How to be a German – 10 ways to do it!

How to be a German – 10 ways to do it!

So you’re probably either thinking, at last!

Or, what the darn diddly?

I cannot under-estimate how much I love living in Germany.

BMW Munich – Summer in Germany – Simply the Best!

I mean, I shout about it loud enough and it was just four (4) years ago that I introduced myself to you on this blog, when I wrote a cheeky article which most people didn’t seem to get. And the title? Germany is Boring.

Oops!

Ah well, either way, it’s going to be interesting.

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

As The British Berliner, I have been living in Germany for more than fifteen (15) years, so I’m more than qualified to tell you how things are done the German Way! 

I mean, what is the big deal?

The Berlin Wall – 28 Years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall: Berlin, I’ll never let you go!

I’ll tell you what the big deal is my good man.

It’s the fact that Germany.

Otherwise known as Deutschland!

Has been together in peace and harmony for 28 years.

28 Years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall: Berlin, I’ll never let you go!
© Enrico Verworner

That’s right.

28 years!

How I went on the radio for the BBC & was featured in Germany’s biggest Sunday newspaper!

Some people might think that by coming to Berlin or Munich for a lost weekend, they know everything they need to know about the German people.

Not so my friends.

It’s a little more complicated than that, so I’m going to help you!

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HOW TO BE A GERMAN – 10 WAYS TO DO IT!

Beer for everyone in Germany ‘cos the drinks are on meeeee!

Just so that you know what mean, here’s a 2004 MTV commercial called Günther, otherwise known as Mum, Dad, I’m German…

It’s totally ridiculous but absolutely hilarious, and very tongue-in-cheek. Watch the video below!

1.  LOOK THE PART AND WEAR SANDALS AND CLOGS. INDOORS!

How to be a German – 10 ways to do it!
Man wearing sandals & socks. But why?! ©Rex

When I first came to Germany, I was amazed at the number of men who wore sandals.

With socks!

Why people? Why?

Keeping it real in Germany. With sandals and socks!
©REUTERS/Ina Fassbender

The last time I wore leather sandals was when I was a school girl, and they were a sensible pair of Clarks!

However, in order to be as German as the next person, I wear Birkenstocks at home. With socks!

I even wore Birkenstocks at my wedding!

How to be a German – 10 ways to do it!
I even wore Birkenstocks at my wedding!

But without socks!

And in my defence, I had been wearing killer high heels all day which I had changed three (3) times!

I know!

2.  HAVE LUNCH FOR BREAKFAST!

German and French bread!
Luxembourg: A smart guide to the Grand Duchy of one of Europe’s smallest countries!

Germans aren’t known for the minimal look as far as food is concerned. They’re not French you know!

During the week, a typical German breakfast is a bun known as a brötchen. It’s usually covered with cold cuts and cheese with mustard, and a variety of other sauces.

At the weekend, it’s a feast!

At the weekend, it’s a feast, fit for a king!
How to be a German – 10 ways to do it!

Many German families, including my own, would queue for hours in order to get the freshest amount of bread straight from the bakery. And yes, many people still go to the bakery!

In fact, just five (5) minutes from my home is the family-owned and oldest bakery in Berlin – Bäckerei Siebert – and is still going strong after 111 years!

A most delicious breakfast spread you can expect, in a typical German home!

Then they arrange their tables so that there’s a wide variety of cold cuts, sausages, cheese, seafood, eggs, fruit, and a wide assortment of bread!

The first time, I had breakfast with my German family, it was such a mish-mash of food that halfway through the meal, I left the table and was sick in the bathroom! It was too much you see, so get ready to gird your loins, as there’s no escaping!

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3.  SAUSAGES!

White sausages. I’ve tried it every which way, but I still don’t like it!
©TakeAway – Wikipedia

All hail the almighty S!

The very highlight of a typical German day is the sausage, so if you want to be a German, learn how to like it!

Germany has loads of different sausages and each comes with its own unique taste.

I find the white sausage with sweet mustard or Weißwürst quite disgusting personally, even though I’ve tried it every which way.

Ah well!

Delicious grilled pork sausages, otherwise known as bratwurst. Yum!

The grilled pork sausages with mustard, ketchup or both, otherwise known as Bratwurst can be decisively delicious.

