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

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

It’s September!

And just where has the time gone?

I simply don’t know.

Do you?

SUMMER TIME

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

Well, I for one, have been extremely busy.

And why?

I went to Sweden, Estonia AND Latvia!

Phew!

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

SWEDEN:

A Swedish hotdog in Stockholm – Sweden!

ESTONIA:

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

LATVIA:

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

WHY DID VICTORIA GO TO SWEDEN, ESTONIA AND LATVIA?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I thought I was going to Normandy!

Haw! Haw!

I was the only press / blogger person there.

And well as the only British person too!

I had a fantastic time!

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

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

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

Hamburg: An Introduction to a Port City!

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

I had an awesome time!

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

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

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

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

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

The event in question was called Explore Hansa!

EXPLORE HANSA!

Explore HANSA

WHAT IS EXPLORE HANSA?

Explore Hansa with me!

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

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

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

I’m certainly going to do that!

There were two (2) trips organised:

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

You all know how I am with bicycles!

Ha! Ha! Ha! Haaaaaaaaaa!

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

Aha!

You can guess which one I chose!

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

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

For one week only!

What an event!

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

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

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

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

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

Exciting stuff!

Yeah!

Are you ready to Explore Hansa?

Find out more in the following weeks!

‘Rah! ‘Rah!

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

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

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

Stay tuned.

Yay!

That’s it for now.

See you next week!

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

Watch this space!

Note! I never travel without insurance as you never know what might happen.

I learnt my lesson in Spain. And obviously, in countries like Qatar, where technically the risk is higher, I can’t imagine going that far beyond, WITHOUT INSURANCE. No siree! You can get yours here, at World Nomads!

Please note that there are now affiliate links (for the very first time) connected to this post. Please consider using the links, because every time some sort of accommodation or travel insurance is booked via my links I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself!

A win-win for all!

Thanks a million!

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

Do you want to explore HANSA with me? Have you ever been to Latvia, Estonia or Sweden? Let me know in the comments below!

See you in Berlin.

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

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

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And while we’re at it – 7 other common travel scams to avoid!

You might be well-travelled, but you can still be scammed!
How I got scammed in Berlin!

Wow!

I’m back!

It’s still the summer, and The British Berliner was doing what she does best.

Travelling!

And writing about it!

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

If you recall, I went on a media trip to Explore Hansa – a partner project consisting of nine (9) small and enchanting Hanseatic cities from Sweden, Estonia and Latvia!

My job was to eat all day!

Ho! Ho! Ho!

Nah!

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

Seriously, I went on a culinary trip that passed through Viljandi (Estonia) – Valmiera (Latvia) – Cēsis (Latvia) – Koknese (Latvia) and Visby (Sweden), to explore one’s taste buds of seasonal local produce and create an inspiring gastronomical experience.

It was a lot of fun.

And I’ll be writing about it all by the end of the month!

Aha!

So back to the important stuff of the moment.

My last post was about the disturbing moment when I got scammed for the first time.

In my own lovely city of Berlin!

How I got scammed in Berlin!

I told you that I used to live the iconic Berlin artistic lifestyle.

Think David Bowie!

Think Iggy Pop!

Because I lived in arty, grungy, student, alternative Kreuzberg in West Berlin.

Love conquers all. We had controlled rent, but we didn’t have a bathroom in Berlin!

My boyfriend and I lived in a huge rent-controlled apartment near the river.

It didn’t have a bathroom.

It didn’t have any heating.

Hauling up steel-buckets of coal every week in Berlin, wasn’t as romantic as this!
Hauling up steel-buckets of coal in Berlin, was more like this!

And I had to haul up steel-buckets of coal every week!

It was worth it though ‘cos we were living in a 19th century building, and my share of the rent in those days, was a mere €17.00 per week!

It took me just six (6) weeks to get a well-paid teaching job, and six (6) months later, I was the Head of not one Corporate Language School, but two (2)!

One day, I went to the bank to pick up some money for a summer-BBQ party that I was organising for all our schools in Berlin at the time, and on that day, I got scammed!

What an idiot and an utter fool I was!

BUT WAS THAT THE LAST TIME I GOT SCAMMED?

When you travel as much as I do, scams happen from time to time!
And while we’re at it – 7 other common travel scams to avoid!

Not really!

When you travel as much as I do, scams and weird situations are bound to happen from time to time.

But certainly, I was never so foolish ever again.

And when I did get scammed, it was no fault of my own.

And in many cases, I caught the scammers.

Just in time!

But before we go any further, let me reiterate:

I am an affiliate partner of booking.com. In fact, if you use any of my hotel / apartment links, you’ll see the verified partner symbol of the British Berliner logo, along with each affiliated link. 

This means that every time some sort of accommodation is booked via my links I get a little percentage, but at absolutely no extra cost to yourself!

Thanks a million!

Right.

Here are some more scams!

7 OTHER TRAVEL SCAMS TO AVOID!

Aaah! And while we’re at it – 7 other common travel scams to avoid!

