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

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

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51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany!

51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany!
51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany!

It’s the 3rd of October in Germany, and that means it’s the celebration of the German Re-Unification. A day that nobody thought would ever happen in this lifetime.

But it did!

Two sides and two periods, of the Berlin Wall. East Germany and West Germany together again, after twenty-seven (27) years!
Two sides and two periods, of the Berlin Wall. East Germany and West Germany together again, after twenty-seven (27) years!

That’s right, East Germany otherwise known as the GDR or the DDR, and West Germany formerly known as the FRG, or the BRD, have now been together as one country for twenty-seven (27) years!

Tweeeeeeenty Seeeeeeeeven!

Isn’t it marvellous?!

On the border between East & West Berlin in Germany.
On the border between East & West Berlin in Germany.

Who would have thought that not only would I be living in this wonderful city called – Berlin, but I would be married to a German bloke to boot!

My husband - The Music Producer - looking gorgeous in Osnabrück, Germany.
My husband – The Music Producer – looking gorgeous in Osnabrück, Germany.

And even though I’m British, I’ve been living here as an expat for years, and it never gets old. In fact, I still feel as if I’ve only just got here!

So was it any wonder that I decided to add Germany onto Victoria’s Summer European Challenge Campaign across Europe.

It's summer. Drink up!
It’s summer. Drink up!

Yay!

But let me be clear, even though my fellow countrymen decided to opt out of the European Union, I’m still proud to be both British and I’m European ‘cos I’m not going anywhere!

We're not leaving!
We’re not leaving!

What better, than to spend the summer travelling through one of the world’s best continents – that’s right Europe!

If you want to read about ALL the countries that I’ve visited in the last two years, then just click here!

Oh, the summer!

Cricket and a spot of lunch!
Cricket and a spot of lunch!

My challenge was to visit a European city. Every weekend, through the summer holidays.

Every weekend!

For six (6) weeks!

And only to travel.

By train!

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

So let’s see how we’re doing.

If you as lazy as I am (whaaaat!), I’m going to put the countries that I’ve been to, on Victoria’s Summer European Challenge Campaign below:

DENMARK:

Eat Danish street food or visit Danish farmers' markets. How to visit Copenhagen on a budget. Even though I missed my last connection. Again! ©Ditte Isager
Eat Danish street food or visit Danish farmers’ markets.
How to visit Copenhagen on a budget. Even though I missed my last connection. Again! ©Ditte Isager

I started off with Denmark and hopped off to Copenhagen.

Is Copenhagen a European city?

Yes. Tick!

Did I travel only by train?

Sort of a tick!

Copenhagen was great and you can read all about it below:

SWITZERLAND:

A few paces away you would find cows in the field gently chewing away, in Lucerne!
A few paces away you would find cows in the field gently chewing away, in Lucerne!

I then went to Switzerland, and bounced into Lucerne, otherwise known as Luzern!

Is Lucerne a European city?

Yes. Tick!

Did I travel only by train?

Yep! Tick!

Lucerne, otherwise known as Luzern was brilliant, and you can read all about it just below:

LUXEMBOURG:

After that, I went to Luxembourg.

Me in front of the Palace of the Frand Dukes. In August! Luxembourg: A smart guide to the Grand Duchy of one of Europe's smallest countries!
Me in front of the Palace of the Grand Dukes. In August!
Luxembourg: A smart guide to the Grand Duchy of one of Europe’s smallest countries!

Luxembourg was a new country for me, and I had heard lovely things about it, so I was pretty excited to visit!

Is Luxembourg a European city?

Yes. Tick!

Did I travel only by train?

Yep! Tick!

Luxembourg was pretty impressive, and you can read all about it just below:

The next destination was Slovakia. I hadn’t been to Slovakia for years so off we skipped to Bratislava.

A historical castle in Slovakia!
A historical castle in Slovakia!

Is Bratislava a European city?

Yes. Tick!

Did I travel only by train?

Indeed we did! Tick!

Bratislava was an interesting mix of charm and historical greatness of yore, and you can read all about it below:

Now let’s get back to Germany.

The Music Producer and The Tall Young Gentleman on the pier! 51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany!
The Music Producer and The Tall Young Gentleman on the pier!
51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany!

To be more exact – the seaside.

