How I went to TBEX again, and what I learnt!

Let's paaaaaarty! TBEX Manila 2016 - ©Kira Ramirez - Elegantly Wasted
Let’s paaaaaarty!
TBEX Manila 2016 –
©Kira Ramirez – Elegantly Wasted

So last week I told you all about the fear and horror of visiting a city such as Manila!

I told you about the anxiety of many a people living in a constant state of fear at home, not to talk of travelling abroad!

I also told you how well we were looked after, because I couldn’t be in Manila on my lonesome.

Oh dear me no!

Bloggers from TBEX are welcome everywhere!
Bloggers from TBEX are welcome everywhere!

I was with TBEX!

The comments of my previous post gives me the distinct impression that people are wary of going to a TBEX conference, or any conference at all for that matter.

I have the feeling that people are reluctant to open their purse-strings and spend $100+ on something that they know very little about so have no fear, Victoria is here!

Yep! I’m here to clarify your mind on whether going to a TBEX conference is worth the money that you will undoubtedly, spend.

WHAT IS TBEX?

Travel Blog Exchange - that's us - TBEX Asia!
Travel Blog Exchange – that’s us – TBEX Asia!

Well, TBEX is the holy grail of the travel blogging world and stands for Travel Blog Exchange.

WHAT IS TBEX ALL ABOUT?

TBEX Asia Pacific - one of the largest gatherings in the world!
TBEX Asia Pacific – one of the largest gatherings in the world!

TBEX is the world’s largest conference and networking event for travel bloggers, writers, online travel journalists, new media content creators, travel brands and social-media-savvy travel industry professionals. There are three (3) conferences held annually in North America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific, attracting 600-1000 delegates from all over the world!

It’s also a medium for the creative minds of the travel industry to come together, to network, to learn, to negotiate with the travel industry, and for those who are so inclined, to take the business of blogging to the next level.

How exciting!

At TBEX Europe with myself - Victoria Ade-Genschow - The British Berliner, Matthew Kepnes – Nomadic Matt, & Jodi Ettenberg – Legal Nomads, in Lloret de Mar – Spain.
At TBEX Europe with myself – Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner, Matthew Kepnes – Nomadic Matt, & Jodi Ettenberg – Legal Nomads, in Lloret de Mar – Spain.

Last year, I went to the TBEX conference for the very first time.

In previous years, the bloggers conference had been in Dublin (whisky & beer. Yay!) and Athens (ouzo & wine. Double Yay!). Last year it was on the seaside coast of Costa Brava. In Spain.

Paella in Spain is just all you need!
Paella in Spain is just all you need!

Oooooo!

And I spent most of my time crying, as it was a complete and utter disaster!

I love going to Spain and after that horrid experience I needed to go back to Spain again. So I did!

In fact, I went one step further, and travelled to Portugal too!

I'm the Vice-School Principal / Social Media Manager at Logo Sprachenschule!
I’m the Vice-School Principal / Social Media Manager at Logo Sprachenschule!

I had planned to once again go to the TBEX European conference in Sweden, but a window opened up. That window was the fact that I took up a new job for a German company called LOGO Sprachenschule, as the Vice-School Principal responsible for their English-speaking business and their Social Media Management too!

We’re in the process of setting up a new website, but I’ll let you know when it’s done!

So back to TBEX!

I'm going to see everything that there is to see all over the Philippines!
I’m going to see everything that there is to see all over the Philippines!

I didn’t go to the conference in Sweden, but opted to go to the TBEX Asia-Pacific 2016 conference in the Philippines instead!

And this year. It was brilliant!

Every year, TBEX partners with fantastic destinations so that bloggers and media people get the opportunity to meet potential business partners or sponsors, meet influential bloggers, get new strategies and tips, network with each other, discover new destinations, share a new experience and well, be entertained and paaaaaaaarty like it’s 1999!

And party we did!

At the #TBEX Asia Pacfic Oktoberfest Farewell Party, with local Filipinos!
At the #TBEX Asia-Pacific Oktoberfest Farewell Party, with local Filipinos!

Most importantly, TBEX affords participants the opportunity to experience the destination hosted by the country itself!

You see, going to TBEX doesn’t only mean the conference weekend but actually a few days of serious jollification and pre-tours before the conference, and a week of a bit of a jolly, after the conference! In fact, even though the conference officially took place from October 13th – October 16th, many people arrived early, and some people are still in the Philippines NOW – Living the life of Riley!

Party like it's 2016 at TBEX in Manila! ©Vicki Winters
Party like it’s 2016 at TBEX in Manila!
©Vicki Winters

Last year, I wished it had been me.

And this year it was!

BUT WHAT DO YOU DO THERE?

Let's paaaaaarty! TBEX Manila 2016 - ©Kira Ramirez - Elegantly Wasted
Let’s paaaaaarty!
TBEX Manila 2016 –
©Kira Ramirez – Elegantly Wasted

Whatever you want really!

But seriously, there is a conference agenda crammed with pre-BEX tours, workshops, keynote speeches, break-out sessions in Content, Commerce, Community, TBEX Business, Speed Networking, a Closing Keynote about the future of travel by Patricia Schultz – the bestselling author of 1,000 places to see before you die, and fun things like pub crawls, an opening night party, refreshments, lunch, coffee-breaks, a Second Night Party, a Farewell Party, Roof-Top Pool Parties, cocktail bars, meet-me-at-the-front-parties, FAM tours, all great fun, and all included in the price!

During the TBEX conference, I hardly slept at all!

At TBEX Asia-Pacific in Manila - the capital of fun!
At TBEX Asia-Pacific in Manila – the capital of fun!