Ha! Ha!

The following scams are tricks that anybody could have fallen for:

1.  THE BANGKOK TUK-TUK SCAM:

My tuk-tuk driver took me to a go-go bar in Bangkok!
And while we’re at it – 7 other common travel scams to avoid!

MY EXPERIENCE:

I’ve been to Bangkok many times, but the first time I visited was an eye-opener!

I ordered a tuk-tuk to take me to a dinner and dance show in Bangkok.

Thankfully, I had been there earlier to buy my ticket, and knew what the place looked like.

The tuk-tuk driver didn’t take me to my nice classy dinner.

Oh dear me no.

He took me to a go-go bar!

My suspicions were aroused when the venue looked pretty dark.

There was an iron-clad door with a man selling “tickets” at a table.

And nearby were a few drunk Thai guys who were getting quite upset!

There was an iron-clad door with a man selling tickets at a table in Bangkok!
And while we’re at it – 7 other common travel scams to avoid!

The man at the door wanted me to buy a ticket.

I was confused ‘cos I had already bought a ticket, and paid a hefty price for it too.

I insisted that they allow me to take a peek through the iron doors.

I did.

I saw that the only woman who had any clothes on was me!
And while we’re at it – 7 other common travel scams to avoid!
The only woman who had any clothes on was me. Eek!
And while we’re at it – 7 other common travel scams to avoid!

And saw that the only woman who had any clothes on was me.

I legged it out of there!

The tuk-tuk driver wanted his “fee.”

I refused to pay him.

I ran to the main road, hopped into a taxi, who then took me to the real tourist-friendly dinner and dance!

Read more tuk-tuk stories here:

HOW TO AVOID THE BANGKOK TUK-TUK:

  • Make sure YOU know, or have a rough idea, where you’re going
  • Confirm the fare, before you hop in
  • Have the exact change
  • Don’t pay the tuk-tuk driver until you have confirmed that the destination is in fact, the place you want to go to.
  • Take a taxi. With the meter on!

2.  THE HOTEL BOOKING SCAM:

Use my link to book a hotel!

You take a taxi.

You do a little chit-chat with the driver.

He then tells you that your hotel is closed, over-booked, or burnt to the ground!

However, he can help you.

He’ll take you to another hotel.

It’ll be significantly more expensive, of far lower quality, and in the wrong part of town.

You check your original hotel the next day, and your hotel is perfectly fine.

As is your hotel reservation.

Meanwhile, your driver gets a hefty commission from the hotel, and a generous tip from you!

Now, you wouldn’t usually fall for such a crap story but you’re in a new country, you’re probably quite tired and confused. Could it be true?

Nope!

The Indian taxi driver tells you that your hotel is closed, over-booked, or burnt to the ground!
And while we’re at it – 7 other common travel scams to avoid!

MY EXPERIENCE:

I was nervous about my first solo visit to India.

Back in 2005.

So I did my research for a nice hotel and asked STA Travel to book it for me.

They did.

And I paid them the handsome price of €17.00 or $15.00 per night.

Complete with hotel voucher!

I double-checked with the Delhi hotel via telephone, fax, and Email.

All seemed to be well.

They even sent a car to collect me from the airport.

The hotel in Delhi sent a car to collect me from the airport, then claimed they had never heard of me!
And while we’re at it – 7 other common travel scams to avoid!

But when I got to the hotel, they told me that they had never heard of me!

Even though I had spoken to them on the telephone just a few hours prior.

They knew nothing about it!

However, if I went to the luxury hotel down the road…

Perhaps they might have a spare room…!

It was 2a.m.

I was scared to leave the hotel.

So I refused.

Two hours later, they “found” my room!

Two hours later, my hotel room in India suddenly appeared!
And while we’re at it – 7 other common travel scams to avoid!

Read more hotel stories here:

HOW TO AVOID THE HOTEL SCAM:

  • Use my booking.com link!
  • Pre-book a hotel for the first night
  • Call your hotel in advance, and make sure they’re open
  • If the hotel has an airport shuttle service, use it
  • Tell the driver that you already have a reservation (even if you don’t)
  • Make sure YOU know, or have a rough idea, where you’re going
  • Trust your own instinct, as opposed to a random stranger
  • Insist that they take you to the hotel that you have booked
  • Double-check that the rooms have all you were promised, before accepting it, ‘cos “hot water” doesn’t always mean hot water from a tap but hot water from a bucket!
  • Use Uber. Here’s my link!

3.  THE TAXI SCAM:

No matter how experienced you are, a taxi scam will happen to you, at least once!
And while we’re at it – 7 other common travel scams to avoid!

No matter how experienced you are, a taxi scam will happen to you, at least once!

And the drivers are good at cheating innocent tourists.

Very good.

You take a taxi.

You do a little chit-chat with the driver.

He asks you where you’re from, and if this is your first visit?

You’re excited to be at this new destination, and in your innocence, tell the driver more than you should.