My favourite German sausage however, is the currywurst. The currywurst is Berlin’s most famous sausage.

Best German meals to try out in Berlin – Currywurst!

Currywurst!

Yummy! Yummy!

Currywurst is beef or pork sausage grilled and chopped up, then smothered with a spicy ketchup and curry powder. It’s eaten with a pile of chips and a slice of bread or a bun.

It’s such a famous icon that it even has its own Currywurst Museum where you can learn how currywurst is made, smell it, watch a film about it, attempt to sell it, and play around with the french fries and chips. You can sometimes even have chocolate and curry ice-cream!

If you’re vegan or a vegetarian however, you’re done for!

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4.  RECYCLING!

Collecting poo!
How to be a German – 10 ways to do it!

I’m happy to say that Germany is the leading country as far as going green is concerned, and they’ve been doing it for years!

I remember when I first came to Germany, and I casually put a piece of paper into the dustbin, my German boyfriend at the time, literally freaked out.

It was the wrong dustbin!

Germans have a dustbin for everything.

Germans have a dustbin for everything!
How to be a German – 10 ways to do it!

There’s a dustbin for paper.

A dustbin for plastic.

A dustbin for glass.

A dustbin for metal.

A dustbin for organic stuff.

A dustbin for dog poo.

A charity bin for clothes with a different compartment for shoes. Of course.

There’s even a dustbin for batteries!

If you want to be a German, don’t do this!
How to be a German – 10 ways to do it!

And every supermarket will encourage you to leave your cardboards boxes and plastic packaging behind, if you so wish.

Oh, and most people have recycling bags that they take with them for shopping.

And don’t think you can sneak your large items into the backyard, as the dustbin men won’t take them, and you’ll be charge for “littering!”

We even have our own organic compost “bin” in the garden!

If you want to be a German keep your rubbish, and take it home!
How to be a German – 10 ways to do it!

If you want to be a German keep your rubbish, and take it home!

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5.  PUNCTUALITY!

If you want to be a German, don’t be late!
How to be a German – 10 ways to do it!

If you want to be a German, if your appointment is at 09:00, make sure you arrive there on the dot, or better still, a few minutes before. However, if you arrive twenty (20) seconds later, you’re late!

Mind you, don’t be like the strange fellow that I invited to a Christmas dinner party I was organising. He arrived at 17:00, and the invitation was for 20:00!

I sent him away!

6.  SMALL TALK ISN’T A THING!

No need to worry. I’ll do the talking!
© Pascale Scerbo Sarro

I live in Germany.

I have quite a knack for small talk.

Most Germans haven’t.

They don’t seems to understand what I mean by “small” talk. They think we British people are trying to evade the subject.

Don’t be shy. Speak plainly if you like her hair!
How to be a German – 10 ways to do it!

Germans believe in speaking plainly and clearly, about what is on their minds!

I once had some random stranger who stopped me on the street, and told me that he didn’t like my hair style!

See.  Plain and true. No beating around the bush here!

Oh, and talking about the private issue of how much you earn, could get you fired!

If you want to be a German, forget about it.

Let it go!

It’s against the law!

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7.  LONG CONVERSATIONS!

If you want to be a German, ask more questions! How to be a German – 10 ways to do it!

If you want to be a German, learn the art of a long conversation and long meetings. There’s no need to say something in one (1) minute, that could better be said in ten (10)!

What’s the hurry?

Slow down.

Don’t make your mind up too quickly.

Sleep on it.

Discuss it a bit more over lunch, and a few pints of beer.

Then let’s talk about it again next week!

8.  DOCUMENTATION!

Bring along all your documentation!
How to be a German – 10 ways to do it!

For the laymen among you, that means paperwork and certification!

If you want to settle into German life, and you don’t have any certificates, you won’t get very far. After all, how would they know that you’ve “done it,” if they can’t record it, and file it away somewhere!

Germany is a high-technology country, but as far as paperwork and bureaucracy is concerned, it might as well be back in the Dark Ages!

Put the kettle on. We’re going to be here all day!
How to be a German – 10 ways to do it!
Put the kettle on. We’re going to be here all day!
How to be a German – 10 ways to do it!

