A Beginners’ Guide to the Berlinale, otherwise known as the Berlin International Film Festival 2017!

Stanley Tucci as the marvellous Director of the film - Final Portrait, at the Berlinale. ©Berlinale
Stanley Tucci as the marvellous Director of the film – Final Portrait, at the Berlinale.
©Berlinale

OMG!

I’ve told you before and I’ll probably tell you a million times over, living in Berlin is awfully fabulous!

I mean, there’s just so much to do!

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

Only a few weeks ago I was telling you all about how I could afford to travel all over Europe, and using the train no less, as well as floating through Berlin Fashion Week, rushing through windmills in Holland, and skiing in the Czech Mountains, which the official Twitter account of Visit Czech Republic, kindly retweeted and shared!

And just the other week, the Sputnik Kino put out all the stops to bring us the British Shorts Film Festival too!

Diego Luna & Maggie Gyllenhaal at the Berlinale. ©Berlinale
Diego Luna & Maggie Gyllenhaal at the Berlinale.
©Berlinale

And now, ladies and gents, the red carpet has been rolled out yet again, and Berlin has been hobnobbing with the best of the best. I mean, if it’s good enough for Richard Gere and Jonny Lee Miller of T2 Trainspotting. It’s surely good enough for you!

And why forsooth?

Because?

Because the 67th Berlin International Film Festival, otherwise known as the Berlinale, is in town!

Now for those of you interested in getting a piece of the action it’s quite easy.

WHAT IS THE BERLIN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL / BERLINALE?

My press pass at the Berlinale.
My press pass at the Berlinale.

Well, the Berlinale is simply, the world’s largest public film festival which provides an audience of interested film-goers, a city full of excitement, a diverse cultural scene, fascinating new films, and an opportunity to see, talk to, and take close-up pictures, of international stars in the movie world!

The public programme of the Berlinale shows about 400 films per year, mostly international or European premieres of every genre, length and format! Formats such as epic international cinema (Competition), independent art house (Panorama), films for a younger audience (Generation), new talent from the German film scene (Perspektive Deutsches Kino), avant-garde, experimental cinematography (Forum / Forum Expanded), weird black and white science fiction (Retrospective), film classics / rediscovered films (Berlinale Classics), cult films (Homage), and films about food (Culinary Cinema), art house cinemas within Berlin (Berlinale Goes Kiez), cinematic story-telling of Indigenous people around the world (NATIVe – A Journey into Indigenous Cinema), and short pieces (Berlinale Shorts).

Jeanne Werner. And if you look closely, I'm sitting on the right, on the row behind her! You can just about see my hands! Es war einmal in Deutschland - Bye Bye Germany. ©Berlinale
Jeanne Werner. And if you look closely, I’m sitting on the right, on the row behind her! You can just about see my hands!
Es war einmal in Deutschland – Bye Bye Germany. ©Berlinale

And with more than:

  • 335,000 sold tickets
  • 20,000 professional visitors
  • 122 countries
  • 3,800 journalists
Press hacks at the Berlinale!
Press hacks at the Berlinale!

You simply can’t go wrong!

That’s right.

From the 9th of February to the 19th February, 2017, Berlin will be packed solid with members of the film industry.

My heart swells when I know that Berlin is competing with the likes of other film festivals, in Cannes and Sundance.

Alright, not in the same category, but still. A festival to be proud of!

With more than four hundred (400) films, fifteen (15) categories sections, and more than half a million cinema visits, the Berlinale is not only an independent film festival with a difference, but also a film festival that ordinary people can actually visit.

Ordinary punters at the Berlinale. You know. People like YOU! ©Berlinale
Ordinary punters at the Berlinale. You know. People like YOU!
©Berlinale

Yes, that means YOU!

A world international festival can sometimes be daunting, so I’m going to try and make it as easy as possible so that you too can participate. If you want to!

Read my beginners’ guide and find out how!

A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO THE BERLINALE / THE

BERLIN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2017!