He tells you that the meter is broken, and then charges you an exorbitant rate.

Or the taxi driver takes you the long way around.

Or worse, just goes around in a circle while they aim for the part of town notorious for traffic lights or traffic jams.

Yep! It’s a thing!

Myself in Prague reading something and looking all serious, but not completely serious!

MY EXPERIENCE:

Too many to mention.

However, one taxi scam comes to mind.

In Prague!

I knew a Czech / American restaurant that served a four-course New Year’s Eve meal, and a bit of a dance.

I invited some girls to join me.

Then I went to the Opera!

The performance was fantastic, but I was running late and needed to get to my hostel as quickly as possible so that I could have a quick shower, and change into my glad-rags.

4 days in Prague – 40 things to do!

I took a taxi.

I knew my way around Prague but wasn’t really concentrating as I was anxious to get to my hostel.

And anyway, the Czech Republic is cheap.

But he didn’t take me there!

I was annoyed.

I was piss-off.

And I was scared.

We were beginning to leave the confines of  Prague.

And I was alone.

I asked the driver to take me to the nearest train station.

The cost – €64.00!

I was fuming as I was expecting to pay between €5.00 – €7.00!

I then took a train.

The cost – 12kc or €0.46 – 46 cents!

Yeah, I didn’t do that again!

I was scammed by a taxi in Prague. Yeah, I didn’t do that again!
And while we’re at it – 7 other common travel scams to avoid!

Read more taxi stories here:

HOW TO AVOID THE TAXI SCAM: 

  • Don’t try to be clever. Ask your hotel to send you a car
  • Get yourself a pre-paid taxi. And KEEP the receipt until you get to your destination
  • Let the driver see you taking a photograph of the taxi drivers’ documentation and car registration
  • Make sure YOU know, or have a rough idea, where you’re going
  • Confirm the fare, before you hop in
  • Have the exact change
  • Don’t pay the driver until you have confirmed that the destination is in fact, the place you want to go to.
  • Take a taxi. With the meter on!
  • Make sure the meter works!
  • If the taxi driver refuses, get out and take another taxi
  • Negotiate rates ahead of time and make sure that the taxi driver understands that the $50.00 you confirmed is per car. Not per person!
  • Do NOT allow the taxi driver to pick up random passengers, if you have booked the taxi for yourself and/or your party
  • Never get into an unlicensed taxi — no matter how amazing the deal is
  • Trust your own instinct, as opposed to a random stranger
  • If you feel threatened at any time, don’t argue, pay the driver, get out of the taxi in a safe place, then report him/her to the police
  • Use Uber. Here’s my link!

4.  THE RESTAURANT / BAR BILL SCAM

I’ve experienced the restaurant bar bill scam in both Slovakia AND the Czech Republic.
And while we’re at it – 7 other common travel scams to avoid!

MY EXPERIENCE:

I don’t like Slovakia.

I don’t like Romania either!

But that’s neither here or there.

I’ve experienced the restaurant / bar bill scam numerous times in both Slovakia AND the Czech Republic.

Prices are so cheap that it’s easy for the staff to change the order around, add “extra” bits that the customer didn’t request, or just simply, serve the most expensive item on the menu, even though the customer ordered something completely different!

We went to Bratislava.

We had lunch in the Old Town.

At a restaurant called Venturska Kubovna.

A huge “Klubovňa” hamburger in the Old Town in Bratislava, Slovakia

The food was great.

The outdoor location was lovely.

The prices were fantastic.

But the service was utterly rubbish.

We were over-charged twice!

Twice!

Even though we’re tourists, stop cheating us!
Should you visit Bratislava, or stay at home and not bother!

In this case, not only did the restaurant get our order wrong, they even had the cheek to charge the complete bill of their local Slovakian mates, from the next table!

My suspicions were raised when the bill started with the butter that I ordered, but never received…!

I mean.

Come on!

Really?

Really!&$%!

Scammers are everywhere through Europe!
How I got scammed in Berlin!

Read more stories here:

HOW TO AVOID THE RESTAURANT / BAR BILL SCAM:

  • If prices are extremely cheap, you really need to double-check your bill
  • Use a currency exchange App such as XE to check if 830,000 Indonesian Rupiah for a glass of wine means €5.00 or €50.00!
  • If the “bill” is hand-written, insist on checking if what you ordered is what you paid for
  • Watch out for expensive menus given to “tourists” and a different menu given to “locals”
  • Don’t be pressured into ordering stuff when you’re not ready
  • If you don’t know what’s on the menu ask for it to be translated
  • Eat what the locals eat
  • If you see a long queue outside a local establishment, that’s the place to go to!
  • If the restaurant is empty, don’t go in
  • Don’t be too fussy
  • If you’re in a developing country, be reasonable with diet restrictions and allergies
  • Use TripAdvisor!

5.  THE FLIRTY ATTRACTIVE YOUNG WOMAN / STRIP BAR SCAM:

A lovely attractive young woman starts to chat you up.
And while we’re at it – 7 other common travel scams to avoid!

