tell you what happened, let’s get the low-down on Liverpool for those not in the know!

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A SHORT HISTORY OF LIVERPOOL

Statues of The Beatles in Liverpool – Paul, George, Ringo & John

Liverpool is a city in North West England.

It has a population of about 478,580 people and is located on the eastern side of the Mersey Estuary, within the ancient hundred of West Derby, in the south-west of the county of Lancashire!

It became known as Liverpool as far back as 1207, but really came into prominence during the Industrial Revolution. During this time, the port of Liverpool was heavily involved in cargo, freight, raw materials such as coal and cotton, and the dreadful Atlantic slave trade.

Ned Parfett – the Titanic paperboy – with a large newspaper banner advert about the ill-fated RMS Titanic in London – 1912

In the 19th century, Liverpool was also a major port of departure for Irish and English emigrants to the United States and was home to both the Cunard and White Star Line, and was the port of registry of the ill-fated ocean liner RMS Titanic.

In modern times, Liverpool is known as the birth-place of The Beatles and is also the home of the annual Grand National horse race at Aintree, and two English Premier League football clubs – Liverpool and Everton. Indeed, Liverpool FC is the only British football club to win five European Cups!

Liverpool attracts a diverse population, and has done for hundreds of years!

Several parts of the city centre are now World Heritage Sites and Liverpool’s status as a port city has attracted a diverse population and is home to the oldest African community in the UK and the oldest Chinese community in Europe!

As I told you a few weeks ago, Britain has a lot of endearing names for locals who originate from a certain part of the country. So for example, I’m from Manchester, so I’m a Manc or a Mancunian. People from Newcastle upon Tyne, are called Geordies, people from the East End of London are called Cockneys, people from Blackpool are either called Blackpudlians or Seasiders, and the locals from Liverpool are called Scousers!

Just above is a British sketch called The Scousers. For the Brits among you, I’m guessing some of you might remember one of the BBC’s comedy shows of the 90’s – Harry Enfield and Chums, otherwise known as Harry Enfield’s Television Programme, based on the Channel 4 soap opera – Brookside – featuring a set of stereotyped Liverpudlian characters!

To call a local from Liverpool a Scouser is not rude. It’s a name of affection and means Scouse – a type of lamb or beef stew. It originally came from the word Lobscouse – a stew popular in seaports and commonly eaten by sailors throughout Northern Europe!

Scouse is also considered to represent a distinctive Northern English, local working class, Liverpool accent, thus Scouser!

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SO WHAT’S WITH THE CLICKBAIT TITLE?

There’s a beauty in click bait!
How I went to Liverpool, and I wasn’t robbed!

Ah!

Well, I’ve been to Liverpool only three times in my life.

Once as a child, on a river “cruise” to Sheffield with my mother, once just a few weeks ago, and once when I got robbed after I graduated from university!

Wait.

What?

You got robbed?

Yep!

No!?!

Yes!

So spill!

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I WAS ROBBED IN LIVERPOOL!

A silhouetted sculpture by Anthony Gormley’s – Another Place – one of 100 cast iron figures on Crosby Beach – Liverpool

I was a fresh graduate and a girl-friend of mine decided to visit a friend in Liverpool.

She didn’t want to go alone, so she asked me to go with her.

Liverpool isn’t known as being a “nice” county. In fact, some parts of the city can be considered quite “rough!”

This isn’t a rough part of town, it’s Penny Lane – the bus terminus in the Beatles song – Penny Lane!

We drove in from Cheshire.

And then we got lost.

We drove around and around, and in those days nobody had a mobile phone so we couldn’t just call this girlfriend.

We decided to stop on the High Street and ask for directions.

We went into a nice shop!

We saw a nice shop.

We parked the car on the kerb.

Jumped onto the pavement.

Walked towards the shop.

And then heard a smash!

Two local boys reached into the car and stole our stuff!

Two local boys reached into the car, took my girlfriends briefcase and our shopping bags.

And an apple.

And rode off on their bicycles!

We were so shocked.

We hadn’t even reached the nice shop.

Everybody came out.

They called the Merseyside Police!

They called the police.

They couldn’t really help.

Visibly shaken.