In a place on the Baltic Sea called Usedom!

I like going to the Baltic Sea. In fact, I’ve written many posts about it such as:

Polish fishermen on the Polish Baltic Sea who did fabulously well. :)
Polish fishermen on the Polish Baltic Sea who did fabulously well. 🙂

You see. In many cases, I was actually going to the Baltic Sea. In Poland….! I have been to the Baltic Sea in Germany, but I couldn’t remember the details ‘cos it was winter, and the sea was frozen!

Time to change all that but first, a little history.

USEDOM

On Usedom - a Baltic Sea island in Pomerania, Germany! ©Usedom Tourismus GmbH
On Usedom – a Baltic Sea island in Pomerania, Germany! ©Usedom Tourismus GmbH

We chose Usedom as the part of the German seaside that we wanted to visit.

Not only is Usedom pretty, but it’s also the seaside resort of the people who live in Berlin. In fact, it’s rare not to see your neighbour or your mates at work, running down the beach or leaping into the sea!

Usedom is a Baltic Sea island in Pomerania which originally used to be one single island region but since 1945, was divided between Germany and Poland!

This is what happens to children who don't eat their greens - boiled fish for dinner, and only boiled fish!
This is what happens to children who don’t eat their greens – boiled fish for dinner, and only boiled fish!

About 80% of the island belongs to the German district of Vorpommern-Greifswald in the North German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.

The other side and the largest city on the island, is part of the Polish West Pomeranian Province bordering the German federal-states of Mecklenburg-West Pomerania and Brandenburg to the west, and the Baltic Sea to the north. Its capital and largest city is Szczecin which is enormously easy to get to…!

The Usedom island’s total area is 445 square kilometres (172 square miles). The German part is 373 square kilometres or 144 square miles, and the Polish part is 72 square kilometres or 28 square miles.

51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany!
51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany!

With a population of just 76,500 people – 31,500 on the German side and 45,000 on the Polish side, Usedom is the sunniest region of both Germany and Poland, and it is also the sunniest island in the Baltic Sea Region!

We were excited to travel to a sunny old beach, and a bit of the sea!

Now that’s done with, let’s get to it:

