28 Years after the Fall of the Berlin Wall: (Nur Mit Euch / Only With You) – ‘cos Berlin, I’ll never let you go!

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

It’s October!

In a few days, Germany will celebrate the Re-Unification of Germany, otherwise known as, the Day of German Unity 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 five (5) 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!

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 Brandenburg 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.

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 videos where East Berliners were running through the border with everyone clapping, and cheering, 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 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 Berlin 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 from freedom and found ways to be creative by jumping through windows, 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 still stand:

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

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!

And obviously, after WWII, 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 1998 cult film Run Lola Run, starring Franke Potente (The Bourne Identity), and otherwise known as, East Side Gallery!

The film and soundtrack were just so exhilarating.

Even now, 20 years later!

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

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

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

On the border between East & West Berlin in Germany.

SO HOW DID THE BERLIN WALL ACTUALLY FALL?

It’s easy to forget Germany’s history!

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

Hurrah! Germany is now united as One as we celebrate the Day of German Unity, also known as Re-Unification Day or Tag der Deutschen Einheit!

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 or Der Tag der Deutschen Einheit!


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.

The connecting element will be a gallery, the Band der Einheit or Band of Unity showing the road signs of 11,040 towns and cities in Germany that are a blend of East and West Germany, and thus, a united Germany throughout the country.

As a symbol of German Unity, the gallery will span hundreds of metres across the festival area, and will explore the diversity of Germany in a simple yet appealing way, on a journey of discovery throughout Berlin, Germany, and Europe.

More than one million visitors are expected to attend the three-day festival.

Food in Germany: 5 of the Best Ever!

There will be a diverse programme of local street music and street food, DJ sets, dance sets, and karoeke at the Bearpit in Mauer Park, and across the festival.

There will also be an orchestra, and musicians from all over the world, on stage at Brandenburg Gate, resulting in the Grand Finale of a huge open-air concert featuring German artists such as Boss Hoss, Samy Deluxe, Nena, and others.

Absolutely free of charge of course!

I’ll be there. Wil you?

Come join us!

For a full list of participating buildings, maps, and photographic displays, go to the official Nur Mit Euch / Only With You, 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 soon!

28 YEARS AFTER THE FALL OF THE BERLIN WALL: (NUR MIT EUCH / ONLY WITH YOU) ‘COS BERLIN, I’LL NEVER LET YOU GO!

Beeeeerlin! I’ll never let you go!

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.

I’ll be writing about my trip to Sweden, Estonia & Latvia very soon, and in the winter, I’ll be travelling to India.

Keep a look out.

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

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

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Explore Hansa with me! 5 enchanting Hanseatic cities from Sweden, Estonia and Latvia!

Explore your taste buds & create an inspiring gastronomical experience on the HANSA Culinary Trip!

It’s September!

And just where has the time gone?

I simply don’t know.

Do you?

SUMMER TIME

Summer Loving & my travel plans for the rest of the year!

Well, I for one, have been extremely busy.

And why?

I went to Sweden, Estonia AND Latvia!

Phew!

Quite frankly, they really need no introduction because I have written extensively about them before, but if you insist, here are the articles I wrote previously.

SWEDEN:

A Swedish hotdog in Stockholm – Sweden!

ESTONIA:

Tallinn Medieval Days. Kristina Õllek @Tallinn City Tourist Office & Convention Bureau

LATVIA:

The most popular international post so far was….Latvia!

WHY DID VICTORIA GO TO SWEDEN, ESTONIA AND LATVIA?

A first time beginners’ guide to the ITB Berlin: 10 tips to help you prepare. Bam!

Well, you all know how I love going to the ITB Berlin – the international tourism trade fair, otherwise known as the Internationale Tourismus-Börse!

And for those of you who don’t know, the ITB Berlin represents B2B, hotels, tourists boards, tour operators and providers, airlines, transport operators, responsible travel organisers, information technology experts, social media bloggers, and anybody else interested in travel and tourism.

It’s also the world’s leading travel industry think tank, in which the convention trade fair establishes itself as the industry’s main knowledge platform, with top-notch presentations on global trends, travel innovations and path-breaking events for the entire tourism industry!

