Best of Eastern Europe. And that’s official!

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

So apparently, you really didn’t like my previous post.

On Romania.

I won’t apologise for it!

When coming to The British Berliner, you expect a clear description of the places that I travel to, and my thoughts.

And that is exactly what I gave you!

I thought I made it crystal clear that my post, wasn’t about the Romanian people, who were perfectly alright. Nice and friendly.

It was about Romania – the country.

I said it didn’t tickle my fancy!

I stated that I simply wasn’t overwhelmed.

Or fascinated.

And sad to say.

I wasn’t even impressed.

I’m yet to find when it ever became a crime to like everywhere.

You just can’t!

And I’m a weird one ‘cos I didn’t like the following countries either:

Slovakia.

Singapore.

South Africa.

And.

The Dominican Republic.

I’m weird. I don’t like tropical beaches!

I don’t even like tropical beach destinations!

It just really isn’t my thing!

I know!

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

Although I’ve had my share of the habitual sun-kissed photograph

I’m a happy to spend a day or two.

But certainly, not more!

I love mountains!

Mountains and valleys are more my thing you see…

Myself with ski leaders in Rokytnice nad Jizerou – Czech Republic

Hence the skiing!

But I wouldn’t say No to a water destination!
I’m not really a beach person as I prefer mountains and rivers or beach destinations that have more than the sea to recommend them! Me at the Grotto in the Algarve!

But I wouldn’t say No to the water.

But only the water mind.

Without the beach thingy.

Because, I really don’t like hot-weather beaches!

Should I be British or European? Can’t I be both!

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

I will write about the rest of my trip to Romania.

Very soon!

If you’re here for the first time, join in the fun.

I know I will!

However, before we start, you might notice a tiny change on the blog. If you’re a new reader, you’ll see a Mail Chimp subscription pop-up, a cookie pop-up and updated information about the EU Privacy Policy or the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Eek!

There’s nothing to fear. As always, you’ll never receive any spam or weird emails from me, and you can unsubscribe without fear or favour absolutely any time you want to.

Phew!

So just so that we’re all perfectly clear, here’s the best of Eastern Europe!

TRAVEL THROUGH EUROPE!

Having a hotdog and beer, on a rainy day in Vienna, is more exciting than you think!

I live in Berlin.

In Germany.

And I travel a lot.

I do so because most of Europe is pretty much just around the corner, and because I can.

In fact, last year, I went to:

I was having a fine time flying all over Europe, thank you very much!
  • Holland
  • The Czech Republic
  • Austria
  • Croatia
  • Slovenia
  • Sweden
  • England – twice!
  • Germany

This year, I started a new job so travel has been a little erratic and this blog has been a mess, ‘cos I’ve been living in hotels for the past 6 weeks, and the wi-fi has been absolutely horrendous.

Horrendous!!!

And coupled with early morning commuting at 03.15 in the morning in some places, let’s just say that Uber has been a godsend!

However, things have settled down, and I’m now on track.

Traditional Bergische waffles or Belgian waffles! 9 traditional things to eat & drink in Belgium. With mussels!

I’ve already been to

  • Belgium
  • Romania
  • Germany

And in the summer, I’ll be travelling to:

I love seafood and Sweden has a lot of it!
  • Sweden
  • Estonia
  • Latvia

And at the end of the year, I’ll be travelling to:

India
  • The Czech Republic
  • India!

Yay!

I very much enjoy travelling to Eastern Europe!

I’ve been going to the region for more than twenty (20) years, but judging by some of the comments that I get, some people think that I spent just 24 hours, and that I’ve only just passed through!

Some readers think I haven’t the slightest clue.

And some readers even think that like Queen Elizabeth I, I might actually be male!

So in no particular order, but just to whet your appetite, here’s where I consider, the best of Eastern Europe!

BEST OF EASTERN EUROPE. AND THAT’S OFFICIAL!

Croatian beer & Croatian coffee – Croatia – a basic guide to food!

Some people are confused as to what constitutes Eastern Europe, and I regularly get comments from the people who live there and complain that they don’t actually live in Eastern Europe, but Eastern – Central Europe, Central Europe, South-East Europe, and even as so far as to desribe themselves as Northern Europe, and the like!

But for simplicity’s sake, and because I have a BSc. (Hons.) Political Science, and two Master Degrees, I do actually know what I’m talking about so…

Eastern Europe is the Eastern part of the European continent!

Experts say that Eastern Europe is the region that historically has Greek, Byzantine, Eastern Orthodox, Russian, and Ottoman cultural influences.

Others say that Eastern Europe is the region that was created during the Cold War, are the former communist European states outside the Soviet Union, and are (including East Germany, and East Berlin, where I live) otherwise known as the Eastern Bloc!