Punters waiting at the Berlinale Palast to see the stars. Be prepared & wrap up warmly! ©Berlinale
Punters waiting at the Berlinale Palast to see the stars. Be prepared & wrap up warmly!
©Berlinale
  • BE PREPARED: The Berlinale always takes place in February so get yourself on the mailing list of the Berlinale, so that you know when the official Berlinale programme is published.
  • USE THE INTERNET: There is a Berlinale homepage in both English and German. On the homepage is a Programme Section which also has a most valuable item called the programme planner. Use this item to search for films so that you have an idea of what you might want to see BEFORE the film festival begins.
Search for a programme at the Berlinale.
Search for a programme at the Berlinale.
  • GET THE PROGRAMME: If you’re not entirely sure what each film is about, you can either download the pdf format or if you’re in Berlin (and why wouldn’t you be!), you can pretty much find the programme brochures in every cinema forum in the city. Just help yourself!
  • USE TECHNOLOGY: Not only can you use the programme planner for your personal searches but you can also get into the 21st century and, for the first time ever, download the Apps (for Android and iOS) which links into the programme planner so that you can mark your favourite film or event at home, or on the move, and still remain up-to-date across multiple devices. The app also provides Berlinale information about festival venues, festival events and an overview of festival video broadcasts, the Opening and Closing Gala, as well as all the fun on the Red Carpet!
Relax & check my social media at the Berlinale Open House! © Berlinale
Relax & check my social media at the Berlinale Open House!
© Berlinale
  • USE SOCIAL MEDIA: The Berlinale is on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube. You can also follow my titbits and little quips here! Not only that, but around the Potsdamer Platz Arcade, WiFi is available for 2 hours per day per person, and there are other WIFI hotspots scattered around in various venues. For free!
  • MAKE A LIST: Once you have a rough idea of what you want to see, go ahead and make a list. Don’t forget to put the date, the name of the film in it’s original language and in English, the venue, and the time. Then make a second list with different films. Just in case. And a third one too!
Look at the packed crowd for the World Premier of Es war einmal in Deutschland - Bye Bye Germany. Aim to arrive early!
Look at the packed crowd for the World Premier of Es war einmal in Deutschland – Bye Bye Germany.
Aim to arrive early!
  • CHECK THE FILM TIME: People get really excited when punters finally get the film of their dream and then discover soon after, that they can’t actually watch it ‘cos they’re still at a previous showing! Just because the film states a starting time of 20:00 doesn’t actually mean that it’s going to start at 20:00! Films start late, discussions over lap. Deal with it! I find that putting films three (3) hours apart generally leaves more than enough room to manoeuvre. So, if for example, a film starts at 09:30, the next film I book is at 12:30 and not anything less! Most films tend to last between 80 and 100 minutes but you want to give yourself time for overlaps and also for getting from A to B. Berlin’s public transport system is fantastic but you still have to wade your way through the crowds to get out of the venue itself, and then go downstairs to your next train station, not to talk of wading yourself through more crowds, at the next film venue!
  • LEAVE EARLY: Doors generally open 10 minutes before the film starts, so make sure you’re in the queue at least 20 minutes before the movie begins. If it’s a popular film, give yourself 30 minutes as there is no allocated seating. First come, first served. No seat is a dud in my opinion, but if you have preferred seating, then get there early.
Get your Berlinale film tickets in person!
Get your Berlinale film tickets in person!

This means that you’re going to have to gird your loins, get all your mates together and be smart and efficient. Each individual can only buy 2 tickets per film, except for Generation (children / youth films) which you can buy 4 tickets at a time, and Culinary Cinema film screenings at 7.30 pm, which you can buy as many as you like! You can of course, cross your fingers and buy on the day if tickets are available at the box office of the cinemas themselves. Ticket counters open daily from 10:00 to 20:00, with people forming a queue from as early as 08:00!

If you don't feel up to being with the rabble, not a problem, use your fingers and go online to buy tickets at the Berlinale instead!
If you don’t feel up to being with the rabble, not a problem, use your fingers and go online to buy tickets at the Berlinale instead!
  • BUYING TICKETS ONLINE: If you don’t feel up to being with the hoi polloi, not a problem, use your fingers and go online instead! On the programme page is an online ticket icon. If you click on it, you’ll be directed to the online ticket shop but be warned, the other buyers are keen film-goers and pros. at this game. You’ll need firm fingers to keep clicking and refreshing in order to get those tickets. Or better still, allocate yourself an army of friends to help you.

You know how concert tickets sell out in 10 minutes? Yep! They use the same method. Friends! Mates! Neighbours! Everyone you know!

Grab a few friends to help you buy your Berlinale ticket!
Grab a few friends to help you buy your Berlinale ticket!

If you click on the Online Tickets icon, you will automatically be forwarded to the website of the Berlinale ticketing partner – Eventim. You’ll have to create an Eventim account with an extra processing fee of €2.00 per ticket. You can also use a major credit card and the tickets will be delivered to you either by Email, on your mobile phone, or you can simply pick the tickets up at the Online Ticket Pick-up Counter in the Potsdamer Platz Arcade shopping centre, by showing your printed confirmation and ID card.

There’s an exclusive ticket counter only for punters with Mastercard!

Berlinale ticket prices are very reasonable!
Berlinale ticket prices are very reasonable!
  • TICKET PRICES: Berlinale tickets are generally between €4.00 – €22.00! A 50% discount is available for selected last-minute tickets and of course, if you’re a student, of school age, on welfare, etc, then a 50% discount on tickets are available too.

If you register by telephone, groups of at least 5 people for Generation tickets, cost just €2.50 each!

Roll up! Roll up! Queue up & come & get your ticket! © Berlinale
Roll up! Roll up! Queue up & come & get your ticket!
© Berlinale
  • NO TICKET: If you still haven’t got the ticket you want, then go ahead and get any other film ticket instead!

The whole point of a film festival are the intriguing films that are made available. Every film has passed muster, and outside of your own personal preference, none of the films are duds. Go on live a little! If you’re still unsure, then go to the venue of your choice and either hold out a sign that you’re looking for an extra ticket, or look for individuals who might want to sell theirs. Don’t deal with touts though. If the individual looks nice enough and has 1 or 2 tickets rather than 20, and is willing to sell it at market price, or even cheaper, then go for it!

  • WATCH YOUR THROAT: After watching quite a few films, the throat does tend to take a bit of a beating as the rooms can get a bit dry, so arm yourself with water and cough drops. Take a scarf too, in case the air-con is at full blast!
A film industry and press-only conference, at the Berlinale! ©Berlinale
A film industry and press-only conference, at the Berlinale!
©Berlinale
  • PRESS: If you’re a press person, you should have been through the accreditation process and have your badge and Berlinale gift bag! Nevertheless, even press people have to organise themselves, as tickets are only made available one (1) day prior, and so I found myself checking into the Grand Hyatt Berlin on a daily basis!

At 08:00 in the morning. Eeek!

