I went to Romania. It didn’t wow me!

I went to Romania. It didn’t wow me!

I bet you weren’t expecting this!

So, what happened?

As you know, I’m a great advocate for Europe, and even more so for Eastern Europe. I mean you only have to scroll through this link to experience my love for the continent.

But if you’re as lazy as I am (whaaaat!), I’ll give you a helping hand!

CROATIA:

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

THE CZECH REPUBLIC:

Myself with ski leaders in Rokytnice nad Jizerou – Czech Republic

ESTONIA:

On the cobbled streets of Tallinn, Estonia.

HUNGARY:

With Eszter Bittmann In Budapest, Hungary.

LATVIA:

Green soup from Riga, Latvia.

LITHUANIA:

Our extremely funny walking tour guide in Latvia.

POLAND:

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

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!

SLOVENIA:

A delicious mug of cold beer in Ljubljana – Slovenia!

Now to be clear, I’m not saying that I don’t like Romania. I’m not a hater you know.

I’m just saying that it didn’t tickle my fancy!

And even though that’s a rare thing, here’s somewhere else that I won’t be rushing to anytime soon.

Singapore.

South Africa.

The Dominican Republic.

And.

Slovakia!

Should you visit Bratislava, or stay at home and not bother!

Not Sloveeeeeenia that I absolutely adore.

But Slovaaaaakia.

I mean, once upon a time, I even spent a considerable amount of time living there.

And it hadn’t changed.

Not one bit.

And not for the better either!

Now before you all get your pitchforks out and proceed to burn me at the stake.

When writing about Romania, I’m refering to the nation and state of Romania, not the people.

And certainly, I’m not in any way making reference to the Roma minority!

I’m not cruel!

 

If anything, I very much enjoyed learning about the history and culture of the indigenous people, and only wish that I could have learnt more!

So what’s this post all about then?

Well, Romania was my 65th country, and in truth I was excited, and waiting to be dazzled.

Not by flashy buildings or histories of yore, but just by that feeling of joy.

Being in another place.

I mean, I was in a new country n’ everything.

And some things were quite interesting (I’ll tell you all about them next week)!

I went to Romania. It didn’t wow me!

But.

I wasn’t overwhelmed.

I wasn’t fascinated.

And sad to say.

I wasn’t even impressed.

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

I’m well-travelled and know perfectly well that each country has a different charm to it.

And you don’t have to be a wealthy nation, have historical claim, or filled with a huge amount of resources, to get it right.

You don’t even have to have a name that anyone can pronounce.

Heck!

You can be as tiny as you like and still be totally compelling!

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

So.

I’m the last person on earth to ram my opinion down anyone’s throat.

Let’s get a little bit of background shall we?

ROMANIA

I went to Romania. It didn’t wow me!

Romania is a country in a region that is considered to be Eastern Europe, Central Europe, and South-East Europe, and surrounded by Bulgaria, Hungary, Serbia, Moldova, the Ukraine, as well as the Black Sea!

It has a population of almost 20 million people, is considered one of the poorest members of the EU.

That notwithstanding, Romania has the second-longest river in Europe flowing through it – the River Danube – the second-longest mountain range in Europe – the Carpathian Mountains – and has been around as far back as 40,000 years ago!

Most people don’t know an awful lot about Romania, but it’s rise to fame came about in modern times due to the Communist rule of Nicolae Ceaușescu, and the intrigue of Bran Castle, otherwise known as Count Dracula’s Castle.

More about this next week!

AND BUCHAREST?

WELL, I WENT TO ROMANIA. IT DIDN’T WOW ME!

Corvin Castle / Hunyadi Castle / Hunedoara Castle or Castelul Huniazilor / Castelul Corvinilor in Hunedoara, Romania!
I went to Romania. It didn’t wow me!

Bucharest, otherwise known as București, is the capital of Romania.

It has a population of roughly 1.8 million people, is very near the Bulgarian border, and was first mentioned in 1459!

The architecture of Bucharest is an interesting mix of neo-classical, art-deco, French and communist-era design.

Outside Nicolae Ceaușescu’s Palace of the Parliament!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Bucharest – April 2018

In fact, pre-WWI and WWII, Bucharest was sometimes referred to as Little Paris, but was utterly destroyed by earthquakes or the rampant desires of Nicolae Ceaușescu, who preferred Bucharest to look like the country of his dreams, and bull-dozed most of the city to the ground!

Inside Nicolae Ceaușescu’s Palace of the Parliament!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Bucharest – April 2018

In truth, Nicolae Ceaușescu did this to make way for his Palace of the Parliament, which outside of the Pentagon, is the largest administrative building in the world!

So there’s that!

WHY GO TO ROMANIA?

