Is it safe to travel to Britain & the UK right now ‘cos I’m scared to travel abroad?

Is it safe to travel to Britain & the UK right now ‘cos I’m scared to travel abroad?

It’s been a rough few weeks.

I was going to write about the rest of my marvellous time in Sweden.

I was going to tell you that I was asked to be one of the five (5) members of an academic discussion panel on Brexit, at the Humboldt University of Berlin!

It’ll be on 24.06.17 as part of the Lange Nacht der Wissenschaften, or the Long Night of Sciences at the Centre for British Studies in Berlin.

I was also going to tell you that not only was I featured as a guest blogger on the University of Chester Alumni website, but I’m also going to be on the University of Chester’s official Case Study posters for postgraduate recruitment too! Now isn’t that cool!

Berlin – very British – rbb

However, bearing in mind what has been happening in my home-country of England, there was just no way that I wasn’t going to mention it.

And sadly, this isn’t the first time.

There have been terrorist attacks in both London and Manchester.

Everyone is in a state of shock.

Our sympathies and condolences are with the people, family and friends of both Manchester and London.

Tributes left in St Ann’s Square, Manchester, for the people who died in the terror attack
©Jeff J Mitchell /Getty

The world has been in a dreadful state within the last year.

First, we had that horrible referendum in which my fellow Brits voted to Leave the European Union, and won! Shortly after, we had airport explosions and train attacks in Belgium, awful situations of terror in France, mindless shootings in the US, the senseless mass killing of the gay community in America, a mad axe-wielding teenager in Germany, an airport terror attack and a near military coup in Turkey, another disturbed teenager ran riot of an evening, randomly shooting innocent shoppers, after luring them to a free McDonalds’ burger, in Germany, and the awful fact that Donald Trump, a laughable figure, actually ended up as the President of the United States, and thus, the leader of the Free Western World!

I mean, how did that happen?!

Is it safe to travel to Britain & the UK right now ‘cos I’m scared to travel abroad?

Berlin was targeted by a mad man at the German Christmas Market, then London was terrorised in March, Stockholm in April, and very very recently, Manchester was attacked, and just over the weekend, London, all over again!!

Just what is the world coming to?

MANCHESTER

That famous and historical city – Manchester!

I’m a British girl!

I was born and grew up in the suburbs of a most famous and historical city – Manchester.

Manchester is in England and when you think of England you think of icons like King Henry VIII, The British Empire, David Bowie, and of course, The Beatles.

Images of Cool Britannia with absolutely everybody LOL!
@Debbiefm

The Beatles may come from Liverpool, but you can’t have everything can you!

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.

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!

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

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!

Phew!

It’s lovely cruising down the Castlefield Canal, or any other canal in Manchester!

Manchester is the highest-ranked British city, apart from London of course, and is the third-most visited city in the UK!

It’s famous for it’s universities and seats of academic learning, architecture, art and culture, museums and galleries, theatre, literature, nightclubs and bars, cinema, music, Manchester Pride, the BBC, science and engineering, sport and excellent transportation. In fact, Manchester has loads of river canals which you can cruise along, free trams that you can use in the city centre, and Liverpool Road train station, which is the first inter-city passenger railway station in the world!

Manchester has about half a million people.

Now that Brexit & Article 50 has been triggered, as an island nation. We’re out. Alone.

So of course, when terrorism came to my home-town and therefore, my city, I was saddened and outraged.

This act of terrorism was not only cowardly, but taken out in an area where teenagers and young children were watching a fabulous concert of Ariana Grande.

Everyone was most upset.

And so was  I.

Everyone was most upset.

My fellow Mancunians rallied round to give each other comfort and support.

They are brave, and so must we all be.

This was not the first time that Manchester has been bombed by terrorists, as the IRA tried to destroy the city in 1996, and sadly, it won’t be the last.

And this time it came very close to home, as the office of my brother – The Writer – is opposite the Manchester Arena! I rang home in the middle of the night with a shaking hand!

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

And I’m just so sad.

The terrorist have have struck my continent and attacked my country.

This wonderful continent of Europe might make tourists and visitors wonder.

They might think that perhaps travelling abroad isn’t all it’s made out to be.

Get a train ticket and travel through Europe!

They might think that Europe isn’t the place to be after all!

My blog isn’t about politics, and I’m not a politician or a secret agent, so outside of the odd look-between-the-lines rant, I can’t tell you what to do, or advice you as to who best to run your country. Or mine!

What I can tell you is how to cope, and how to keep on living, doing whatever it is you’re doing.

I’m a British person and I live in Europe. People are worried and concerned:

I’M SCARED TO TRAVEL TO THE UK!

Is it safe to travel to Britain & the UK right now ‘cos I’m scared to travel abroad?

You don’t need to be.

However!

I’ll tell you something for nothing.

We Brits are as stoic as we come.

Britain is thousands of years old and has been through battles many, many times.

We’re not strangers to attacks.

Or threats.

Or war.

Britain is thousands of years old and has been through battles many, many times.

You’ve only got to look through the last century to see that.

Britain has been blighted by the IRA in Ireland for years, and tourists still love to come to the UK.

Spain has had train explosions from people fighting for the separation of the Basque Region from the country, and tourists still love to visit Spain.

Heck! World War II was started by a madman from Austria, who terrorised the whole continent by his fantasy of German supremacy! Not to talk of the Berlin Wall that was to divide a nation for 38 years, and tourists still love to come to Germany too!

BUT WHAT SHOULD WE DO?

Manchester – And then we have to get up, brush down, wipe away the tears, keep calm, and Carry On with things!

We must cry, and we should.

And then we have to get up, brush down, wipe away the tears, keep calm, and Carry On with things!