51 REASONS TO GO TO THE SEASIDE. IN GERMANY!

51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany!
51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany!
  • Simply put, the seaside is one the best places to go to, in the summer
  • The German seaside is located in the North of Germany in places known as the Baltic Sea or the North Sea. Usedom is on the Baltic Sea otherwise known as the Ostsee!
  • It’s great for families. All you need is a bucket and spade, some sand, water, a bit of sunshine, and kids – big or small!
  • And it’s safe and secure
  • You can be a child again and build sandcastles, collect shells, and explore the beach
The Tall Young Gentleman trying to make a sandcastle! 51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany!
The Tall Young Gentleman trying to make a sandcastle!
51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany!
  • It’s only 3.5 hours away from my beloved Berlin!
  • You can go by car, by bike, or simply take the train
  • Once you organise your hotel, B&B, or tent, everything else is free of charge!
  • If you’re on a budget, you can camp in the forest, near a lake, or not far from the beach
  • If you’ve got some cash, you can splash out and stay at the many wonderful seaside resorts, imperial villas, thatched houses and exclusive hotels such as the elegant five-star historical Usedom Palace where we stayed – otherwise known as the Jewel on the promenade in Zinnowitz! I’ll write more details about the hotel next week or you can simply book your hotel here!
  • You’ve not tasted ice-cream, until you’ve had it at the seaside!
You've not tasted ice-cream, until you've had it at the seaside! 51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany!
You’ve not tasted ice-cream, until you’ve had it at the seaside!
51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany!
  • You can have 1,906 hours of sunshine per year making Usedom Island the sunniest place in Germany?
  • You can be Jesus for a few hours, and walk on water on one of the oldest piers in the Baltic Sea area!
  • The German Baltic Sea is 42 kms of fine white sandy beach and up to 70 meters wide, making Usedom Island the longest beach promenade in Europe, if not the world!
  • Germany has five (5) historic wooden piers that lead into the Baltic Sea. The longest pier is in Heringsdorf at 508 meters. The oldest pier built in Ahlbeck 1898, is 118 years old!
On the oldest pier in Usedom - a Baltic Sea island in Pomerania, Germany! 51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany! ©Usedom Tourismus GmbH
On the oldest pier in Usedom – a Baltic Sea island in Pomerania, Germany! ©Usedom Tourismus GmbH
  • You can actually walk or cycle the length of the island starting from Germany and ending in Poland, or vice-versa. And since both countries are part of the EU, you don’t even need a visa! But take your passport along. Just in case!
  • There are three (3) imperial summer residences of the previous German monarchy so you can stroll between the villages of Bansin, Heringsdorf, and Ahlbeck, to find them. It’s a lovely walk with many cafes, bars and restaurants, along the way!
  • Everywhere you look is some sort of historical art or architecture preserving the seaside in a unique Wilhelminian style
  • You can admire the wonderful picturesque architecture
  • Usedom used to be quite the bohemian place packed with artists, intellectuals, and the liberal wealthy bourgeoise of the time who would meet for music, art, and entertainment. Very like Bristol or the city of Bath, back in the day
You would find the Bohemian Set, intellectuals, and the liberal wealthy bourgeoise of the time staying in such villas 51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany! ©Usedom Tourismus GmbH
You would find the bohemian set, and the liberal wealthy bourgeoise staying in such villas
51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany! ©Usedom Tourismus GmbH
  • Usedom is also a nature park reserve with coasts, lakes, marshes, dunes, pine and beech woods, as well as beaches
  • There are eagles on the island of Usedom, and more than 280 species of birds such as Nordic geese, cranes, ducks and woodcocks
  • The world ́s largest beach volleyball tournament in the world, according to the Guinness Book of Records, takes place on Usedom Island!
  • You can be healthy via the power of the Baltic Sea!
  • You can go au natural (Germany!), and go to a spa and pamper yourself with a chocolate massage, a sea buckthorn bath, an algae mousse package or treatments with iodine brine
You can go au natural and go to a spa and pamper 51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany! ©Usedom Tourismus GmbH
You can go au natural and go to a spa and pamper
51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany! ©Usedom Tourismus GmbH
  • You can stroll on the beach, sunbathe, or just relax with a glass of wine, or bottle of German beer!
  • You can go bare-foot on the beach in the safe knowledge that there’s no garbage or glass lying around. It felt so goooood to have sand between our toes
  • You can go swimming in the sea as the sea is clean, but watch out for the jellyfish. They’re pretty huge!
  • The German seaside is the best opportunity to really get to grips with cycling as you have access to 180 km of cycle tracks, and more than 13 recommended cycling routes, and you can rent bikes at more than 100 rental stations using a mobile payment concept covering the island known as Usedom Rad. In fact, my husband and our son, used this facility quite a bit. I took the train from Zinnowitz to Heringsdorf, and they cycled all the way. It took them about 3 hours but they enjoyed the ride! If you buy a family train ticket, the one way cycle journey is included in your ticket, so you get the bike ride for free!
  • You can eat fairly well, but try to leave plenty of time for dinner as the seaside resorts tend to close early. On our last night, we left things a little late at 21:00, and were lucky enough to catch the chef before he closed the kitchen. Usedom, like the UK, closes it’s restaurants quite early!
A traditional fresh fish lunch at the famous Fisch Domke restaurant in Ahlbeck! 51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany!
A traditional fresh fish lunch at the famous Fisch Domke restaurant in Ahlbeck!
51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany!
  • You can eat as much seafood as you like. And you should!
  • Because if you haven’t had a fresh herring sandwich, you haven’t lived!
  • You can go fishing. And you don’t necessarily need a licence…
  • You can have one ice-cream or two..!
  • If you like honey, you can go on a Beekeepers Cycling Tour through farming villages often used by bees on the HoneyBee Island! Start in Korswandt, stay on the cycle path, and follow the signs leading to the Bienchen Fienchen where you get to meet two beekeepers and learn all about bee gardens, and how honey is made
Meet beekeepers and learn all about bees and how honey is made. 51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany!
Meet beekeepers and learn all about bees and how honey is made.
51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany!
The German seaside is extremely close to Poland! 51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany!
The German seaside is extremely close to Poland!
51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany!
  • We took the local seaside train and it wasn’t a big deal to travel to Poland. Many visitors were doing the same
  • Polish food!
  • Fantastic tankers of ice-cold beer
  • Have I already said beer? Lovely German beer!
  • You can charter a yacht and do your own sailing, or just rent a canoe between the many harbours and marinas of the Baltic Sea
  • You can take a cruise along the Baltic Sea
You're merely a yacht away from Denmark and the UK! 51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany!
You’re merely a yacht away from Denmark and the UK!
51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany!
  • You can sail to Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Latvia, Estonia, Russia, Poland, other parts of Germany, or to the UK!
  • You can visit many castles and historical buildings such as Fort Engelsburg. We weren’t able to explore it as they had a private function on, but we could climb some of the hills around it, and peep in!
  • The German seaside is ideal for water sports such as sailing, surfing, jet skiing, kite surfing, canoeing, and rafting. And it’s not particularly cold. Or hot. It’s Just about right
  • Nude beaches. Germans are enormously open-minded so the Freikörperkultur, or FKK movement, otherwise known as the Free Body Culture, was set up for everyone to participate in
Germans are enormously open-minded so nude beaches as Freikörperkultur, or FKK movement - Free Body Culture - was set up - 51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany! ©Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-1984-0828-411A / Settnik, Bernd / CC-BY-SA 3.0
Germans are enormously open-minded so nude beaches as Freikörperkultur, or FKK movement – Free Body Culture – was set up – 51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany!
©Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-1984-0828-411A / Settnik, Bernd / CC-BY-SA 3.0