Vlad the Impaler – The Real Dracula!

To visit Count Dracula’s Castle!

Nah.

Don’t be ridiculous!

No seriously.

That’s really why I went to Romania!!

The legend of Bran Castle in Romania!

To visit the castles!

Not just Bran Castle, but Pele Castle too!

I’m a tourist. What of it?

TAKE ME THERE?

The Tall Young Gentleman & The Music Producer about to get on the airport bus in Romania!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Bucharest – April 2018

Once again.

We flew with Ryanair.

Phew! We made it! The Ryanair flight was alright!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Bucharest – April 2018

And it was pretty alright.

IS IT GOING TO BE CROWDED?

There’s hardly any one here! Most of the tourists at Hanu’ lui Manuc in the Old Town, were local!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Bucharest – April 2018

Nope!

Bucharest is beginning to attract attention, and certainly, in the peak months, you’ll get a summer rush, but it’s hardly Dubrovnik.

Or Prague!

Romania isn’t on the radar of most people and so the capital city – Bucharest – is almost always mixed up with – Budapest – the capital city of Hungary!

They’re nowhere near the same!

Budapest is far nicer!

WHAT IS ROMANIA LIKE?

The Romanian Athenaeum in Bucharest is most beautiful!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Bucharest – April 2018
Near the trams in Bucharest. Not so much!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Bucharest – April 2018

Well, it isn’t Switzerland, that’s for sure.

Or Denmark!

It’s not anything like other East European cities either!

It’s a bit gritty, but not like Berlin.

It’s got that old ex-Soviet Union look, but not like Riga, or Warsaw.

It’s a bit rough-looking, and not very well looked after, as there were loads of really beautiful buildings that were either abandoned, or falling apart!

I wanted to get a feel of Romania, so we were there for a week.

Romania didn’t wow me, but The Music Producer said his Romanian soup was nice!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Bucharest – April 2018

It didn’t wow me!

I DON’T SPEAK ROMANIAN!

Not a problem.

If you can speak German, Russian or a little English, you’ll be fine!

AM I GOING TO LIVE IN A HUT?

You’re not going to live in this abandoned hut, so don’t worry!

Umm!

Thanks to the fact that Romania isn’t on the beaten path, accommodation ranges from quite simple, to 5-star establishments.

It won’t be necessary for you to live in a cave!

Prices are excellent, so we decided to use booking.com to book a large two-bedroom, two-bathroom, two balcony apartment for just €54.00 a night.

Our Green Apartment was big enough for four (4) people sharing, making it a ridiculous price of €13.50 per person.

I really don’t think you can do any better!

Having said that, in the summer months, book ahead.

BUT WHAT SHOULD I DO WHEN I GET TO ROMANIA?

But what should I dooooooo?
I went to Romania. It didn’t wow me!

Romania isn’t boring.

There is plenty to do.

WHAT ABOUT TRANSPORT POSSIBILITIES?

Outside the bigger cities, simply walk or use Uber!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Bucharest – April 2018

Romania isn’t the safest of countries, but public transport is cheap and available.

We chose a better option.

Uber.

OMG!

Uber was so cheap that our rides across town cost as little as €2.60 in some places.

Two (2) Euros and sixty cents!!!

Isn’t that marvellous!

If you’re in Germany, here’s my link!

ANYTHING ELSE?

The service at Distrikt 42 & other restaurants in Romania, was under-whelming!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Bucharest – April 2018

Prices are extremely cheap, but do double-check your bill.

Don’t bother to use public transport as Uber is cheap as chips.

The city centre seems to be alright at night, but most of the side roads had no street lamps, so was pretty dark.

There also seems to be a lot of construction going on as the pavements had lots of huge manholes that were fenced off with plastic tape, and couldn’t be seen at night, so that you did, in actual fact, fall in!

Don’t expect service at restaurant and bars.

I live in Berlin, where service isn’t that fantastic, but Romania totally beats nonchalant attitude, hands-down!

The amount of time that I had to ask staff at “nice” restaurants to clear and clean tables before we sat there, was rather too much for my liking.

And apparently, it’s quite the norm!

MY VERDICT:

Romania – A blend of European history, with distinct reminders of a socialist past!

Romania is a European historical country, mixed with distinct reminders of a socialist past.

WOULD I COME AGAIN?

Victoria & family in Bran Castle near Brasov – Romania!
I went to Romania. It didn’t wow me!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Brasov – April 2018

Probably not!

It didn’t wow me!

I wouldn’t go all out to visit Romania, but if you’re in the region, take a day or two and visit.

Or go to the countryside, which is quite nice!

But as always, don’t just read the papers, or listen to hearsay.

Go see for yourself.