We called the girlfriend and told her that we weren’t going to visit her after all.

We left Liverpool.

And I never went back.

The Music Producer in Liverpool

Until now!

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SO WHAT NOW?

The Albert Dock in Liverpool.

As part of our Northern England trip, we stayed in Cheshire with the family and I was saying that I wanted to visit the canals in Manchester. My sister-in-law mentioned the docks.

In Liverpool.

She said that they were rather nice.

In fact, they were cleaned up and were now heritage sites.

The Liverpool Maritime Mercantile City, is a UNESCO designated World Heritage Site!

We ought to go.

And so we did.

Gulp!

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LIVERPOOL MARITIME MERCANTILE CITY

The Liverpool Maritime Mercantile City, otherwise known as the docks!

We went to the Liverpool Maritime Mercantile City, otherwise known as the docks!

It’s a UNESCO designated World Heritage Site and comprises six locations in the city centre and many famous landmarks!

Located at the tidal mouth of the river Mersey where it meets the Irish Sea, the maritime mercantile City of Liverpool played an important role in the growth of the British Empire reflecting Liverpool as the supreme example of a commercial port at the time of Britain’s greatest global influence!

Liverpool grew into a major commercial port in the 18th century, crucial for the organisation of the disgraceful trans-Atlantic slave trade.

Liverpool in the 19th century, was the world mercantile centre for cargo and mass European emigration to the New World & the British Empire!

In the 19th century, Liverpool became a world mercantile centre for general cargo and mass European emigration to the New World and had major significance on world trade as one of the principal ports of the British Commonwealth, and was instrumental in the development of industrial canals in the British Isles in the 18th century, and railway transport in the 19th century.

The six core areas that make up the historic world heritage site are:

Pier Head, otherwise known as the Three Graces – Liverpool!
  1.   Pier Head:  It’s the focal point of Liverpool’s waterfront and is dominated by three of its most recognisable landmarks: The Liver Building, The Port of Liverpool Building and the Cunard Building. Referred to as the Three Graces, they stand as a testament to the great wealth in the city during the late 19th and early 20th century, when Liverpool was one of the most important ports in the world!

It now houses the Museum of Liverpool and a memorial built to honour the engineers who remained at their post as the RMS Titanic sank.

The Beatles Story at the Albert Dock – Liverpool

2.   The Albert Dock: This dock is a complex of buildings and warehouses opened in 1846, and were the first warehouses in the world to be entirely fireproof!

It’s now home to the Tate Liverpool, the Merseyside Maritime Museum and The Beatles Story and is the largest single collection of Grade I listed buildings anywhere in the UK!

As you can imagine, we spent an awful long time in this part of the Maritime Mercantile City!

The North Warehouse, overlooking Stanley Dock and the Tobacco Warehouse – Liverpool
  1.    The Stanley Dock: This dock includes huge swathes of Liverpool’s docking environ! Within the site are several other docks, parts of the Leeds Liverpool Canal and associated canal locks; and many smaller features such as bridges, bollards and capstans.

In fact, two of the Clarence Graving Docks are the oldest docks still in use today, and date back to 1830! Not only that, but the of the buildings – the Stanley Dock Tobacco Warehouse –  is the largest brick warehouse in the world!

The Liverpool Town Hall

4.   The Commercial Quarter: This part of Liverpool Maritime Mercantile City, includes Castle Street, Old Hall Street, Victoria Street, Water Street and Dale Street. It is also considered to be enormously historical as parts of this are medieval and many buildings have grandeur architecture and fantastic monuments, spanning over 300 years!

A lovely wedding at Bluecoat Chambers
© 2017 Samuel Docker

5.   Duke Street / Ropewalks: This area consists of the Duke Street conservation area, as well as two warehouses.

One of the buildings – Bluecoat Chambers – used to be a charity boarding school, was built in 1716, and is the oldest surviving building in Liverpool! It’s now known as the Bluecoat and is a centre for contemporary arts and considered to be the oldest art centre in Britain!

The Old Dock was the first enclosed wet dock in the world, which encouraged a lively community of sea captains, merchants, traders and artisans to live there. Today the area is known as Ropewalks, a reference to the large number of roperies present in the area when Liverpool was one of the busiest ports in the world during the 18th and 19th centuries!