It’s funny how many readers think I’m a man. Perhaps it’s because of posts such as this or this.

Either way, I’m going to write about it, but don’t expect intimate details. That’s creepy!

So here goes:

You land in a new country.

You immediately head for a local bar.

A lovely attractive girl starts to chat you up.

You feel good ‘cos she’s giving you the eye and laughing at all your jokes.

You have a couple of drinks.

She suggests moving on to a great club that she knows.

You agree.

You head out to a club. Gorgeous girls immediately start to surround you!
And while we’re at it – 7 other common travel scams to avoid!

You head out to this club.

All these gorgeous girls immediately start to surround you.

Some even sit on your lap.

You order more drinks.

You’re having a great time.

You look around, and the “original” girl has disappeared, but the bill hasn’t.

You immediately start to sweat.

The”bill” is €3,000!

You wonder if you can make a run for it.

A couple of burly nasty looking chaps soon make you change your mind!

They give you the shake down.

They force you to pay up.

If you’re lucky, you might get away with paying €300!

If not, you’re smacked around.

Or worse.

Drugged and ultimately robbed of your dignity, all your credit cards, cash, and belongings.

Drugged & robbed of your dignity, credit cards, cash & belongings in Hong Kong!
And while we’re at it – 7 other common travel scams to avoid!

MY EXPERIENCE:

None whatsoever!

I’m a girl!

Read more flirty attractive young woman / strip bar stories here:

HOW TO AVOID THE FLIRTY ATTRACTIVE YOUNG WOMAN / STRIP BAR SCAM:

  • Guys, use your common sense!
  • Don’t be too greedy!
  • Be wary of attractive women who are unusually forward or hitting on you aggressively
  • If you aren’t god’s gift to women, and model-type girls suddenly start swarming around you, think why!
  • If you’re the only person being approached, be on guard
  • If it seems too good to be true, there’s a reason!
  • Never give your personal credit card to the bar
  • If you feel uncomfortable, get out of there as quickly as you can
  • If you feel threatened at any time, don’t argue, negotiate if you can, but pay up, get to the driver, get to a safe place, then report him them to the police
  • Buy travel insurance. I use World Nomads. Here’s my link

6.  MOTOR BIKE / SCOOTER / JET SKI / CAR RENTAL SCAM:

You rent a motorbike, scooter, jetski or car. You return it & then the fun begins!
And while we’re at it – 7 other common travel scams to avoid!

You’re in a developing country.

You need to get around without the hassle of local transportation or a chicken bus

You rent a motorbike / scooter / jetski /car.

It was at a really generous price and you had heaps of fun.

You bring it back, and then it begins.

The owner demands additional payment or charges you for expensive repairs as a means of compensation.

And why?

Because the motorbike / scooter / jetski / rental car, is damaged!

Or worse.

Stolen!

You didn’t do it of course, and in some cases, it’s the owner or his mates, who have knowingly caused the damage or stolen the motorbike / scooter / jetski / rental car.

And that’s the scam!

There’s no getting out of it either!

The owner demands payment or charges you for repairs ‘cos the rental is damaged!
And while we’re at it – 7 other common travel scams to avoid!

MY EXPERIENCE:

Luckily for me, the only time that I rented a motorbike / scooter / jetski / car, was with the driver / sailing crew included, so there was no question of who was responsible for damages.

It certainly wasn’t me!

However, this is a potential scam to lose huge amounts of money.

Read more motorbike / scooter / jetski / car rental stories here:

HOW TO AVOID THE MOTORBIKE / SCOOTER / JETSKI SCAM:

  • You took the motorbike / scooter / jetski / rental car therefore, you’re the responsible party
  • Read the small print
  • Take photographs of the vehicle
  • Document any previous damage
  • Confirm all photographs / documentation with the owner
  • Use your own lock as the owner might have another set of keys…
  • Park the motorbike / scooter / jetski / rental car, in a safe and secure place
  • Make sure you have a valid international licence for the rental
  • Wear a helmet / seatbelt
  • Take your time, and don’t speed, as conditions are rougher than you might be used to
  • If damage does occur, take your object to a repair shop recommended by someone other than the owner!
  • Buy travel insurance. I use World Nomads. Here’s my link!

7.  THE GET RICH QUICK SCAM:

I don’t know how to tell you this, but there really is no easy way to get rich!
And while we’re at it – 7 other common travel scams to avoid!

I don’t know how to tell you this, but there really is no easy way to get rich.

Well there is.

But you’re not that type of person are you?

Are you?!

The essence of this scam is to persuade you that you can make a quick buck.

You’re on holiday, and a local person casually tells you that they own a lucrative business buying expensive items such as jewellery and antiques from the country where you just happen to be, and selling them back home in the US, UK, Germany, Japan, etc.

They offer to “introduce” you to their contact so that you too, can enjoy this great “opportunity.”

The products are fake.