There were shuttle vans and buses to take bloggers to the conference venue and since, I’m weird and actually like learning new things, I went to quite a few sessions.

I went to:

During the TBEX conference, I hardly slept at all!
During the TBEX conference, I hardly slept at all!
  • Writing like a Human Not a Robot: SEO With Soul (Community) by Michael Briggs
  • You Want Publicity? Use G+ to Reach Millions (Community) by Shane Dallas
  • Practical Ways to Improve your Affiliate Sales (Commerce) by Chris Christensen
  • How to Trend on Twitter (Commerce) by Michael Collins
  • How To Build A Thriving Real Community Around Your Blog & Brand (Community) by Anton Diaz
  • And Speed Networking

I wanted to go to:

Take a photo of me. No meeeee!
Take a photo of me.
No meeeee!
  • How to Improve Your Architectural Photographs (Content) by Ajay Sood. Thankfully, I met him again as he was on my FAM trip too!
  • How to Monetize your Blog with Print on Demand (Commerce) by Betsy & Peter Wuebker. I opted to go to a session conducted by a local Filippino – Anton Diaz instead. And I enjoyed it very much. In fact, the room was packed!
  • How to Creat Eye-Catching Hyperlapse Videos Today Using your Smart Phone (Content) by Scott Herder. I regret missing this the most as I love my iPhone 6 smart phone, and actually prefer using it to a more sophisticated camera! It’s small. It’s in my handbag, and it’s less invasive. I’m a strong believer that you ask your subject before taking their photograph!
I was exhausted and really, really tired. So I nipped off for a nap!
I was exhausted and really, really tired. So I nipped off for a nap!

And I missed it ‘cos by the last day, I was exhausted and really, really tired. So I nipped off for a nap instead! Happily, Scott was on my FAM trip too!

YOU MENTIONED REFRESHMENTS. WOULD WE STARVE?

A customised bubble-tea type drink at #TBEX in Manila!
A customised bubble-tea type drink at #TBEX in Manila!

Ha!

Not in the least! I’m sure people do worry, because food n’ stuff has to go in the budget, but once you’re on the doorstep of the TBEX Convention Center, you wouldn’t have to pay for a single item of nibble!

Exotic fruit at #TBEX in Manila!
Exotic fruit at #TBEX in Manila!

All soft drinks, water and coffee were provided free of charge. Getting a cup of tea was slightly more difficult, but the staff were awesome and ran around making sure that I had a good cuppa. With milk and sugar!

Nibbles at #TBEX in Manila!
Nibbles at #TBEX in Manila!

During the breaks we had tables full of snacks, cake, fruit, nibbles and ice-cream. I’ll let the pictures do the talking!

Colourful Filipino buns at #TBEX in Manila!
Colourful Filipino buns at #TBEX in Manila!

Lunch was amaaaaaaazing, and at one of them, we all had to eat standing. And with our bare hands!

A delightful hands-only lunch at #TBEX in Manila!
A delightful hands-only lunch at #TBEX in Manila!

It was quite hilarious too, as most of the Asian bloggers were using cutlery delicately provided, while we international bloggers all tried our best to use our fingers!

Yum! Mussels at #TBEX in Manila!
Yum! Mussels at #TBEX in Manila!

The food was quite delicious too!

As for drinks, I’m more a cocktails and champagne type of girl so when we went to the Second Night Party at the Long Bar at Raffles Makati, hosted by Travel Massive, I bought the All-You-Can-Drink for four (4) hours ticket, and bought cocktail after cocktail. I also sneaked a few to the local Filippino bloggers as the bar price was beyond their local budget!

A Singapore Sling cocktail - Long Bar at Raffles Makati, hosted by Travel Massive at #TBEX Manila.
A Singapore Sling cocktail – Long Bar at Raffles Makati, hosted by Travel Massive at #TBEX Manila.

And let’s not forget the TBEX Farewell Party which was themed for Oktoberfest.

Yep! Oktoberfest!

German craft beer and festive gingerbread at the #TBEX Asia-Pacific Oktoberfest Farewell Party, in Manila!
German craft beer and festive gingerbread at the #TBEX Asia-Pacific Oktoberfest Farewell Party, in Manila!

Well, this girl didn’t let you down ‘cos there was German food, Filippino food, and Indian food, as well as good ‘ole German craft beer, and German beer on tap!

The service staff even wore the football uniforms of the German 2016 FIFA World Cup winners!

Neat!

WHY TBEX?

Drinking a very important cup of tea! © Pascale Scerbo Sarro
Drinking a very important cup of tea!
© Pascale Scerbo Sarro

Why not?

And because blogging can be a lonesome game so it’s pretty nice meeting others.

Hanging out with real people, and people who “understand” why it’s important to position an item just so, before you take a photograph! You should have seen the angles that people were taking with some even standing on the table, in order to get “that photograph” just right.

And everybody completely understood!!

HOW CAN I GO TO TBEX?

One of the major locations for TBEX is in North America!
One of the major locations for TBEX is in North America!

There are three (3) conferences held annually in North America, Asia-Pacific, and Europe. Choose the region that is closest or more appropriate for you. For instance, going to TBEX in America would be pretty useless for me, as many of you are actually from North America, Europe, or the UK, and are more interested in Europe!

Truthfully, I decided to go to the Philippines because I could!

WOULD IT COST ME AN ARM AND A LEG?

You can save up all your pennies, and it wouldn't cost you!
You can save up all your pennies, and it wouldn’t cost you!

‘Not at all!

TBEX Asia (2016) cost me (with a Travel Massive discount) just $125.00!

TBEX Europe (2017) (early bird) cost a mere $117.00!

Of course, you do have to factor in your flight cost.