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

It’s one of the highlights of my year, and one of the places that I tend to meet contacts and plan where I’m going to travel to during that year, or the following one.

In fact, my first media trip ever, was sent to me by the virtue that I was chatting to a media person from Atout France – the France Tourism Development Agency!

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

I didn’t know that at the time, but she was so impressed, that she sent me a FAM Trip invitation to Nord-Pas de Calais.

I thought I was going to Normandy!

Haw! Haw!

I was the only press / blogger person there.

And well as the only British person too!

I had a fantastic time!

Myself on the M/S Star Tallink mini cruise from Tallinn to Helsinki.

A year after, I met another contact who invited me to use their sailing cruises. I didn’t have the time to sail extensively, but I did use the services of TALLINK SLJA LINE to cross from Estonia to Finland.

A year later, that very same person invited me to fly to Sweden and do a couple more cruises. I still wasn’t able to go since the timing wasn’t right, but she introduced me to a contact from Visit Stockholm instead, and before you knew it, both The Tall Young Gentleman and I were in Stockholm for the very first time!

Hamburg: An Introduction to a Port City!

I also met the PR person from Hamburg about a year ago, and when a window opened, I contacted her, and she invited me to a weekend in Hamburg for their Christmas Market / Holy Hamburg / Winter Event.

I had an awesome time!

In fact, it was at the ITB Berlin, and wandering through the Poland Stands, that some of the Polish staff recognised me from an article that I wrote all of four (4) years ago, they were so excited, and the word soon spread, that that blogger was actually there!

Apparently. In Poland, I’m a bit of a notorious star!

And the title of said piece: Going to Poland: 10 reasons not to go!

Apparently, in Poland I’m a bit of a notorious star!

Is it any wonder that this year, someone else reached out and invited me to a very interesting event, so interesting in fact, that how could I refuse?

The event in question was called Explore Hansa!

EXPLORE HANSA!

Explore HANSA

WHAT IS EXPLORE HANSA?

Explore Hansa with me!

Explore Hansa is a partner project consisting of nine (9) small and enchanting Hanseatic cities from Sweden (Visby), Estonia (Pernau and Viljandi) and Latvia (Cēsis, Koknese, Kuldīga, Limbaži, Straupe and Valmiera), but due to a lack of time, we were only able to visit five (5)!

All of these countries are enormously rich in heritage and tradition, and have developed active and culinary tourism that offers visitors a chance to explore nature, authentic history, and exciting local food!

One of the ways that these lovely cities want to do that is by inviting influencers and media representatives, of which I am one, to experience what these HANSA cities have to offer, feel the charm of tiny Hanseatic cities, immerse ourselves in nature, and to spread the word!

I’m certainly going to do that!

There were two (2) trips organised:

A level of fitness is expected for the HANSA Active trip!
  • THE ACTIVE TRIP route that went through Limbaži (Latvia) – Valmiera (Latvia) – Viljandi (Estonia) and Visby (Sweden), to explore the cobbled streets and cultural heritage of these small Hanseatic cities, as well as the beauty of nature, in which a level of fitness would be expected!

You all know how I am with bicycles!

Ha! Ha! Ha! Haaaaaaaaaa!

Explore HANSA at Pils krodziņš Pils Ķēķis in Valmiera – Latvia!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Latvia – August 2018
  • THE CULINARY TRIP route that will go through Viljandi (Estonia) – Valmiera (Latvia) – Cēsis (Latvia) – Koknese (Latvia) and Visby (Sweden), to explore one’s taste buds of seasonal local produce and create an inspiring gastronomical experience

Aha!

You can guess which one I chose!

I’m most interested in the annual Medieval Week or Medeltidsveckan taking place in Sweden!

There was lots of stuff going on, but one of the activities I was most interested in, was the annual Medieval Week or Medeltidsveckan event taking place in Sweden.

For one week only!

What an event!

Medieval Week is a paradise for all who like jousting, markets, church concerts, street theater, fire shows, storytelling, walks, lectures and more.

It takes place mainly in Visby’s medieval fairytale environments, but also on the rural island of Gotland.

Locals all dressed up & a Medieval Tournament to remember at the annual Medieval Week or Medeltidsveckan taking place in Sweden!