Or what about that old chestnut of a “lucrative business venture” if only you’d “invest” €20,000 / €50,000 / €100,000 as soon as possible so that you can reap a 60% “guaranteed” profit “potential.”

Within a month.

And don’t even get me started on the “My Father is the ex-President..” of some random country that you have previously never heard of, but somehow you are able to picture, because “If you send me a small amount of €30,000 in order to “release” the “oil money / hidden stash in some Swiss Bank / tax haven,” AND your bank account / passport / security number details, you’ll be able to get a slice of the illegal €10 billion that was hidden away during some dictator / politically unstable / obscure regime.

A slice of €10 billion.

Not €10,000.

Not even €1,000.

Which by any account, is a huge amount to give to a stranger, not to talk of millions of €/$/£!

But somehow you believe it.

MY EXPERIENCE:

None at all!

I too get Emails claiming heaven and earth.

I put them into the spam filter, ignore them, and sleep well at night.

I can make you rich scam.
And while we’re at it – 7 other common travel scams to avoid!

Read more get rich quick stories here:

HOW TO AVOID THE GET RICH QUICK SCAM:

  • Don’t be greedy
  • If it seems too good to be true, there’s a reason!
  • Use your common sense
  • Unless you’re an expert in jewellery and antiques, don’t try to sell them
  • If you’re on holiday, don’t buy expensive items that you know nothing about!
  • If you’re the only person being approached or contacted, be wary
  • Never give your bank account / passport / security number details to a random stranger
  • If you feel uncomfortable or believe a crime has been committed, or about to be committed, contact the police
  • Buy travel insurance. I use World Nomads. Here’s my link!
We’ve all been scammed at some point, but no matter how well we prepare, it happens.
And while we’re at it – 7 other common travel scams to avoid!

We’ve all been taken in or scammed by tricksters at some point, but no matter how well we prepare, it happens.

And if it does, it’s horribly frustrating, but it’s not the end of the world.

My advice.

Make sure you buy travel insurance for peace of mind.

Good Luck!

AND WHILE WE’RE AT IT – 7 OTHER COMMON TRAVEL SCAMS TO AVOID!

Oh no. I’ve been scammed!
And while we’re at it – 7 other common travel scams to avoid!

This article is not sponsored, and all opinions, experience situations and words of advice, are my very own!

Stay tuned.

Yay!

That’s it for now.

Even the toughest among us, can still be scammed!
And while we’re at it – 7 other common travel scams to avoid!

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 affiliate links 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!

And while we’re at it – 7 other common travel scams to avoid!

Have you been cheated, tricked, conned, lost some money, or had something stolen? Have you ever been scammed? What did you do? Spill all, and let others learn from your mistakes in the comments below!

See you in Berlin.

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

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

How to live in Dresden. For longer than a day!

How to live in Dresden. For longer than a day.

So Dresden.

A Baroque Old Town.

A garden suburb.

A cultural metropolis.

What a beautiful city!

As I told you last week, Dresden has a long rich history as the capital and royal residence of the Electors and Kings of Saxony, who furnished the city with cultural and artistic splendor, and was once known as the Jewel Box of Germany, because of it’s Old Town city centre which is crammed with baroque and rococo architecture.

Sadly, when the international community think of Dresden, they make no mention of German splendour and historical treasures, but rather the horror of the Second World War!

War is a terrible thing, and Dresden paid the price.

Towards the end of World War II, Dresden was pretty much flattened and destroyed, and became unrecognisable.

After the war, restoration work helped to reconstruct parts of the historic inner city, including the Dresden Cathedral, the Zwinger Museum Complex and the very famous Semper Oper.

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

Outside of the Old Town, Dresden has a trendy New Town – Neustadt – a nearby Saxon Switzerland National Park, the Ore Mountains which borders both Germany and the Czech Republic, the Moritzburg Castle, impressive countryside around the Elbe Valley, etc.

And.

It’s.

A.

Waterside City with the River Elbe running right through it.

Yeah!

Germans are enormously open-minded so nude beaches as Freikörperkultur, or FKK movement – Free Body Culture, was set up
©Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-1984-0828-411A / Settnik, Bernd / CC-BY-SA 3.0

I hadn’t visited Dresden in more than twenty (20) years, and when I first visited, my German boyfriend at the time tried to persuade me to join him, at one of the family-friendly nudist Free Body Culture (FKK) beaches.

With his friends!

As if!

I did however, agree to join him alone.

And only him.

I was very conscious of the fact that people would stare at my body.

They did!

I was the only person wearing items of “clothing.”

With chocolate-brown skin.

Wearing a bikini.

That was bright yellow!

You could see Victoria – in her bright yellow bikini – from the moon!

You could see me from the moon!

Cue 2018.

Like Hamburg, I had of course, breezed through, on my way to Prague, but I hadn’t stopped there for a very long time.

Dresden was better than I ever hoped.

Exciting Times in Dresden – Forgive the casual look. I was previously wearing heels!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Dresden – March 2018

Last week, I told you what to do if you’re a tourist. But what if you wanted to stay a little longer?