POLAND:

Jesus in Warsaw.

THE CZECH REPUBLIC:

Myself as lovely as Prague!

SLOVENIA:

At Ljubljana Castle – A 5 minute introduction to Slovenia!

CROATIA:

Croatian food is most delicious!

LATVIA:

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

HUNGARY:

My Hungarian goulash soup. Absolutely free of charge!

ESTONIA:

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

LITHUANIA:

Lithuanian soup.

SLOVAKIA:

BEST OF EASTERN EUROPE. AND THAT’S OFFICIAL!

Best of Eastern Europe. And that’s official!

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

Next week, the Romanian places that I did like!

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

Stay tuned.

Yay!

That’s it for now.

See you next week!

The symbol of the former Communist European states outside the Soviet Union – The Eastern Bloc!

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!

Best of Eastern Europe. And that’s official!

Have you ever been to Eastern Europe? Let me know in your comments below!

See you in Berlin.

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

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

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4 Days in Prague – 40 Things to Do!

Just below the Astronimical Clock in Prague.

Prague never gets old for me and why should it?

It’s not New York. It’s not Paris. It’s Prague. In the East but with a blend of the West.

Speaking of the East. The refugee situation in Hungary and other European countries is an international crisis and a bloody mess. We need to think of humanity and compassion. It would be irresponsible of us all to just look away and leave these vulnerable people to sleep in the streets and huddle under bridges. Every little bit helps.

They need our help. #Refugeesarewelcome
They need our help.
#Refugeesarewelcome.

In that wise, I’m utterly pleased that in my adopted country ordinary people and individual federal states are trying to help and sending a message that #refugeesarewelcome.

Thank you Germany.

Up the hill in Prague – Prague City Tourism.

Back to Prague.

The Heart of Europe. The City of 100 Spires. The Golden City, etc. These descriptions are just some of the nicknames that Prague has acquired over the ages, but one thing remains constant – Prague is truly one of the world’s most unique cities with beauty, interesting food and brilliant alcohol!

So what to do in a city that has everything your heart can so desire?

Trdelník in the Czech Republic but also known as Kürtőskalács in Hungary!
Trdelník in the Czech Republic but also known as Kürtőskalács in Hungary!

In that wise, here are forty (40) tips to guide you on what to do and where to go.

This is what we did. Are you ready?

  • The first thing you have to do is to go to the Old Town Square (Staromeska), enjoy it’s beauty and grandeur of the 12th century and have a drink or two. We went in the summer and it was so burning hot that the town had organised the spraying of soapy water in the Square. It was a lot of fun LOL!
  • Next, check out Prague’s most famous 15th century Astronomical Clock. Enjoy the view but keep a tight hold of your pocket as the Square tends to get tightly packed.
Franz Kafka.
Franz Kafka.
  • If you’re going to read about anybody who is Czech then it ought to be Franz Kafka.
  • Visit the Jewish Quarter Josefov (Old Jewish Cemetery and Synagogues) and perhaps hear a whisper of the legend of the Golem.
  • Go on a walking tour. I love walking tours and even in my own city of Berlin, I go on a walking tour every now and then, just to keep abreast of new developments in different parts of town. Prague was no different. I chose to go with a company called Prague Extravaganza Free Tour. The tour is free and you can decide how much the tour is worth to you by giving the guide a tip. There is no obligation to do so of course, but if you feel that they do a good job then why not show your appreciation!
  • Use public transport. Prague has underground trains, trams, buses and a funicular and they are clean, efficient and marvellously easy to use. Try to avoid using taxis as best you can. They really are awful and will do their best to rip you off.
  • Take Tram 22 – This tram is the best mode of transport you can take as it travels through one of Prague’s most scenic routes passing very near the Old Town (Staroměstská) and the New Town (Malostranská) as well as via the Prague Castle. It really is a good tram to travel with, as it covers pretty much every tourist sight that you ought to see.
Tourists in Prague.
Tourists in Prague.
  • Visit the Prague Castle which has been an important symbol of the Czech state for more than a thousand (1,000) years. It was founded in the 9th century and became the seat of Czech rulers and later presidents. The castle, one of the largest complexes in the world, is made up of historical palaces, offices, church and fortification buildings, gardens and picturesque spots. It covers an area of 45 hectares and the panoramic view of Prague Castle is one of the most spectacular in the world!
  • Observe the Changing of the Guard at the Prague Castle. On the hour.
  • Go to the gothic cathedral of St. Vitus which was established in 1344  and took nearly 600 years to build! You can find it right next to Prague Castle.
  • Visit the St. Wenceslas Chapel with the tomb of St. Wenceslas, the crypt where Czech kings are buried, and the Crown Jewels.
  • Take a stroll along the Golden Lane (Zlatá ulička) which used to belong to castle soldiers and craftsmen from the 16th century.
St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague. © Petr Salek
St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague.
© Petr Salek
  • Take the nostalgic Tram 91 – This tram is a historic one that only runs on Saturday & Sunday and during the main holidays from April to Mid-November. It leaves on the hour until 17:30.
  • Go to a local Czech outfit and have a meal of stodge!
  • Get yourself a grilled Czech sausage. Just make sure that the kiosk is clean and there’s a waiting queue!
  • Drink some delicious Czech beer. Don’t be shy. It’s pretty good and very, very cheap. ps. If you’re over 18. Absinthe can be bought in the TESCO supermarket!
  • Go to a Black Light Theatre. As many as you are inclined to visit. They’re all quite entertaining.
Black Light Theatre - Image Theatre - Prague.
Black Light Theatre – Image Theatre – Prague.