Manchester people (of which I am one) are known for plain speaking, and being strong of mind.

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

Whatever you think of Britain, the UK is open for business, and always will be.

The point I’m trying to make is:

DON’T LET FEAR TAKE CONTROL

The London Bridge attacks were devastatingly horrible, but you’ve got to keep your head up high, have a bit of a laugh, and get yourself a cup of tea, or in this case, take your beer with you!
©AP

During times of upsetting national news, as British people, we use bleak humour to comfort each other and rally around our community. And even though the London Bridge attacks were devastatingly horrible, you just have to keep your head up high, have a bit of a laugh and a cuddle, and get yourself a cup of tea. Or in this case, take your beer with you! So…

Walk outside your front door.

Drive your car.

Get on that train.

Take a flight.

Sail on a ship.

Take a step at a time.

Don’t let fear take control!

IS IT SAFE TO TRAVEL TO BRITAIN & THE UK ‘COS I’M SCARED TO TRAVEL ABROAD? 

Is it safe to travel to Britain & the UK right now ‘cos I’m scared to travel abroad?

Sure it is!

Manchester isn’t #reeling, and neither is London. We’re British, we’ve got a stiff upper lip, and we’re going to get on with things, and pull through!

Millions of international tourists and travellers visit and travel through the UK every year, and most visits are completely and utterly trouble-free.

Millions of international tourists and travellers visit and travel through the UK every year, and most visits are completely & utterly trouble-free!

However, if you have any concerns, or need help, or information, I recommend the following:

  • As much as possible, stay away from large crowds and high-profile events
  • Don’t leave bags or luggage unattended. Take care of your belongings and passports at all airports and train stations
  • Remain vigilant, but don’t go crazy and finger-point at random innocent people going about their business
  • Follow the instructions of the local authorities
  • Monitor media and local information sources
  • Allow extra time for your journey due to increased security measures at airports, important train stations, and international borders
  • If you’re German, contact the Außenministerium der Bundesrepublik Deutschland – Andere Länder
  • If you’re American, contact the Embassy of the United States in whichever country you’re in
  • Take out travel and medical insurance BEFORE you travel

Don’t panic. Remember:

Keep calm! Don't worry! Don’t panic!
Keep calm!
Don’t worry!
Don’t panic!

Britain is safe.

Ordinary people don’t carry weapons of any kind. There isn’t a need to!

They say that most accidents and deaths occur near to, or in the home. Statistically, you’re safer outside your home!

And if you’re still not sure take a peep.

See you next week!

Book your hotel here!

IS IT SAFE TO TRAVEL TO BRITAIN & THE UK ‘COS I’M SCARED TO TRAVEL ABROAD?

Is it safe to travel to Britain & the UK right now ‘cos I’m scared to travel abroad?

This article is not sponsored, and all opinions about taking control of travel nightmares and the fear of terrorism, are my very own!

Next week, I’ll continue my articles on Sweden.

In June, I’ll also be visiting Slovenia! Yay! Follow me on Twitter & Facebook to find out what I’m up to!

On June 24th, I’ll be at the Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens with Travel Massive Berlin.

From July 4th – July 7th, I’ll be at Berlin Fashion Week.

I’ll be there. Will you?

If you’re not in Berlin in June, you’re crazy!

Save the Date!

June & July are going to be awesome!

Is it safe to travel to Britain & the UK right now ‘cos I’m scared to travel abroad?

 

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!

Is it safe to travel to Britain & the UK right now ‘cos I’m scared to travel abroad?

Is it safe to travel to Britain and the UK right now? Are you scared to travel abroad? Will you let terrorism take control? Have your say?

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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The top 10 best interesting things to do in Stockholm. Because the winner takes it all!

The top 10 best interesting things to do in Stockholm. Because the winner takes it all!

Yoo-Hoo!

I’m back from Sweden!

And what an adventure.

It was Wow!

This summer is going to be so awesome!

If you’re just joining us, I have plans for the summer. Fantastic plans!

Travel through Europe via FlixBus!

I’ll be travelling to Sweden & Slovenia. By bus. OMG!

I have a million things to tell you so I’ll be breaking the posts down. This week is about the absolute best things to do in Stockholm, and next week will be where we stayed and what we ate and drank. Oh goodness me!

After that, I’ll be giving you some details about my up-coming trip to Slovenia.

E-X-C-I-T-I-N-G!

Look beneath your feet! It’s the beauty that is Slovenia!

But first, Sweden.

Today, I’m going to tell you why the winner takes it all, in Stockholm!

HELLO SWEDEN!

Sweden, really needs no introduction!

Sweden, otherwise known as the Kingdom of Sweden, really needs no introduction, and is a small Scandinavian country in Northern Europe.

It borders Norway to the west and Finland to the east, and is connected to Denmark in the southwest, by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund.

Sweden is the third-largest country in the European Union with a whopping mass area of 450,295 square kilometres or 173,860 square miles, and a population of just 10 million people!

The capital city is Stockholm.

HAVE YOU EVER BEEN TO STOCKHOLM!

The top 10 best interesting things to do in Stockholm. Because the winner takes it all!
The top 10 best interesting things to do in Stockholm. Because the winner takes it all!

Stockholm is the capital of Sweden and the most populous city in the Nordic countries. It is also the capital of Stockholm County.

Stockholm has been a settlement area since the Stone Ages around roughly 6 B.C. and was founded as a city in 1252!

It is spread across 17 islands on the coast at the mouth of Lake Mälaren, by the Stockholm archipelago, and to the Baltic Sea!

Stockholm is the seat of the Swedish government & the official residencies of the Swedish monarch & the Prime Minister!