After a hard day at the Berlinale, surely I deserve a glass of champagne!
After a hard day at the Berlinale, surely I deserve a glass of champagne!

On the other hand, free water, free coffee (Ouch!) free WiFi, a press room, comfy seats and a quick means of getting all the press stuff and press tickets that you need, are provided.

Everyone has been so helpful and kind and because I’m now a pro. I’ve gotten each and every film ticket that I have wanted so far.

Thank you Berlinale Press Team!

Bing Lang Xue - The Taste of Betel Nut - A Hong Kong film at the Berlinale. ©Berlinale
Bing Lang Xue – The Taste of Betel Nut – A Hong Kong film at the Berlinale.
©Berlinale

I really don’t think so!

In my case, I aim for weird Asian films, obscure East European films, Anglo-American films with controversial topics, and films over issues that I would never usually go for ‘cos they’re just not shown at your local flick!

Menashe - The first Yiddish film to be presented at the Berlinale. Ever! © Federica Valabrega
Menashe – The first Yiddish film to be presented at the Berlinale. Ever!
© Federica Valabrega
  • STAY FOR Q&A: The beauty of an international film festival or any film festival at all, is that everyone tends to be there. You get stars such as Richard Gere, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey), Gillian Anderson (Scully), Chloë Sevigny, Kristin Scott Thomas, Jonny Lee Miller (Trainspotting), Timothy Spall, Steeve Coogan, Cillian Murphy, Sibel Kekili (Game of Thrones), Moritz Bleibtreu, Jason Issacs (Harry Potter), and Geoffrey Rush. Directors such as Stanley Tucci (The Hunger Games), Danny Boyle (Trainspotting & Slum Dog Millionaire), Gurinder Chadh (Bend it like Beckham), and other directors, producers, actors.

In fact, everyone!

Helena Bonham-Carter sat behind me at the Berlinale,and I hadn't even noticed, until she got up to go to the front of the stage!
Helena Bonham-Carter sat behind me at the Berlinale,and I hadn’t even noticed, until she got up to go to the front of the stage!

Three years ago, Helena Bonham-Carter sat behind me and I hadn’t even noticed, until she got up to go to the front of the stage!

Actors, directors and producers tend to go out to the front and apart from staring at them really closely, you can ask them questions about their films or their thoughts, surrounding that film. And being that this is Berlin, everyone’s really chilled and not freaking out, or going crazy!

Not inside the cinema theatre in any case.

George Clooney © Berlinale
George Clooney
© Berlinale

If there’s a hottie on the red carpet like George Clooney, Jonny Lee Miller or Richard Gere, all that flies out of the window, and people start screaming!

I mean, it sometimes goes insane.

Richard Gere at the Berlinale. Everyone went crazy! ©Berlinale
Richard Gere at the Berlinale. Everyone went crazy!
©Berlinale

The actors are always calm, professional and charming (especially George & Richard. We’re on first name basis now of course..!) but the audience just lose themselves with star-lust, over-whelmingness, or the fact that film premier tickets can sell out surprisingly quickly, and not be found for love or money. If you didn’t know somebody, who knew somebody, who knew somebody, way up there, chances were, you wouldn’t get a look in!

The atmosphere once you get indoors, really is comforting and quite frankly, it’s nice.

Practically every member of the T2 Trainspotting cast got mobbed at the Berlinale. Even Ewen Bremner - Spud! ©Berlinale
Practically every member of the T2 Trainspotting cast got mobbed at the Berlinale. Even Ewen Bremner – Spud!
©Berlinale

And all for the price of a cinema ticket.

Less in some cases!

  • MAKE FRIENDS: Chat to the person next to you. Find your friends and partners and go for a well deserved late night drink!
Make Friends at the Berlinale! ©Berlinale
Make Friends at the Berlinale!
©Berlinale
  • TAKE ACTION: Now that you know what to do, go ahead and get yourself a film ticket and do it all over again the next day!

See you at the Berlinale!

A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO THE BERLINALE / THE

BERLIN INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL 2017!

Laura Hajek & the hilarious Steve Coogan at the Berlinale. ©Berlinale
Laura Hajek & the hilarious Steve Coogan at the Berlinale.
©Berlinale

This article is not sponsored and even though I received press tickets, all opinions and the excellent festival films that I chose, are my very, very own!

It’s February!

I have so much to share with you.

Next week, I’ll be reviewing the films that I saw at the Berlinale.

February is enjoyably rushed!

Catch me if you can!

Please also note that there is now a Booking.com affiliate link (for the very first time) connected to a few hotels. Please consider using the link, because 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!

Thanks a million!

A Beginners' Guide to the Berlinale, otherwise known as the Berlin International Film Festival 2017!
A Beginners’ Guide to the Berlinale, otherwise known as the Berlin International Film Festival 2017!

Have you ever been to a film festival? What actor would you like to see in real life? Let me know!

See you in Berlin.

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

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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Food in Germany: 10 delicious best German meals to try out in Berlin – Because German food isn’t as rustic as you think!

Hello from Germany!
Hello from Germany!

Omigosh!

What a week!

Last week, I reiterated over the #InterestingTimes that 2016 has produced, not knowing that just a day later, we too would have a fatal terrorist action that occurred on our very own doorstep, of my beloved Berlin.

An angel at the Sony Centre Christmas, in Berlin! ©Birgit Kaulfuss
An angel at the Sony Centre Christmas, in Berlin!
©Birgit Kaulfuss

In one of the most culturally vibrant German activities – the Christmas Market!