So bring along document A, as well as three copies of document B, signed by the Head of Department, who gave you document C, then send them all by post with a verified stamp, and document D!

And don’t smile!

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9.  OKTOBERFEST AND DRINKING BEER!

Beer in Germany isn’t a joke.
How to be a German – 10 ways to do it!

Ha! If there’s one other thing that Germans do well, it’s drink beer!

Beer in Germany isn’t a joke.

And neither is Oktoberfest!

Are Bavarians really Germans? How to be a German – 10 ways to do it!

Some people would have you believe that Oktoberfest is only known in Bavaria.

And that the Bavarians aren’t really Germans!

But it isn’t true.

And I should know ‘cos I’m more German than the Germans. So there!

And for goodness sake. Whatever you do, please don’t order water at the bar.

It’s weird!

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10.  BE INFORMED ABOUT GERMAN HISTORY!

Learning how to be a German is lots of fun, but if you want to be a real German, you’ll have to know and understand your history.

All of the history. Including the horrible bits.

That’s it for now.

Keep reading my blog. There is more to come!

See you next week!

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HOW TO BE A GERMAN – 10 WAYS TO DO IT!

How to be a German – 10 ways to do it!

This article isn’t sponsored, and absolutely all opinions 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, Blackpool, Derbyshire and Yorkshire!

Yay!

October & November is going to be thrilling!

How to be a German – 10 ways to do it!
Claudia Schiffer – Paris 1989 – ©2017 Herb Ritts Foundation.

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 to be a German – 10 ways to do it!

Are you German? Do you have any German roots? Would you like to be a German? 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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Exciting news! I’m travelling to the English countryside. Isn’t that spiffing!

Red letter box in the village of Stanton – the Peak District – Derbyshire

So Autumn / Fall is going to be just so exciting!

As you know, I’ve been hinting about where I’m going, and now I can reveal the details.

But first.

Top 100 Best Expat Blogs on the planet!

A couple of weeks ago, I was featured as one of the top 30 most inspiring expat bloggers in 2017!

And then not long after, I was featured as one of the top 100 Best Expat Blogs on the planet!

p.s. I’m number 43!

Me being a tourist in trendy Ximending
16 brilliant reasons why you should visit Taiwan!

There’s simply no stopping me!

Isn’t that quite inspiring?

I’ve never been featured by other bloggers before, so it’s a real honour in my book.

Go have a look, and check out the other expat bloggers too.

Thanks so much!

Back to the British stuff!

How to be British!

As you know, I’m The British Berliner, and the British part is the fact that my original home country, is England.

You know the one.

Ye Olde England!

That’s right!

That famous and historical city – Manchester!

My original home town is Manchester.

Not industrial steel Manchester, but the leafy suburbs of Cheadle!

In fact, not far from my parent’s home is Abney Hall Park – the inspiration for country house life, and indeed, many of the scenes – of Agatha Christie!

Makers Market in Cheadle Village

What I’m trying to say is that even though I sound as if I come from the manicured landscapes of Surrey, I’m actually from the North of England!

And what was once the suburbs of Greater Manchester in Lancashire, is also part of the suburbs of Cheshire!

Follow the path and route in Cheshire

If you would like to know a little bit about England just follow the links below:

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

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I had plans to go to Russia…!

Let’s make a re-cap on where I’ve been to, in 2017 so far:

How to visit Amsterdam: Introducing Zaandam – a Dutch traditional town with windmills!

HOLLAND:

THE CZECH REPUBLIC:

Myself with ski leaders in Rokytnice nad Jizerou – Czech Republic

I went skiing in January, but I didn’t actually write about it. Oops!

 

Here’s what I wrote previously…

At the Vienna Opera Ball.
@ WienTourismus / Peter Rigaud/Couture Vivienne Westwood

AUSTRIA:

CROATIA:

How to visit the Balkans: Introducing Croatia – the dream of Game of Thrones!

SWEDEN:

A Swedish hotdog in Stockholm – Sweden!

SLOVENIA:

Slovenia – a basic guide to food!

UK:

24 hours in London: 24 things to do!