In fact, we got to see knights and maidens, people jousting and battling, locals dressed up as grand nobles, poor peasants and minstrels, medieval street markets, street theatre, fire-shows, storytelling, and a medieval tournament to remember!

It took place from August 5th to August 12th, 2018 and I’ll be telling you all about it in the next few weeks!

Exciting stuff!

Yeah!

Are you ready to Explore Hansa?

Find out more in the following weeks!

‘Rah! ‘Rah!

EXPLORE HANSA WITH ME! 5 ENCHANTING HANSEATIC CITIES FROM SWEDEN, ESTONIA AND LATVIA!

Explore HANSA with me on the island of Visby in Gotland for Medieval Week in Sweden!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Sweden – August 2018

This article is not sponsored, and all opinions and the exciting time that I had in the HANSA cities, are my very own!

Stay tuned.

Yay!

That’s it for now.

See you next week!

Explore Hansa with me in town – Sweden, Estonia & Latvia!

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!

Explore Hansa with me!
5 enchanting Hanseatic cities from Sweden, Estonia and Latvia!

Do you want to explore HANSA with me? Have you ever been to Latvia, Estonia or Sweden? 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!

Summer Loving & my travel plans for the rest of the year!

Summer Loving & my travel plans for the rest of the year!

It’s Summer Time.

Yeah!

Phew!

What a scorcher we’ve been having!

Now by that, I mean in the UK.

I mean, buildings are melting to pieces in Glasgow, people are sweltering on the London Tube, and due to the intense heat, there are fears that train rails might buckle!

Global Warming at it’s best!

In Germany, we had all of that.

Victoria at the River Elbe in Dresden – Germany ©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Dresden – April 2018

In April!

Ah well!

So here are my plans for the summer. And the rest of the year!

PLANS FOR SUMMER

Summer Loving & my travel plans for the rest of the year!

The summer is pretty exciting ‘cos in a fortnight, I’ll be doing a quick weekend away to the Czech Republic, a quick weekend away to Osnabrück in North Germany, and then just a mere one (1) day after, I’ll be travelling to Sweden, Estonia & Latvia!

There’ll be lots of train travel and a few flights!

And no, sadly, I won’t be at the TBEX Conference Europe this year, but I will be in the Czech Republic quite a few times!

So let’s see where I’ll be going:

Firstly, I’ll be spending two days at a destination very close to Dresden, and very close to Prague!

I’ll be visiting a little place called Kutná Hora!

KUTNÁ HORA

Cemetery Church of All Saints in Sedlec – Ossuary – Kutná Hora

Kutná Hora otherwise known as Hory Kutné or Kuttenberg is a city in Bohemia.

It is not the Bohemian Rhapsody, but a historical town, in the Czech Republic!

You may notice that Kutná Hora has a variety of names. This is because at certain times in history, the town belonged to different countries.

Kutná Hora was first recorded in roughly 1142. By 1260, the town became known as Kuttenberg, not only because of it’s famous Sedlec Abbey – which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, but also because of it’s silver mines which brought the town enormous prosperity in the 13th century.

In fact, from the 13th to 16th centuries, Kutná Hora was given special recognition by the Polish King Wenceslaus II of Bohemia, in 1300, and was on par with Prague!

By 1526, Kutná Hora, along with the rest of Bohemia, became a part of the Habsburg Monarchy of Austria until it became a part of Czechoslovakia 1918. Sadly, during 1935 – 1945, it became a forced division and a Protectorate of Nazi Germany, before being given back to Czechoslovakia after WWII, and then into it’s peaceful dissolution into the two separate nations of the Czech Republic and Slovakia, in 1993.

Phew!

The work of a lifestyle, expat, travel blogger is never done. There’s just so much to doooo!

I will also be travelling to:

  • Sweden
  • Estonia
  • Latvia

They need no introduction because I written extensively about them before, but if you’re here for the very first time or simply need a reminder, here are the articles I wrote previously.

SWEDEN:

A Swedish hotdog in Stockholm – Sweden!

ESTONIA:

Tallinn Medieval Days. Kristina Õllek @Tallinn City Tourist Office & Convention Bureau

LATVIA:

The most popular international post so far was….Latvia!

WHY IS VICTORIA GOING TO SWEDEN, ESTONIA AND LATVIA?