Walker Art Gallery – Liverpool

6.   The Cultural Quarter /William Brown Street:  This quarter is the central point for many of Liverpool’s civic buildings, otherwise known as the Cultural Quarter.

The Cultural Quarter includes monumental cultural and civic buildings such as St George’s Hall, Lime Street Station, the Walker Art Gallery, the World Museum Liverpool, the former Great North Western Hotel and the entrance the Queensway Tunnel.

Victoria looking very pleased with herself, in Liverpool!
©Frank Böster – The Music Producer

You know how much I like history, art, architecture, and riverside cities.

We had a great time.

And I was pretty impressed.

I might even visit again!

Touche!

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HOW I WENT TO LIVERPOOL, AND I WASN’T ROBBED!

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

This article isn’t sponsored, and absolutely all opinions, and the robbery and docklands experience are my very own!

I have so much to share with you.

In the Autumn, I’ll be visiting the UK and travelling around the areas of Cheshire, Staffordshire, Manchester, Derbyshire, Blackpool, Lancashire, and Yorkshire!

Yippee!

November is going to be splendid!

Book your hotel here!

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

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

Did you guess the secret location? Have you been to Liverpool? Have you ever been robbed? 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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Visiting Bremen: 4 musicians, a sailing boat, and a German grandfather!

The Musicians of Bremen. In Bremen!
The Musicians of Bremen. In Bremen!

Wow!

It’s been a long interesting year!

And most of it has centered around Europe!

It started with the shocking disaster of Brexit, terrorism in both Belgium and France, devastating earthquakes in Italy, and ending not only with the horrifying news that Donald Trump, is to be the next president of the United States, but a fatal terrorist action that occured on our very own doorstep of my beloved Berlin. In one of the most culturally vibrant German activities – the Christmas Market.

You really couldn’t make it up!

Street Art everywhere in Berlin!
Street Art everywhere in Berlin!

But have no fear.

We’re stoic, and have a stiff upper lip! 

The Christmas Markets, and everything else is open for business, but if you have any concerns about safety, feel free to contact me. I live here. I’m on the ground!

Is it safe to travel to Europe right now 'cos I'm scared to travel abroad?
Is it safe to travel to Europe right now ‘cos I’m scared to travel abroad?

But it hasn’t all been bad. In fact, I had a fabulous summer which I planned and organised. You know the one, Victoria’s Summer European Challenge Campaign, in which I went to a different European country, throughout the summer.

Every weekend!

And travelled to these countries by train!

Well, it was certainly a challenge, but also soooo much fun!

This was where I went:

DENMARK:

Er. Not spending money in Copenhagen Mr. Hans Christian Anderson. What's that now? Surely not! How to visit Copenhagen on a budget. Even though I missed my last connection. Again!
Er. Not spending money in Copenhagen Mr. Hans Christian Anderson. What’s that now? Surely not!
How to visit Copenhagen on a budget. Even though I missed my last connection. Again!

SWITZERLAND:

Why you should visit Switzerland, and eat cheese!
Why you should visit Switzerland, and eat cheese!

LUXEMBOURG:

A delightful Poulade Auflauf! How to eat cheaply in Luxembourg!
A delightful Poulade Auflauf!
How to eat cheaply in Luxembourg!

SLOVAKIA:

Take photographs and wander at will! Go on a walking tour in the Old Town. Should you visit Bratislava, or stay at home and not bother!
Take photographs and wander at will!
Go on a walking tour in the Old Town.
Should you visit Bratislava, or stay at home and not bother!

GERMANY:

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

I always plan to spend a bit more time in other parts of my adoptive country, but I usually never make it. This time I did!

I wanted to go the seaside, and parts of Northern Germany. Here’s where I went:

OSNABRÜCK:

The Music Producer and
The Music Producer and “The Tall Young Gentleman” in beautiful Osnabrück, Germany.

