How I got scammed in Berlin!

How I got scammed in Berlin!

It’s summer!

And that means going on holiday/vacation.

I don’t know about you, but as soon as the sun comes out, my brain begins to fry and I’m not as alert as I ought to be.

As you know, I’ve been living in Berlin for more than seventeen (17) years, and it really is one of the best cities ever.

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

But it wasn’t always that way!

Yep!

My beloved Berlin used to be quite a different place back in the 90’s.

Back in the day, I used to go to the Love Parade every summer, and electronic techno clubs Berghain and Tresor practically every weekend!

In fact, the gentrified areas of Mitte and Prenzlauerberg in East Berlin (where I live) today, were quite trashy, horrifying, and in some places, even dangerous!

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

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

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

It didn’t have a bathroom.

It didn’t have any heating.

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

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

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

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

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

HOW I GOT SCAMMED IN BERLIN!

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

Woah there.

Tell us what happened?

I’m coming to it.

Hold your horses!

Well, I made a few mistakes that day, and really, I shouldn’t have been so gullible.

But I was.

MISTAKE NUMBER 1:

I went to the bank & collected loads of Deutsche Marks!
How I got scammed in Berlin!

I went to the bank, collected 500 Deutsche Marks or about €1,000. (Yep. it’s that long ago!) And then decided to go into “town” a mere 10 minutes away from my establishment.

I should have gone straight back to the office instead!

MISTAKE NUMBER 2:

Most sane people would run away. I walked towards it instead!
How I got scammed in Berlin!

I saw a large crowd gathering at the town square of East Berlin’s most popular tourist attraction – Alexanderplatz. And went to investigate what people were looking at.

Most sane people would run away if they saw a crowd.

I tend to do the opposite, and walk towards it!

I should have just kept on walking!

MISTAKE NUMBER 3:

There were some men playing a sort of cup game, where if you guessed right, you win!
How I got scammed in Berlin!

There were a group of men playing a sort of cup game, where if you guess which cup the dice or ball is under, you win.

I should have just minded my own business!

MISTAKE NUMBER 4:

I stopped to watch other tourists and lost all my cash!
How I got scammed in Berlin!

I stopped to watch the other “tourists” playing and “winning.” Each and every “tourist” that played won. I thought it would be a laugh, and I could easily “win” too!

To be honest, I don’t even know why I even bothered, as I’m not the gambling type.

I don’t play cards or games for money.

I don’t play scratch-cards.

I don’t play slot machines.

I don’t play bingo.

I don’t even play the lottery.

And I’m not in the habit of “playing” with my money.

I’m far too stingy!

The cost for each “go” was 50 Deutsche Marks or €100!

I gave the man the money.

And I lost it!

I should have just taken it as a done thing, and gone back to my office.

MISTAKE NUMBER 5:

I had quite a bit of cash in my purse. And lost that too!
How I got scammed in Berlin!

I didn’t.

I’m arrogant and stubborn.

I was so convinced that it was a “game” and that I could beat them.

I decided to “play” again.

I had quite a bit of cash in my purse, so I gave the man another 50 Deutsche Marks or €100!

I lost that too!

100 Deutsche-Mark banknote or €200 – © 2016 – 2018 Bank Note World

I was quite annoyed and convinced that something was up as I had looked quite closely, and didn’t take my eyes off the “cup.”

Now I’m not mad enough to spend more money, as that cash wasn’t really mine, and I would have to replace it once I got back.

And 100 Deutsche Marks or €200 was still quite a lot of money!

So I stuck around.

And watched really carefully.

And then I saw it.

I’m not entirely sure how it’s done. But what a scam!
How I got scammed in Berlin!

The “tourists” who had “won,” weren’t tourists at all!

They were friends and mates of the game organisers and were involved with scamming pretty much each and every legitimate tourist.

Not only that, but the guy issuing the cups somehow kept the ball in his hands so that all the cups were empty!

And if, like myself, you insist the cups be checked as evidence that the ball was actually still under one of the cups, the guy then dropped the ball under the cup, in the same motion as lifting it up!

I’m not entirely sure how it’s done.

But what a scam!

I protested, and asked for my money back, but they insisted that I leave their space.

And like I said, Alexanderplatz was a rough place in those days and I still had 400 Deutsche Marks or €800 in my purse, so just to be sure that I wasn’t being followed, I took a taxi back!

What an idiot and a fool I was!

And that was how I lost 100 Deutsche Marks or €200, just like that!

HOW I GOT SCAMMED IN BERLIN!

Images of Berlin Alexanderplatz.
How I got scammed in Berlin!

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

Stay tuned.

Yay!

That’s it for now.

For more of what to do if you’ve been scammed, and how to avoid it in the future, follow my blog!