GERMANY:

28 Years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall: Berlin, I’ll never let you go!
© Enrico Verworner
Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner for Bild am Sonntag
©Christian Spreitz

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Now that’s out of the way, let’s move forward.

OMG!

EXCITING NEWS! I’M TRAVELLING TO THE ENGLISH COUNTRYSIDE. ISN’T THAT SPIFFING!

All you need is, some strawberries, a picnic hamper & a bottle of Pimms!
©British Tourist Authority

I’ll be visiting Cheshire, Staffordshire, Manchester, Blackpool, Derbyshire and Yorkshire!

CHESHIRE:

Tegg’s Nose in Cheshire
©Visit Chester & Cheshire / NWDA

I grew up in Cheadle, a suburban village in what was then known as Greater Manchester, and when my brother and I went to university, my family moved to Cheshire.

Cheshire is an Anglo-Saxon settlement first thought to have been created by King Edward (Edward the Elder) in AD920. The county is in the country (the country-side) and is mostly rural, with small towns and villages supporting the local agriculture and industry, and so we have horses not too far away!

I’ve written about it before, but it’s such a lovely place that I’m going to show you around a bit more!

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STAFFORDSHIRE:

Walking on The Roaches – Staffordshire

Staffordshire is a county in the West Midlands of England.

It adjoins Cheshire to the north-west, Derbyshire and Leicestershire to the east, Warwickshire to the south-east, West Midlands and Worcestershire to the south, and Shropshire to the west!

The historic boundaries of Staffordshire cover much of what is now the metropolitan county of the West Midlands, parts of Derbyshire, and in the area now known as the Black Country.

Black Country Industrial Scene
©Edwin Butler Bayliss (1874–1950) – Wolverhampton Arts and Heritage

The Black Country is a region of the West Midlands in England, and commonly refers to all or part of the four Metropolitan Boroughs of Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton. It’s so-called, because during the Industrial Revolution, this part of the country became one of the most industrialised parts of Britain with coal mines, coking, iron foundries, glass factories, brickworks and steel mills producing a high level of air pollution, thus turning the air black!

Staffordshire has many small towns, and we’ll be going to the  Northern part of it.

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MANCHESTER:

Imperial War Museum North – Manchester

Manchester really needs no introduction, but if you insist…

Manchester began as a Roman fort called Mamucium or Mancunium, in about AD 79 and was historically a part of Lancashire, and until the 20th century, became a part of Cheshire.

The lovely Just So Festival is an annual weekend camping festival that’s actually in Cheshire, but billed as Manchester!

Manchester is fringed by the Cheshire Plain to the South, the Pennines to the North and East, and an arc of little towns surrounding it!

In fact, where I grew up, is technically no longer known as Manchester, but Cheshire!

Throughout the Middle Ages, Manchester remained a manorial township, but began to expand around the turn of the 19th century, brought on by a boom in textile manufacturing during the Industrial Revolution, bringing extreme wealth to Manchester, and making it the first industrialised city in the world!

Now even though I’m a Mancunian, I haven’t lived in Manchester since I went to university!

I haven’t been back to Manchester for quite some time!

And that’s quite some time ago!

So we’re going to do some day-trips.

I’m planning to visit some cultural galleries and museums, check out the night life, drink cocktails on Canal Street – Manchester’s Gay Village – and chill out by the canals.

Yippee!

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BLACKPOOL:

Blackpool – A seaside resort on the coast of North West England!

Blackpool is a seaside resort on the Lancashire coast of North West England.

Blackpool faces the Irish Sea between the Ribble and Wyre estuaries, and is 15 miles (24 km) northwest of Preston, 27 miles (43 km) north of Liverpool, 28 miles (45 km) northwest of Bolton, 40 miles (64 km) northwest of Manchester, and has a population of about 142,065 people!

Throughout the Middle Ages and Early Modern period, Blackpool was a coastal hamlet in Lancashire’s Hundred of Amounderness, and remained so until the mid-18th century when it became fashionable to travel to the coast in the summer, for a bit of seaside air and the attraction of a sandy beach!

Beauty Queens in 1950’s Blackpool

Blackpool rose to prominence when a railway was built in the 1840’s connecting it to the industrialised regions of Northern England. By 1881, Blackpool was a booming resort complete with piers, fortune-tellers, public houses, trams, donkey rides, theatres, fish-and-chip shops, and was otherwise known as “the archetypal British seaside resort.”