The cost of flying to the Philippines is effectively cheaper than flying to Sweden!
The cost of flying to the Philippines is effectively cheaper than flying to Sweden!

In my case, I knew that the cost of flying to the Philippines would effectively be cheaper than flying to Sweden as Nordic countries are hideously expensive!

BUT WHAT ABOUT HOTELS?

I stayed at three different hotels in Manila!
I stayed at three different hotels in Manila!

Whilst in Manila, I stayed at three (3) different hotels.

TBEX usually recommends a bevy of hotels which I would definitely check out as they’re usually near the TBEX Convention Center venue, and loads of other bloggers will also be there which is all part of the fun…!

However.

Do your own research as to prices.

I found that my hotel was actually cheaper without the TBEX discount code, and gave me more extras like breakfast and bottles of water!

The Golden Phoenix Hotel in Manila.
The Golden Phoenix Hotel in Manila.

The first hotel I stayed at was the Golden Phoenix Hotel Manila.

There was free WiFi, a buffet breakfast (mainly Asian), a swimming pool, and a fitness center.

The Asian boxed take-away breakfast!
The Asian boxed take-away breakfast!

It was in a really nice area, the staff were great, my room was large, and the twenty (20) or so bloggers that were staying there, were awesome!

Cost: PHP 3,002.52 or €57.00 per day

The Belmont Hotel & Resorts in Manila
The Belmont Hotel & Resorts in Manila

The second hotel that I stayed at was the Belmont Hotel & Resorts.

We were all moved there, so that we could fly out for our FAM trips pretty early in the morning!

Getting ready to fly out on our Visayan Charms FAM trip in the Philippines!
Getting ready to fly out on our Visayan Charms FAM trip in the Philippines!

The night before our FAM trip and the night after our FAM trip were complementary, and I liked the set-up so much that I paid for two extra nights out of pocket!

The Belmont Hotel is very near the airport, and my room was large. And of course, the fact that all the bloggers who had gone on a FAM trip were accommodated there, made it a pretty social place to be.

Now this is what I call a great start!
Now this is what I call a great start!

There were roof-parties, pool parties, and generally, come-to-my-room-we-have-whisky-and-rum-parties!

Sadly, towards the end of my time in Manila, I was horribly ill.

Perhaps, it was due to the very hot weather, the over-indulgence of wonderful food, a few sneaky gulps of whisky, and the intensity of foreign travel in a developing country, I ended up with the trots, so I was very happy to still be in only one place, and one room!

It had to happen. I ended up with the trots!
It had to happen. I ended up with the trots!

The service wasn’t that fantastic as the staff were over-whelmed. It took one hour for someone to come to my room with a pair of scissors, numerous calls for someone to bring me a bar of soap, and an extra towel, and sometimes, it would take ages to get reception on the phone! However, when I was ill, they sent for a doctor, and honestly, I was glad that I was at a more up-market place, than elsewhere!

They had free wifi, a lovely swimming pool, a nice restaurant, breakfast, a lovely view, comfortable beds, and free bottles of water.

Cost: PHP 6,000 for two nights or €57.00 per day. If you booked a room at this first anniversary price, you would get the second night for free.

So that was what I did!

I don't have a picture of the Vieve Hotel in Manila, only the traffc!
I don’t have a picture of the Vieve Hotel in Manila, only the traffc!

The third hotel I stayed at, I would definitely not recommend!

At the end of my stay in Asia, I flew back to Manila for 24 hours and this time, I chose the more humble 3-star Vieve Hotel.

The staff at the Vieve Hotel were nice enough, but I wouldn’t recommend it if you were travelling solo. I wanted to see the more “authentic” Manila, and I certainly did!

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

To be candid, I was scared.

I didn’t go out that night but stayed in my room, double-locked the door, and jammed a chair behind it!

WHAT DID I LEARN AT TBEX ?

There are many things to learn at such places as TBEX International 2017 in Jerusalem ©Israel21c.org
There are many things to learn at such places as TBEX International 2017 in Jerusalem
©Israel21c.org
  1. Leave plenty of time for trips, tours and meet-ups both before and after the TBEX conference
  2. Use the TBEX recommended hotel list when booking your hotel or B&B, but do your own research for prices
  3. Networking is key to putting a face to a name in the blogging community
  4. Just because you don’t have an appointment, doesn’t mean that you can’t go to the Speed Networking event to meet potential clients
  5. Don’t be afraid or shy to say “hi” to some of our blogging stars or key-speakers who are just as human as we are
  6. Realise that some people might consider you to be a blogging star too!
  7. Make sure that you’re in the right session room….!
  8. Think about your future and where you would like your blogging career to lead to
  9. Don’t be afraid to monetize if that is what you want to do, just be realistic as nobody ever “made it” by blogging alone. There’s a huge amount of hard work behind the facade of “success.”
  10. Think about what your niche market is and if you’re a local destination expert – own it!
  11. Google+ could be the next big thing. Don’t under-estimate it
  12. Don’t spend more than you can afford to lose.
  13. It’s not about the best camera in the world, it’s about you!
  14. Improve your photography
  15. Drink lots & lots of water
  16. Try not be sick
  17. Give back to whatever local community you happen to be in
  18. If you’re tired, take a nap
  19. Be professional
  20. Be appreciative of all the hard work that the host country / region has done
  21. Listen to your readers
  22. Look at what excites YOU
  23. Educate yourself
  24. Get started
  25. Build your audience
  26. Do things your way
  27. Sunglasses can never be too huge!
  28. Have a great time!

ANYTHING ELSE?

The next TBEX Europe Conference is in Ireland. Again! Ho! For the the luck of the lovely Irish!
The next TBEX Europe Conference is in Ireland. Again!
Ho! For the luck of the lovely Irish!