Stockholm is the seat of the Swedish government and the official residencies of the Swedish monarch and the Prime Minister. The Stockholm Palace is the official residence and workplace of the Swedish monarch, while the Drottningholm Palace, is the Royal Family’s private residence.

Stockholm is the cultural, media, political, and economic centre of Sweden. It is among the top 10 regions in Europe by GDP per capita, is a very important global city, and the main centre for corporate headquarters in the Nordic region!

The Nordic region is defined as Denmark, Iceland, Finland, Norway and Sweden, including their associated territories (Greenland, the Faroe Islands, and the Åland Islands)!

The Nordic Nations are quite trendy and all the range right now!

I had never been to Sweden before as the prices used to frighten me, but right now, the Nordic Nations are trendy, fashionable, and pretty much all the range, and I absolutely adooooore ABBA!

In fact, I was actually supposed to go to Sweden for the TBEX conference last year, but opted to go to the Philippines instead!

And I annoyingly regret it now!

Book your hotel here!

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

I so wish I had been able to do both TBEX Europe & TBEX Asia Pacific, but it just isn’t possible as I have a family, and a respectable job!

Ah well! This year, I’ve chosen TBEX Europe. In Killarney, Ireland!

Exciting stuff. Back to Stockholm.

THE TOP 10 BEST INTERESTING THINGS TO DO IN STOCKHOLM. BECAUSE THE WINNER TAKES IT ALL!

Stockholm is a most fascinating city, that is why EVERYONE is here!

Stockholm is a most fascinating city of trendy music, design, fashion and technology. It also has a rich history comprising exciting architecture, museums, a medieval urban core, and is home to the Nobel Prize!

  1.  ABBA – THE MUSEUM:
There is a reason why millions of people around the world go mad for ABBA. it. And we were no exception. We loved it!

OMG! We absolutely loved it! I brought along The Tall Young Gentleman who at 15 years old, is sceptical about everything, and he loved it too!

At first, he whinged and whined, because as a toddler, he loved the music of ABBA, until he saw the film MAMMA MIA! And then he was totally turned off!

However, what he liked most was not ABBA itself, but the Good Evening Europe new official exhibition dedicated to 60 years of the Eurovision Song Contest!

In the first section of the ABBA Museum is an interactive exhibition that celebrates the story of the world’s longest running annual television competition first held in 1956. Yep! The Eurovision Song Contest! There is a reason why millions of people around the world go mad for it. And my teenage son was no exception. He loved it!

The 2017 Eurovision Song Contest – Kyiv2017

And why?

Because of the songs, the singers, the live performances, the fact that you get to see Celine Dion with a hideous mullet but winning the Eurovision in 1998 for Switzerland, and taking off in her career, Ms. Conchita Wurst the winner of 2013 for Austria, the Irish Jedward twins in 2011, with the largest shoulder pads that TV has ever seen! Michael Flatley’s Riverdance for the very first time in 1994, and the fact that Ireland holds the world record for the highest number of wins, having won the contest seven times! Sweden six times, the UK along with France and Luxembourg, five times, and Germany, along with Austria, Italy, Spain, Ukraine and Switzerland, only twice!

Where would we be without ABBA who won the Eurovision in 1974, with Waterloo!

And of course, where would we be without ABBA who won the Eurovision in 1974, with Waterloo, wearing those fabulous glam sparkly clothes and huge platform shoes, thus changing the Song Contest forever. Previously before that, everyone wore tuxedos and bow ties!

The Museum also includes a new exhibition with more than 250 swedish and international artists, otherwise known as the Pop House, and the Gröna Lund Backstage – Photo Exhibition.

Note: The Swedish Music Hall of Fame is no longer located at ABBA – The Museum!

Yes. I danced with the holograms. It’s ABBA. What can I say!

You also get to walk, dance and sing as many ABBA songs as you like, which you can save and record. And for once, my teenage son wasn’t embarrassed by my singing, he actually thought my voice and ahem! my dance moves were pretty alright.

Yes. I danced with the holograms. It’s ABBA. What can I say!

Because ABBA!
©APA – dpa

ABBA – The Museum is modern, interactive, and a non-stop musical experience. A Must Do!

Cost: Adults 250 SEK or €26.00. Children between 7-15 years – 95 SEK or €10.00. Family tickets – Up to 2 adults and 4 children between 7 – 15 – 595 SEK or €61.50. Children under 7 – free of charge.

NOTE: NO cash accepted. Cards only.

2.  THE VASA MUSEUM:

We loved the VASA Museum in Stockholm – Sweden!

Another fantastic win. Again, we loved it! The VASA Museum is a unique museum that was built around the 17th century royal warship that sank on it’s maiden voyage in 1628!

I know!

What a disaster!

I mean, people were still waving goodbye with their handkerchiefs when it sank! Honestly speaking, I was expecting heads to roll for that, but you’ll need to find out what happens yourself!

The VASA was submerged at the bottom of the Stockholm harbour, pretty much outside the museum, for 333 years! It was finally found by an amateur archaeologist – Anders Franzén – in 1956 and rescued from the seabed in 1961!

VASA is the only preserved 17th century ship in the world & is on record as having the shortest maiden voyage in history, ever!

VASA is the most visited non-art museum in Scandinavia. It’s also the only preserved 17th century ship in the world, and is on record as having the shortest maiden voyage in history. Ever!

I had planned to spend only an hour, as we wanted to go to the SKANSEN Open-Air Museum too. Ha! Ha! That was a mistake, as in fact, we spent over three (3) hours at the VASA Museum instead!

The VASA is presented in all it’s glory, and there’s loads of things to do!