The Christmas Market in Germany, isn’t just any old market.

The German Christmas Market is a way in which we can socialise with our American friends in Berlin!
The German Christmas Market is a way in which we can socialize with our American friends in Berlin!

Oh dear me no!

The German Christmas Market is a way in which people can socialize with their friends, hang out, and just have a fine old time.

The Christmas Markets isn’t Disneyland or some sort of recreational park, it’s a German tradition of browsing at skilled crafts, shopping, eating traditional German Christmas streetfood, and drinking to the heath of one and all, with hot mulled wine, otherwise known as Glühwein. And for those with a far stronger alcoholic tendency than my own, trying out the “Feuerzangenbowle.”

Trying out the Feuerzangenbowle. Again!
Trying out the Feuerzangenbowle. Again!

It can reduce a grown man to tears if care is not taken…!

And then the attack.

The Christmas Market around the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church (the Gedächtniskirche) at Breitscheidplatz. In Berlin © Jens Kalaene - picture alliance dpa.
The Christmas Market around the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church (the Gedächtniskirche) at Breitscheidplatz. In Berlin
© Jens Kalaene – picture alliance dpa.

We were all so shocked at the carnage and death at the very popular Christmas Market around the Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church (the Gedächtniskirche) at Breitscheidplatz in Berlin, where the attack took place in the photograph above.

It’s a Christmas Market with more than 100 beautifully decorated market stands and Christmas booths, 70 fairground rides, and lots of  German and Austrian delicacies, not far from the High Street, the zoo, and the aquarium.

We cried, and we talked about what to do next.

And let me tell you what the next step is.

Get up, brush down, wipe away the tears, keep calm, and Carry On with things!
Get up, brush down, wipe away the tears, keep calm, and Carry On with things!

The next step is to get up, brush down, wipe away the tears, keep calm, and Carry On with things!

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

Berlin is the safest West European city that you can ever hope to find.

Germany is open for business, and always will be.

But if you have any concerns about safety, feel free to contact me. I live here. I’m on the ground!

And so, my post this week after much reflection, and because I tossed and turned as to what to write this week, and I have a family…. this post is on:

FOOD IN GERMANY: 10 DELICIOUS BEST MEALS TO TRY OUT IN BERLIN – BECAUSE GERMAN FOOD ISN’T AS RUSTIC AS YOU THINK!

Here we go:

German stodge, such as Mutzen, otherwise known as a German fried doughnut!
German stodge, such as Mutzen, otherwise known as a German fried doughnut!

1.  When people think of German food, you can’t blame them when their impressions tend to lay on the stodgy side of things such as the Mutzen, otherwise known as a German fried doughnut, above!

Not very exciting!

And greasy!

However living in Germany has shown me that of course, German food does lie a little on the heavy side, since it was originally designed for working class peasants, but you know, the modern-day German isn’t a peasant!

Well, not all of them…

Savoury German food such as croquettes, green beans, brussel sprouts, rich venison and home-made gravy! Oh my!
Savoury German food such as croquettes, green beans, brussel sprouts, rich venison and home-made gravy! Oh my!

So you can get lovely food such as croquettes, green beans, brussel sprouts, rich venison and home-made gravy! Oh my!

2.  In fact most Germans are intelligent, tolerant, internationally minded, and open to different life experiences, and that is reflected in the food. In fact, in Berlin where I live, you’d be hard-pressed to find “real” German food!

A most delicious Bosso Spätzle! How to eat cheaply in Luxembourg!
A most delicious Bosso Spätzle!
How to eat cheaply in Luxembourg!

Austrian food. Yes.

Berlin food. Oh yes!

But German food. Eeeh! Umm!

Not quite.

“Typical” German food has a hard, long reputation of being rather stodgy and boring. Pretty much like British food actually! So let’s see what we can find, because our Christmas Eve dinner above, reminded me that food in Germany can be pretty awesome.

If you know where to look!

3.  For those of you who don’t know, the most popular meal in Berlin is not the sausage.

That very famous, most popular, Berlin speciality: The Döner Kebap!
That very famous, most popular, Berlin speciality: The Döner Kebap!

Nope! No sire!

It’s the Döner Kebap!

The kebab is made from small cuts of lamb or chicken meat which is grilled on a spit and then sliced. These slices are put into a Turkish-like loaf of bread with added raw white and red cabbage, slices of onions, tomatoes and cucumbers, and smothered with either garlic sauce, a sort of Turkish-mint sauce, spicy pepper-tomato sauce, or all of the above. The Döner Kebap can be found all over Germany and in pretty much every food corner in Berlin. Yum!

4.  ‘Remember when I said that German food is more than stodge.

Because vegetables...!
Because vegetables…!

It’s true you know, so let’s talk vegetables!

The thing that Germans all rave about is…

Wait for it…

Asparagus!!!
Asparagus!!!

Asparagus!

I know!!

White asparagus, otherwise known as Spargel!
White asparagus, otherwise known as Spargel!

Asparagus, especially white asparagus, otherwise known as Spargel, is a popular summer dish especially in season. It’s a pretty short one of just two (2) months, so we all run around, looking for the nearest farmers market so that you can get can the freshest produce possible.

Luckily for us, we have two (2) farmers markets in my neighbourhood, and one of them is less than one (1) minute away from my house!

5.  Breakfast in Germany is very different from breakfast in Britain.

In Germany, the breakfast tends to be “continental” in style.

And the best breakfast of all is a home-made one made by the very loving hands of a German grandmother!

