How I went to 10 unbelievable countries, went into a media frenzy over Brexit, and lived to tell the tale in 2016. If you want the sky, you’ve got to reach for it!

Waving the flag of Britishness!
Waving the flag of Britishness!

Happy New Year everyone.

It’s officially 2017!!!!!

My goodness!

2016 was a mixed bag of an incredible year, but that hasn’t stopped me from making plans to conquer the world. I’ll give you all the details next week!!

But first, let’s take a walk down memory lane of all the countries that I went to last year, and what I did. According to my statistics, 76,000 people read my blog last year. 76,000 people!! To think I only started this blog a little over three (3) years ago. Isn’t that marvellous?

Thank you all so much!
Thank you all so much!

Thank you so much for reading, making comment, and sticking with me. I love you all!

So let’s start with the country of my birth (England), and end with my new home-country (Germany). Here we go. Choose your poison….!

THE 10 COUNTRIES THAT I WENT TO LAST YEAR WERE:

  • England
  • Denmark
  • Luxembourg
  • Portugal
  • Spain
  • Slovakia
  • Philippines
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan
  • Germany

BRITAIN:

The outcome of Brexit was crazy! @Visit England - Rich J Jones
The outcome of Brexit was crazy!
@Visit England – Rich J Jones

The Queen was 90 year last year, and in a world of constant change and in a state of fear, I’m awfully glad that Queen Elizabeth II is still on the throne, ‘cos we need her!

And OMG! The outcome of Brexit was crazy! Sadly, we British Europeans, and others like us who voted for #Remain, lost out. Having said that, you should have seen how many newspaper and radio interviews I did at that time, as well as TV appearances. One newspaper even hounded me for an interview at midnight!

I refused!

Afternoon Tea with the Queen!
Afternoon Tea with the Queen!

Here are the posts that I wrote about being British, and what it means.

ENGLAND:

Lambs being born in Cheshire!
Lambs being born in Cheshire!

The outcome of Brexit was awful. And I’m very, very sad, but I’m still British, and I love my original home-country that is England – the land of Hope and Glory n’ all that! In fact, last year I went back for my Masters graduation convention ceremony, which was full of pomp and tradition, but made me feel very much back to my roots, and proud of not only myself, but of my country too.

Whatever happens. I’ll still always be English.

Here’s what I wrote:

I'm an MA graduate from the University of Chester. Whoopee!
I’m an MA graduate from the University of Chester.
Whoopee!

DENMARK:

Top 9 reasons why Danish food isn't just smørrebrød, seasonal berries & herbs, but can be awfully tasty! © Visit Denmark
Top 9 reasons why Danish food isn’t just smørrebrød, but can be awfully tasty!
© Visit Denmark

I hadn’t been to Denmark for years, so it was great to get back there. It wasn’t cheap though, so if you want to visit any Nordic country without selling your mother, here’s what you should do!

LUXEMBOURG:

Part of the Luxembourg summer spirit! Luxembourg: A smart guide to the Grand Duchy of one of Europe's smallest countries!
Part of the Luxembourg summer spirit!

Over the summer, I decided to take The Tall Young Gentleman on a Summer European Challenge which consisted of spending the summer going to a different European country! Our boy is 14 years old going on 20, so it was just lovely spending quality time with him, before he grows up, and it’s too late!

Thankfully, he’s as great a traveller as I am, but a bit of a snob. You should have seen him whinge over taking the second class night train…!

Having said that, by the time our son was 5, he had already been to 32 countries, and at 12, he was already talking about spending his GAP year in Thailand, so there’s that!

Anyway, here it goes:

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

PORTUGAL:

Lisbon is pretty small so that everywhere is walkable. You can travel around the city by bus, train, funicular or tram. You can also hang on while the tram is moving, but don't do that at home kids!
Lisbon is pretty small so everywhere is walkable. You can travel around by bus, train, funicular or tram.

Our family holiday this year was to the Mediterranean. And we had a most wonderful time in Lisbon, the Algarves, and Porto in Portugal.

I can’t understand why most travellers and tourists don’t seem to go there, as it’s small, historical, not too expensive, the people are lovely, and it’s really rather pleasant to visit. Perhaps, they’re trying to keep it a secret.