A couple of days. A week. Perhaps, even for a few weeks!

Make no mistake, I’d still highly recommend Berlin as your go-to-city, but if you insist, Dresden will do just fine!

The Tall Young Gentleman had a fine time in Dresden. You will too!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Dresden – April 2018

Being that my new job as the Referent Interne Trainings or the Internal Training Manager, is in Dresden, I’ve been doing a lot of research which has not only been exhausting, but pretty expensive too! 

Having said that, my experience has allowed me to stay in a wide variety of accommodation providers spanning from a collection of hotels, apartments, and even a hostel!

Yep!

I do these things, so that you don’t have to!

I know!

Let’s get started, shall we?

WHY VISIT DRESDEN?

Martin Luther in Dresden

Why not?!

Well, I wrote quite a bit about it last week.

And anyway, Dresden is in Germany!

So what?

You really can’t go wrong there.

Why not?

Well, it’s Germany!

TAKE ME THERE?

I’ve used FlixBus for both local & international travel. Great prices!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Dresden – April 2018

As you all pretty much know by now, I’m a great believer in train travel. However, depending on where you’re coming from, taking the bus / coach might actually be cheaper. And far more efficient!

I’ve been taking FlixBus, and their prices have been marvellous.

At one point, I actually took a bus for €4.99!

The average price is usually between €6.00 – €10.00, depending on how flexible you can travel.

I’ve used FlixBus for both local (within Germany), and international travel, and if you’re on a budget, you’ll be hard-pressed to find anything cheaper!

I was having a fine time flying all over Europe, thank you very much!

Of course, if you’re coming from abroad, flying might prove more economical.

Dresden is quite a small city, so you might actually find yourself either flying to Dresden Airport (DRS), Leipzig-Halle Airport (LEJ), Berlin Tegel Airport (TXL) or perhaps, even Berlin-Schönefeld Airport (SXF)!

If you’re not sure which airport in Berlin, you’re supposed to be flying to or out of, here’s a link to the website of Flughafen / Airport Berlin Brandenburg GmbH which has comprehensive information on both airports BerlinTegel (TXL) and Berlin-Schönefeld (SXF) as they’re at opposite ends of the city, and you don’t want to find yourself in the wrong one!

IS IT GOING TO BE CROWDED?

There are tourists in Dresden. But I wouldn’t call it crowded!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Dresden – April 2018

I didn’t think so!

In fact, as it wasn’t yet “the season,” some places and operations were still closed or had reduced hours.

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

Plan well.

WHAT IS DRESDEN LIKE?

Frederick Augustus II of Saxony or Augustus II the Strong – the Golden Rider!

I was pleasantly surprised.

It’s a small city of historical and architectural interest, the food and beer is impressive.

And it’s very, very pretty!

I DON’T SPEAK GERMAN.

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

Not. A. Problem.

No really.

No worries.

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

Most speak a minimum of three (3)!

If you speak English, German, Russian, or Chinese, you’re good to go.

And get this.

I couldn’t believe it!

Most things were written in German.

And.

English!

Hurrah!

AM I GOING TO LIVE IN A HUT?

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

Ha! Ha! Not unless you want to!

I’M ON A BUDGET. WHAT SHOULD I DO?

At the tip of the River Elbe and the Elberadweg cycle path, in Altpieschen – Dresden
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Dresden – May 2018

Ha! Let me help you here.

Dresden isn’t as cheap as I was expecting.

If you’re from the UK or the US, it’s as cheap as chips, obviously.

If you’re from Germany, food prices are the same as in Berlin, but accommodation was far cheaper!

I mean, I was able to get a studio apartment with two (2) bedrooms, a small kitchen / dining room, and an en-suite bathroom for just €30.00 a night.

Thirty Euros (€30.00) a night!

And it wasn’t via Airbnb, but booking.com

But before we go any further, let me reiterate:

I am an affiliate partner of booking.com. In fact, if you use any of my hotel / apartment links, you’ll see the verified partner symbol of the British Berliner logo, along with each affiliated link. 

This means that every time some sort of accommodation is booked via my links I get a little percentage, but at absolutely no extra cost to yourself!

None of the hotels / hostels / apartments that I used were comped, or sponsored. All were paid for, absolutely by myself! As a result, you’ll also see my honest and verified view of what I thought when I stayed there, as a legitimate customer too.

Thanks a million!

Here’s all the variety of places where I stayed:

HOSTELS:

The Königssuite – Kings Suite at LaLeLu Hostel in Dresden
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Dresden – May 2018

It’s a boutique “mini-hostel” with just seven (7) rooms, which was why I booked it!

It’s in the trendy hip Äußere Neustadt, otherwise known as Antonstadt and just a 20 minute walk from the AltStadt! In fact, when I got there, I immediately felt quite at home!

I was in the Königssuite or the Kings Suite which was a romantic suite covered with gold and lots of red!

The bathroom and lovely kitchen is shared, but there’s a fee for bed sheets and towels.