A most delicious breakfast spread you can expect, in a typical German home!
A most delicious breakfast spread you can expect, in a typical German home!

We had a variety of cold cuts, slices of cheese, slices of ham, freshly cut paté or leberwurst, seasonal fruit, salmon, jam, butter, creams, and sauces, German condiments,  pickles, boiled eggs, a basket of crunchy bread, fruit juice, yoghurt, tea, coffee, and some seafood!

6.  Speaking of seafood.

Magnificent grilled fish over saute vegetables, covered in tomato and a cheese sauce, sprinkled with edible flowers! ©The Music Producer - Frank Böster
Magnificent grilled fish over saute vegetables, covered in tomato and a cheese sauce, sprinkled with edible flowers!
©The Music Producer – Frank Böster

Ha!

Where should I start!

This year, we spent some considerable time on both the German Baltic Sea and the German Northern Sea!

I say old boy! That’s quite a feat.

What!?!

My fish bun (Fischbrötchen) made with pickled or Bismarck herring served on kitchen foil in a bread bun (brötchen) with pickles, lettuce and huge slices of fresh raw onions!
My fish bun (Fischbrötchen) made with pickled or Bismarck herring served on kitchen foil in a bread bun (brötchen) with pickles, lettuce and huge slices of fresh raw onions!

There were lots and lots of possibilities to eat some sort of seafood. In fact, all sorts of seafood. I mean, OMG!

7.  Ah yes. Meatballs!

Are they burgers. Or meatballs!
Are they burgers. Or meatballs!

Some might even go as far as to call them burgers!

In Germany, they’re called different things. In Berlin, these German meatballs are huge pan-fried minced balls of beef, pork, or lamb and are known as Boulette.

In fact, so much so that when I first came to Germany, I didn’t know what they were, so I didn’t eat ’em! Imagine my shock when I discovered that they were actually meatballs!

I wasted two years not eating them!!

A Berlin lunch of Frikadellen, Fleischkühle, Fleischpflanzerl or Königsberger Klopse!
A Berlin lunch of Frikadellen, Fleischkühle, Fleischpflanzerl or Königsberger Klopse!

In other parts of Germany they are smaller and known as Frikadellen, Fleischkühle, Fleischpflanzerl or Königsberger Klopse!

They are not normally eaten with a tomato sauce but with bread! As you can see above, these meatballs were small, topped with apple mousse, accompanied by sliced brown bread sprinkled over with tomato, salmon, and mustard & cress, or sliced brown bread topped with cream cheese, sliced radishes, with more mustard & cress.

In fact they were quite delightful, so I scoffed the lot!

8.  Yummy in my tummy, heavenly, tasty dessert!

A frightfully enticing profiterole, choux à la crème, a cream puff or simply in Germany, a windbeutel!
A frightfully enticing profiterole, choux à la crème, a cream puff or simply in Germany, a windbeutel!

Scrummy desserts can be found all over Germany, as the cake shops are lovely.

Now I wish that I had taken a photograph of my cream puff before I actually pounced on it, but there it is!

The profiterole, choux à la crème, cream puff, otherwise known as a windbeutel in Germany, is a filled choux pastry ball with a typically sweet and moist filling of whipped cream, custard, or pastry cream. The puffs are sometimes garnished with chocolate sauce, caramel, or a dusting of powdered sugar, or simply left plain.

Mine had castor sugar, which I promptly licked off!

The most popular dessert in Berlin however, is the doughnut, otherwise known as a Berliner! And can be quite a classy affair if taken with champagne!
The most popular dessert in Berlin however, is the doughnut, otherwise known as a Berliner! And can be quite a classy affair if taken with champagne!

The most popular dessert in Berlin however, is the doughnut, otherwise known as a Pfannkuchen or a Berliner!

It’s usually filled with plum or strawberry jam, but doesn’t have a hole in it, or sprinkles…! In fact, during our wedding, our pre-lunch snack was the Berlin doughnut, otherwise known as a Berliner, with croissants, orange juice and glasses of champagne!

Cool or what!

9.  Since it’s that time of year, let’s throw in gingerbread and Stollen.

Let's throw in Gingerbread and Stollen for good measure!
Let’s throw in Gingerbread and Stollen for good measure!

I’ll tell you a secret, I don’t actually like German gingerbread, and I can’t eat the Stollen ‘cos of my allergies!

Are you shocked!

I love gingerbread men if I make it myself!
I love gingerbread men if I make it myself!

I do love gingerbread men though. The kind for children, and home-made, and that’s about it!

10.  Finally, I’m not going to leave this post without talking about street food.

A Swedish sausage made from venison, otherwise known as Hirsch!
A Swedish sausage made from venison, otherwise known as Hirsch!

The very highlight of a typical German day is the sausage.

The sausage above was served with thin slices of bread, and a venison light brown sauce. Quite yummy!

Alrighty!

All hail the almighty S!

Germany has loads of different sausages and each comes with its own unique taste.

White sausages. I've tried it every which way, but I still don't like it! ©TakeAway - Wikipedia
White sausages. I’ve tried it every which way, but I still don’t like it!
©TakeAway – Wikipedia

I find the white sausage with sweet mustard or Weißwürst quite disgusting personally, even though I’ve tried it every which way.

Ah well!

Delicious grilled pork sausages, otherwise known as bratwurst. Yum!
Delicious grilled pork sausages, otherwise known as bratwurst. Yum!

The grilled pork sausages with mustard, ketchup or both, otherwise known as Bratwurst can be decisively delicious.