Black Light what? I hear you say!

Black.

Light.

Theatre!

Black Light Theatre - Image Theatre - Prague.
Black Light Theatre – Image Theatre – Prague.

Let me tell you, a black light theatre or černé divadlo is a theatrical performance characterized by the use of augmented black light illusion and has become a Czech speciality. Without giving too much away, the use of black curtains, a darkened stage, and UV light in conjunction with fluorescent dayGLO costumes is mixed with music and entertainment to create an intricate visual illusion. My favourite black light theatre is called IMAGE THEATRE and every time I visit Prague, I never fail to watch a performance! The theatre used to be in the Jewish Quarter but has now re-located to a new venue at Národní  třída. About 100 meters from Charles Bridge!

Even though I am a full-grown woman, the magic of black light never fails to intrigue me and I knew that even with the arrogance of on-coming teenage-hood, “The Tall Young Gentleman” would be impressed by an audio-visual performance, a compilation of dance, comedic mime sketches, pantomime and the black theatre metamorphosis of reality.

Black Light Theatre - Image Theatre - Prague.
Black Light Theatre – Image Theatre – Prague.

We watched The Best of Image which was hilarious.

The performances are non-verbal and language skills are not necessary. The show is very family-friendly and available for all ages. There are two (2) performances per day so if you want to go out on the night, there’s still plenty of time to do so.

Ticket prices are 480Kč or €18.00.

I highly recommend the IMAGE THEATRE as it’s a local establishment and it’s Czech.

p.s. Don’t sit at the front. The best view is in the middle or at the back LOL!

The Farmers Market at Anděl in Prague.
The Farmers Market at Anděl in Prague.
  • Take the Petřín Funicular which was first operated in 1891! You can take the Funicular from Malostranská which wil take you up the Petřín Hill and visit the Petřín Hill itself which is covered by hills (quite handy when you just need an immediate nap in the fresh air), and rocks! It also has a vast amount of parks. In fact, we did quite a lot of walking in spaces that I had never even seen before. We also skipped and jumped about quite a bit. We were so worn out that we didn’t have any dinner!
  • Check out the Petřín Lookout Tower which was originally built in 1891 as a mini version of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, and don’t forget to visit the Royal Rose Gardens, the Mirror Maze, the Observatory and the lake. All very much in the hills within the Prague Castle made up of historical palaces, offices, churches and fortification buildings, gardens and picturesque spots covering an area of 45 hectares!
  • You certainly can’t go to Prague without visiting Prague’s most elegant café and restaurant – the Café Louvre.
Café Louvre, Prague.
Café Louvre, Prague.

The Café Louvre was opened in 1902 and was a place where the elite and intelligentsia of Prague came for coffee, cake and conversation with the likes of Franz Kafka and Albert Einstein among them.

As a Czech expat in those days, I had a couple of spots where I would go to read and write or just generally wile my time away and the elegant surroundings of the Café Louvre was one of them.

Our delightful apple strudel, custard and cream at the Café Louvre, Prague.
Our delightful apple strudel, custard and cream at the Café Louvre, Prague. Nom! Nom!

We went there for delightful apple strudel, ice-cream sundaes, and cocktails as it was such a steaming hot day. I also recommend their wonderful soups. Ask for their lunch specials for middle-class Czech prices!