Europe is wonderful!

How I can afford a life of travel. Don’t choose. Live a life of style and travel!

I WENT TO ROMANIA. IT DIDN’T WOW ME!

I went to Romania. It didn’t wow me!

This article is not sponsored, and all opinions are really, my very own!

Next week, the Romanian places that I did like!

And in a few weeks, I’ll be revealing my next summer trip!

Stay tuned.

Yay!

That’s it for now.

See you next week!

I went to Romania. It didn’t wow me!

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!

I went to Romania. It didn’t wow me!

Have you ever been to a place that didn’t click? Would you visit Romania?

Let me know in your 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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A first time beginners’ guide to the ITB Berlin: 10 tips to help you prepare. Bam!

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

OMG!

I’m enormously excited!

And why?

The ITB travel trade fair is going to be in town.

Yeeeeeeeees!

In Kurdistan at the ITB 2015.

Gosh!

Just last week, I told you about the glamour of the Berlin International Film Festival, otherwise known as the Berlinale?

Now this!

Before I became the awesome travel blogger that I am today, I used to attend the ITB as an ordinary member of the public.

It was one of the highlights of my year!

And let me tell you, it still is!

I mean, thousands of international travel organisations and travel destinations are going to be in the city, looking to present the best parts of their country, or industry.

And yours truly will be among them.

Book your hotel here!

Accor Hotels – #myjourneybegins. It most certainly does!

Last year, was one of the most successful ITB travel trade conferences that I have ever attended!

In fact, I had so many appointments which had me going from floor to floor, that even though I used the press shuttle bus, my feet swelled up ‘cos I was wearing ankle boots, and I tend to walk like a man!

My Blogger Speed Dating appointment sheet was filled to the brim with Destinations & Marketing people wanting to meet me face-to-face, and I was invited to so many After-Hours parties, it became quite over-whelming…

Not only that, but a book author reached out to me and asked for one of my old Scotland photographs to be added to their book for a film tour, so perhaps the next time you go to the Scottish Highlands, you could be looking at one of my photographs!

Don’t risk collapse at the ITB Berlin. Fill your belly!

But most endearing of all, as I was browsing through the Poland section, looking for destination information, one of the girls started staring.

I gave her my business card to give to her boss, and she just started screaming!

Jesus in Warsaw.

She recognised my name and was thrilled and excited to finally meet and see the writer of THAT post! She told her neighbours and they all began rushing to take photographs & giggling!

I mean, that post now has over one hundred and twenty-three thousand (123,000) views!

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!

Book your hotel here!

The secret of eating & drinking in Warsaw – How to make pierorgi and eat it!

This year, I’m once again, all ready and organised.

Now that I’m a professional blogger don’t you know, I get to have internal access to all that the travel industry has to offer.

If you’re reading about the ITB for the first time, here’s what I previously wrote:

But it doesn’t hurt to reiterate the facts:

WHAT IS THE ITB?

ITB Berlin Convention 2018
ITB Berlin Convention 2018

The ITB Berlin stands for the Internationale Tourismus-Börse or in English, the international tourism trade fair.

The ITB 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!

Phew!

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT THEN?

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

Well, the ITB Berlin is the foremost business platform for the global tourism business. We’re talking:

  • 5 continents
  • 180 Countries
  • 200 trendsetting events
  • 400 speakers
  • 1,000 Qualified Top Buyers
  • 10,000 Exhibitors
  • 28,000 Convention Visitors and Participants attending lectures, discussions, and workshops
  • 60,000 Private Visitors
  • 109,000 Trade Visitors
  • 160,000 Square meters
  • Bloggers from 25 countries all over the world
  • Over 5 days within 7th March – 11th March, 2018
  • Bringing in a €7 billion turnover to Germany!

Book your hotel here!

A zebra in Zambia

Omigosh!

If you’re at the ITB, you’re in good company.

The ITB Berlin is a huge deal. The convention & culture partner country for 2018 is Zambia with the motto: – Let’s explore.
Official Partner Region ITB 2018 Mecklenburg-Vorpommern – © 2018 Messe Berlin

And the official Partner Region for ITB 2018 is Mecklenburg-Vorpommern – Best of Northern Germany.

Exciting!

ITB BERLIN IS 52 YEARS OLD!

The beautiful French Quarter - Gendarmenmarkt - in Berlin
The beautiful French Quarter – Gendarmenmarkt – in Berlin

The name ITB Berlin stands for a unique success story and things that are made in Berlin.

What began in 1966, as a small overseas import trade show, has developed into a true global success.

What originally, was only an event of five (5) participating countries and regions, has grown to over 180 with an exhibition space expanding from 580 m² to 160,000 m² today!