The VASA MUSEUM is presented in all it’s glory. There’s loads to do, with film screens, guided tours, interactive exhibitions, pictures, and of course, the enormous beautiful ship – the VASA – herself. A must do!

Cost: Adults 130 SEK or €13.50. Students – 110 SEK or €11.50. Children under 18 – Absolutely free of charge!

3.  THE SKANSEN OPEN-AIR MUSEUM:

Skansen – Easter witches in Stockholm – Sweden!
©Marie Andersson

This was supposed to have been one of the highlights of our trip, but we never did it!

We got to the front of the gate, and then turned around, as I wanted to go on the boat, one more time, AND visit the Old Town!

We were going to spend a few hours here because I am obsessed with open-air museums! 

I am disappointed that we didn’t make it, but I’m absolutely sure that we’ll be back to Stockholm, and when we do, it’ll be on the top of my list!

The Skansen is the oldest open-air museum in the world & so I weep, as I write!
©Christina Westberg

The Skansen is the oldest open-air museum in the world. I weep as I write!

This museum was founded in 1891 and tells the story of five (5) centuries of Swedish history. It comes complete with historical buildings, Nordic animals, a zoo, an aquarium, costumed characters clothed in period dress, and doing the work their ancestors probably would have done.

It would have been a crime to rush through it, so perhaps on reflection I was right to leave the open-air museum, to another day. Sob!

The best way to get to Skansen is by the ferry, as it’s on the Island of Djurgården!

You’ll probably need a minimum of two (2) hours, perhaps even three (3). And the best way to get there is actually to take the ferry, as it’s on the Island of Djurgården! Do it!

Cost: There are a variety of prices depending on what you want to see but generally, adults 180 SEK or €18.50. Students – 160 SEK or €16.50. Children between 4-15 years – 60 SEK or €6.00. Children under 4 – free of charge!

4.  THE ICEBAR:

Having a great time in Stockholm – Sweden
©Icebar by IceHotel

OMG! This. Was. Awesome!

I didn’t know what to expect, but we were invited by the Sales Manager of the Hotel C Stockholm!

We had been in communication whilst I was at the ITB Berlin, but we weren’t actually able to meet, as I was fully booked up! However, we stayed in contact, and once she realised that I was going to be in Stockholm, and even though I had already had my hotel organised, she invited us to an evening of cocktails at the ICEBAR by Ice Hotel!

ICEBAR by Ice Hotel in Stockholm is the world’s first permanent ice bar. Created 100% out of ice from the Torne River in Northern Sweden, it’s the Stockholm branch of the original ICEHOTEL created in Jukkasjärvi, back in 1994!

Book Hotel C Stockholm here or here!

Once you step into the ICEBAR by IceHotel in Stockholm, you’re bundled up in a warm coat with a furry hood, and gloves!

Once you step in, you’re bundled up in a warm coat with a furry hood, and gloves. You then step into the beautifully sculptured interior where the blocks of ice are crystal clear, and carved into fish!

There’s a seat of ice, covered with furs that made me feel like the Ice Queen in Narnia. The air was crisp, the floor was slightly slippery, and a sense of awe, comes over you.

We were served cocktails and non-alcoholic champagne, presented in a glass made entirely of ice, at the ICEBAR by ICEHOTEL in Stockholm – Sweden!

With our complimentary VIP cards, we were served cocktails and non-alcoholic champagne, presented in a glass made entirely of ice!

We were duly impressed!

Absolutely recommended. A Must Do!

Cost: It’s cheaper to pre-book or if you’re a hotel guest. Adults 199 SEK or €20.50. Non-alcoholic drinks – 170 SEK or €17.50. Children between 3-17 years – 99 SEK or €10.00.

Book Hotel C Stockholm here or here!

5.  THE ARCHIPELAGO:

The Stockholm Archipelago, otherwise known as skärgård, is the largest archipelago in Sweden!

The Stockholm Archipelago, otherwise known as skärgård, is the largest archipelago in Sweden, and the second-largest archipelago in the Baltic Sea (the largest being across the Baltic in Finland)!

The Stockholm Archipelago comprises about 30,000 islands, islets, and rocks that are accessible from Stockholm itself! We didn’t have enough time to do this as first time visitors, but if you’re in Stockholm for more than 3 days, or you’ve been to Stockholm before, this  is an excellent activity to do. There are 40 reserves with small settlements. Many of the islands have unique nature and beautiful cultural landscapes. You can even dine or spend the night, as well as enjoy seal safaris, visit historic settings, see art, hike, cycle, paddle, and eat locally sourced dishes and archipelago delicacies!

Enjoy 30,000 islands, islets, and rocks, at the Stockholm Archipelago – Sweden.

Make it a day trip to remember.

Cost: Variable depending on which ship company you go with. This is where the Stockholm Pass comes in handy. We had VIP passes for 72 hours, and could have gone on an Archipelago Guided Tour, for free!

6.  OLD TOWN / GAMLA STAN:

Gamla Stan – the Old Town in Stockholm – Sweden, is a medieval urban core & also one of the world’s best-preserved medieval city centres!

The Old Town, otherwise  known as Gamla Stan in Stockholm, is a medieval urban core, and also one of the world’s best-preserved medieval city centres with it’s meandering alleys lined with crooked buildings next to crooked art shops and galleries!

Gamla Stan is a traffic-free living museum stuffed with sights, restaurants, cafes, bars and places to go shopping! The narrow, winding cobblestones streets with buildings in fantastic bright colours, are a sight for sore eyes, and like Schnoor, the medieval centre of the city of Bremen, gives the Old Town a unique character.

The narrow, winding cobblestones streets with buildings in fantastic bright colours, are a sight for sore eyes in Stockholm – Sweden! Me too!!!!