TAKE ME THERE!

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

You can drive to the Baltic motorway where two bridges connect the Usedom Island to the mainland. If you’re flying in, the island is connected by air with nonstop flights from nine cities around Germany, Austria and Switzerland flying into the Heringsdorf regional airport whereby with shuttle buses will get you to your final destination within 30 minutes.

The best way to travel to the Baltic Sea seaside is by the island`s own train – the Usedomer Bäderbahn – which connects all the seaside resorts on the Usedom Island.

The best way to travel to the Baltic Sea seaside is by the Usedomer Bäderbahn train! ©Jens Scheider
The best way to travel to the Baltic Sea seaside is by the Usedomer Bäderbahn train!
©Jens Scheider

You can get to Usedom from Germany with a Mecklenburg-Vorpommern or a Mecklenburg Western-Pomerania ticket for a one day unlimited travel experience at just €23.00 (+ €4 for each person extra, max. 5 people) on any day of the week, when purchased at a DB ticket machine or online! You can also buy your ticket on the train. Valid for just one day from 09:00 – 03:00 and children or grandchildren up to 14, travel free of charge!

You can also travel anywhere in Germany for a day for as little as €40 (+ €4 for each person extra, max. 5 people) on a Saturday or Sunday with a Happy Weekend Ticket, when purchased online or from ticket vending machines. Unlimited train travel across Germany for just one day from 12:00 – 03:00 and children or grandchildren up to 14, travel free of charge!

51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany!
51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany!

That’s it for now.

Vielen Dank!

51 REASONS TO GO TO THE SEASIDE. IN GERMANY!

Magnificent groynes in Usedom! 51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany!
Magnificent groynes in Usedom! 51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany!

Even though I was invited on this trip as a guest of Usedom Tourismus GmbH,  all opinions and the wonderful time that we had on the German seaside island of Usedom, are my very own!

In the coming weeks, I’ll be writing about travels to the German Baltic Sea, to Bremen, art and films in Berlin,  as well as a comprehensive post on how to use the train in Europe!

In a few weeks, I’ll be travelling to the TBEX ASIA travel conference in the Philippines, and revealing the extra Chinese-speaking country. It’s a new one!

In November, I’ll be travelling to Austria and starting a new job!

Save the Date!

October is going to be unbelievable!

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 October, forget it!

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!

51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany!
51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany!

Have you ever been to the seaside in Germany? Would you like a lick of my ice-cream, or a sip of my beer? 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

Please Share it! Tweet it! Or like it!

The time that I fell off the ski lift in the Czech Republic!

As lovely as Rokytnice nad Jizerou!
As lovely as Rokytnice nad Jizerou!

Rokytnice nad Jizerou is lovely.

it’s in the Bohemian mountains of the Czech Republic and last week, I told you all about how to get there, where it is, and why we went there!