In more than five (5) decades, so many societal and political changes have taken place. As far as the tourism industry is concerned, Germany has developed into one of the world’s most important economic factors!

Book your hotel here!

So is it worth going to ITB Berlin? Yes! It most certainly is!

Today, the ITB Berlin is the leading trade show of the travel industry and, at the same time, the biggest travel show for the German public!

However, it’s a huge venue and there have been incidents of people wandering around and not actually getting to where they wanted to go!

Not naming names or anything, so here’s a few tips on how to navigate your way around!

WHEN CAN YOU VISIT?

Visitors are welcome at the ITB Berlin!
Visitors are welcome at the ITB Berlin!

OPENING HOURS.

Trade visitors: 7th – 11th March, 2018. 09:30 – 18:00
The general public: 10th – 11th March, 2018. 10:00 – 18:00
Journalists and bloggers: 6th – 11th March, 2018. 08:00 – 18:00

ADMISSION.

ITB BERLIN – The world in one place!
ITB BERLIN – The world in one place!

You can buy tickets at the Exhibition Grounds – or save time and money and buy them in advance at the Online Ticket Shop. Entrance for Trade Visitors / Press to the ITB Berlin Convention is included in the price of your trade fair ticket.

Trade Fair Visitors:

  • One Day Ticket: Online in advance – €42.00. On the day – €62.00
  • A Five Day Permanent Trade Visitor Pass Ticket: Online in advance – €60.00. On the day – €90.00
  • Accredited press / bloggers: Free of charge, in advance. If not accredited, as above
I would just like to thank some very important people – YOU!

The General Public.

  • One Day ticket: Online in advance – €12.00. On the day – €15.00
  • Reduced priced tickets – students / retired /unemployed etc. On the day – €8.00
  • Last Minute tickets (only valid on March 12th, from 14:00) – On the day – €8.00
  • All children under the age of fourteen (14) if accompanied by an adult, are totally free of charge!

p.s. You should also be able to buy a €12.00 ticket from any BVG/SBahn ticket machine. And if you live in Berlin, watch out for the free voucher that sometimes comes, via free delivery of the weekend edition of the Berliner Morgenpost newspaper!

Book your hotel here!

HOW DO I GET TO THE ITB?

Use the ITB shuttle service to get around. It's free!
Use the ITB shuttle service to get around. It’s free!

If you’re a trade visitor or a member of the press, then there is a free ITB shuttle service that will take you from the airport, from selected hotels and from various stops around the city to the ITB Exhibition Ground. If you’re using the city shuttle line service, please note that the stops are not marked as ITB Berlin stops, but are selected buses at the regular bus stops of the Berlin Public Transport System, otherwise known as the BVG!

Using Berlin's public transport is perfectly safe & very cheap!
Using Berlin’s public transport is perfectly safe & very cheap!

You can find bus stops at:

Line A

  • Bus-Stop 1: Unter den Linden / Friedrichstraße
  • Bus-Stop 2: Train Station Potsdamer Platz (on Leipziger Platz)

Line B

  • Bus-Stop 1: Underground Station U Wittenbergplatz
  • Bus-Stop 2: Underground Station U Kurfürstendamm (Kranzlereck)
  • Bus-Stop 3: Olivaer Platz (Kurfürstendamm 61)
  • Bus-Stop 4: Underground Station U Adenauerplatz
  • Bus-Stop 5: Sbahn Train Station S Halensee

HOW TO NAVIGATE YOUR WAY AROUND THE ITB VENUE.

Navigate your way around the ITB Berlin - ©2017 Messe Berlin
Navigate your way around the ITB Berlin – ©2017 Messe Berlin

There are seven (7) entrances, but to give you a better insight you can download a map of the exhibition ground:

  • Entrance South (Jafféstrasse): Halls 1 – 6 Marshall Haus
  • CityCube Berlin: Halls 7a – 7c
  • Entrance Hall 9 (Messedamm): Halls 8 – 10
  • Entrance East (Hall 14.1, opposite the ICC Berlin): Halls 12 – 17
  • Entrance North (Hall 19, Hammarskjöldplatz) am Funkturm: Halls 18 – 24 – Palais
  • Entrance Hall 26: Halls 25 – 26

The ITB venue is pretty huge so within the exhibition ground itself, you can use the free ITB fairground shuttles that will transport you from Hall to Hall!

Take the Ring Train S41 or S42 to the ITB Berlin!
Take the Ring Train S41 or S42 to the ITB Berlin!

If you’re not using any of the above, or you’re a member of the general public, then you need to get yourself to the following public transport stations. Don’t forget to get a ticket!