We went on a free walking tour which was packed with young visitors from all over the world, but really gave us an insight into what Stockholm is all about. There are many free tour companies in Stockholm, but we chose this one ‘cos the timings of 10:00 & 16:00 were much better than 13:30! They even mentioned the Roof-Top bar of our Hobo Hotel, which was pretty dandy!

More about that next week! A Must Do!

Cost: Nothing at all, except a tip at your own discretion!

Book Hobo here or here!

7.  BOAT SIGHTSEEING:

Our Swedish boat sight-seeing guide in Stockholm – Sweden!

Stockholm lies on 14 islands, connected by 56 bridges! As a result, you can travel from place to place on a sightseeing boat. The sights are beautiful and the journey is unique. You can do a hop-on-hop-off boat tour, you can also take boat tours to Birka – the Viking City – Sigtuna and Skokloster, Drottingholm, Gustavsberg, Artipelag, Fjäderholmarna, Vaxholm, Rosersberg, as well as Royal Canal Tours, Under the Bridges of Stockholm Tours, and Historical Canal Tours.

Boats depart from various places and if using a Stockholm Pass, are included in the price!

NOTE: Depending on which pass you purchase, you can only validate the museum or attraction once. However, if you had a 48 hour pass, and wanted to do the same thing twice on separate days, I don’t think it would be an issue, but do check for confirmation before you travel!

8.  GO TO ANY OF THE PALACES:

Stockholm view with balloons
©Jeppe Wikström – mediabank.visitstockholm.com

The two most important palaces that you absolutely must go to, are the Royal Palace and the Drottningham Palace.

A guard outside the Royal Palace in Stockholm – Sweden!

The Royal Palace, with 600 rooms, is one of the largest inhabited palaces in the world! Not as many as Buckingham Palace though, which has 775 rooms. Just saying!

The palace is built in baroque style and formed as a Roman palace. The palace contains many interesting things to see such as the Royal Apartments, three (3) museums steeped in regal history, and the Royal Armory. I managed to watch the Changing of the Guards, but I only had the chance to spend snatched minutes basking in it’s elegance beneath the river, before it was time to move on! I would very much have enjoyed sitting on the steps, or just laying on the grass in the sunshine, and taking it all in!

The Drottningham Palace in Stockholm – Sweden.

The Drottningham Palace is Sweden’s best preserved royal palace from the 17th century. It serves as the Swedish Royal Family’s permanent private residence, and is one of Stockholm’s three (3) UNESCO World Heritage Sites!

The Palalce can be reached by water and features magnificent pieces from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, as well as a beautiful park, a unique palace theatre, and a Chinese Pavilion.

The Royal Palace – Cost: Adults 160 SEK or €16.50. Children between 7-17 years – 80 SEK or €8.00. Children under 7 – free of charge!

The Drottningham Palace – Cost: Adults 130 SEK or €13.50. Students – 65 SEK or €7.00. Children between 7-17 years – 65 SEK or €7.00. Children under 6 – free of charge!

9.  GO ON A GHOST WALK:

The Stockholm Ghost Walk. Ooooo!

There’s a reason that I love Game of Thrones, and it’s because of the blood and gore. I’m also very much into witches, ghosts, vampires, and wolves!

It should be of no surprise therefore, when I discovered that Stockholm has a Ghost Walk!

Now, I ran out of time, and was far too tired, as I had cocktails to drink…but I’ve been told that you can explore dark alleyways of Gamla Stan on an exciting mystical tour through history, about tales of murder, disease, fires, legends, and a houseful of ghosts! Rattle!

Tales of murder, disease, fires, legends, and a houseful of ghosts in Stockholm-Sweden. Rattle!

RATTLE!

A Must Try!

Cost: Adults 200 SEK or €20.50. Children between 7-14 years – 100 SEK or €10.20. Children under 7 – Not recommended.

  1. ART IN THE SUBWAY STATION:
The Stockholm Subway station – at 110 kms – is the longest art gallery in the world!

The Stockholm subway station opened in 1950, and is – at 110 kms – known as the longest art gallery in the world!

Over 90 of the 100 subway stations have a unique style with exciting art and embellishments covered with sculptures, mosaics, paintings, installations, engravings and reliefs, by over 150 artists!

You can either explore the art independently or take a free guided art tour in the Stockholm Subway station – Sweden!

You can either explore the art independently or take a free guided art tour to learn about the architecture and artwork, and meet some of the artists.

I so wanted to do this as I like alternative street art, but I was so engrossed with things on land and on water, that I completely forgot!

Still, a Must Try!

Cost: Absolutely free of charge, as long as you have a valid train ticket. Don’t forget now!

ANYTHING ELSE?

Sadly, the Nobel Museum in Stoxkholm – Sweden, isn’t free!

 NOTE: The Museums and Attractions in Stockholm below are completely, and utterly free of charge!

  • The Army Museum
  • The Museum of Ethnography
  • The Hallwyl Collection
  • The Swedish History Museum
  • The Royal Coin Cabinet
  • The Royal Armoury
  • The Museum of Mediterranean and Near Eastern Antiquities
  • Moderna Museet
  • The National Museum
  • The Swedish Museum of Natural History and Cosmonova
  • The National Maritime Museum
  • The Museum of Far Eastern Antiquties
  • Skokloster Castle (unguided)
  • The Medieval Museum
  • ArkDes – national center for architecture and design
  • The Bonniers Konsthall art gallery
  • The National Sports Museum of Sweden – Riksidrottsmuseet
  • Dansmuseet – A museum dedicated to dance, theatre, art and photo
  • The Stockholm City Museum – closed for renovation until 2018! Guided tours available

Book your hotel here!