The next TBEX Europe Conference is in Ireland!

I’m going to be there. Are you?

HOW I WENT TO TBEX AGAIN, AND WHAT I LEARNT!

I'm looking gorgeous in the Philippines! ©Scott Herder - BoboandChiChi.com
I’m looking gorgeous in the Philippines!
©Scott Herder – BoboandChiChi.com

This article is not sponsored and even though I was invited on this trip as a guest of the Tourism Promotions Board Philippines and as a member of TBEX, all opinions and the magnificent time that I had, are my very own!

Next week I’ll be writing about Taiwan, and then returning to the Philippines again later!

On November 26th, I’ll be attending the Berlin-Premiere and the 10th anniversary of British musical comedy duo – Carrington Brown at Bar Jeder Vernunft in Berlin.

Save the Date!

November is going to be wind-biting!

Watch this space!

Please also note that there is now a Booking.com affiliate link (for the very first time) connected to my hotel. Every time some sort of accommodation is booked via my link I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself! A win-win for all!

How I went to TBEX again, and what I learnt!
How I went to TBEX again, and what I learnt!

Do you want to be a blogger? Have you ever been to TBEX or a conference of any kind? Is it worth the money? Let me know!

See you in Berlin.

If you like this post or 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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6 Quirky Museums that you really shouldn’t miss! – #bestofBerlin

Yummy delights for you and you and YOU!
Yummy delights for you and you and YOU!

And where to close the year and begin the new, than in a fascinating world city such as London, Paris, New York. Hong Kong, Sydney and of course, our very own Berlin.

New Year’s Eve on the long strip of Tiergarten is the largest party in Europe, bringing in more than a million visitors from around the world each year, compared to roughly 250,000 people in central London, and 340,000 at the Eiffel Tower in Paris!

Silvester am Brandenburger Tor or New Year's Eve at Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. © SpreePIX Media
Silvester am Brandenburger Tor or New Year’s Eve at Brandenburg Gate in Berlin.
© SpreePIX Media

Yep! Berlin – the place to be!

Last week, I put up an excellent give-away prize of 2 Berlin WelcomeCard packages to be validated by December 31st, 2015, at the latest.

It seems that most of you have either already been to Berlin or are coming sometime next year!

In that wise, I’m rolling it over, so the FIRST person to subscribe to my blog – The British Berliner – AND tell me why you would like to win the tickets on my post here, BEFORE December 31st, wins!

Hurry! There are only four (4) days to the end of this year as I’d be sorry to have to use it myself lol!

Here’s the info:

Berlin WelcomeCard

The Berlin Welcome Card package will include transport tickets for 48 hours including the city of Potsdam, 200 discounts, inside tips, information on top attractions, a city map, a mini guide-book written in English, German, Italian and Spanish, a €5.00 discount for the TV Tower restaurant or bar and a free voucher for a glass of glühwein (mulled wine) at the Christmas Market on Alexanderplatz valid until January 3rd, 2016!

Perfect for the New Year celebration in Berlin!

Only comments attached to this post will be considered.

You have until midnight on December 30th and the announcement will be made on the blog on January 4th. The winners will meet me personally and receive the tickets at the front of Brandenburger Tor (Brandenburg Gate) on December 31st at 12 noon!

Good Luck!

You can see all the places that I went to previously by following me via #bestofBerlin on Twitter & Facebook.

At the end of last week’s post, I told you that there are a few museums and galleries that I would like to recommend and that Berlin has so many great places that I would do them injustice if I didn’t write about them properly, so I’m writing this piece about my new favourite museums since it’s winter.

Winter!?

The Christmas market in Osnabrück ©Osnabrück Marketing und Tourismus.
The Christmas market in Osnabrück
©Osnabrück Marketing und Tourismus.

You’re having a laugh, as we haven’t seen a single snowflake since November!

Even though I’ve written about museums before, this post wasn’t easy to write, as there are just so many things to do and places to go,  so without much ado, watch and learn about a few more!

SIX (6) QUIRKY GALLERIES & MUSEUMS

Berlinische Galerie, Berlin. © Photo: Berlinische Galerie
Berlinische Galerie, Berlin.
© Photo: Berlinische Galerie

Did you that Berlin has more museums than rainy days since we have more than 180 museums and only 106.3 rainy days on average per year?

Did you know that Berlin is one of the few cities to have three (3) UNESCO World Heritage sites and that most of them are in fact, royal palaces and garden turned into museums?

Did you know that the East-Side Gallery also known as The Berlin Wall, is the longest open-air gallery in the world and is 1,316 metres long? Not only that, but it was painted in 1990 by 118 artists from 21 countries and has 106 individual works of art!

Did you know that in addition to its world-renowned museum collections, Berlin is also home to some rather unusual museums such as the Gas Lamp Museum (I wrote about this last week), the Medical History Museum, the Sugar Museum, the “Museum der unerhörten Dinge” or the Museum of Extraordinary Things, the Buchstabenmuseum  or the Museum of Letters, the Computerspielemuseum or Museum of Computer Games (really, really good!) and the Hemp Museum?!!!!

Wow!

Is it any wonder that this post is tribute to just some of Berlin’s finest museums and art galleries? Let’s do it!

THE STORY OF BERLIN

The Story of Berlin, Germany.

I hadn’t been here for years but let me tell you, if you’re new in town, this is a museum you simply must visit. THE STORY OF BERLIN is what it says on the tin and is a multi-media museum with loads of rooms to run through, plenty of things to touch and if, like me, you like history, dozens of things to learn.