There’s no need to panic though, as the city of Berlin provides an extensive public transport network, but make sure you read this post as to how to buy a daily ticket, as Berlin doesn’t have any barriers, and you don’t want to get caught out without a ticket now, do you?

The stations that you need to get to are:

  • Messe Süd – Sbahn Train S5
  • Messe Nord /ICC  – Ring Train S41 or S42
  • Kaiserdamm – Underground Station U2
  • Westkreuz  – Sbahn Train S75, S7, S5, Ring Train S41 or S42. You ought to change to Messe Süd (one stop), or go for a little stroll instead, but it’s a bit of a walk!

Book your hotel here

A FIRST TIME BEGINNERS’ GUIDE TO THE ITB BERLIN: 10 TIPS TO HELP YOU PREPARE. BAM!

A first time beginners guide to the ITB Berlin: 10 tips to help you prepare. Bam!
  1.  BOOK: Are you flying, taking the train, hustling in the coach-bus or car-sharing? If so, book your Berlin hotel here!
  2.  FOCUS: Define what you want to accomplish and whom you want to contact
  3.  PLAN: Set up meetings and appointments
  4.  DO RESEARCH: Get information about the industry’s latest trends and use the Virtual Market Place® catalogue to find out who’s there!
  5.  LEARN: Go to presentations, workshops, conferences and talks. I learnt all about Twitter for the first time at ITB and then the next day, I went live and never looked back!
  6.  SAVE: Buy your Visitor Ticket in advance at the Online Ticket Shop
  7.  NAVIGATE: Use the Map of the Exhibition Grounds for your personal orientation
  8.  DOWNLOAD: The  ITB App with maps, lists, and services for free. Available for iOS and Android systems too
  9.  NETWORK: The ITB Berlin offers networking events of a special kind – ITB Blogger Speed Dating and the ITB Speed Networking event. However, it doesn’t matter if you’ve not made an appointment previously, although it helps if you do. Nevertheless, you’re at the largest travel trade fair in the world, so go and explore!
  10.  ENJOY: You’re in one of the finest cities in the world. Have fun!

DON’T FORGET!

Hair & Make Up – Check! Exude confidence – Check!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner
  • Business Cards – Check!
  • Business Card Folder or File, so that you don’t lose the ones that you’ve collected – Check!
  • Map – Check!
  • ITB Berlin App Guide – Check!
  • Mobile or Cell Phone, plus charger – Check!
  • Bottle of Water – Check!
  • Smart clothing – Check!
  • Exude confidence – Check!
  • Smile – Check!

See you at the ITB!

Book your hotel here!

A FIRST TIME BEGINNERS’ GUIDE TO THE ITB BERLIN: 10 TIPS TO HELP YOU PREPARE. BAM!

Keep Calm and go to ITB Berlin! ©2017 Messe Berlin

This article isn’t sponsored, and the remarkable time that I’m sure to have at the ITB Berlin, is my very own!

I’ll be continuing my last visit to the UK and telling you all about my visit to Belgium later in the season!I’ll be at the ITB Berlin or the Internationale Tourismus-Börse Berlin – the world’s leading travel trade show, taking place between 7th – 11th March, 2018. You can buy tickets here.

Everyone who is anyone in the travel industry, will be here. Come and join us!

In April, I’ll be on the road again to my 65th country and a new destination.

Can you guess which one it’ll be?

I’ll be there. Will you?If you’re not in Berlin in March, I can’t even!See you next week!

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

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 beyondWITHOUT 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!

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

Have you ever been to the ITB Berlin? Would you consider going to a travel trade fair? Were the tips useful? Let me know 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!

My fourth FAM / Press Trip to Hamburg – Holy Hamburg!

My fourth FAM / Press Trip to Hamburg – Holy Hamburg!

So Hamburg.

Yeah!

As you know, last week I told you about how I was invited to Hamburg, as a guest of Hamburg Marketing.

What you don’t know, are the details of my press trip!

BUT WHY HAMBURG?

There’s usually no time to dilly-dally in Hamburg. But this time, there was!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Hamburg – Dec 2017

Why not?

The thing is, I’ve been to Hamburg many times, but I’ve never been to Hamburg as a tourist!

Not Ever!

Why is that, you might ask?

To be honest, I simply don’t know!

But I wanted to shake things up a little, and change!

Book your hotel here!

The Hamburg stand at ITB Berlin was very busy & here’s why – An artificially intelligent tourism robot!

If you recall, almost a year ago, I went to the International Trade Fair in Berlin, otherwise known as ITB Berlin, and met up with some of the marketing people of Hamburg.

You could say, that we actually met on Twitter, ‘cos a British blogger – Eat Shoot Sleep Travel asked me about the traditional Fish Market in Hamburg, and I didn’t know!