THE TOP 10 BEST INTERESTING THINGS TO DO IN STOCKHOLM. BECAUSE THE WINNER TAKES IT ALL!

A Swedish hotdog in Stockholm – Sweden!

This article is part – sponsored, and even though I’m working in partnership with Visit Stockholm, and the above organisations, absolutely all opinions, and the fantastic time that I had, are my very own!

Thanks so much!

In June, I’ll be writing more about Sweden, and visiting Slovenia! Follow me on Twitter & Facebook to find out what I’m up to!

I’ll be there. Will you?

The top 10 best interesting things to do in Stockholm. Because the winner takes it all!

That’s it for now.

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!

The top 10 best interesting things to do in Stockholm. Because the winner takes it all!

Have you ever been to Stockholm? What do you think of ABBA? 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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21 reasons why Dubrovnik is one of the top European cities to visit. If you haven’t been. Go now!

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

It’s proper Springtime!

A few weeks ago, I told you about how we had such a lovely time in Croatia, and all the unique things that we did!

However, we did more than just go to Croatia.

Yep!

We also went to..

Wait for it.

Dubrovnik!

And what a magnificent city. I really can’t hold it in any longer so this week, I’m going to tell you why Dubrovnik is one of the top European cities to visit, and that if you haven’t been, you ought to go now!

21 REASONS WHY DUBROVNIK IS ONE OF THE TOP EUROPEAN CITIES TO VISIT. IF YOU HAVEN’T BEEN. GO NOW!

21 reasons why Dubrovnik is one of the top European citities to visit. If you haven’t been. Go now!
21 reasons why Dubrovnik is one of the top European cities to visit. If you haven’t been. Go now!

If you’re just joining, this is what you missed:

Croatia is the first time that I’ve ever been to the Balkan States, my 62nd country, and the first (1st) new country for 2017!

It was better than I ever hoped.

Whoopa!

LET’S GET A LITTLE HISTORY!

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

Dubrovnik , otherwise known as Ragusa, is a Croatian city on the Adriatic Sea, in Dalmatia!

The name Dubrovnik is first recorded in the Charter of Ban Kulin in 1189 and was mostly explained as a Slavic name, meaning an oak grove or oak forest. However, both names Dubrovnik and Ragusa co-existed for several centuries.

Ragusa, recorded – since the 10th century – considered to stem from the Greek word Lausa – remained the official name of the Republic of Dubrovnik until 1808, while Dubrovnik – first recorded in the late 12th century – was in widespread use by the 16th or early 17th century!

The prosperity of the city was historically based on maritime trade, and during the 15th and 16th centuries, became famous not only for it’s wealth, but also for it’s skilled international diplomacy!

Dubrovnik is one of the most prominent tourist destinations in the Mediterranean Sea, a seaport, and the centre of Dubrovnik-Neretva County. It’s population is about 42,461, and is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites!

WHY GO TO DUBROVNIK?

21 reasons why Dubrovnik is one of the top European cities to visit. If you haven’t been. Go now!

Courtesy of the Dubrovnik Tourist Board who issued me with a press pass, and very kindly invited us to a Croatian traditional lunch, and organised a private customised walking tour, we were in fact, able to do quite a lot.

Thanks so much!

What now?

I thought you would never ask…

Welcome to the Old City in Dubrovnik, otherwise known as Grad!

1.  The Dubrovnik Old City & City Wall: Dubrovnik is a museum city crammed with hidden treasures. If you don’t do anything at all, make sure you climb the City Wall! Top tip! You can use the ticket of the City Wall to get into the Lovrijenac Fort – for free – and there is no need to buy another ticket!

2.  It’s a waterfront port city: You know how much I enjoy water destinations. Dubrovnik ticked each, and every box!

3.  History: Dubrovnik is an old city alive full of history and stories, and Dubrovnik like the city of Split, is a flagship heritage attraction, utterly protected by UNESCO, since 1979!

A large part of Kings’ Landing and the Red Keep was filmed in Lovrijenac – the fortress outside the City Wall in Dubrovnik – and just a few minutes away!

4.  Walking Tours: The Dubrovnik Tourist Board very kindly organised a private customised walking tour which was peppered with the history of the old Republic of Dubrovnik, tips about famous Croatians, and the secrets of where Game of Thrones was filmed. A large part of King’s Landing and the Red Keep was filmed in Lovrijenac – the fortress outside Dubrovnik’s City Wall and just a few minutes away! In fact, I’m watching the bestselling cult series again right now, and I’m ecstatic. I must have seen the complete 1 – 6 series American Amazon here, British Amazon here, German Amazon here, at least four (4) times, and I’m watching it all over again!

5.  The port of Dubrovnik is romantic: You can enjoy a very pleasant walk along the river-side or towards the castle and fortress. Or you can simply have a meal or a glass of something bubbly, while basking in the early evening sun!

Take me to the island of Lokrum in Croatia, which is a mere 15 minutes away and a special UNESCO forest vegetation reserve!

6.  You can visit an island: You can take a daytrip to the Elaphiti Islands or to the island of Lokrum, a mere 15 minutes away and a special UNESCO forest vegetation reserve! We really tried hard to get there, but either it was raining and no boats were going out, or we spent a hell of a lot of time on the City Wall!

7.  You can stroll through the very small Old City with nothing to fear but the selfie stick of other tourists!

Me in Dubrovnik – Croatia!

8.  It’s a city of history through the ages: You only have to walk through the City Gates and history is right before your very eyes. Turn here, and you’ll see ancient sailing vessels, turn there, and you’ll hear the whisper of centuries of wealth, power and fame!