You get to experience and view 800 years of Berlin’s history through the centuries, the people in the Middle Ages, the wealth, the wars and in a sense, the history of Germany through sound effects, touch screens, models, drawers, pulleys and levers that you can push and pull, and of course, films and recordings.

Military & Enlightenment at The Story of Berlin!
Military & Enlightenment at The Story of Berlin!

There is no doubt that you’ll get to see 17th – 19th century Berlin, the world wars, Berlin and National Socialism also known as Nazism, the Berlin Wall, East and West Germany and of course, liberal tolerant Berlin today.

There is also a fully functioning nuclear bomb shelter from the Cold War and you get an extra guided tour included in the price of your ticket as well as a free chips / fries, if you buy a portion of curry wurst from one of the most famous sausage stalls in Berlin – Curry 36 which you can use in either Kreuzberg or Charlottenburg.

My favourite bit was the Steel, Light, Machine Rhythm bit, the Birth of a Metropolis and Berlin in the Golden 20’s and the era of art and film. Go see for yourself here.

Price: Adults €12.00. Children between 6-16 – €5.00. Students €9.00

Highly recommended for all the family.

THE GERMAN SPY MUSEUM BERLIN

Spy Museum - Berlin © Therese Sivertsson
Spy Museum – Berlin
© Therese Sivertsson

This museum is brand new and was only opened on September 19th, 2015!

It’s not difficult to find as it’s at Potsdamer Platz right opposite The Mall of Berlin and I wrote about this region last week!

The Spy Museum has now been re-named as the German Spy Museum Berlin, otherwise known as the Deutsches Spionagemuseum!

The museum is a unique interactive, multi-media museum that is all about the history of espionage and secret services all around the world. Yes, it reveals the secrets of spying from as far back as from ancient Egyptian history which is still being used today, the spying activities behind the Iron Curtain of the Cold War, and also how to take part in infra-ray laser activity, quizzes and other interactive games which include smell, sound, sight, touch and full body participation!

The German Spy Museum Berlin - Deutsches Spionagemuseum! ©Deutsches Spionagemuseum
The German Spy Museum Berlin – Deutsches Spionagemuseum!
©Deutsches Spionagemuseum

If you’ve always wanted to be James Bond, now’s your chance!

I went there a few weeks ago, as part of an after-hours Travel Massive bloggers event and I was so impressed that I’m going to take “The Tall Young Gentleman” there too!

The German Spy Museum Berlin - Deutsches Spionagemuseum! ©Deutsches Spionagemuseum
The German Spy Museum Berlin – Deutsches Spionagemuseum!
©Deutsches Spionagemuseum

My favourite bit was the infra-ray game and the bizarre and sneaky methods of agents and secret services. Go see for yourself here.

Price: Adults €12.00. Children under 6: €0.00. Other children & students €8.00. Families (2 adults and their children) €35.00.

Highly recommended for teenaged boys and all the family!

THE CURRYWURST MUSEUM

Berlin's most famous iconic meal - currywurst, chips & mayo!
Berlin’s most famous iconic meal – currywurst, chips & mayo!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, you can’t dare to even visit Berlin without at least attempting it’s most famous snack and dish – drum roll pleeeeeeease!

The Currywurst!

That delicious beef or pork sausage grilled and chopped up, then smothered with a spicy ketchup and curry powder, eaten with a pile of chips and a slice of bread or a bun!

The Deutsches Currywurst Museum Berlin is an interactive museum dedicated to the love and history of Berlin’s most famous German curried sausage!

"The Tall Young Gentleman" playing at the Currywurst Museum in Berlin!
“The Tall Young Gentleman” playing at the Currywurst Museum in Berlin!

You can wander through all the rooms and experience the installations which you can explore through visual, text and audio form. You can learn how currywurst is made, smell it, sit on it, touch it, watch a film about it, attempt to sell it, and play around with the french fries and chips. You can even have chocolate and curry sausage ice-cream!

My favourite bit was “selling” sausages at the stall, the interactive games and the history of currywurst itself. Go see for yourself here.

Price: Adults €11.00. Children between 6-13 – €7.00. Students €8.50. Under 6 free of charge. Families (2 adults and children under 13) €29.00. On MuseumMonday all visitors get a 20 % discount unless your ticket is already discounted!

Highly recommended for all the family.

THE JEWISH MUSEUM

An upper-middle class German-Jewish family at the Jewish Museum Berlin.
An upper-middle class German-Jewish family at the Jewish Museum Berlin.

This museum is not exactly quirky but it is one of my favourite museums, and in a sense, interesting and fun to visit!

The Jewish Museum Berlin is one of Europe’s leading museums and is not only a learning tool but a vibrant interactive center of reflection and understanding of Jewish history and culture, as well as migration and diversity in Germany of three (3) major world religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

The exhibition starts by going to the basement where there are enormous empty spaces that cut through the entire museum filled with either silence, or 10,000 open-mouthed faces coarsely cut from heavy, circular iron grids covering the floor – in memory of all innocent victims of war and violence.

Speyer, Worms & Maint - Symbols of flourishing Jewish life in the Middle Ages - Jewish Museum Berlin - The World of Askaenaz (950-1500) Jüdisches Museum Berlin ©Thomas Bruns
Speyer, Worms & Maint – Symbols of flourishing Jewish life in the Middle Ages – Jewish Museum Berlin – The World of Askaenaz (950-1500) Jüdisches Museum Berlin
©Thomas Bruns

You then move from floor to floor where there are many exhibitions that you can read, touch, sit on, feel, and see, that show fourteen (14) historical periods of time, right from the Middle Ages to the present day. Each period displays a vivid portrait of Jewish life in Germany via art, everyday objects, photos, letters, films, music and interactive displays that  exhibit the history of Jewish culture, and show how tightly Jewish life and German history are interwoven, and connected.