Osnabrück is where my husband comes from. Here’s what I wrote about it last year:

USEDOM:

Take me to the Baltic Sea in Geeeeermany! 51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany! ©Usedom Tourismus GmbH
Take me to the Baltic Sea in Geeeeermany!
51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany! ©Usedom Tourismus GmbH

And then I went to Bremen, but didn’t get around to writing about it ‘cos very soon after,  I went to the Philippines and to a secret location, which I later revealed to be Taiwan. So here it is!

BREMEN

Bremen - a Hanseatic city in northwestern Germany, otherwise known as the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen!
Bremen – a Hanseatic city in northwestern Germany, otherwise known as the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen!

Bremen is a Hanseatic city in northwestern Germany, otherwise known as the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen!

It’s a commercial – industrial city, with a major port on the River Weser.

Bremen is part of the Bremen/Oldenburg Metropolitan Region and is, with 2.4 million people, the second most populous city in Northern Germany!

Bremen is a major cultural hub and home to historical galleries and museums, ranging from historical sculptures to major art museums.

I just couldn’t believe that the animal statues that were dotted all over the city, were the animals in the old Grimm folk story – The Musicians of Bremen!
I just couldn’t believe that the animal statues that were dotted all over the city, were the animals in the old Grimm folk story – The Musicians of Bremen!

I’ve been to Bremen a few times, but I remember the very first time that I visited. I just couldn’t believe that the animal statues that were dotted all over the city, were the animals in the old Grimm folk story – The Musicians of Bremen!

You can imagine how I felt when a German client of mine, told me that he came from Hamelin.

I burst into splutters of laughter!

The Pied Piper of Hamelin ©anastaciarts
The Pied Piper of Hamelin ©anastaciarts

I soon hung  my head in shame when I discovered that not only was Hamelin a real town in Germany, but that also, the fairy tale legend of The Pied Piper of Hamelin actually existed, and is based on a true real event….!

Oops!

Anyhoo, the German grandparents of “The Tall Young Gentleman” live in a small North German town called Achim, about 16 kms from Bremen, in the valley of the river Weser.

Achim was first mentioned in 1091, as Arahem!

The St. Lawrence Church in Achim upon Weser. ©Jürgen Howaldt
The St. Lawrence Church in Achim upon Weser.
©Jürgen Howaldt

I love spending time with the grandparents as it’s lovely and quiet, and so, you know, quite German!

On this visit, I wanted to discover some more of Bremen, and also go sailing, as grandfather is a bit of an old sailor, and has many tales of times gone by.

In many people’s mind, the image of a grandfather is of an old man, sitting by the fireside, a pipe or cigar in hand, slippers on his feet, port in his hand, and huddled beside the fireside.

Grandfather &
Grandfather & “The Tall Young Gentleman”

Grandfather is nothing like that!

He teaches at the local university, he does volunteer work transporting “the elderly,” did engineering projects in Indonesia, is an ex-army officer, and sails!

A most delicious breakfast spread you can expect, in a typical German home! Thank you Grandmother!
A most delicious breakfast spread you can expect, in a typical German home! Thank you Grandmother!
A most tempting breakfast spread of cold cuts.
A most tempting breakfast spread of cold cuts.
Fresh apricots and peaches!
Fresh apricots and peaches!
A mouth-watering platter of cheeses!
A mouth-watering platter of cheeses!
A healthy, but fun, morning egg!
A healthy, but fun, morning egg!

This is the type of breakfast spread you can expect in a typical German home! Thank you so much Grandmother!

If you don’t have German grandparents, book your hotel here!

SAILING IN MARDORF

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

Mardorf is a district of Neustadt am Rübenberge based in the Hannover Region of Lower Saxony. It’s located on the northern shore of the Steinhuder Lake and within the Steinhuder Meer Nature Park!

The seaside village of Mardorf ©fotocommunity
The seaside village of Mardorf ©fotocommunity

Mardorf means “village by the sea” and in 1171, was first mentioned as “Meredorpe.” It’s a small 850 year old seaside village community of just 2,000 people that is really nice and friendly, surrounded by half-timbered houses, oak trees, farmland, and a 6 km long lakeside path used for walking, cycling, and hiking!

The grandparents have been sailing from there into Hannover and Hamburg, for decades, and this time, I chose to go with them!