It’s skiing season and Rokytnice nad Jizerou has got eighteen (18) kilometres of wide pistes, excellent facilities, an adrenaline-inducing snow park, and wonderful views of the surrounding Krkonoše Mountains in the Czech Republic.

In fact, whether you’re a complete beginner or whizz down the slopes like a world champion, you will find what you’re looking for in Rokytnice.

Experts say that before you put on a single ski you should think carefully about which of the ski areas suit you best. There are five (5) of them. There is Studenov (near the centre of the village), Sachrovka, Modrá Hvězda, Bah’ynka (which are basically side by side) and Horní Domky which, with a splendid location on the slopes of the Lysá Mountain, has the longest slope in the country!

If only I had thought of that.

I’m a sucker when it comes to getting into trouble. Remember that time that we went to Inverness in Scotland, and the B&B landlord had forgotten that there were three (3) of us, The Music Producer, “The Tall Young Gentleman” and I, instead of (2) two…

My poor boy, who is taller than I am, had to sleep on a child’s camping bed which was jammed against the bedroom door, jammed against the bathroom door, and jammed against our very small British double bed!

On the city-kart in Leba, Poland before the chain and seat broke off!
On the city-kart in Leba, Poland before the chain and seat broke off!

Or what about that time that we went to a little village on the Polish Baltic Sea, and even though the sun was shining and everything, there was hardly anybody there and the circus, the cinema, the ice-cream waffle shop, the bicycle stand, the restaurants, and all the shops except for two (2).

Were closed!

Do you remember that time that I thought it was a good idea to climb up a live volcano in Bali.

Well, it wasn’t!

Akwaaaard!
Akwaaaard!

Have you forgotten when even though I can hardly ride a bike at all, I thought it prudent to go on a rural off-the-beaten-path mountain bicycle tour in Indonesia and ultimately fell in a ditch causing my guides to run into a panic!

How about the time that I was attacked by monkeys and they pulled my hair. Oh yes, they did!

Korean art and craft.
Korean art and craft.

And don’t even get me started on the horror of horrors and complete stupidity of flying all the way to Korea when actually, we should have been going to Qatar!

You would have thought that I had learnt my lesson from years ago, when I first came to Rokytnice nad Jizerou, and learnt to ski….

I mean, if you’re looking to spend your holiday just skiing or snowboarding, then Rokytnice nad Jizerou is just right.

Horní Domky or Grey Beard!
Horní Domky or Grey Beard!

Because of the terrain, Rokytnice nad Jizerou offers skiing and snowboarding for every level. It is recommended for beginners, skilled and very advanced skiers, of all age categories.

If you like slopes with greater difficulty, variety and width, or you’re an upper intermediate to advanced skier, the ski resort – Horní Domky is perfect. It has over 14 kilometres of perfectly groomed pistes which boast a width of up to 100 metres and a range from 630 to 1,315 meters, and is the best ski location in the Czech Republic in terms of its position, exemplary ski slopes, and facilities.

It is popular mainly for its large span of snow diversity, and the extent of its downhill courses.

It is dominated by Mount Hora, which is accessible by two (2) four-seat chair lifts and six (6) pole lifts. One of the chairlifts is the starting point of the Krkonoše cross-country skiing arterial trail and even takes you up to the Krkonoše National Park.

If you’re a snowboarder however, then Roktynice nad Jizerou won’t let you down as there is a snow park with several jumps, obstacles and its own lift popular for travellers and tourists, who love to Freestyle. On a length of over 11.4 kilometres you can ski on the blue, red, or black ski runs.

The Professionals!
The Professionals!

Only go on the black run if you’re ready.

I’m a strong red skier but when I was a blue skier in the 90’s, I decided to go on the black ski run with a bunch of friends who had been skiing for years and thought it might be fun, if we all skied together.

I guess you all know where this is leading!

We decided to go on the black run.

Me included.

The pole lift put in between your thighs!
The pole lift put in between your thighs!

We drove up and began to slowly ski up the hills of Horní Domky on the pole lift above. You know the one. Where the seat is put in between your thighs and you are whizzed along. It’s quite relaxing and as long as you don’t doze off completely, and you hold on tightly, it’s quite a pleasant way to go up.

This is what it looks like when you're whizzing up the pole lift!
This is what it looks like when you’re whizzing up the pole lift!