My favourite bit was, because I’m a history nerd, the Jewish Medieval Quarter from 1500 – 1800, Jewish bourgeois lifestyle and the German – Jewish exhibitions from 1800-1914. There is also a permanent exhibition depicting Two Millennia of German Jewish History and a special exhibition of Adolph Menzel – a German artist known for drawings, etchings, and paintings of the 19th century. Of course, you can’t go to a museum in Germany, without learning about the horrors of National Socialism and the story of many families such as those of Anna Frank, Nazism and Hitler, that put an end to the shared history of German-Jewish people in Germany. Go see for yourself here.

Price: Adults €8.00. Children – €3.00. Students €3.00. Under 6 free of charge. Families (2 adults and up to 4 children) €14.00! Reduced admission with a ticket for the Berlinische Galerie on the day of purchase and the two following days.

Highly recommended for everyone.

THE BERLINISCHE GALERIE

The Berlinische Galerie - Museum of modern art, photography and architecture, Berlin!
The Berlinische Galerie – Museum of modern art, photography and architecture, Berlin!

Contrary to what you might think, the Berlinische Galerie is not actually a gallery but a museum of modern art, photography and architecture! It’s in Kreuzberg and is only a few paces away from The Jewish Museum which is why there’s a reduction on tickets if you go to both of them.

I don’t mind if I do lol!

I always say that given a choice I tend to favour older master pieces and works of art, but funnily enough I seem to be quite into Modern Art too!

Anyhoo. I find art of landscapes and street scenes quite soothing. Perhaps it’s because of the watercolours and oils rather than black and white photos.

Then again, I like photographs too, so perhaps not!

The exhibitions are displayed on two floors with media, video and a quirky film about architecture and the environment.

Max Beckmann and Berlin exhibition at the Berlinische Galerie, Berlin.
Max Beckmann and Berlin exhibition at the Berlinische Galerie, Berlin.

There was also a portrait photography  exhibition of documentary pictures taken on the street and in the studio as well as a presentation from a collection of paintings ranging from the late 19th century, to expressionist art, East European avant-garde and post-war modern architecture and impressionist history.

Berlin has always been a hub of creativity, attracting young international artists, now more than ever before, as well as creatives in music, film and art, and the Berlinische Galerie didn’t disappoint with its’ collections of paintings, prints, sculpture, photography and architecture.

Max Beckmann and a self portrait in Florence (1907).
Max Beckmann and a self-portrait in Florence (1907).

However, the cat’s whiskers was the Max Beckmann and Berlin exhibition (until 15.02.16) which documents and displays works of art on the lively, diverse art scene in Berlin from the 1910’s, 1920’s and early 1930’s.

I thoroughly enjoyed the working class milieu as well as the then avant-garde street art! Go see for yourself here.

Price: Adults €10.00. Children under 18 free of charge. Students €7.00. Every first Monday of the month €6.00. Reduced admission with a ticket for the Jewish Museum within three days.

Highly recommended for artists and lovers of Berlin art history and architecture.

THE MÄRKISCHES MUSEUM

Outside the Märkisches Museum - Lord Roland of Brandenburg.
Outside the Märkisches Museum – Lord Roland of Brandenburg.

This museum turned out to be quite a surprise. In order to get there you have to go to an underground station called Märkisches Museum U-Bahn. Follow the signs outside for a little while and they will lead you to an actual museum called the Märkisches Museum.

I know!

I used to think that the museum was named after the station. But it isn’t, it’s the other way around and in fact, it used to be the museum of Berlin. It’s a little bit hidden, but well worth it.

The Märkisches Museum was founded in 1874 and is the HQ for the City of Berlin museum foundation, which also operates four other museums namely: the Nikolaikirche (which I wrote about last week,) the Ephraim-Palais (which I’m going to visit in 2016), the Knoblauchhaus (which I visited in 2014) and the Museumsdorf Düppel!

I’m a freak. I spent a couple of hours there and I still left it unfinished halfway through!

The Märkisches Museum in Berlin © Faruk Hosseini
The Märkisches Museum in Berlin
© Faruk Hosseini

The Märkisches Museum is a lovely old red brick building and a walk through the museum is a walk through the history of Berlin starting from the Stone Ages. It’s an interactive museum where you can hear, feel, make, touch and make. There’s a special attraction of automatophones, and vintage mechanical musical instruments, so take your time.

There’s also a lot of stuff from the Middle Ages, swords, staffs, shields and armoury as well as loads of bears!

Yes, bears!

A brown grizzly bear is the symbol of the city of Berlin, and has been, since 1280.

And up until a few weeks ago, there was a real brown bear living in the park right outside the museum and bears have been living there as live city mascots since 1939!

In fact, there used to be two (2) bears – Schnute and her daughter – Maxi!

Schnute - the last real-life Berlin bear mascot! ©AFP/Getty
Schnute – the last real-life Berlin bear mascot!
©AFP/Getty

A real live bear!

That’s a bit odd but it’s Berlin, we’re all slightly “off” around here and unsurprisingly, nobody was bothered about having a brown grizzly living behind the museum, in a small park, in the middle of the city!

And you’d still be able to see it but sadly and perhaps, rightly, the last real-life Berlin bear – Schnute (34 years old) recently passed away!

Gosh!

A stained glass window at the Märkisches Museum Berlin ©Pudelek (Marcin Szala).
A stained glass window at the Märkisches Museum Berlin
©Pudelek (Marcin Szala).

Anyway, you start in the basement and work your way upwards and outwards with the various Quarters, the trading parts, hunting and royalty, as well as the medieval walls, ruins of a monastery, churches and baroque palaces.