9.  Dubrovnik is known as a city on the palm of the hand: The city is so named due to it’s history, it’s beauty, and it’s openness to the world!

In a living city, there are strings of washing strewn across the window or terrace. In some places, with the horror of a pair of damp dangling knickers fluttering, in front of one’s face!

10.  Dubrovnik is an authentic living city: I always felt as if I was in somebody’s backyard, as on practically every corner and side-street, there were stairways and steps, and strings of washing seen strewn across the window or terrace. In some places, with the horror of a pair of damp dangling knickers fluttering, in front of one’s face!

11.  Dubrovnik is international: We saw plenty of American, Korean, Italian and Croatian tourists, dominated by Brits and the Irish! A quick look around and a bit of a natter with other tourists would reveal a bevy of young wealthy Indians. Many of whom actually lived in Germany!

21 reasons why Dubrovnik is one of the top European cities to visit. If you haven’t been. Go now!

12.  Dubrovnik is small: I don’t know how they do it, but Dubrovnik is tinier than Split! And with a population of just 42,461 inhabitants, is perfectly walkable. In fact, no vehicles are allowed into the Old City except for those trolley-like carts!

13.  The nightlife: Dubrovnik has a great nightlife. In pretty much every corner, there’s a bar or a few tables, and in the summer, live music. As this was a family holiday, the party would have to wait however, almost every evening we found a nice little place where we could enjoy a glass of wine or champagne, while the sun set!

We found a natural cave complete with stalagmites and stalactites. It’s known by the locals, but not so much by travellers. It’s the Cave Bar More in Dubrovnik – Croatia!

14.  Secret bars: We found two bars that were not well-known, but were absolute fantastic. We stumbled upon both of them! One was whilst we decided to go cliff walking around Dubrovnik instead. We found a restaurant, but deeper inside it was a natural cave complete with stalagmites and stalactites! It’s known by the locals, but not so much by travellers. It’s called the Cave Bar More where you could have wine and cocktails. Which we did!

The other place we saw whilst we were on the Castle Walls itself. It’s difficult to find as it’s part of the cliff and sort of tucked behind a side street, that leads to the City Wall. There’s no signage, but if you’re determined, you’ll find it! On talking to one of the waiters, he told me that their customers tend to be locals or those “in the know.” It can get a little chilly, and there are no barriers or fencing, so you’ll need to keep a hold of young kids, but it was awesome.

A marvellous place to have a beer and watch the sun go down in front of the Lokrum island. It’s called Zto Bard. Go find it!

Night life in Dubrovnik – Croatia!

15.  Museums & Galleries: I love places that teach you something and give you an impression of the lives of those living there, and Dubrovnik had them in spades. We were only able to make it to the Maritime Museum, which really gave me some insight into the maritime history of Dubrovnik and how important the sea is, but I so desperately wanted to visit the Ethnographic Museum. We managed a quick peek into the Franciscan Monastery which I recognised from Game of Thrones, and a peek into the Cathedral, but we weren’t able to do it properly, and simply had no time at all, for the Dominican Monastery!

The cable car is a unique way to see the height and sights of the city of Dubrovnik!

16.  Dubrovnik Cable Car: What a unique way to see the height and sights of the city of Dubrovnik! In fact, once you’ve taken the cable car, and you’re at the top of the Srđ Hill, there’s a viewing platform where you can see enchanting views of the Old City, the Lapad Bay, and the other nearby islands!

17.  It’s off the beaten path: Croatia, not to talk of Dubrovnik, is still relatively unknown! Perhaps, it was the fact that we had arrived in the low season, but in Zagreb we saw very few tourists except for Americans and local Croatians. In Split, mainly German and Italian.

Most of the Asian and British tourists seemed to be in Dubrovnik!

There was some sort of voluntary cat home under the steps of the Dubrovnik City Wall!

18.  Cats: We saw cats everywhere. They weren’t as feral or as wild as the cats that we saw in Portugal – but quite cute. In fact, there was some sort of voluntary cat home under the steps of the City Wall! You can make a donation or leave tins of cat food, and even play with the cats. If the cats let you!

19.  A budget destination: In comparison to Italy and Austria nearby, prices are lower and the quality just as good!

OMG! The seafood in Croatia is so impressive!

20.  Croatian food: OMG! The seafood was impressive. More about that next week!

21.  Because Game of Thrones!

TAKE ME THERE?

Take me to Dubrovnik right away!

As you all pretty much know by now, I’m a great believer in train travel. However, Croatia is quite far from Germany, so we flew!

Note: There aren’t a lot of inter-city trains. In fact, there’s no train station in Dubrovnik at all!

There actually aren’t a lot of trains in Croatia at all!

If you’re on a tight budget then many bus-coach companies such as MeinFernbus FlixBus also go to Croatia. But do be aware that the fastest routes are usually only sold in Croatia itself.

We decided to use the coach-bus between Split-Dubrovnik.

Split – Dubrovnik proved problematic, as the coach-bus actually went backwards in the direction of Zagreb, then dropped us in the backwater town of Benkovac, at the Benkovac Busbahnhof!

I didn’t like Benkovac in Croatia, at all!

Benkovac was yucky!

As soon as I saw the “bus station,” I wanted to get the hell out of there!

It was practically deserted and every “room” was boarded up.

We had a 1 hour stop-over at 10:30, and the next decent place was a bar. So we ran to it and ordered a few (non-alcoholic) drinks there!

It’s 10:30 in the morning remember.

An early morning shot of vodka in many East European countries, is believed to be quite healthy!

Not that it stopped any of the local punters. Ho! Ho!….!

Our journey took 8 hours and 30 minutes, but the bus was 45 minutes late, so make that 9 hours and 15 minutes instead!