Grandfather and
Grandfather and “The Tall Young Gentleman” preparing to sail in Mardorf.
On the pier in Mardorf.
On the pier in Mardorf.
Off to the open sea!
Off to the open sea!
Off to the open sea!
Off to the open sea!

We had a bit of problem with the engine, so we had to make do with the tiller in the stern instead!

“The Tall Young Gentleman” looking displeased in Mardorf!
Grandfather keeping a watch over things in Mardorf.
Grandfather keeping a watch over things in Mardorf.
Grandfather and
Grandfather and “The Tall Young Gentleman” sailing in Mardorf.

This is how things are done on the Steinhuder Lake.

Sailing in Mardorf.
Sailing in Mardorf.
Sailing in Mardorf.
Sailing in Mardorf.
Sailing in Mardorf.
Sailing in Mardorf.

Such a summer feeling!

Sailing in Mardorf.
Sailing in Mardorf.
Myself on the boat in Marsdorf!
Myself on the boat in Marsdorf!
“The Tall Young Gentleman” taking to the sea in Mardorf.

And soon it was time to return to Achim.

Grandfather and
Grandfather and “The Tall Young Gentleman” sailing in Mardorf.

He won’t admit it, but I think “The Tall Young Gentleman” had a good time!

Wow!
Wow! “The Tall Young Gentleman” is a handsome chap, even if I say so myself!

The next day, we went to the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen!

THE FREE HANSEATIC CITY OF BREMEN!

Myself wit the famous Musicians of Bremen!
Myself with the famous Musicians of Bremen!

Bremen is a major cultural and economic hub in the northern regions of Germany, and also home to historical galleries and museums, ranging from historical sculptures to major art museums. In fact, in many parts of the old town, you stumble upon statue after statue! Even though historically, Bremen was known as a working class fishing port, many important manufacturers based their headquarters in the city!

The Focke Museum © Sigrid Sternebeck
The Focke Museum © Sigrid Sternebeck
Ouside the Focke Museum!
Ouside the Focke Museum!

We had a very nice time at the Focke Museum, otherwise known as the museum of history and the history of art, for the city and state of Bremen. In fact, this museum was formed in 1924 by the merger of the museum of industry and commerce and the previous historical museum, and named after Johann Focke, a Bremen privy councillor.

It’s absolutely huge! We spent about 2 hours there, and we didn’t even go to the outside buildings! We only went into the historical rescue boat, where we met an older German who spent his younger years living in England!

Letting us press the buttons of the rescue boat Seenotkreuzer Paul Denker at the Focke Museum was fun! ©Sigrid Sternebeck
Letting us press the buttons of the rescue boat Seenotkreuzer Paul Denker at the Focke Museum was fun!
©Sigrid Sternebeck

He was very pleased to spend a nostalgic afternoon talking about sailing, letting us press all the buttons, and speaking in English lol!

Then we went into various parts of the Old Town. Bremen was undergoing preservation construction work, so it was a little difficult to get decent pictures, but I tried my best!

In many parts of the old town of Bremen, you stumble upon statue after statue!
In many parts of the old town of Bremen, you stumble upon statue after statue!
In many parts of the old town of Bremen, you stumble upon statue after statue!
In many parts of the old town of Bremen, you stumble upon statue after statue!
In many parts of the old town of Bremen, you stumble upon statue after statue!
In many parts of the old town of Bremen, you stumble upon statue after statue!
In many parts of the old town of Bremen, you stumble upon statue after statue!
In many parts of the old town of Bremen, you stumble upon statue after statue!

Statues and sculptures can be found all over the city.

The Statue of Roland in Bremen!
The Statue of Roland in Bremen!

The most famous statue of them all, is the Statue of Roland, erected in 1404! Roland can be found in the market square facing the cathedral. Roland, was a paladin, otherwise known as one of the Twelve Peers, a warrior of the first Roman Emperor Charlemagne, and hero of the Battle of Roncevaux Pass.

Roland is also considered to be the protector of the city of Bremen. Legend has it that Bremen will always remain a free and independent state, as long as Lord Roland stands watch over the city. And just like the ravens in the Tower of London, the legend is taken very seriously such that a second statue of Roland is kept hidden.

Just in case!