Cringe!

The fellows at Hamburg.com saw this, reached out and said,”Hey! Come to Hamburg. See for yourself!”

She wanted to know about the Fish Market in Hamburg. Ha! Ha! I still don’t know!

So I did!

Thanks so much Hamburg Marketing!

WHY GO TO HAMBURG?

HafenCity – Hamburg – Summer in Germany – Simply the Best!

Hamburg really isn’t that big, so follow my footsteps and don’t just talk the talk, but walk the walk too!

A BRIEF PIECE OF HISTORY:

Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg!

Hamburg, otherwise known as the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg, is the second-largest city in Germany, and has a population of about 1.8 million people!

Just so you know, Berlin, with a population of just 3.55 million people, is the federal capital, and the largest city in Germany!

And let me tell you, it doesn’t even feel like a city…!

Hamburg: An Introduction to a Port City!

Hamburg lies in a very strategic position with Continental Europe to the South and the Nordic States to the North. The North Sea is to the West and the Baltic Sea is to the North-East.

Hamburg stretches out on the River Elbe, has many small islands and lakes, and borders the states of Schleswig-Holstein with lovely places like Lübeck and Lower Saxony.

Hamburg is the type of city that I respect because like Berlin, Manchester and London, it’s a City State and has existed since the time of the Holy Roman Empire!

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History & Glory days at the Internationales Maritimes Museum Hamburg, Germany!

Hamburg is also a member of the medieval Hanseatic League, a World Heritage UNESCO site, with signs of wealth and glory all over the region. Of course, during the Great Fire of Hamburg, and during the Second World War, the importance of the harbour made it an important target, such that many parts of the city, was destroyed.

During the 13th – 16th century, Hamburg was considered second only to the port and city of Lübeck, as a central trading hub for sea-borne trade.

With the discovery of the Americas and the emerging transatlantic trade, Hamburg exceeded all other German ports, and became the main Central European hub for freight travel, transatlantic passengers and from 1871, the principal port of trade in Germany!

Wow!

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WHAT IS A PRESS OR FAM TRIP?

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

A PRESS TRIP is normally described as a visit to a destination, country, city, hotel, venue etc, organised for media groups.

It usually introduces and presents the best bits of a particular itinerary and is usually for a small group of journalists or bloggers, or an organised private trip.

Although a press trip could be for a few hours, it usually refers to a trip of a few days.

Should I take the train in France or not? It’s obvious though isn’t it!

A familiarization trip, or FAM TRIP as it is better known, is similar to a press trip however, it usually includes a visit to a number of sights, venues, activities, accommodations, or restaurant spots, in one area or region.

It is typically organised for travel industry professionals, to give them a better understanding of the regions and products they are trying to sell to their clients.

Lots of different activities are included so that as much as possible can be experienced. Sometimes journalists might attend a FAM TRIP too.

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At the Milk Thistle in Bristol.
©The Milk Thistle.

In both instances your costs will usually be covered, though this will vary depending on the organiser.

I categorise official FAM / Press trips as different to customised press trips.

On official FAM / Press trips, pretty much everything is paid for. Including transport, hotels, food & entertainment such as the following:

FRANCE:

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

ENGLAND:

10 amazing reasons why you should Visit Bristol!

THE PHILIPPINES:

Is Manila a crime-ridden place or is it something completely different?

GERMANY:

Hamburg: An Introduction to a Port City!

However, once I confirmed it, a very important client also contacted me, so I ended up arriving one day earlier than the other participants, and leaving earlier too, so I paid for my own dinner and refreshments.

It would have been ideal, but my hotel had lost the press package that should have been waiting for me, and by the time I had contacted everyone to find out where it was, all the tourist sights had closed!

I never did find my press package, but that’s a story for another day!

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The horror of Christmas shopping – Get me out of here!

My visit to Hamburg was a press trip.

Once the Press trip officially started, we didn’t have to pay for a single thing!

Of course, if you suddenly fancied a spot of your finest whisky, Monsieur. Or felt that snacks and drinks from the minibar were perhaps included. You’d be wrong!

Your hefty bill and service charge, would be all on you!

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HOW DID I GET INVITED?

I absolutely love walking! ©Pascale Scerbo Sarro
I absolutely love walking!
©Pascale Scerbo Sarro

Well, my first big break came just five (5) months after I started writing as a blogger.

To be quite frank, I have been extremely lucky to be at the right place, at the right time.

In 2014, I happened to be at the Sony Centre in Berlin where I got chatting to a PR person who promised to put me on the guest list of the Berlin Music Video Awards. She did, and even though, I never saw her again, my pro-active activity coupled with an outgoing personality, and a genuine interest to get involved, opened the door to being invited into the VIP section, a glimpse into the media world, and a whole host of people who had a friendly eye, and were willing to help me in my quest for knowledge and information.