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

Watch this space!

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

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

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

A win-win for all!

Thanks a million!

How I got scammed in Berlin!

Have you ever been scammed? Do you think I’m an idiot? Let me know in the comments below!

See you in Berlin.

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

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

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Best of Berlin – 4 years and counting!

Best of Berlin – 4 years and counting!

I’m not sure you’ve noticed, but for the first time ever, I didn’t write a post in a week!

You might wonder why that was so.

After all, I was all geared up to write about the lovely time that we had in Slovenia.

Well, firstly, something rather wonderful happened and equally, something rather awful happened too!

I’ll be telling you about the wonderful thing in about a fortnight (two weeks), but I probably won’t ever tell you about the awful thing, as it concerns people who I love.

Hello from Germany!

I live in Berlin.

In Germany.

And let me tell you, events have made it crystal clear how lucky I am to be living here, and the speed and efficiency in which things are done.

The German Way!

And since it’s been some time since I’ve actually written about Berlin, perhaps I should.

Book your hotel here!

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

On that note, I’ve decided to write a compilation of the best articles that I’ve written about Berlin.

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

I know I will!

If you’re a new reader, you’ll see a Mail Chimp subscription pop-up. Eek!

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. Eek!

There’s nothing to fear. As always, you’ll never receive any spam or weird emails from me, however, in September, I’ll start sending out a newsletter so you’ll get the latest update as to what I’ve been up to. And let me tell you, it’ll blow your mind!

If you haven’t already done so, please join up.

Berlin – very British – rbb

For those of you who have been dying to hear how I sound, there are a few videos on the side bar. Sadly, the documentary and various other TV show that I did in German, are no longer available online, but if you’re a member of the press, and wish to see them, copies are available!

A couple of weeks ago, I went to London, here’s what you missed:

24 hours in London: 24 things to do!

Good times!

And now, without further ado, here the best articles that I’ve written about Berlin.

Enjoy!

Book your hotel here!

BEST OF BERLIN – 4 YEARS AND COUNTING!

The beautiful French Quarter – Gendarmenmarkt – in Berlin

Book your hotel here!

Best German meals to try out in Berlin – Currywurst!

Book your hotel here!

At the Berlin Music Video Awards (BMVA)
© Pascale Scerbo Sarro

Book your hotel here!

Hugh Jackman – Logan – at the Berlin International Film Festival (Berlinale)
©Berlinale

Book your hotel here!

Backstage
Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin SPRING/SUMMER 2017
©Nass / Brauer

Book your hotel here!

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin Spring/Summer 2017
©Lupi Spuma Fine Photography

Book your hotel here!

Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner for Bild am Sonntag
©Christian Spreitz

Book your hotel here!

Eddie Izzard
ⒸSerious Fun Quatsch Comedy Club, Berlin
On the border between East & West Berlin in Germany.

And my two favourites:

That’s it for now.

See you next week!

Book your hotel here!

BEST OF BERLIN – 4 YEARS AND COUNTING!

The TV tower in Berlin.

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

I’ll be spending the summer in Germany!

I’ll be there. Will you?

It’s all about the beer – Best of Berlin – 4 years and counting!

Watch this space!

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

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

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

A win-win for all!

Thanks a million!

Best of Berlin – 4 years and counting!

Have you ever been to Berlin? What do you think is “best”?

Let me know in the comments below!

See you in Berlin.

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

How to spend 48 hours in Berlin – DAY TWO and WIN 2 Berlin WelcomeCard packages! – #bestofBerlin

 

On the border between East & West Berlin in Germany.
On the border between East & West Berlin in Germany.

I’m back again!

Last week, I wrote about my experience of how to spend 48 hours in Berlin – #bestofBerlin, as of part of the tourism initiative to discover new and old parts of Berlin.

If you’re just joining, here’s the lowdown:

The Berlin campaign was based on 48 hours i.e two (2) days, so let’s so let’s not waste anymore time and go into the second day:

HOW TO SPEND 48 HOURS IN BERLIN – DAY TWO: #bestofBerlin

A Christmas Market killer!
A Christmas Market killer!

First of all, read the first part of DAY ONE here.

Leave your hotel, hostel or apartment and take a bus, tram or train. Use the Berlin WelcomeCard transport ticket.

Start at Brandenburger Tor or Brandenburg Gate which is Berlin’s most iconic monument. Take a couple of pictures at Pariser Platz so-named ‘cos of the anti-Napoleon occupation of Paris in 1814! There’s bound to be carriages, horses, cycle rickshaws, beerbikes and sometimes even a Berlin Bear hanging around. However, it’s Germany so don’t except jugglers, bubbles or Luke Skywalker to be walking down the street!