One of the highlights of Bremen is Schnoor!
One of the highlights of Bremen is Schnoor!

One of the highlights of Bremen is Schnoor!

We bought ice-cream in the medieval centre of Schnoor!
We bought ice-cream in the medieval centre of Schnoor!

Schnoor is in one of the most famous neighbourhoods in the medieval centre of the city of Bremen, and the only part that remains medieval in character! Schnoor owes its name to old handicrafts associated with shipping as the narrow alleyways between houses, were often associated with occupations or objects. For example Schnoor (String) was so-called, because the area was known for producing ropes, cables, and of course string!

One of the oldest houses in Schnoor!
One of the oldest houses in Schnoor!

The oldest houses today date back to the 15th century, with most, from the 17th and 18th centuries. Famous  for being extremely narrow, Schnoor became one of the poorest parts of Bremen. Luckily, many of the houses are now being preserved and restored.

One of the highlights of Bremen is Schnoor!
One of the highlights of Bremen is Schnoor!

We went to Bremen in the height of summer and there were street entertainers galore. One chap was even giving away a new brand of Bremen’s most famous beer – Becks. For free!

This street performer was very entertaining!
This street performer was very entertaining!

We only had an afternoon to spend in Bremen, but surely, we’ll be back!

Book your hotel here!

I love living in the big city of cosmopolitan Berlin, but sometimes it’s rather nice to visit the grandparents, eat feasts of German food, go sailing, and just hang out!

Thank you so much Grandmother and Grandfather Genschow!

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!

VISITING BREMEN: 4 MUSICIANS, A SAILING BOAT, AND A GERMAN GRANDFATHER!

Grandfather &
Grandfather & “The Tall Young Gentleman”

This article is not sponsored, and the Mardorf sailing experience, is my very own!

In January, I’ll be going to Holland.

The British Shorts Film Festival will take place from 12th – 18th January, 2017

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

At the end of January, I’ll be skiing in my favourite place, Rokytnice nad Jizerou, in the Czech Republic!

December is going to be filled with stuffing!

Have a great festive season, and an amazing Christmas!

Visiting Bremen: 4 musicians, a sailing boat, and a German grandfather!
Visiting Bremen: 4 musicians, a sailing boat, and a German grandfather!

Have you ever been to Bremen? Would you go sailing in Germany? Let me know!

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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Budapest is a classical city of awe! 10 amazing ways to see it!

Budapest Spring Fair 2015
Budapest Spring Fair 2015

Yeah baby!

I’m finally in Budapest. Whoop! Whoop! And it’s been eleven (11) years. Goodness me!

I first went to visit in 2004 but as I told you last week, I wasn’t really able to say much about it as I went with a German girlfriend who really wasn’t interested.

Sadly, sometimes your travel partner can make or break the intimate experience of getting to know a new destination. At times like this, going solo might just be the answer. Happily, I’ve been to many a country in my younger pre-university and post-university graduation days. In four (4) continents no less, and travelled solo in most of them.

Of course, as times goes go on and marital /family life comes along, travel doesn’t end, but just brings a change to the way, type and time. Going away needs to be a bit more calculated and a bit more expensive. You’ve got to be smarter and a lot more ruthless to take the time that is available to you and more importantly, to use it effectively and thus, be able to take the family with you. Having said that, I still like to do solo travel every now and then to keep the juices flowing!

Anyway, back to Budapest…

What exquisite beauty in Budapest.
What exquisite beauty in Budapest.

Budapest is such a beautiful city and is becoming more popular by the day! It’s not really on the beaten path of course, but it’s not unknown either.

I guess it depends on how much time you have.

Visitors tend to have to make a choice between going to Prague OR going to Budapest.

Guess which one wins LOL!

You do have to make your own choices and that means visiting both, and then making a comparison.

Let’s start with Budapest in Hungary.

HUNGARY

 

My Hungarian goulash soup. Absolutely free of charge!
My Hungarian goulash soup. Absolutely free of charge!