Press documentation for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week - Autumn/Winter 2016.
Press documentation for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week – Autumn/Winter 2016.

A press card and a TV documentary about me came about because of the simple matter that when I undergo to write a piece, I make a thorough job of it.

People really like my personality, so I’ve often been an invited guest of city-destinations in which trips have been organised and customised to my own personal requirements. This is the best type of press trip to have, so I consider myself extremely lucky and very honoured. You can read more about them here.

However, on every group FAM trip, I’m usually either the only blogger in vicinity, or the only European there!

You can imagine my  anxiety.

It's embarrassing. I had no idea who I would be meeting, I just knew that I would be going to France!
It’s embarrassing. I had no idea who I would be meeting, I just knew that I would be going to France!

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WHAT WAS I SUPPOSED TO BE DOING ON THE HAMBURG PRESS TRIP?

Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg!

The point of this PRESS trip was to introduce the region as not only an interesting place to visit, but a historical cultural one too. A destination that would hit all the right spots for someone like me.

And ultimately, someone like you!

This press trip was a three (3) day exploration, starting from Friday and finishing on Sunday.

I didn’t have any information as to who was going to be there, and what type of bloggers would be attending.

You tend to get a little anxious that you’re going to be too shy, people aren’t going to like you, you’re not going to like them, you end up being that blogger, or that you’re going to be completely out of your depth and thus, comfort zone.

I also felt a little nervous about the sleeping arrangements.

WOULD I GET MY OWN ROOM ON A PRESS TRIP?

Don’t laugh! Would I get my own room on a press trip?

Don’t laugh.

I always do of course, but still, I constantly worry, and it brings me out in a sweat since nobody actually tells you!

And because I arrived one day (1) day before the others, I was placed in a grown-up more corporate-like hotel called the Scandic Hamburg Emporio, while the others were in a young-ish boutique hotel called the Fritz im Pyjama Hotel.

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My bedroom at the Scandic Hamburg Emporio Hotel!
My delicious breakfast at the Scandic Hamburg Emporio Hotel!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Hamburg – Dec 2017

At first, I was a little disappointed not to be placed in the same hotel as everyone else, but when I saw my room at the Scandic Hamburg Emporio, I soon forgot all about it!

Yes, I know.

Silly isn’t it, but there you have it!

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WERE WE GIVEN ANY DETAILS AT ALL?

Marvellous news. I’m doing a radio programme with the BBC. And other stuff!

Yep!

The Host was Hamburg Marketing. They were highly organised and thoroughly fantastic.

On this press trip we were expected to be doing the following:

HAMBURG PRESS TRIP – HOLY HAMBURG!

Hamburg: An Introduction to a Port City!

NUMBER OF PARTICIPANTS: 12

DEPARTURE: December 1st

RETURN: December 3rd

A DESCRIPTION:

My fourth FAM / Press Trip to Hamburg – Holy Hamburg!

SPEICHERSTADT AND HAFENCITY: TRADITION AND MODERNITY

Located in the very heart of the city, the innovative architectural design of HafenCity on the waterfront, make it well worth exploring.

You will find the historic Speicherstadt warehouse district with its beautiful canals, red-brick facades, winding bridges and picturesque views, which together with the Kontorhaus district and Chilehaus, were added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites in 2015.

Speicherstadt is the world’s largest coherent warehouse complex and includes a number of interesting museums and exciting exhibitions!

Hamburg is a city with a rich choice of top-class cultural events for all lovers of culture, renowned orchestras and theatres, a vibrant museum landscape with spectacular exhibitions, as well as experimental dance theatre and world-class ballet productions that reflect Hamburg’s great cultural diversity.

Hamburg has plenty to offer.

All are welcome in Hamburg. And depending on when you visit, not crowded at all!

Yep!

I was excited!

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MEDIA TRIP PROGRAMME:

DAY 1

My bottled beer at the Störtebeker Braumanufaktur – Elbphilharmonie
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Hamburg – Dec 2017

Eek!

DAY 2

Our awesome Hamburg guide – Marc Müller –
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Hamburg – Dec 2017

Phew!

I managed to join the group for a quick dinner, had a glass of champagne, then took off!

DAY 3

I wasn’t able to stay, but I did have sushi at Mikawa #2!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Hamburg – Dec 2017

‘Would have been:

  • Breakfast at the hotel
  • Free time

HAMBURG MARKETING RECOMMENDED ACTIVITIES:

I spent an evening at the famous Hanseatic Gänsemarkt Christmas Market! ©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Hamburg – Dec 2017

I didn’t have time to do any of these activities, but as I arrived a day earlier, I was able to make my own way around, and spent quite a pleasant afternoon (with sprinklings of snow) at the Hamburg HafenCity, the Speicherstadt or Warehouse District, the Altona-Altstadt or Old Town, the UNESCO Kontorhausviertel, and the Elbe Philharmonic Hall, otherwise known as the Elbphilharmonie!