At some point, we began to climb higher and as such, the ski lift had to reflect that change in atmosphere and altitude. We went on a two-seat chairlift.

Now for the non-skiers among you, when you’re in a two-seat or four-seat chairlift, you’re outdoors and exposed to the elements. Most importantly, the skis are already attached to your feet so that you can quickly ski off. Away from the lift as the chairlift doesn’t stop, and automatically swivels around so that you must GET OFF!

I was supposed to be in a chairlift with my boyfriend at the time, but I somehow missed my seating, and ended up going on the next one.

The Alpine ski lift in Rokytnice nad Jizerou!
The Alpine ski lift in Rokytnice nad Jizerou!

Alone.

I was in an unfamiliar area and the speed at which we were climbing up those mountains was dizzying. I wasn’t completely in my seat and neither was I comfortable. At some point, I got confused and found that my skis were trapped in my alpine ski lift.

I tried to untangle my legs so that the skis would be in front of me rather than behind me, but I couldn’t.

So I lifted the ski bar.

Oh dear! What to do!
Oh dear! What to do!

And fell straight down into the forest!

I found myself face-down in a lot of snowy powder with my glasses stuck to my face!

I was in shock, and so was everyone else.

The empty chair!
The empty chair!

I could hear echoes of shouting, screaming, and frantic waving. All I could do was look on as my chairlift staggered emptily away into the cold distance.

The first thing I did was to check my legs.

They were at a funny angle.

Where are my skis?!
Where are my skis?!

And then I wondered where my skis were.

Then I burst into torrent of tears.

Luckily for me, gravity had flung my skis away from me. I was seriously bruised and in shock, but I had no broken bones.

I was in the middle of the forest and I was completely and utterly alone. There were no mobile phones in those days, and in 1994, the Czech Republic was an undeveloped East European country. Waiting for help would mean that I would freeze. I could see where the chairlift was supposed to go, so I began to walk towards the direction of the next chairlift station.

i_m_in_shock_look_i_have_a_blanket_by_teamfreewillangel-d62zdp0I began to search for my skis, put them together, stuck them in the snow, and began to walk. And shed tears, and talk to myself, and shed more tears.

I was in shock you see.

By the time I got to the chairlift station, it was 1.5 hours later, all my friends were enormously worried, and I couldn’t talk at all.

http://www.salon.com/2013/08/24/murder_intrigue_and_the_mysterious_origins_of_vodka/
A needed shot of vodka!

Happily, I was sat down, and a jacket was put around my shoulders. Somebody also slipped me some vodka.

I needed it as I still had to get down from the mountain!

One of my girlfriends’ gave me her skis and then she went back down into the forest with her boyfriend to find mine. Both of them on a tandem of one ski each!

Ha!

Never try to ski with equipment that has not been measured or weighed for you in mind. I was much taller and weighed less than the girl whose skis I was now using.

And it showed.

It’s a dangerous game as the skis kept slipping from my feet….!

I saw the the Mountain Rescue Service in action. They were quick, efficient  & top notch. Sadly, they didn't exist in 1994!
I saw the Mountain Rescue Service in action. They were quick, efficient & top-notch. Sadly, they didn’t exist in 1994!

It took me 1.5 hours to ski down a black run that should have taken 30 minutes.

I was wet.

I was cold.

And I was scared.

I was scared of hurting myself on the slopes, but the only way to get down those slopes was to ski down them.

The ski map of Rokytnice nad Jizerou.
The ski map of Rokytnice nad Jizerou.

I did it.

I finished the black ski run.

I lived to tell the tale.

And then I didn’t ski for 10 years!

I went to Andorra (a tiny country between France and Spain). I went to Southern Germany. And in 2009, I went back to the Czech Republic.

To Rokytnice nad Jizerou.

What I should have done was to get a guide to go with me or simply not go up the black ski run mountain at all, but you live and learn right?

Right!?!

Ski School Yetti in Rokytnice nad Jizerou.Since I don’t ski every year, I always make sure to brush up on my skiing skills and reflexes by booking a few lessons at a reputable ski school. The school that I go to is called Ski School Yetti, is right next door to the Hotel Stary Mlyn. Very convenient not only because you get a discount if you’re a guest of the hotel, but also because it’s only 5 minutes away from the piste itself!