 

Hungary, also known as the Republic of Hungary or the “land of waters” is a country at the centre and heart of Europe and surrounded by Slovakia, Romania, Serbia, Croatia, Slovenia (not to be confused with Slovakia), Austria and the Ukraine! Hungary has over a thousand (1,000) thermal water springs and has the second (2nd) largest thermal lake in the world for bathing (Lake Hévíz). “Taking the waters” for relaxation or as clinical treatment, is an important part of the Hungarian culture.

Hungary has a long, rich history, and its culture reflects Roman, Turkish, Slavic and Magyar influences. It has just 1.7 million people, and although a member of the EU, only uses the Hungarian forint as it’s currency. At the moment, 1,000 Ft is worth $3.50 or €3.25!

BUDAPEST

The outside top view of the Buddha-Bar Hotel!
The outside top view of the Buddha-Bar Hotel!

Budapest is the capital of Hungary and is a frequently visited European city and it’s very easy to see why.

Budapest has a natural beauty, an astounding architectural heritage, a unique atmosphere and a rich cultural palette that the Hungarian people treasure. It’s a very walkable city and extremely pedestrian-friendly, has attractive public spaces, wide green boulevards, historic baths, a popular recreational park – Margaret Island – a long winding river that lies on the famous Danube, and has established cultural interest being that the city is divided into both Buda and Pest!

Astounding!

WHY GO TO BUDAPEST?

The culture and traditions of Budapest. In felt dolls!
The culture and traditions of Budapest. In felt dolls!

So let’s get to the nitty-gritty.

Budapest is considered one of the most beautiful cities in Europe surrounded by the river Danube, split into two lovely parts known unsurprisingly as Buda and Pest, with Buda on the Western bank of the river, and Pest on the Eastern bank.

Budapest in Hungary is a classical city of awe.  I’ve just got to give you ten (10) amazing ways to see it with the help of the Budapest official city Card.

Thank you very much!

Budapest Card 72 hours.

  1.  Walk around: Budapest is pedestrian-friendly, small and quite easy to walk around. There are also a million and one walking tours as well as free ones such as the Free Budapest Walking Tours which not only has a free orientation tour and a free Jewish District tour, it also has a free communism walk too!
  2.  Rest your feet and take a bus tour: Again, Budapest is a real place of interest for tourists and how better than to see it by bus especially if it rains, like it did earlier yesterday…! There are many companies to choose from and we chose the Hungarian established Budapest Sightseeing Hop-on-Hop-off company that included 48 hours on two (6) bus lines, two (2) river cruises, one (1) walking tour, a bicycle ride on the Margaret Island, free goulash, free beers, a free shot, a free magnet and lots of discounts on food and refreshment. They work in partnership with the City Sightseeing Budapest Hop on-Hop off. (If you’ve ever been to London and of course, you have. It’s that one!) We’ve already taken three (3) of the bus lines, two (2) of the river cruises, one (1) walking tour, the free goulash and the free beer. In this case, BEERS LOL!
  3.  Cycle around by bike: Discover the famous sights of Budapest by renting a bicycle, or buggy bike. Because the city is small, it’s quite do-able and it’s European, so there are established bicycle lanes. If you’re nervous about using the open road as I am, then go to the very quiet and pretty Margaret Island, and cycle away from the hordes of traffic there.
  4.  Take a tuk-tuk: Alright. Budapest isn’t Bangkok. I get it! However, taking a “green” tuk-tuk in a European city can be quite nice and even romantic, as the space in Budapest is wide and there are many parks to tuk-tuk through!
  5.  Splash your way through Budapest: The RiverRide floating bus is the only vehicle for tourists which can give you an unforgettable way of enjoying the view both on land and in the river, by splashing your way through Budapest in a swimming bus, on a river ride!
  6.  Go on a traditional river cruise: There is no better way to see the charming sights of Budapest than simply through either the usual sightseeing cruise boat as discussed above, or go one better on a an elegant candle-lit dinner combined with a romantic boat trip, on a beautiful river, in Eastern Europe.
  7.  Take the underground train: The public transport system is fairly easy to use as there are only four (4) underground or subway lines. Don’t forget to buy a ticket.
  8.  Use the normal every day bus. Except for the tourist buses, most buses seemed to be single deckers. With 268 buses plying the city roads, I would expect the network to be quite frequent.
  9.  Take the tram: In many Eastern European cities including East Berlin (where I live), public transport by tram is not only considered to be more cost-effective, but also clean and green. The tram looks good and is quiet. With 32 trams and 15 trolleybuses, you can’t go ecologically wrong!
  10.  You’ve won the lottery, fly in with a helicopter. Go on. Live a little!