The Christmas Market is not to be missed in Hamburg. Or anywhere else in Germany!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Hamburg – Dec 2017

Since it was around Christmas when I went to Hamburg, I also managed to fit in the historical Roncalli Christmas Market, and the very famous Hanseatic Gänsemarkt Christmas Market, otherwise known as the Goose Market!

Mind you, I would have quite fancied going to the Hamburg Dungeon!

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SO HOW WAS IT?

I bet you wouldn’t mind calling this sexy hot German guy!

It was a pretty packed programme, but awesome!

As I write this, it’s February 10th, and so much has happened since!

ANY TIPS GOING ON A FAM TRIP FOR THE FIRST TIME?

Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner for Bild am Sonntag
©Christian Spreitz
  • Leave plenty of time for trips, tours and meet-ups both before, and after the conference
  • You don’t have to have a huge following to be accepted onto a FAM / Press trip
  • Improve your photography
  • Have great content
  • Educate yourself and if you don’t know, ask your fellow invites
  • Networking is key to putting a face to a name in the blogging / press community
  • Take your business cards
  • Try to get some sleep
  • Get comfy but smarten yourself up, if the venue demands it
  • Be punctual
  • Stay professional
  • Don’t whinge
  • Follow the programme
  • Be a team-player
  • Keep smiling
  • Don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone
  • Don’t be stupid either
  • Be yourself
  • Write about your FAM trip and send it to the host or organiser
  • Thank the host or organiser
  • Have a great time

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VERDICT?

My fourth FAM / Press Trip to Hamburg – Holy Hamburg!

The staff of Hamburg Marketing (Jessica & her team), and awesome guide for the weekend –  Marc Müller – were all warm, welcoming, hilariously funny (you should hear the stories!!), but very professional.

They made sure that we were well-looked after, nobody got lost or forgot anything.  And nobody got left behind or ostracised.

There were moments of laughter, but most importantly, lots of smiling, laughing, and learning from each other.

We all got on extremely well!

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ANYTHING ELSE?

You can just about see some of the other bloggers, while we were at the Ottensen/Altona Christmas Market!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Hamburg – Dec 2017

Yep!

We were a small group of just ten (10) bloggers (including myself) from five (5) international countries.

Our job for that weekend was to visit and see the region for ourselves and hopefully, discover the many interests and joys of Hamburg, so that other travellers and visitors are encouraged to come and visit themselves.

And we did!

Victoria’s Hamburger Labskaus, which I had at Altes Mädchen. Try it!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Hamburg – Dec 2017

By the way, a Hamburger Labskaus is a speciality usually only found in North Germany.

It’s a gripping combination of corn beef or cooked salted meat, beetroot, potatoes, pickled gherkins, onions, rollmop, and a fried egg plopped on top of it all!

Gulp!

Thanks guys!

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MY FOURTH FAM / PRESS TRIP TO HAMBURG – HOLY HAMBURG!

My fourth FAM / Press Trip to Hamburg – Holy Hamburg!

This article is part-sponsored, and even though I was invited on this trip as a guest of Hamburg Marketing, Visit Hamburg, Deutsche Bahn and the Scandic Hamburg Emporio Hotel, all opinions and the hearty markets that I visited in Hamburg, are my very own!

I’ll be continuing my last visit to the UK and telling you all about my visit to Belgium later in the season!

I’ll be at the UK Germany 2018 Launch Party on Valentine’s Day – on the 14th of February, 2018. Tickets are free of charge, so if you’re in Berlin, join the party!

I’ll be at Berlin’s most famous film festival – The 68th showing of the Berlin International Film Festival, otherwise known as the Berlinale, taking place between 15th – 25th February, 2018.  Everyone’s most excited! Tickets are on sale from 12.02.18.

I’ll be at the ITB Berlin or the Internationale Tourismus-Börse Berlin – the world’s leading travel trade show, taking place between 7th – 11th March, 2018. You can buy tickets here.

Save the Date!

I’ll be there. Will you?

If you’re not in Berlin in February, then move on!

February is going to be busy!

See you next week!

My fourth FAM / Press Trip to Hamburg – Holy Hamburg!

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!

My fourth FAM / Press Trip to Hamburg – Holy Hamburg!

What did you think of press trips? Would you choose sushi with a fried egg, rollmop with a fried egg, or both? 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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