My favourite German sausage however, is the currywurst. The currywurst is Berlin’s most famous sausage.

Currywurst and chips slathered with tomato ketchup, curry powder, and sometimes mayo!
Currywurst and chips slathered with tomato ketchup, curry powder, and sometimes mayo!

Currywurst!

Currywurst is beef or pork sausage grilled and chopped up, then smothered with a spicy ketchup and curry powder. It’s eaten with a pile of chips and a slice of bread or a bun. It’s such a famous icon that it even has its own Currywurst Museum where you can learn how currywurst is made, smell it, watch a film about it, attempt to sell it, and play around with the french fries and chips. You can sometimes even have chocolate and curry ice-cream!

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

Currywurst can usually only be found in Berlin everywhere you look. My two favourite places however, are the 1930’s East Berlin historical establishment called Konnopke’s Imbiß in my own area of Prenzlauerberg, and the 1980’s West Berlin trendy establishment Curry 36, in my old neighbourhood of Kreuzberg!

p.s. They speak English in both places so no worries if you don’t speak German!

That’s it from me.

See you next year!

Please also note that there is now a Booking.com affiliate link (for the very first time) connected to a few hotels. Please consider using the link, because 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!

Thanks a million!

FOOD IN GERMANY: 10 DELICIOUS BEST MEALS TO TRY OUT IN BERLIN – BECAUSE GERMAN FOOD ISN’T AS RUSTIC AS YOU THINK!

Tasty German Bavarian pretzels!
Tasty German Bavarian pretzels!

This article is not sponsored, and the exciting food experience that I’ve always had, is my very own!

In January I’ll be making an announcement that will either having me jumping up and down like a Jack-in-the-Box, or crying over my hot cocoa! Find out in January!

The British Shorts Film Festival will take place from 12th – 18th January, 2017

Berlin Fashion Week will take place from 17th –  20th January, 2017.

At the beginning of  January, I’ll be going to Holland, and at the end of it, I’ll be skiing in my favourite place, Rokytnice nad Jizerou, in the Czech Republic!

January is December is going to be full of excitment!

Have a great festive season, and a stunning New Year!

Food in Germany: 10 delicious best German meals to try out in Berlin - Because German food isn't as rustic as you think!
Food in Germany: 10 delicious best German meals to try out in Berlin – Because German food isn’t as rustic as you think!

Do you like German food? Is a German meatball a burger, or just a huge meatball? 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

Visiting Bremen: 4 musicians, a sailing boat, and a German grandfather!

The Musicians of Bremen. In Bremen!
The Musicians of Bremen. In Bremen!

Wow!

It’s been a long interesting year!

And most of it has centered around Europe!

It started with the shocking disaster of Brexit, terrorism in both Belgium and France, devastating earthquakes in Italy, and ending not only with the horrifying news that Donald Trump, is to be the next president of the United States, but a fatal terrorist action that occured on our very own doorstep of my beloved Berlin. In one of the most culturally vibrant German activities – the Christmas Market.

You really couldn’t make it up!

Street Art everywhere in Berlin!
Street Art everywhere in Berlin!

But have no fear.

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

The Christmas Markets, and everything else is open for business, but if you have any concerns about safety, feel free to contact me. I live here. I’m on the ground!

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

But it hasn’t all been bad. In fact, I had a fabulous summer which I planned and organised. You know the one, Victoria’s Summer European Challenge Campaign, in which I went to a different European country, throughout the summer.

Every weekend!

And travelled to these countries by train!

Well, it was certainly a challenge, but also soooo much fun!

This was where I went:

DENMARK:

Er. Not spending money in Copenhagen Mr. Hans Christian Anderson. What's that now? Surely not! How to visit Copenhagen on a budget. Even though I missed my last connection. Again!
Er. Not spending money in Copenhagen Mr. Hans Christian Anderson. What’s that now? Surely not!
How to visit Copenhagen on a budget. Even though I missed my last connection. Again!

SWITZERLAND:

Why you should visit Switzerland, and eat cheese!
Why you should visit Switzerland, and eat cheese!

LUXEMBOURG:

A delightful Poulade Auflauf! How to eat cheaply in Luxembourg!
A delightful Poulade Auflauf!
How to eat cheaply in Luxembourg!

SLOVAKIA:

Take photographs and wander at will! Go on a walking tour in the Old Town. Should you visit Bratislava, or stay at home and not bother!
Take photographs and wander at will!
Go on a walking tour in the Old Town.
Should you visit Bratislava, or stay at home and not bother!

GERMANY:

Germany - my adopted country!
Germany – my adopted country!

I always plan to spend a bit more time in other parts of my adoptive country, but I usually never make it. This time I did!

I wanted to go the seaside, and parts of Northern Germany. Here’s where I went:

OSNABRÜCK:

The Music Producer and "The Tall Young Gentleman" in beautiful Osnabrück, Germany.
The Music Producer and “The Tall Young Gentleman” in beautiful Osnabrück, Germany.

Osnabrück is where my husband comes from. Here’s what I wrote about it last year:

USEDOM:

Take me to the Baltic Sea in Geeeeermany! 51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany! ©Usedom Tourismus GmbH
Take me to the Baltic Sea in Geeeeermany!
51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany! ©Usedom Tourismus GmbH

And then I went to Bremen, but didn’t get around to writing about it ‘cos very soon after, I went to the Philippines and to a secret location, which I later revealed to be Taiwan. So here it is!