TAKE ME THERE?

At last. We're here!
At last. We’re here!

As you know, we came by train from Berlin.

Emm.

About that.

‘Remember how I told you that between Berlin and Budapest, we would be taking the twelve-hour (12) German Railway overland train service known as Deutsche Bahn or DB, on a direct train to Budapest.

In first class!

It was first (1st) class. But it surely didn’t look like it.

There were six (6) red-cushioned seats and no real “tables.” No sockets. And definitely no WIFI.

Aaaaaaaaah!

Owwwww!

Ouch!

On the Czech-infused train from Berlin to Budapest!
On the Czech-infused train from Berlin to Budapest!

I had difficulty believing how second (2nd) class could be any different.

It was!

The seats in 2nd class were closer together and had less leg space, and the “open” compartments were crowded and had suitcases and bags in the aisle and out on the corridor. It very much reminded me of the more respectable seating on the Indian train!

And here I was thinking I was going to relax and live a life of Riley for €69.00.

Not so.

LOL!

From Berlin to Prague, we had three (3) Korean travellers with us who were really nice and surprisingly chatty, and from Prague to Budapest, we had an Italian family of four (4).

As part of the 1st class option, we were constantly handed out free bottles of water!

IS IT GOING TO BE CROWDED?

On the boat cruise in Budapest. Very hot, but not very crowded!
On the boat cruise in Budapest. Very hot, but not very crowded!

Well, a little, but only because it was August. Budapest  is small, in Eastern Europe, not really on the tourist run and not really cheap either.

In short, not your usual backpackers’ run! For that, you’d need to go to Romania!

Once we actually arrived in Budapest, we took a taxi.

It wasn’t easy to find a taxi outside the Budapest-Keleti International Train Station. There was not a taxi to be seen.

Not one!

So we had to run and flag one down with a fixed negotiated price of €10.00.

In Eastern Europe, taxis are pretty cheap if you use common sense and don’t arrive late at night, too early in the morning, or look as if you’re desperate.

Try to stay cool and be willing to wait for another one.

Don’t let the driver know that you’re new in town. Act as if you know exactly where you’re going. Even if you don’t!

And so, the taxi took us to our first (1st) stay hotel at the chic but luxurious Buddha-Bar Hotel Budapest Klotild Palace or simply the Buddha-Bar Hotel!

More next week!

The Buddha-Bar Hotel Beef!
The Buddha-Bar Hotel Beef!

For more information about the Buddha-Bar Hotel Budapest Klotild Palace, please contact: Buddha-Bar Hotel.

For more information about the Budapest official city card, please contact: Budapest Card.

For more information about the bus tour please contact: Budapest Sightseeing Hop-on-Hop-off.

For more information about a free walking tour in Budapest please contact: Free Budapest Walking Tours.

This article is part-sponsored by the Buddha-Bar Hotel in Budapest, Aria Hotel Budapest, and I got a 50% discount on the Budapest Card, but all opinions and the wonderful Budapest sights that I marvelled at, are my very own!

I have so much to share with you.

Stay tuned!

Next week, I’ll be writing about the two hotels that I stayed at in Budapest, what I thought of the city after 11 years, and the wonderful Hungarian food and drink.

Delicious!

Today, I’ll be checking into the beautiful boutique and musically inspired five-star Aria Hotel Budapest. Later in the week, we’ll be travelling to Prague by train and I’ll be staying at the four-star modern designed Angelo Hotel Prague.

I’ll be in Eastern Europe. Will you?

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

If you’re not in Berlin right now, then come meet me in Budapest or Prague!

August is going to be sweltering!

Watch this space!

Over-looking Buda Castle near the Citadel in Budapest, Hungary.
Over-looking Buda Castle near the Citadel in Budapest, Hungary.

Have you ever been to Budapest? Would you go to a ruin bar? Do you like goulash?

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

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