Excellent WiFi!

I paid €39.00 per night for a private double room suite. If there’s two of you, that’s €19.50 a pop!

BED & BREAKFAST / GUEST HOUSES / PENSIONS:

The Hotel Pension zu Dresden Altpieschen in Dresden
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Dresden – May 2018

I was there for a week and really wished I could have stayed longer!

It’s a 1901-ish charming Guest House that is in the lovely district of Pieschen, about a 10 minute walk from the AltStadt, a 10 minute tram-ride to the NeuStadt, and a mere 250 metres from the river Elbe!

My room was in the loft, was absolutely huge, and had 20th century wooden beams features everywhere. I also had my own landing, my own staircase, and my own entrance door that could be securely locked!

I had a huge bathroom that was so big I couldn’t reach the mirror, so they had to had to get me a small one, for my tiny height!

A fridge was included, complete with a bottle of water!

Everything was delightful, except for the WiFi.

Quite adequate for your average tourist, but utterly useless for someone like me!

I paid €42.00 per night for a spacious loft. If there’s two of you, that’s €22.00 a pop!

Highly recommended!

The Pension Dresdener Berge in Dresden
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Dresden – April 2018

I couldn’t believe how cheap, but safe, the Pension / Bed and Breakfast would be!

This was my first hotel in Dresden, and if I had known then what I know now, I would have blocked-booked it, as I never got that fantastic price ever again!

In fact, I wasn’t even able to get the studio apartment either, as someone had booked it!

I highly recommend it as a budget option for 1 person, a couple, or a couple with a child!

I had a 2-bedroom studio apartment for just €30.00 a night!

It had a large bedroom, a small bedroom for a child, a small kitchen / dining room, and an en-suite bathroom.

Excellent WiFi!

I paid €30.00 per night for a 2-bedroom studio apartment. If there’s two of you, that’s €15.00 a pop, and your child is totally free of charge!

Book ahead!

APARTMENTS:

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

I stayed at two (2) different hotel – apartments. And one of them, I even stayed at twice!

The Hotel & Apartment Altstadtperle in Dresden
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Dresden – April 2018

With houses dated from the last century and older, genteel street lamps, and 300 year old churches scattered everywhere, it was no wonder that I found the quiet neighbourhood appealing.

I stayed in two different apartments at this hotel, and they were always quite large with a huge bathroom, and a small kitchen. And the cleaner came in every day!

I loved the hotel itself, the location was fantastic, and my apartment was great.

But the staff were lazy, and the WiFi pretty much non-existent. They also wouldn’t waive the City Tax even though they were supposed to!

I stayed here twice spanning almost two (2 weeks), as I really thought that the issues were a one-off.

They weren’t!

If you’re on holiday, it’s a really lovely apartment-hotel and I’d recommend it, but if you’re on a business trip, book somewhere else!

I paid €40.50 initially, and the following week I paid €46.08 per night. For two people, €20.25 and €23.04 a pop!

Stirl Apartments in Dresden
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Dresden – April 2018

My husband – The Music Producer and our son came to visit me in Dresden, so I booked a larger apartment in a residential area.

It had a fully equipped kitchen and dining room, a bedroom, a third bed, a sofabed, and a very nice bathroom!

The third bed was in our bedroom, but “The Tall Young Gentleman” was horrified when he saw it, so we used the sofabed in the “living room area” instead!

WiFi was excellent!

It was a little further away from the action than we would have wanted, but the neighbourhood was very quiet and peaceful.

We paid €85.00 per night which for three people would be €28.50 a pop!

SMALL HOTELS:

The Hotel Windsor in Dresden
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Dresden – May 2018
  • I stayed at the Hotel Windsor which is a very nice small hotel, which had the look of grandeur, but at surprisingly, “small budget” prices!

I had an en-suite bathroom, a double bed, a tiny writing-table and my own balcony.

Excellent WiFi!

I paid just €37.52 which is even less than I paid for the hostel above!

TRENDY FANCY HOTELS:

Aparthotel Am Schloss in Dresden.
©booking.com

It’s a hotel which is famous for it’s architecture, location, service and facilities.

It’s right in the center of the AltStadt, about 350 meters away from the Zwinger Palace in Dresden, and a few minutes from the Frauenkirche with the castle very, very close by!

We unfortunately couldn’t stay here as I had accidentally pre-booked Stirl Apartment as a last cheaper resort, just in case we couldn’t get the Aparthotel Am Schloss, and then I forgot!

I only remembered when I got a message stating that my reservation was now booked. Oops!

While we were in the AltStadt, I had a quick peek inside the Aparthotel Am Schloss.

It was exactly as I would have wished, and we really would have loved staying there!

Even though it was far more expensive than the hotels that I had previously been to, I would have preferred it, for the mere fact that it was exactly where we wanted to be.

In the Old Town!

It would have been €117 per night, but very much worth it!

Book ahead to get good prices.

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

Just because you have a fixed job, doesn’t mean that you can’t look for an adventure!