A first time beginners’ guide to the ITB Berlin: 10 tips to help you prepare. Bam!

Well, you all know how I love going to the ITB Berlin – the international tourism trade fair, otherwise known as the Internationale Tourismus-Börse!

And for those of you who don’t know, the ITB Berlin represents B2B, hotels, tourists boards, tour operators and providers, airlines, transport operators, responsible travel organisers, information technology experts, social media bloggers, and anybody else interested in travel and tourism.

It’s also the world’s leading travel industry think tank, in which the convention trade fair establishes itself as the industry’s main knowledge platform, with top-notch presentations on global trends, travel innovations and path-breaking events for the entire tourism industry!

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

It’s one of the highlights of my year, and one of the places that I tend to meet contacts and plan where I’m going to travel to during that year, or the following one.

In fact, my first media trip ever, was sent to me by the virtue that I was chatting to a media person from Atout France – the France Tourism Development Agency!

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

I didn’t know that at the time, but she was so impressed, that she sent me a FAM Trip invitation to Nord-Pas de Calais.

I thought I was going to Normandy!

Haw! Haw!

I was the only press / blogger person there.

And well as the only British person too!

I had a fantastic time!

Myself on the M/S Star Tallink mini cruise from Tallinn to Helsinki.

A year after, I met another contact who invited me to use their sailing cruises. I didn’t have the time to sail extensively, but I did use the services of TALLINK SLJA LINE to cross from Estonia to Finland.

A year later, that very same person invited me to fly to Sweden and do a couple more cruises. I still wasn’t able to go since the timing wasn’t right, but she introduced me to a contact from Visit Stockholm instead, and before you knew it, both The Tall Young Gentleman and I were in Stockholm for the very first time!

Hamburg: An Introduction to a Port City!

I also met the PR person from Hamburg about a year ago, and when a window opened, I contacted her, and she invited me to a weekend in Hamburg for their Christmas Market / Holy Hamburg / Winter Event.

I had a great time!

In fact, it was at the ITB Berlin, and wandering through the Poland Stands, that some of the Polish staff recognised me from an article that I wrote all of four (4) years ago, they were so excited, and the word soon spread, that that blogger was actually there!

Apparently. In Poland, I’m a bit of a notorious star!

And the title of said piece: Going to Poland: 10 reasons not to go!
Apparently, in Poland I’m a bit of a notorious star!

Is it any wonder that this year, someone else reached out and invited me to a very interesting event, so interesting in fact, that how could I refuse?

The event in question is called Explore Hansa!

EXPLORE HANSA!

Explore HANSA

WHAT IS EXPLORE HANSA?

Explore Hansa with me!

Explore Hansa is a partner project consisting of nine (9) small and enchanting Hanseatic cities from Sweden, Estonia and Latvia!

All of these countries are enormously rich in heritage and tradition, and have developed active and culinary tourism that offers visitors a chance to explore nature, authentic history, and exciting local food!

One of the ways that these lovely cities want to do that is by inviting influencers and media representatives, of which I am one, to experience what these HANSA cities have to offer, feel the charm of tiny Hanseatic cities, immerse ourselves in nature, and to spread the word!

I’m certainly going to do that!

There are two (2) trips being organised:

A level of fitness is expected for the HANSA Active trip!
  • THE ACTIVE TRIP route that will go through Limbaži (Latvia) – Valmiera (Latvia) – Viljandi (Estonia) and Visby (Sweden), to explore the cobbled streets and cultural heritage of these small Hanseatic cities, as well as the beauty of nature, in which a level of fitness would be expected!

You all know how I am with bicycles!

Ha! Ha! Ha! Haaaaaaaaaa!

Explore your taste buds & create an inspiring gastronomical experience on the HANSA Culinary Trip!
  • THE CULINARY TRIP route that will go through Viljandi (Estonia) – Valmiera (Latvia) – Cēsis (Latvia) – Koknese (Latvia) and Visby (Sweden), to explore one’s taste buds of seasonal local produce and create an inspiring gastronomical experience

Aha!

You can guess which one I chose!

I’m most interested in the annual Medieval Week or Medeltidsveckan taking place in Sweden!