Shifts in tastes, combined with opportunities for your ordinary Brit to travel abroad, affected Blackpool’s status as a leading resort in the late 20th century, and it fell to tacky, shabby decay.

In fact, I haven’t been there myself since I was twelve (12) years old, and found £5.00 in the sand!

We spent all our money on Blackpool Rock!
@Kate Hopkins

I was enormously pleased I can tell you, so my brothers and I spent it all on Blackpool Rock!

However, lots of money has been ploughed into it, and quite frankly, Northerners haven’t been deterred by it’s less than reputable past. In fact, at one time, it was billed as England’s answer to Las Vegas!

In 1954, Blackpool enjoyed a tourist boom and attracted up to 17 million visitors a year!

Blackpool’s major attractions and landmarks these days include Blackpool Tower, Blackpool Illuminations, the Pleasure Beach, Blackpool Zoo, Sandcastle Water Park, the Winter Gardens, its sandy beaches, and the UK’s only surviving first-generation tramway!

We’ll be out there to see what all the fuss is about!

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DERBYSHIRE:

Winnats Pass, Hope Valley – Derbyshire

Derbyshire, otherwise known as Derbys or Derbs, is a county in the East Midlands of England.

The county contains part of the National Forest, and borders on Greater Manchester to the northwest, West Yorkshire to the north, South Yorkshire to the northeast, Nottinghamshire to the east, Leicestershire to the southeast, Staffordshire to the west and southwest and Cheshire to the west!

Fischer’s Baslow Hall – Derbyshire
©Baslow & Bubnell Parish Council

Kinder Scout, at 636 metres (2,087 ft), is the highest point in the county, whilst Trent Meadows, where the River Trent leaves Derbyshire, is its lowest point at 27 metres (89 ft). The River Derwent is the county’s longest river at 66 miles (106 km), and runs roughly north to south through the county, and Church Flatts Farm at Coton in the Elms (near Swadlincote), is the furthest point from the sea, in the whole of Great Britain!

A huge portion of the Peak District National Park lies within Derbyshire and the Pennines, and we’re going to be staying in a cottage, in the village of Baslow!

Exciting stuff!

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YORKSHIRE:

Yorkshire is the largest county in the UK!

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

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

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

The War of the Roses – The White Queen!

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

I have happy childhood memories of camping in the Yorkshire Dales, but this time we’re going to be visiting the lovely historical city of York!

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WHY THE ENGLISH COUNTRYSIDE?

Chelmorton in the Peak District National Park
©Simon Harrod

Even though it might not always look like it, we are actually outdoorsy type of people!

Ha! Ha! I’m not going to be climbing live volcanoes anytime soon, but we do enjoy horse-riding, sailing, hill-climbing, trekking, and rambling through the countryside.

One of the reasons that I chose Staffordshire, Derbyshire and Yorkshire is not only because of nostalgic visions of my childhood, but also, because parts of it belong to the National Forest, the Yorkshire Dales National Park, the North York Moors National Park, as well as the Peak District National Park!

Even though it might not always look like it, we are actually outdoorsy type of people!

Yep!

We’re going to be getting ourselves dirty, wrapping ourselves warm, and breathing in fresh clean wholesome air!

Book your hotel here!

ANYTHING ELSE?

It’s embarrassing! I have never been to York!

Ha! Ha! Ha!

You won’t believe it, but I have never been to York!

I know!

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

Which way to the City of York?

To rectify that, I’m going to be working in partnership with Visit York in order to experience all that is best for an Original City Adventure in York, and the surrounding area!

We’re going to be using the York Pass, going on a hop-on-hop off bus, visiting historical attractions like The Richard III & Henry VII Experience, York Minster, York Castle Museum, and possibly, squeezing in the North Yorkshire Moors Railway!

Dick Turpin, the infamous 18th century highwayman!
©The York Dungeon

Since we’ll have a teenager in tow – we’re also going to be spending some time at the York Dungeon, the JORVIK Viking Centre, York’s Chocolate Story, and an interactive horror history experience organised by the York Theatre Royal! 