Berlin's most iconic Brandenburg Gate - Let the good times roll!
Berlin’s most iconic Brandenburg Gate – Let the good times roll!

Turn right and cross the street, you will find yourself staring at the Reichstag or Berlin’s most beautiful Bundestag or Parliament Building. You can visit the roof terrace and glass dome built by the most talented British architect Norman Foster now known as Baron Foster of Thames Bank of Reddish! It’s free of charge but if you haven’t booked in advance, you can register at the Visitors’ Service office nearby but be prepared to queue! Oh, and bring your passport or international I.D!

After that, walk straight down and stroll along the Straße des 17. Juni surrounded by Tiergarten – Berlin’s largest park and urban garden built in 1527! It used to be the hunting grounds of the nobility and the location of the world’s most popular electronic dance music festival. Yes, the Love Parade.

Gosh! Those were the days!

Through the canal at the Tiergarten in Berlin.
Through the canal at the Tiergarten in Berlin.

Tiergarten is now a most lovely park which you can cycle through, hire a boat on the lake (Berlin has many wonderful rivers and lakes), see the birds and animals (as the zoo and city aquarium are next door), jog through, or have tea at the English Garden!

If you stay on the left hand side, you will go into the park and garden and see many historical statues and 19th century gas lanterns. If you stay on the right hand side, you will see many Soviet war memorials, and straight in front of you is the Siegessäule or the Victory Column. For a small fee you can climb all 270 steps. Take a few photographs.

Walk back to Brandenburger Tor or use the Berlin WelcomeCard and take the train or bus.

From Brandenburger Tor, cross the road and turn left. You will see the Holocaust Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. It is a memorial field of 2,711 concrete pillars of various heights. There is also an information centre of historical films, photographic documents and video interviews with survivors of the Holocaust.

Potsdamer Platz around 1900 in Berlin.
Potsdamer Platz around 1900 in Berlin. And there’s the clock!

Further on you will find yourself walking into a most important part of Berlin – Potsdamer Platz built in 1838. It’s interesting to note that whenever you see black & white 20th century photographs of Berlin, you can always see that clock.

It’s still there!

Stroll around. Go shopping at the Mall of Berlin or LP12 – the largest shopping mall in Germany and for kids, the Cinestar IMAX and Cinestar Original (English), Legoland, the Museum of Film and Television, and the best of all, the new German Spy Museum Berlin!

Take a break at any of the many restaurants, cafe, and bars then take a bus or train back to Brandenburger Tor.

The library © Hotel Adlon Kempinski.
The library © Hotel Adlon Kempinski.

In front of Brandenburger Tor on your right, is one of Europe’s most famous hotels. Think Michael Jackson almost dropping his child – Blanket – over the hotel balcony in 2002, think Queen Elizabeth, think actors, celebrities and multi-millionaires. In fact, I once literally bumped into Hugh Grant right outside the hotel front door myself. I tried to follow him and get an on-the-stop interview but I was wearing a football shirt at the time and security saw the glint in my eye! Yes, the 5-star Hotel Adlon Kempinski. Under normal circumstances, they’re brilliant.

I once strolled in with no shoes on (it’s a long story) and they didn’t even bat an eye lol!

With Brandenburger Tor behind you, walk down a very long boulevard road called Unter den Linden. I absolutely love walking down this very old iconic historical road as it takes you from West Germany – Tiergarten, into East Germany – Alexanderplatz. I wrote about that area last week. Continue walking passing Madame Tussaud’s on the left hand side and the embassy’s of four (4) world powers (certainly as far as Berlin is concerned), America, France, Russia and Great Britain, on the right hand side. Continue your stroll and take your time. It’s a bit of a long walk but it’ll be worth it as you’ll pass the Komische Oper, art galleries and smart shops. You will then see a very long street that cuts across. This is Friedrichstrasse. I wrote about this last week. Turn left and you will get to the High Street which will lead you to Checkpoint Charlie. Turn right, and it will lead you to Friedrichstrasse Main Train Station. Walk straight down on Unter den Linden and this will lead you to the area known as the Upper Eastside. It used to look really awful and drab in the 90’s but how, times have changed!

The Museumsinsel or Museum Island © visitBerlin - Wolfgang Scholvien
The Museumsinsel or Museum Island in Berlin, Germany. © visitBerlin – Wolfgang Scholvien

Walk further on and you will pass some of the most beautiful regent buildings in Berlin such as the Kronprinzenpalais or Crown Prince’s Palace, the Prinzessinnenpalais or Princesses’ Palace also known as the Opernpalais or the Opera Palace which hosts free open-air opera in the summer. (It’s brilliant!) and the Prince Heinrich Palace, which is now known as the elite Humboldt University! You’ll see the Armoury (the oldest surviving) and most important baroque 1706 building and now known as (one of my faves) the Deutsches Historisches Museum or the national German Historical Museum.