  • Why not go to the Reduta Jazz Club which is right next door to the Café Louvre? I’m not very much into jazz but it used to be a happening place and such a rich spectrum of Prague’s cultural life that the likes of Wynton Marsalis and Ronnie Scott used to play there. Even Bill Clinton. Yes, Bill Clinton, did a jam session at the Jazz Club in 1994!
  • Go to the centre of Prague which is called Můstek. Walk around, peep in and out of backyards and back alleys. Ramble about and look up at the beautiful buildings and facades.
  • Walk towards a street called Celetná. Celetná was a former Prague trade route and now has a “gate” which is a sort of arch, It’s one of the oldest streets in Prague and will lead you towards the Old Town or (Staroměstská).
Celetná in Prague - ©Moyan Brenn
Celetná in Prague –
©Moyan Brenn

Celetná is a place of pride because that was the road where my office and classrooms were located. It was on this very quaint and cobbled street that I first cut my teeth as the Regional Manager in Eastern Europe. It’s a marvellous street. And if you look up, you can still see the chandeliers through the upstairs windows, and the old and Renaissance family symbols above the many doors. Of course, the street is now filled with elegant stuff, Bohemian crystal, glass, porcelain and amber, Czech specialities. Oh and a wax museum.

A wax museum?

Huh!

  • The wax museum is connected to Madame Tussauds but confusingly is also called the Prague Wax Museum.
  • On the same street of Celetná is another wax museum from France called Musée Grévin or the Grévin wax museum.
  • Not too far away on a side street is the Sex Machines Museum which I visited years ago. It’s amusing but NOT FOR ANYONE UNDER 18!
  • Follow the crowds until you  get to the Old Town Bridge Tower which is the beautiful Gothic gateway to Charles Bridge from the Old Town and decorated with symbols of various kings and saints.
St Charles Bridge in Prague. © Jorge Royan
St Charles Bridge in Prague.
© Jorge Royan
  • You must absolutely go visit Prague’s most iconic and famous Charles Bridge (Karlův most). It is the oldest bridge in Prague covered with statues of saints, artists, entertainers and tourists and has fantastic views of the river. I love going there at all times of the day and night but it can get quite crowded so stay with your party, and watch your pockets!
  • Make sure that you take a stroll on Wenceslas Square which hosts any event worth it’s salt, New Year’s Eve and various important historic and social events. There are also numerous shops, restaurants and historical hotels as well as side-streets with local cinemas and small Czech theatres.
  • Check out the classical concerts and orchestras in almost every religious house and building.
  • Throw yourself into the music halls and venues of Prague such as ballets and operas and go to as many museums and galleries as you can.
Don Giovanni marionette opera in Prague.
Don Giovanni marionette opera in Prague.
  • Experience the art of classic puppet and marionette theatres in shows such as the performance of Don Giovanni and The Magic Flute of Mozart.
  • Go clubbing at RadoxFX, Roxy, Akropolis, MeetFactory, or Karlovy Lazně.
  • Indulge in fresh seafood such as grilled trout or stuffed salmon fillet served with fresh herbs and lemon!
Boating away in Prague.
Boating away in Prague.
  • Enjoy the picturesque Vltava River. With over thirty bridges and footbridges and ten little islands, you can afford to go on a river cruise, rent a rowing boat or try your hand at pedal boating.
  • Make your way to the John Lennon Wall which is a wall that has been filled with John Lennon-inspired graffiti, pieces of Beatles lyrics and words of world peace, freedom and hope. It’s on the other side of Charles Bridge near the French embassy. Ask around!
  • Go to a flea market and get chatting with the locals.
  • Drink Viennese coffee – I don’t drink coffee but it doesn’t mean that you can’t!
  • Prague’s views are breathtaking. Enjoy the moment and get a table by the riverside and rejoice that you get to see it.

Have fun!

And there you have it. Forty (40) things to do in four (4) days.

Marvellous!

Sunset in Prague.
Sunset in Prague.

For more information about the black light theatre, please contact: IMAGE THEATRE.

This article isn’t sponsored and even though I received a complimentary theatre ticket all opinions and the scrummy apple strudel that I lovingly devoured, are my very own!

I have so much to share with you. Next week will be my 100th post. Yay!

Stay tuned!

In the next few weeks, I’ll be at the following events:

On 16.09.15, the Strictly Stand Up English Comedy Night will be taking place at the Quatsch Comedy Club in Berlin.

Until 26.09.15 only, the Wintergarten Varieté will be presenting The SOAP Opera show or Show SEIFEN OPER.

From 28.09.15 – 07.10.15 the Bar Jeder Vernunft will be presenting, for one (1) week only, a festival of top British entertainment – Britain’s Best! Music and Comedy.

I’ll be there. Will you?

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

If you’re not in Berlin right now, hurry up!

September is going to be windy!

Watch this space!

4 days in Prague - 40 things to do!
4 days in Prague – 40 things to do!

Have you ever been to Charles Bridge? Would you have an apple strudel with custard and cream or just custard?!

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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