My favourite bits were the collections left behind and donated by the Hans & Luise Richter Family and the haute-bourgeoise household materials from the Beer-Meyerbeer-Richter German-Jewish family. I also loved the history (and I still do!) and royal paintings and pporcelain ceramics from Frederick II otherwise known as Frederick the Great and the King of Prussia in the 1700’s for his military victories, his reorganization of the Prussian army, his patronage of the Arts and the Enlightenment in Prussia, and “winning” the Seven Year War!

I also rather like the photographs and paintings of the various districts of Berlin 200 years and the way they look today! Go see for yourself here.

Price: Adults €5.00. Children under 18 free of charge. Students €3.00.  Free admission for all on the first Wednesday of every month.

Highly recommended for everyone.

Don’t forget, the FIRST person to subscribe to my blog – The British Berliner – AND tell me why you would like to win the tickets on my post here, BEFORE December 31st, wins!

Have a fantastic end of year in 2015 and a brilliant bringing-in of the New Year, in 2016.

See you next year!
I wish for peace, harmony and international understanding that no-one is wrong, just different- A New Year message from The British Berliner!
I wish for peace, harmony and international understanding that no-one is wrong, just different – A New Year message from The British Berliner!

This post is not sponsored so I can’t wait to hear from you!

If you have any questions about Berlin, Germany or anywhere in Europe, don’t be shy, I’m an expert! Go ahead and ask me!

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

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

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

A win-win for all!Thanks a million!

6 Quirky Museums that you really shouldn't miss! - #bestofBerlin

Have you been to any of these quirky museums? Do you know any even wackier? Have you ever seen a real life bear?

See you in Berlin.

If you like this post or 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

Please Share it! Tweet it! Or like it!

A Short Introduction To Berlin: #bestofBerlin

Exciting times!
Exciting times!

Right people. Bristol was amazing and if you missed the last few posts, here’s a recap:

Here are the previous posts that I wrote:

  1. 10 amazing reasons why you should visit Bristol.
  2. 48 hours in Bristol – 48 things to do!
  3. Have you ever been to Bristol – Let’s eat & drink ’till the cows come home!
  4. My second glorious press trip to England. Yes, I’m going to Bristol & Bath. Yippee!

In a few weeks, I’ll tell you all about my visit to the city of Bath too but for now, it’s going to be aaaaaall about Berlin.

Yes, my sweet Berlin.

My new home-town!

Inspiring Street Art in Berlin.
Inspiring Street Art in Berlin.

I’ve been living here since for ages and it never gets old. I still feel as if I’ve only just got here ‘cos it’s fresh, it’s always on the move, and new things pop up in every corner and I’ve written about some of those things such as:

Berlin's most famous iconic meal - currywurst, chips & mayo!
Berlin’s most famous iconic meal – currywurst, chips & mayo!
Cheeky Jesus!
Cheeky Jesus!

Most importantly, because of this here blog and most importantly, living in Berlin, I’ve been getting marvellous opportunities.

Just walking down the road. Thrown into the spotlight LOL! © Pascale Scerbo Sarro
Just walking down the road. Thrown into the spotlight LOL!
© Pascale Scerbo Sarro
  • I took part in a German documentary about established British people in Berlin in which I was featured as a British expat blogger about town! The rbb (the Berlin-Brandenburg TV station)TV  documentary – Die rbb Reporter: Berlin – very british.
  • I was invited to be on the rbb (the Berlin-Brandenburg TV station) LIVE evening TV show as a sub-presenter on a panel of British experts – Die Queen in Berlin.
  • I was asked to contribute to a radio interview on Inforadio – a local radio station in Berlin. It was a radio broadcast about three (3) different types of British expats living in Berlin, of which I was one. I was also the only woman invited to participate. The production was called Briten in Berlin or Brits in Berlin. It was a seven (7) minute broadcast.
  • I was interviewed by one of Europe’s largest online newspapers – The Local in Germany – in which I was interviewed about my life in Germany and how I came to make a documentary and feature on German TV – How I explained the Queen to the Germans!
  • I did a small [VIDEO] interview as a representative of the Berlin Travel Massive Blogger Community at the ITB Berlin.
At Travel Massive - 2015.
At Travel Massive – 2015.

Did I even tell you that about a month ago, I was contacted by a lady from the very esteemed and respected high-brow newspaper – The Telegraph – Yes. Me!

I was astounded.

I was so shocked that I googled the lady who contacted me.

She was legit.

The Telegraph newspaper in the UK. ©Getty
The Telegraph newspaper in the UK.
©Getty

I’ll let you know when it’s out!

So back to Beeeeerlin!

Just because I’m a British expat, doesn’t mean that I’ve forgotten what it’s like to visit Berlin. For the very first time!

Just because I’m a British expat, doesn’t mean that I’ve forgotten what it’s like to visit Germany anew!!

Just because I’m British and England is “down the road” doesn’t mean that I don’t understand how daunting it can be if you come from countries overseas like the US, Canada, countries in Asia and even Switzerland!

Don’t ask!

It can be scary, especially if you don’t speak German.

In fact, just to prove it, I’ve been working with the VisitBerlin team and since December 4th, I’ve been going to some of my favourite places and also some new places, so that you can see for yourself.

I know that visitors would looove to spend weeks here but the reality is, a weekend is the longest that most people can manage, so next week, I’m going to write about how you can spend 48 hours in this marvellous city called Berlin.

A SHORT INTRODUCTION TO BERLIN: #bestofBerlin

The Berliner Dom at Night. © Foto: Sergej Horovitz
The Berliner Dom at Night.
© Foto: Sergej Horovitz

I’m going to make this as brief as I can as I’m in the middle of The Best of Berlin in 48 Hours campaign so I can’t actually tell you what I’ve been doing as I haven’t finished yet! In that wise, the best thing to do is just to read on and follow me anyway. Whaddya think?!