We’re going to have a wonderful time!

Book your hotel here!

EXCITING NEWS! I’M TRAVELLING TO THE ENGLISH COUNTRYSIDE. ISN’T THAT SPIFFING!

Exciting news! I’m travelling to the English countryside. Isn’t that spiffing!

This article isn’t sponsored, and even though I’m working in partnership with Visit York, absolutely all opinions, and the delicious Yorkshire puddings that I’m certain to have, 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, Blackpool, Derbyshire and Yorkshire!

Yippee!

October & November is going to be smashing.

Exciting news! I’m travelling to the English countryside. Isn’t that spiffing!

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!

Exciting news! I’m travelling to the English countryside. Isn’t that spiffing!

Have you ever been to the English countryside? Have you ever been to Northern England? Let me know in the comments below!

 See you in Berlin.

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

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

28 Years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall: Berlin, I’ll never let you go!

28 Years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall: Berlin, I’ll never let you go!
© Enrico Verworner

It’s October!

In a few days, Germany will celebrate the Re-Unification of Germany, otherwise known as, German Unity Day or Der Tag der Deutschen Einheit!

This most important day will take place on October the 3rd.

October 3rd is a public holiday given to the German people to honour the Re-Unification of the two German States previously called the German Democratic Republic (GDR) or DDR (Deutsche Democratic Republic) otherwise known as East Germany, and the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) or Bundesrepublik Deutschland (BRD), otherwise also known as West Germany!

Me in front of a piece of the Berlin Wall & Street Art!

I cannot under-estimate how much I love this city.

I mean, I shout about it loud enough and it was just four (4) years ago that I introduced myself to you on this blog, when I wondered what the heck Berlin was all about anyway!

Oh yeah, and then I wrote a cheeky article which most people didn’t seem to get. And the title? Germany is Boring.

Oops!

I mean, what is the big deal?

Best German meals to try out in Berlin – Currywurst!

I’ll tell you what the big deal is my good man.

It’s the fact that the city of Berlin.

THIS city of Berlin.

Has been together in peace and harmony for 28 years.

That’s right.

28 years!

Book your hotel here!

28 Years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall: Berlin, I’ll never let you go!

WHY WAS THE BERLIN WALL SET UP IN THE FIRST PLACE?

The Berlin Wall after the opening of the Wall near Brandeburger Gate on November 11th, 1989!
@25 Archiv. Bundesstiftung Aufarbeitung – Uwe Gerig

It’s a little complicated but after WWII, Germany was split and divided by the allies as punishment for Nazi Germany. And you only had to look at the city of Berlin to see who the Allies were namely; Great Britain, France, USSR and the United States.

It was not long before arguments and squabbling took place in the international political arena and simply put, the Eastern and Western Bloc decided to go their separate ways, and an Iron Curtain ensued.

East Germany went one step further and built a wall in Berlin, cutting a line through the entire centre of the city!

This wall was supposed to prevent East Berliners and citizens of East Germany from fleeing to the West, but the Wall was unable to stop the mass of people from escaping. As a result, in 1961, the ruling Communist Party in East Germany began adding more border fortifications to the Wall, creating a broad, many-layered system of barriers.

In the West, people referred to the border strip as the death strip because so many people were killed while trying to flee.

I have seen this death wall myself as I live in East Berlin and not 10 minutes away, is the main local park called Mauer Park.

The suburb of Prenzlauerberg where I live, is now enormously trendy and gentrified, and if you’re “in,” or want to be “in,” you strive to live here.

However, let it be noted that “Mauer” in German, means “Wall.”

The Death Strip in now East Berlin but formerly French – Soviet Germany!
©Joyce, S. A.

With the downfall of East Germany in 1989, the Berlin Wall that the Socialist Party tried to use to maintain its power, also fell. The Fall of the Wall marked the definitive end of its dictatorship.

The Berlin Wall enclosed West Berlin from August 13, 1961 to November 9, 1989.

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STREETS ON BOTH SIDES OF THE WALL?

The Berlin Wall.
28 Years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall: Berlin, I’ll never let you go!