We probably should have rented a car, and be done with it!

Cost: Split – Benkovac €12.00. Benkovac – Metkovic €7.35. Benkovac – Dubrovnik €5.65 per person.

IS IT GOING TO BE CROWDED?

Dubrovnik has the potential to be most popular!

Not in April.

But it has the potential to be, as Dubrovnik is most popular!

In fact, most of the tourists were on the City Wall, and many tourist attractions  were still very much empty as it wasn’t yet “the season.” Many a restaurant were looking for punters and luring customers in with 10% discounts, or more!

But in the summer, prepare to gird your loins, and fight your way through!

Plan well.

Book your hotel here!

WHAT IS DUBROVNIK LIKE?

21 reasons why Dubrovnik is one of the top European cities to visit. If you haven’t been. Go now!

Marvellous!

We were only there for 4 days, but we could have stayed for a week, as we had so many things to see, and the weather put a hamper on some of the activities that we wanted to do.

It’s rich in history, is of architectural interest and has a wonderful harbour. There are castles and fortresses galore, the seafood and wine is not to be missed, and the islands nearby are attractive.

If it’s good enough to reflect the main filming location in Game of Thrones as King’s Landing, the capital city of the Seven Kingdoms, it’s good enough for you!

I DON’T SPEAK CROATIAN!

I’m guessing that the parrots don’t speak much Croatian either, although I couldn’t quite understand what they were doing there!

No worries!

It’s amazing how many languages a typical European speaks.

Most speak a minimum of three (3)!

If you speak English, German, Italian or Korean, you’re good to go.

Besides, everyone pretty much speaks English too!

AM I GOING TO LIVE IN A HUT?

You really can’t live on the Dubrovnik City Wall. Even if you want to!

Not at all.

Not unless you want to!

I’M ON A BUDGET. WHAT SHOULD I DO?

This glass of beer was quaffed on our Dubrovnik apartment terrace, and was a gift from our Croatian landlord!

We’ve all been there.

Dubrovnik isn’t cheap-cheap, but if you’re from the UK or the US, it’s as cheap as chips.

If you’re from Germany, prices are the same as in Berlin, and you can eat at gourmet restaurants, at budget prices!

And the seafood is delightful!

We pretty much spent a large amount of time drinking lots of wine, whilst people watching. And a few more!

And on this trip, we decided to book apartments instead of hotels or hostels.

Book your apartment here!

This was our sunny terrace at our Dubrovnik apartment. We were very comfortable!

We had great difficulty with personal space in Madrid last year, as The Tall Young Gentleman has recently turned 15 (OMG!), and is very tall. We decided to either book two (2) hotel rooms, or a large apartment instead.

Prices are low, and the quality and standard of apartments available, is exceedingly high.

Book ahead to get good prices.

Book your apartment or hotel here!

I’M LOOKING FOR SOMETHING A BIT DIFFERENT. ANY IDEAS?

I have plenty of ideas. Just ask me!

Always.

Go ahead and ask me!

WHAT ABOUT TRANSPORT POSSIBILITIES?

Lots of people, walk or take the bus. But you can just as well canoe your way around!

All of Croatia is pretty small, so every city we visited was quite walkable.

Cars are not allowed into the Old City! For the day-to-day, the locals used some sort of cart!

Dubrovnik is pretty small so everywhere is walkable. You can travel around the city by bicycle, boat, cable car, the local bus, or simply walk.

We were lucky to get a private customised city tour courtesy of the Dubrovnik Tourist Board who paired us with the expertise of the PR Department Coordinator!

ANYTHING ELSE?

You need proper shoes in order to navigate Croatia!
You need proper shoes in order to navigate Croatia!

Ditch the heels and expensive leather brogues, and take comfortable walking shoes.

There be steep and cobbled stones!

Oh, and get the Dubrovnik Card. It includes the cost of the City Walls, which more than makes up for itself!

MY VERDICT:

Dubrovnik is a dream!

Dubrovnik is an undisputed dream.

It’s medieval.

It’s appealing.

It’s got history, art and culture, and looks utterly charming.

If you’re looking for one of the top European cities to visit in 2017, that is safe, lively, and ready to be discovered. It’s right there!

WOULD I COME AGAIN?

Because the White Walkers from Game of Thrones, scare me!

Utterly!

Because, Game of Thrones!

Go visit Dubrovnik. Now!

Where we stayed: Green Park Apartments – Just €60.00 per night for the whole apartment. Marvellous!

Book your hotel here!

21 REASONS WHY DUBROVNIK IS ONE OF THE TOP EUROPEAN CITIES TO VISIT. IF YOU HAVEN’T BEEN. GO NOW!

21 reasons why Dubrovnik is one of the top European cities to visit. If you haven’t been. Go now!

This article is not sponsored and even though I received a press pass, and a complimentary city tour courtesy of the Split – Dalmatia County Tourist Board, all opinions and the delightful Castle Wall that we sprawled over, are my very own!

In May & June, I’ll be visiting Sweden and Slovenia!

From May 17th – May 20th, I’ll be at the Berlin Music Video Awards.

From June 8th – June 9th, I’ll be at the Berlin Fashion Film Festival.

From July 4th – July 7th, I’ll be at Berlin Fashion Week. It’s going to be so much fun!

I’ll be there. Will you?

If you’re not in Berlin in May, you’re quite mad!

Save the Date!

May & June are going to be pleasing!

Croatian food is most delicious!

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!

21 reasons why Dubrovnik is one of the top European cities to visit. If you haven’t been. Go now!

Have you ever been to Dubrovnic? Any ideas why parrots are in the Old City? 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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