You’ll pass a bridge with lots of statues called the Schloßbrücke or Palace Bridge. It was built around 1800 and is certainly attractive but in my mind, not as outstanding as Charles Bridge in Prague, but acceptable, nevertheless! From the bridge you can see the magnificent Museumsinsel or Museum Island with it’s five (5) wonderful collections of UNESCO heritage museums.

To go to these museums, turn left.

Tango Dancing at the StrandBar in Mitte Monbijou Park. © visitBerlin - Günter Steffen
Tango Dancing at the StrandBar in Mitte Monbijou Park.
© visitBerlin – Günter Steffen

Turn left again and follow the river around, you will find another bridge called the Monbijoubrücke or Monbijou Bridge. This is a pedestrian bridge that crosses over the River Spree and connects Monbijoupark with the Museum Island. It’s right next to the Bode Museum and if you cross it you’ll come to a place called the StrandBar or Beach Bar. It’s open throughout the year but better in the summer of course. It’s more a river-side “beach” but there are deck chairs (free of charge) facing the river, an open air theatre (in German), but it’s all pretty bohemian and out there, and with a few glasses of wine or bottles of beer down you, you’ll get what they’re talking about and if not, well, the novelty is all the fun! This beach bar also has free open air tango dancing, swing and salsa. And anyone can participate. I can actually do a few steps of the tango but I wouldn’t dare. Those people are good!

For night-time activity, from the StrandBar, turn right. The road in front of you will lead you to Oranienburgerstrasse. Turn right again, for small cocktail bars, nicely-priced restaurants, discrete speakeasy bars and ladies of the night. Turn left towards Berlin’s New Synagogue,  various small Jewish outlets and Hackescher Markt. This will lead you to Hackesche Höfe and the backyards of tiny little bars selling beer for €2.00 or less. You’re going to have to look closer though as this Quarter is now gentrified!

SHOW ME: Bursting through water at the Friedrichstadt-Palast. © Robert Grischek
SHOW ME: Bursting through water at the Friedrichstadt-Palast.
© Robert Grischek

Having said that smoky little back bars are everywhere as well as vintage boutiques, bohemian shops, independent cinemas and burlesque cabarets. Berlin of the 1920’s and 30’s is right in front of your eyes! Use the Berlin WelcomeCard.

If you’re go back to outside the Deutsches Historisches Museum or the national German Historical Museum, on the right-hand side of Unter den Linden, you will see the re-building of the Palace of the Republic. On the left-hand side, you should walk straight down and hop onto the Lustgarten park and sprawl onto the grass which is right in front of the Berliner Dom or the Berlin Cathedral. And as I told you last week, if you can see the Cathedral in front of you, you’re right next to the DDR Museum and you’ve come full circle!

After a bit of a rest there are a few museums and galleries that I would like to recommend. There are so many great places that I would do them injustice if I didn’t write about them properly so I’m going to write an extra post about them next week but if you can’t wait, here’s a spoiler….

Outside the Märkisches Museum - Lord Roland of Brandenburg or perhaps just a sword-holding knight depicting the privelage of Berlin in the Middle Ages!
Outside the Märkisches Museum – Lord Roland of Brandenburg or perhaps just a sword-holding knight depicting the privilege of Berlin in the Middle Ages!

Take the train and go to an underground station called Märkisches Museum. 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.

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

Oh, and up until a few weeks ago, there was a bear living there. A real live bear!

Until it passed away!

Berlin WelcomeCard IV (2)

If it’s your first visit to Berlin? You’re spoilt for choice. You know how much I love this town and that is why I’m giving away 2 Berlin WelcomeCard packages to be validated by December 31st, 2015, at the latest.

Suuuuurprise!

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!

To take part, you need to subscribe to The British Berliner and either tell me why you would like to win the tickets on my blog here, on my Twitter feed attached to this post, or on my FaceBook page, also attached to this post. The person that I think gives me the wittiest or funniest reason, wins!

Only comments attached to this post will be considered.

You have until 12:00 or 12p.m. on December 27th and the announcement will be made on the blog on December 28th. The winners will meet me personally and receive the tickets on the evening of December 27th, anywhere in Berlin!

Good Luck!

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

See ya next week!

Oh, and have a wonderful festive season with you and yours.

Merry Xmas One and All!

We love my blog!

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

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

How to spend 48 hours in Berlin - DAY TWO and WIN 2 Berlin WelcomeCard packages! - #bestofBerlin

Would you like to win two (2) Berlin WelcomeCard #bestofBerlin tickets? What would you do and where would you go?

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!