  • Get yourself over here: Pretty much every scheduled, budget and no-frills airline comes through Berlin. One day, we’re actually going to be an international hub but that’s another story….!

As of now, we have two (2) airports namely Tegel Airport in the West of Berlin and Schönefeld Airport in the East of Berlin. Tegel is my favourite as it’s fantastically small and you’re in and out in a matter of minutes and there’s also a TXL Airport Express bus! However, if you’re short on pennies then the budget / obscure-name / package holiday airlines fly into Schönefeld and there’s an Airport Express train that gets punters into the city. As of now, the airport is still small but queues are long, and seats are limited, so get ready to sit on the floor!

The Deutsche Bahn train leaving Berlin.
The Deutsche Bahn train leaving Berlin.
  • If you’re taking the train which I love, then Berlin’s main train station is called Berlin Hauptbahnhof (Berlin Hbf). Depending on whether you’re coming from Western or Eastern Europe, you can also get into the other train stations such as Berlin Südkreuz, Berlin Ostkreuz, Alexanderplatz or Berlin Zoologischer Garten.
  • If you’re taking the coach-bus, you’ll most likely come in via the Zentraler Omnibusbahnhof or ZOB and then have to use the train to get into the city. You’ll need to go to the ICC /Messe Nord train station. For more info about transport around Berlin, read my post right here. Oh, and don’t forget to buy and validate your ticket!
  • Find yourself a place to stay: I live here so I’m reluctant to recommend anywhere that I’ve not slept in myself, but if you’re a hotel establishment and want me to check out your premises, then you know where to find me!
  • If you’re a tourist or visitor, go to any respectable hotel or hostel, of which we have plenty. It’s Berlin and we’re a budget-friendly city so none of them will necessarily break the bank, and will even give you back some change for a couple more beers lol!

I mean, YOLO right!!

Drinking on the moon! © gawrifort
Perhaps not here lol! © gawrifort
  • If you’re in a small group, family or just prefer your personal space than many apartments are for rent. The Berlin government is trying to clamp down on illegal sub-letting so just to be on the safe side, make sure that the place is legit.

Thinking of legit, there is one place that I can recommend as I used it to house my brother and his kids and our young son, a few years ago! My brother is my favourite sibling and we’re extremely close so I even went to each and every apartment just to ensure that it met my expectations. They are very, very popular as children are free. Yes free! A fully functioning kitchen is also included and the bedroom-apartments are in the gentrified residential area of Prenzlauerberg! It’s called Pension Marie. It’s not a luxury apartment, and somewhat basic, but it’s right in the middle of the tourist district and did I say? If you have children, they are completely and utterly free of charge!

And there are many more like them. Do your research and if you’re happy, book weeeeeell ahead!

On the border between East & West Berlin in Germany.
On the border between East & West Berlin in Germany.
  • Think of things to do. You’re in Berlin so don’t be shy. There’s plenty to do for every age and from every walk of life. I’ll be writing all about that next week so either check out some of the posts that I’ve written above or check out the webpage of Visit Berlin. They’re great people and really helpful.
The Berlin WelcomeCard - ©Dirk Mathesius
The Berlin WelcomeCard – ©Dirk Mathesius

The Berlin WelcomeCard also includes public transport and discounts between 25 – 50% at more than 200 tourist attractions. It comes with a practical guide with an overview of all the  discounts possible, a map of Berlin and Potsdam and a plan of Berlin’s local public transport system. You can also download an App.

The Berlin WelcomeCard can also be issued and sold by the VisitBerlin shops which can be found at all six Berlin Tourist Information Offices. It can also be purchased at public transport ticket machines operated by the Underground (BVG) and mainline / urban train stations (S-Bahn), at the airports, in many hotels & hostels or simply by booking online.

The Christmas market in Osnabrück ©Osnabrück Marketing und Tourismus.
The Christmas market in Osnabrück
©Osnabrück Marketing und Tourismus.
  • Eat & drink to your heart’s content at the very lovely locally-inspired German Christmas Market. That very fine model of German traditional-ness. I always enjoy the warmth and feeling of centuries gone by!

The old blacksmith and his iron-tools and hammer, the man with a twirly moustache and in Berlin’s case – organic grilled sausage, grilled pork, salt-crusted pretzels, historic craft beer and home-made glühwein (mulled wine) tippled with a swig of Amaretto Italian liqueur or clotted cream (!) and served by a well-dressed urban hipster!

Oh yes, indeed.

An organic burger and a beer at Bread & Butter - Berlin Fashion Week

You can also read more about German food or German traditions and or the German Christmas Market and or wait for my new post next week!

That’s it for now.

You can catch up with all the places that I have been going to or am going to go to, by following me on Twitter & Facebook.

Toot! Toot!

This post is not sponsored and even though I received a complimentary Berlin WelcomeCard to try out, all the wonderful opinions about the city of Berlin are my very own!

I have so much to share with you so next week I’ll be writing about how to explore Berlin in just 48 hours.

Yippee!

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

As usual, you can also follow me via daily tweets and pictures on Twitter & FB!

If you have any questions about Berlin, don’t be shy, I’m an expert! I’m not called The British Berliner for nothing, let me know!

December is cooling down!

Watch this space!

A Short Introduction to Berlin - #bestofBerlin

Have you ever been to Berlin? What do you think of my #bestofBerlin introduction tips? Any other suggestions?

See you in Berlin.

If you like this post or 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

Please Share it! Tweet it! Or like it!