Sure!

The AltStadt is the historical part of town, but the The NeuStadt is a grungy hipster sort of place. It’s for the young and trendy, but you don’t have to be young or trendy to visit, and it’s not Copenhagen or Amsterdam, so you can definitely take your children!

There’s a lot of free stuff happening in the city. Most of the available info is in German, but if you check the website of Visit Dresden on a regular basis, keep your eyes open, or just ask a local where you can meet other locals, you’ll find them!

WHAT ABOUT TRANSPORT POSSIBILITIES?

Like any other typical German town, public transport in Dresden, is pretty efficient!

Dresden isn’t as large as Berlin, and as such public transport is like any other typical German town – trams, buses, ferries, and overland trains.

And like any other typical German town, public transport is pretty efficient.

When using public transport, there are many possibilities to buy a ticket. You can buy:

A variety of Dresden public transport tickets!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Dresden – April 2018
  • A short-trip ticket – €1.70
  • A single ticket – €2.30
  • A day ticket – €6.00
  • A four (4) journey ticket – €8.20
  • A family day ticket – €9.00
  • A small group ticket – €15.00
  • A weekly pass – €21.50
  • A monthly pass – €60.50
  • A season ticket (per month) – €50.90

I have bought them all, and since I’m a regular in Dresden, I decided to buy a season ticket to cut down on cost and for flexibility!

There are ticket machines pretty much everywhere, so you can buy your ticket whenever and wherever you want!

The ticket machine accepts cash, EC cards, and pretty much, most “recognised” credit cards!

As in Berlin, you buy your ticket and either validate it by clicking the ticket on a blue-standing object, which you’ll find on the train platform BEFORE you actually get on the train, or if using trams and buses, look for a sort of orange-standing object which is not far from the doorway, as soon as you get on.

Don’t forget, as in Berlin, there are no barriers to using public transport. However, there are random inspector checks, and if you are found NOT to have a valid ticket, the penalty is €60.00. Or more!

Dresden VVO – DVB public transport info & season ticket!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Dresden – May 2018

So in order to keep German public transport a non-barrier one, please buy your ticket!

The marvellous thing about using the trams and buses in Dresden is that they actually have information on the monitor display INSIDE the tram or bus stating the name of the next stop, the details of the next available buses, trams, and train numbers at the stop, as well as how long the waiting time would be!

The frequency isn’t every 3-5 minutes as in Berlin, but the monitor display tells you all the information that you need to know, so that you can make choices as to which transport provider to use.

Great stuff!

ANYTHING ELSE?

Lovely hotels, but why are there no Reception Desks?!

Surprisingly, most places in Dresden don’t actually have a Reception Desk!

And if they do, it isn’t manned or even open!

You generally have to let them know when you’re going to arrive so that they’ll be there to meet you, but if you arrive after-hours there’s a telephone number to call or instructions as to how to get the key, which is usually in some sort of secure coded box near by.

Oh, and just so you know, the City of Dresden also puts a Tourism Tax of €1.30 per person. Per night!

However, if you’re in Dresden for business reasons (and can prove it), the tax is waived.

MY VERDICT:

The Music Producer & Victoria at the Zwinger Palace in Dresden – Saxony!
©Frank Böster – Behind The Couch Studios – Dresden – April 2018

We quite like Dresden!

Dresden has culture, and a vibrant history.

For many international visitors, Dresden isn’t a destination that immediately comes to mind, unless it’s Christmas.

Because Dresden Stollen!

But if you’re in Saxony region, make it a point of duty to spend a few weeks days, in Dresden or as many as the surrounding area, as you can manage.

If you’re looking for a new destination in East Germany, and you’ve “done” Berlin (As if!), say hello – DRESDEN!

WOULD I COME AGAIN?

Obviously!

My office is in Dresden, so I sort of have to!

Let’s do it!

HOW TO LIVE IN DRESDEN. FOR LONGER THAN A DAY!

Tea for everyone!
How to live in Dresden. For longer than a day!

This article is not sponsored, and all opinions and all the beds that I bounced up and down on, are my very own!

Next week, the last post on Dresden!

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!

The Lighthouse of Moritzburg – Saxony.
How to live in Dresden. For longer than a day!

Watch this space!

Note! I never travel without insurance as you never know what might happen.

I learnt my lesson in Spain. And obviously, in countries like Qatar, where technically the risk is higher, I can’t imagine going that far beyond, WITHOUT INSURANCE. No siree! You can get yours here, at World Nomads!

Please note that there are now affiliate links (for the very first time) connected to this post. Please consider using the links, because every time some sort of accommodation or travel insurance is booked via my links I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself!

A win-win for all!

Thanks a million!

How to live in Dresden. For longer than a day!

Have you ever lived in Dresden? Do you prefer hostels, pensions, guest houses, B&B’s, apartments, or hotels`? Would you know how to navigate yourself around trams, trains, buses & horses?! Let me know in the comments below!

See you in Berlin.

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

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