They’ll be lots of stuff going on, but one of the activities I’m most interested in the annual Medieval Week or Medeltidsveckan event taking place in Sweden.

For one week only!

Medieval Week is a paradise for all who like jousting, markets, church concerts, street theater, fire shows, storytelling, walks, lectures and more.

It takes place mainly in Visby’s medieval fairytale environments, but also on the rural island of Gotland.

Locals all dressed up & a Medieval Tournament to remember at the annual Medieval Week or Medeltidsveckan taking place in Sweden!

You get to see knights and maidens, people jousting and battling, locals dressed up as grand nobles, poor peasants and minstrels, medieval street markets, street theatre, fireshows, storytelling, and a medieval tournament to remember!

It’ll take place from August 5th to August 12th, 2018 and I’ll be there to see some of it for myself!

And of course, if I’m there, you can go there too!

Exciting stuff!

TRAVEL PLANS FOR THE REST OF THE YEAR!

I wanna travel the world with you….

And at the end of the year, I’ll be travelling to:

  • The Czech Republic. Again!
  • And India!

THE CZECH REPUBLIC:

Myself as lovely as Prague!

I’ll be going to the Czech Republic ‘cos I’m going to celebrate my birthday there!

Prague is one of my favourite cities, so I’ve invited my family to come join me in one of the most beautiful cities in Europe.

I really can’t think of anywhere better!

Here’s what I wrote previously:

INDIA:

India

I’ve been to India before.

Thirteen (13) years ago!

And I have to tell you.

I’ve got mixed feelings about it!

I travelled solo and I was there for a month.

I went to North India and I really liked it and enjoyed it enormously.

But I didn’t love it!

I went to Romania. It didn’t wow me!

And if I don’t like a place, I’m certainly going to tell you!!

I went to Rajasthan and saw tigers on safari at the Ranthambore National Park, adored the beautiful lakes at Udaipur, chuckled at the wedding cake cinema at Jaipur, licked and tasted camel ice-cream in Pushkar, rode elephants in Jodhpur, went camel-riding in the sandy desert of Jaisalmer, danced to the music of Bollywood, delighted in the openness of the local people, licked my fingers at authentic Indian food, and marvelled at the wonderful amazing-ness of the Taj Mahal.

India is awesome!

It was awesome!

However, road traffic was mad and over-whelming, the noise was deafening, the dirt and grime was disgusting, the River Ganges at Varanasi was not only filthy, but I actually saw a bloated dead body being dragged across the water by a dog!

The beggar children were heart-breaking, the overnight train was horrific that I couldn’t sleep a wink, and the food- poisoning that I caught from stale / under-cooked eggs at a 5-star hotel restaurant was so awful, that my skin colour actually turned grey!

That isn’t good news!

I’m sorry, but India’s Holy River Ganges in Varanasi is utterly filthy!

In fact, I was so exhausted by the shopkeepers and city of Delhi that for the only time in my life, I actually wanted to go home!

I stuck it out though, but was thrilled to be able to fly away, and leave it all behind me.

Eek!

You can’t keep me away from India’s beautiful Taj Mahal!

So how is it that I’m going back to India.

Again?

And to some of the very same places too!

?!!!?!

Perhaps India has changed!

Well, thirteen (13) years ago is a long time, and perhaps India has changed.

I know I have.

I’ll be going to Rajasthan again but focusing only on Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Pushkar, Udaipur and Mumbai.

I’ll also personally be doing all the planning and organising.

Gulp!

And this time I won’t be backpacking.

I won’t be taking any bumpy buses.

I won’t be going as cheap as chips.

I won’t be visiting Varanasi.

And I won’t be taking the over-night Indian train!

Who doesn’t like an exciting adventure?

Well, follow me over the next few months, and find out!

‘Rah! ‘Rah!

SUMMER LOVING & MY TRAVEL PLANS FOR THE REST OF THE YEAR!

Summer Loving & my travel plans for the rest of the year!

This article is not sponsored, and all opinions and the thrilling summer that I’m obviously going to have, are my very own!

Stay tuned.

Yay!

That’s it for now.

See you next week!

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

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!

Summer Loving & my travel plans for the rest of the year!

What are your plans for the summer? Have you ever been to Latvia, Estonia, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Germany, or India? 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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