A couple of years ago, I wrote about one of my favourite places, and where I first lived in Berlin – Kreuzberg. You can read all about it right here! In my post, I mentioned that Kreuzberg had the Berlin Wall running right through the middle of it and that during the happy confusion, when the Wall actually fell, young people were leaving the East to go West, or leaving the West to go East!

In fact, I liked Kreuzberg so much that when I first made a documentary about being a British person in Berlin, we did the filming there!

OMG! Don’t I just look like a city babe!
©Pascale Scerbo Sarro

In Prenzlauer Berg where I live now, we’re about twenty (20) minutes from the original East-West border, and about ten (10) minutes from the first border crossing on the bridge of Bornholmer Straße. If you’ve ever since the videos where East Berliners were running through the border with everyone clapping and giving out free beer, it was that one!

I always take my friends to where the original wall used to be!

And let me tell you.

I always weep tears of joy because even though I wasn’t in Berlin when the Berlin Wall actually fell, living in Berlin means that I’m able to touch, see and sometimes smell, what it was like to live here pre-1989!

Potsdamer Platz today!
28 Years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall: Berlin, I’ll never let you go!

In fact, I can still remember when Potsdamer Platz was nothing more than wasteland and a piece of the border strip known as No Man’s Land. And looked like it too!

Not far off from Prenzlauer Berg, is a street called Bernauer Strasse, also known as Bernauer Straße!

Bernauer Straße as part of the Berlin Wall in 1961 – Frank Baake © Thomas Gade

As you can see, the Berlin Wall used to go right through it!

In fact, it was pretty horrid for all concerned, as you could actually see the other side of the Wall from your kitchen window, but you couldn’t go to the Western side without being shot!

Smashing through the wall! ©frizztext
Smashing through the wall!
©frizztext

Imagine the frustration, pain, and horror.

Many people tried to escape to freedom and found ways to be creative by sailing across in a hot air balloon, digging tunnels underground, pretending to have a funeral and lowering the “dead” person into a pit, hiding inside the seated lining of a Volkswagen car, etc. All for a life of freedom.

Not much of the Wall is left today, which was chipped off and destroyed almost in its entirety, however, three (3) long sections are still standing:

The Topography of Terror. You can still see parts of the Berlin Wall right behind it!
©Britta Scherer

An 80-metre-long (260 ft) piece of the first (westernmost) wall at the now Topography of Terror, but which used to be the site of the former Gestapo headquarters!

But obviously, the original building was razed to the ground.
The Berlin Wall, otherwise known as, East Side Gallery!

A longer section of the second (easternmost) wall along the River Spree near the Oberbaumbrücke in Kreuzberg / Friedrichshain, which you can see throughout the 1988 cult film Run Lola Run, otherwise known as, East Side Gallery!

Bernauer Straße in both East & West Berlin!
28 Years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall: Berlin, I’ll never let you go!

 

And a third section that is partly reconstructed, in the north at Bernauer Straße, which was turned into a memorial in 1999.

And of course, isolated fragments, lampposts, a few watchtowers, and other elements, remain throughout various parts of the city!

On the border between East & West Berlin in Germany.

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SO HOW DID THE BERLIN WALL ACTUALLY FALL?

It’s easy to forget that this situation was only 28 years ago. Most of you reading this blog, are probably older!

Let’s get some history!


2 May

Hungary begins dismantling the fortifications on the border to Austria.People demonstrate against the election rigging in front of the Sophienkirche (church).


7 May

Local elections in the GDR. Opposition groups prove that the results were faked. People demonstrate against the election rigging in East Berlin on the seventh day of every subsequent month.


4 September

First Monday Demonstration in Leipzig. 1,200 people gather outside St. Nicholas’ Church. Their demands include freedom of travel and democracy.


9 /10 September

New Forum’s initial call-out becomes a signal for change. Further grassroots movements follow.


11 September

Hungary officially opens its western border for GDR citizens, risking a breach in its diplomatic relations with East Berlin.


30 September

West Germany’s foreign minister Hans-Dietrich Genscher informs the East German refugees in the Prague embassy, that they will be allowed to leave the GDR.


3 October

The GDR government bans travel to Czechoslovakia without passports and visas, to stem the mass exodus. Special trains transport people from the Prague and Warsaw embassies to the West, through the GDR. There are violent clashes with police along the railway line, as well as in Dresden.