BREMEN

Bremen - a Hanseatic city in northwestern Germany, otherwise known as the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen!
Bremen – a Hanseatic city in northwestern Germany, otherwise known as the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen!

Bremen is a Hanseatic city in northwestern Germany, otherwise known as the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen!

It’s a commercial – industrial city, with a major port on the River Weser.

Bremen is part of the Bremen/Oldenburg Metropolitan Region and is, with 2.4 million people, the second most populous city in Northern Germany!

Bremen is a major cultural hub and home to historical galleries and museums, ranging from historical sculptures to major art museums.

I just couldn’t believe that the animal statues that were dotted all over the city, were the animals in the old Grimm folk story – The Musicians of Bremen!
I just couldn’t believe that the animal statues that were dotted all over the city, were the animals in the old Grimm folk story – The Musicians of Bremen!

I’ve been to Bremen a few times, but I remember the very first time that I visited. I just couldn’t believe that the animal statues that were dotted all over the city, were the animals in the old Grimm folk story – The Musicians of Bremen!

You can imagine how I felt when a German client of mine, told me that he came from Hamelin.

I burst into splutters of laughter!

The Pied Piper of Hamelin ©anastaciarts
The Pied Piper of Hamelin ©anastaciarts

I soon hung  my head in shame when I discovered that not only was Hamelin a real town in Germany, but that also, the fairy tale legend of The Pied Piper of Hamelin actually existed, and is based on a true real event….!

Oops!

Anyhoo, the German grandparents of “The Tall Young Gentleman” live in a small North German town called Achim, about 16 kms from Bremen, in the valley of the river Weser.

Achim was first mentioned in 1091, as Arahem!

The St. Lawrence Church in Achim upon Weser. ©Jürgen Howaldt
The St. Lawrence Church in Achim upon Weser.
©Jürgen Howaldt

I love spending time with the grandparents as it’s lovely and quiet, and so, you know, quite German!

On this visit, I wanted to discover some more of Bremen, and also go sailing, as grandfather is a bit of an old sailor, and has many tales of times gone by.

In many people’s mind, the image of a grandfather is of an old man, sitting by the fireside, a pipe or cigar in hand, slippers on his feet, port in his hand, and huddled beside the fireside.

Grandfather & "The Tall Young Gentleman"
Grandfather & “The Tall Young Gentleman”

Grandfather is nothing like that!

He teaches at the local university, he does volunteer work transporting “the elderly,” did engineering projects in Indonesia, is an ex-army officer, and sails!

A most delicious breakfast spread you can expect, in a typical German home! Thank you Grandmother!
A most delicious breakfast spread you can expect, in a typical German home! Thank you Grandmother!
A most tempting breakfast spread of cold cuts.
A most tempting breakfast spread of cold cuts.
Fresh apricots and peaches!
Fresh apricots and peaches!
A mouth-watering platter of cheeses!
A mouth-watering platter of cheeses!
A healthy, but fun, morning egg!
A healthy, but fun, morning egg!

This is the type of breakfast spread you can expect in a typical German home! Thank you so much Grandmother!

SAILING IN MARDORF

"The Tall Young Gentleman" taking to the sails in Mardorf.
“The Tall Young Gentleman” taking to the sails in Mardorf.

Mardorf is a district of Neustadt am Rübenberge based in the Hannover Region of Lower Saxony. It’s located on the northern shore of the Steinhuder Lake and within the Steinhuder Meer Nature Park!

The seaside village of Mardorf ©fotocommunity
The seaside village of Mardorf ©fotocommunity

Mardorf means “village by the sea” and in 1171, was first mentioned as “Meredorpe.” It’s a small 850 year old seaside village community of just 2,000 people that is really nice and friendly, surrounded by half-timbered houses, oak trees, farmland, and a 6 km long lakeside path used for walking, cycling, and hiking!

The grandparents have been sailing from there into Hannover and Hamburg, for decades, and this time, I chose to go with them!

Grandfather and "The Tall Young Gentleman" preparing to sail in Mardorf.
Grandfather and “The Tall Young Gentleman” preparing to sail in Mardorf.
On the pier in Mardorf.
On the pier in Mardorf.
Off to the open sea!
Off to the open sea!
Off to the open sea!
Off to the open sea!

We had a bit of problem with the engine, so we had to make do with the tiller in the stern instead!

"The Tall Young Gentleman" looking displeased in Mardorf!
“The Tall Young Gentleman” looking displeased in Mardorf!
Grandfather keeping a watch over things in Mardorf.
Grandfather keeping a watch over things in Mardorf.
Grandfather and "The Tall Young Gentleman" sailing in Mardorf.
Grandfather and “The Tall Young Gentleman” sailing in Mardorf.

This is how things are done on the Steinhuder Lake.

Sailing in Mardorf.
Sailing in Mardorf.
Sailing in Mardorf.
Sailing in Mardorf.
Sailing in Mardorf.
Sailing in Mardorf.

Such a summer feeling!

Sailing in Mardorf.
Sailing in Mardorf.
Myself on the boat in Marsdorf!
Myself on the boat in Marsdorf!
"The Tall Young Gentleman" taking to the sea in Mardorf.
“The Tall Young Gentleman” taking to the sea in Mardorf.

And soon it was time to return to Achim.

Grandfather and "The Tall Young Gentleman" sailing in Mardorf.
Grandfather and “The Tall Young Gentleman” sailing in Mardorf.

He won’t admit it, but I think “The Tall Young Gentleman” had a good time!