Hurrah!

It’s owned by a bear of a man called Petr. He’s Czech and speaks German and a little English but all his ski instructors are young Czechs, full of energy and enthusiasm, and speak either fluent English, fluent German, or Polish.

In many cases, more English than anything else!

Jakob, my son's skiing instructor.
Jakob, my son’s skiing instructor.

You can learn or improve your skiing, snowboarding, snowkiting, or snowtubing. You can also rent all the ski equipment that you need. And as I told you last week, skis go quickly and Czech prices are out of this world!

I paid 1,522 kc or €55/$62.00 for my son’s skis, poles, boots and a helmet for six (6) days. That’s equivalent to €9.20 or $10.50 a day! I also paid 3,591 kc or €131/$148.50 for advanced ski lessons for children between the ages of 9 – 12 years old in a group of 4 – 8 children. The class started with 5 teenagers and by the middle of the week pretty much ended up being a private class for one, as parents tend to ski with their kids as the week progressed.

I used to do the same.

The old days!
The old days!

I was ill that week and couldn’t ski, so I was pretty relieved to know that my son was never alone whilst on the ski piste! The cost of €22/$26 per day is astounding for ski lessons of four (4) hours per day. Not only that, but the daily ski pass for kids were 270 kc or €10/$11.50 per day and 50 kc or €1.80/$2.60 refundable deposit for the chip cart.

My ski improvement lessons for middle-advanced classes would have cost 2,280 kc for three (3) days or €83/$95 or €28/$32 per day. My ski rental for five (5) days would have cost 1,220 kc or €44.30/$50.50 or €9/$10.30 per day.

You can always leave your stuff, if you need a break. It's perfectly safe.
You can always leave your stuff, if you need a break.
It’s perfectly safe.

I thought that I would recover from my illness and kept the skis for four (4) days but I had bronchitis and was forced to spend most of my vacation time in bed! Petr knew I had been ill. In fact, everyone knew that I was ill, and didn’t charge me!

Thank you Petr.

ANY APRÈS-SKI?

Fun & games in Austria!
Fun & games in Austria!

Rokytnice nad Jizerou isn’t the Austrian Alps and you’re not going to find many people doing the conga here! Having said that, there are ski schools for adults and children a-plenty, equipment rentals, ski service, restaurants, fast food booths, paragliding, a mountain rescue station (which I saw in action), a few small discos and a TESCO!

Parking is free of charge and there is a ski bus service which is completely and utterly free, to take you from one ski piste to the other.

I’d say that if you’re looking for a good time, there’s plenty of good food, cheap booze, and skiing to be had.

You’d best bring a group of friends or the family with you, and get the party started LOL!

I don’t think you can get any better than that!

Prosím!
Prosím!

For more information, please contact: The ski website of the Czech Republic.

For more information, please contact: Rokytnice nad Jizerou.

For more information, please contact: Ski School Yetti,

A local Czech snowboarder.This article is not sponsored and even though I received a small discount, all opinions and the delicious Czech dishes that I had, are my very own!

I have so much to share with you.

Next week, I’m going to concentrate on the rustic delights of Czech food. You can read the tweets that I sent of Rokytnice nad Jizerou under the Twitter # tag of #RokytnicenadJizerou, #Rokytnice, #HotelStaryMlyn or #skischoolyetti.

You can also follow me via daily tweets and pictures on Twitter & FB!

Strictly Stand Up – The English Comedy Night is going to take place on 25.02.15 at the Quatsch Comedy Club in Berlin.

I’ll be participating in the pre-ITB Travel Massive event on 03.03.15. If you’re a blogger or just fancy a knees-up, come meet us. It’s going to be so much fun!

The actual International Travel Trade Fair – ITB – will be taking place from 04.03.15 – 08.03.15 and after that I’ll be off travelling to the next destination. More exciting info in March!

If you’re not in Berlin in February, it’s not too late!

February is going to be warm and dandy!

Watch this space!

Returning to Rokytnice nad Jizerou. Because we're worth it!
Returning to Rokytnice nad Jizerou.
Because we’re worth it!

I’m thinking of taking a small group of people to the Czech Republic next year. Who’s with me? Would you consider skiing in Rokytnice nad Jizerou?

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, or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

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