7. October

On the 40th anniversary of the GDR, several thousand people demonstrate in Berlin outside the Palace of the Republic.  In numerous East German towns and cities, similar protests are broken up by force.


9 October

Despite fear of military repression of the Monday Demonstration, 70,000 people take to the streets in Leipzig. The police, military and civilian forces do not intervene.


11 October

The single ruling political party calls for people to stay in the GDR, offering a “dialogue” concerning the country’s further development.


16 October

The number of people at the Monday Demonstration in Leipzig doubles. The security forces do not intervene.


18 October

Erich Honecker is forced to resign after 18 years in office. Egon Krenz is made the new secretary-general of the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED).


24 October

Krenz is also elected chairman of the State Council and the National Defence Council. 12,000 people demonstrate against his appointment in Berlin that evening.


30 October

300,000 people take part in the Leipzig Monday Demonstration.


4 November

The largest demonstration in the history of the GDR takes place in Berlin.


7 November

The government of the GDR, and the Council of Ministers collectively resign.


8 November

The Central Committee Politburo, the highest body in the GDR, resigns. West German chancellor Helmut Kohl links economic and financial aid for the GDR to three conditions: the opposition must be legalised, free elections must take place, and the Socialist Unity Party of Germany (SED) must renounce its claim to sole authority.


9 November

The Wall falls, prompted by a vague, but now famous, announcement of new travel regulations at a press conference. Tens of thousands of East Berliners rush to the checkpoints and force the border open.


22 December

The Berlin Wall is officially opened at Brandenburg Gate. The first concrete section is removed from its beams at 0.30 a.m.


23 December

The offices issuing passes for the GDR in West Berlin close for good. West Germans no longer need a visa, or have to change a certain amount of money, to enter the East.


1990 Chronology


31 August

The Unification Treaty is signed in East Berlin.


3 October

Germany celebrates the “Day of German Unity” also known as “Re-Unification Day.”


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28 YEARS AFTER THE FALL OF THE BERLIN WALL

Climbing up the Berlin Wall for Freedom! Freedom!!

It was the people who took to the streets en masse and courageously resisted a dictatorship, enabling both the Fall of the Berlin Wall and the Peaceful Revolution.

The 28th anniversary of the Fall of the Wall is important because Berlin will continue to invite locals, expats, eyewitnesses who were here, and people of the world, to participate in the anniversary celebrations, and to tell personal stories about the Berlin Wall.

Outside Bernauer Straße in Berlin. Everyone is going to be here!

Everyone is going to be here!

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ANYTHING ELSE?

Yep! The Festival of Lights!

Festival of Lights ©Kerstin Röhner

Once a year, Berlin’s world famous sights and monuments become the canvas for spectacular light and video projections.

From 06.10.17 – 15.10.17, the Festival of Lights will transform Berlin’s most famous landmarks and historical monuments through light projections and video art whereby different artists will light up the capital, and illuminate buildings in many parts of the city!

Not only that, but the Festival of Lights also includes various art and music events, photography workshops, open house opportunities at selected buildings, and charity events, as well as guided tours by bus, boat and on foot!

Most of the participating monuments will be focused on the city centre, and will be illuminated from 19:00 until midnight.

Every day!

For a full list of participating buildings, maps, and photographic displays, go to the official Festival of Lights website here!

WHAT IF THE BERLIN WALL ISN’T MY CUP OF TEA?

Two sides and periods, of the Berlin Wall.

As if!!

Keep reading my blog. There is more to come!

That’s it for now.

See you next week!

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28 YEARS AFTER THE FALL OF THE BERLIN WALL: BERLIN, I’LL NEVER LET YOU GO!

Festival of Lights ©Alexander Meier

This article is not sponsored and all opinions and the currywurst and bratwurst that I’m sure to be happily scoffing in the next few weeks, 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, Blackpool, Derbyshire and Yorkshire!

Yipee!

October & November is going to be smashing.

The Berlin Wall – 28 Years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall: Berlin, I’ll never let you go!

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!

28 Years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall: Berlin, I’ll never let you go!

Have you ever been to Berlin? Do you remember where you were when the Berlin Wall Fell. Where were you in 1989? 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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