Wow! "The Tall Young Gentleman" is a handsome chap, even if I say so myself!
Wow! “The Tall Young Gentleman” is a handsome chap, even if I say so myself!

The next day, we went to the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen!

THE FREE HANSEATIC CITY OF BREMEN!

Myself wit the famous Musicians of Bremen!
Myself with the famous Musicians of Bremen!

Bremen is a major cultural and economic hub in the northern regions of Germany, and also home to historical galleries and museums, ranging from historical sculptures to major art museums. In fact, in many parts of the old town, you stumble upon statue after statue! Even though historically, Bremen was known as a working class fishing port, many important manufacturers based their headquarters in the city!

The Focke Museum © Sigrid Sternebeck
The Focke Museum © Sigrid Sternebeck
Ouside the Focke Museum!
Ouside the Focke Museum!

We had a very nice time at the Focke Museum, otherwise known as the museum of history and the history of art, for the city and state of Bremen. In fact, this museum was formed in 1924 by the merger of the museum of industry and commerce and the previous historical museum, and named after Johann Focke, a Bremen privy councillor.

It’s absolutely huge! We spent about 2 hours there, and we didn’t even go to the outside buildings! We only went into the historical rescue boat, where we met an older German who spent his younger years living in England!

Letting us press the buttons of the rescue boat Seenotkreuzer Paul Denker at the Focke Museum was fun! ©Sigrid Sternebeck
Letting us press the buttons of the rescue boat Seenotkreuzer Paul Denker at the Focke Museum was fun!
©Sigrid Sternebeck

He was very pleased to spend a nostalgic afternoon talking about sailing, letting us press all the buttons, and speaking in English lol!

Then we went into various parts of the Old Town. Bremen was undergoing preservation construction work, so it was a little difficult to get decent pictures, but I tried my best!

In many parts of the old town of Bremen, you stumble upon statue after statue!
In many parts of the old town of Bremen, you stumble upon statue after statue!
In many parts of the old town of Bremen, you stumble upon statue after statue!
In many parts of the old town of Bremen, you stumble upon statue after statue!
In many parts of the old town of Bremen, you stumble upon statue after statue!
In many parts of the old town of Bremen, you stumble upon statue after statue!
In many parts of the old town of Bremen, you stumble upon statue after statue!
In many parts of the old town of Bremen, you stumble upon statue after statue!

Statues and sculptures can be found all over the city.

The Statue of Roland in Bremen!
The Statue of Roland in Bremen!

The most famous statue of them all, is the Statue of Roland, erected in 1404! Roland can be found in the market square facing the cathedral. Roland, was a paladin, otherwise known as one of the Twelve Peers, a warrior of the first Roman Emperor Charlemagne, and hero of the Battle of Roncevaux Pass.

Roland is also considered to be the protector of the city of Bremen. Legend has it that Bremen will always remain a free and independent state, as long as Lord Roland stands watch over the city. And just like the ravens in the Tower of London, the legend is taken very seriously such that a second statue of Roland is kept hidden.

Just in case!

One of the highlights of Bremen is Schnoor!
One of the highlights of Bremen is Schnoor!

One of the highlights of Bremen is Schnoor!

We bought ice-cream in the medieval centre of Schnoor!
We bought ice-cream in the medieval centre of Schnoor!

Schnoor is in one of the most famous neighbourhoods in the medieval centre of the city of Bremen, and the only part that remains medieval in character! Schnoor owes its name to old handicrafts associated with shipping as the narrow alleyways between houses, were often associated with occupations or objects. For example Schnoor (String) was so-called, because the area was known for producing ropes, cables, and of course string!

One of the oldest houses in Schnoor!
One of the oldest houses in Schnoor!

The oldest houses today date back to the 15th century, with most, from the 17th and 18th centuries. Famous  for being extremely narrow, Schnoor became one of the poorest parts of Bremen. Luckily, many of the houses are now being preserved and restored.

One of the highlights of Bremen is Schnoor!
One of the highlights of Bremen is Schnoor!

We went to Bremen in the height of summer and there were street entertainers galore. One chap was even giving away a new brand of Bremen’s most famous beer – Becks. For free!

This street performer was very entertaining!
This street performer was very entertaining!

We only had an afternoon to spend in Bremen, but surely, we’ll be back!

I love living in the big city of cosmopolitan Berlin, but sometimes it’s rather nice to visit the grandparents, eat feasts of German food, go sailing, and just hang out!

Thank you so much Grandmother and Grandfather Genschow!

Please also note that there is now a Booking.com affiliate link (for the very first time) connected to a few hotels. Please consider using the link, because 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!

Thanks a million!

VISITING BREMEN: 4 MUSICIANS, A SAILING BOAT, AND A GERMAN GRANDFATHER!

Grandfather & "The Tall Young Gentleman"
Grandfather & “The Tall Young Gentleman”

This article is not sponsored, and the Mardorf sailing experience, is my very own!

In January, I’ll be going to Holland.

The British Shorts Film Festival will take place from 12th – 18th January, 2017

Berlin Fashion Week will take place from 17th –  20th January, 2017.

At the end of January, I’ll be skiing in my favourite place, Rokytnice nad Jizerou, in the Czech Republic!

December is going to be filled with stuffing!

Have a great festive season, and an amazing Christmas!

Visiting Bremen: 4 musicians, a sailing boat, and a German grandfather!
Visiting Bremen: 4 musicians, a sailing boat, and a German grandfather!

Have you ever been to Bremen? Would you go sailing in Germany? 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