Whoops!

Here’s why we went, and you should too!

Sailing on the Douro River in Porto!
Sailing on the Douro River in Porto!

SPAIN:

Paella is Spain's national dish and traditional enough to be a symbol of Spanish streetfood too!
Paella is Spain’s national dish and traditional enough to be a symbol of Spanish streetfood too!

Our family holiday this year was to the Mediterranean. And not only did we spend it in Portugal, but in Spain too!

Even though I had a most stressful visit to Barcelona in 2015, Madrid & Seville in 2016, turned it all around!

Here’s how Spain changed my opinion:

Spanish tapas galore!
Spanish tapas galore!

SLOVAKIA:

But what should I dooooooo? Should you visit Bratislava, or stay at home and not bother!
But what should I dooooooo?
Should you visit Bratislava, or stay at home and not bother!

Once upon a time, I used to live in the Czech Republic, and for a very short time in Slovakia too. Over the summer, we took a trip down memory lane, and Slovakia was OK, but ultimately, I wasn’t impressed, because of the scamming that took place in our restaurant!

The Tall Young Gentleman wasn’t impressed either. He found Bratislava drab!

Srop scamming us in Slovakia!
Srop scamming us in Slovakia!

Read on though, and make up your own mind:

THE PHILIIPPINES:

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

I was very excited to be back in Asia, not only ‘cos outside of Europe, Asia is my favourite continent, but because I was going to not one new Asian destinations, but two! And, I was at a travel bloggers conference called TBEX, and on a press trip around the lovely beaches of the Philippines too!

I haven’t actually written about any of the beaches yet, but I shared many of the “on-the-spot” activities and photographs on Facebook and Twitter, so if you’re not following me there, you should!

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

SWITZERLAND:

How to spend 48 astonishing hours in Lucerne, otherwise known as Luzern - On a budget!
How to spend 48 astonishing hours in Lucerne, otherwise known as Luzern – On a budget!

Switzerland was one of the countries that I decided to travel to over the summer. Even though it’s not far from Germany, I hadn’t actually been before!

And my verdict?

A lovely, lovely country!

Read on:

There is plenty to do in Lucerne so "The Tall Young Gentleman" & I made our own independent walking tour instead! Seen slightly before walking on the medieval Chapel Bridge, Water Tower, and Spreuer Bridge in Lucerne!
There is plenty to do in Lucerne so “The Tall Young Gentleman” & I made our own independent walking tour instead!

TAIWAN:

Me being a tourist in trendy Ximending 16 brilliant reasons why you should visit Taiwan!
Me being a tourist in trendy Ximending
16 brilliant reasons why you should visit Taiwan!

As part of my visit to Asia last year, I opted to choose a Chinese-inspired country. And as much as I absolutely loooove Hong Kong, I chose a new destination.

I chose Taiwan.

In fact, I liked it so much that on our next family holiday to Asia, Taiwan would be one country that I would happily choose again. My German husband would adore it!

Exotic vegetables for the hotpot inTaiwan!
Exotic vegetables for the hotpot inTaiwan!

GERMANY:

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!
©Usedom Tourismus GmbH

I spend a lot of my time travelling abroad, but last year, I wanted to make a huge effort travelling more around Germany. And I did!

Most of the destinations centered around the sea, and sailing, and for those of you who hadn’t thought of the seaside and Germany in one breath, well. It’s different, but really quite nice!

This year, I visited  Usedom, I went sailing with the grandparents near Bremen, I went to my husband’s hometown of Osnabrück, and of course, I spent some time in my beloved Berlin.

Try if for yourself:

BERLIN CULTURE:

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

BERLIN:

Oh yeaaaah! Berlin baby! I’ve been living here as an expat for 15 years. I know Berlin that’s why I am The British Berliner! So without further delay, here are the lovely posts that I wrote just for you:

OTHER PARTS OF GERMANY:

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

GERMAN CULTURE:

Beer for everyone in Germany 'cos the drinks are on meeeee!
Beer for everyone in Germany ‘cos the drinks are on meeeee!

OTHER STUFF!

The Bee Hive by Simon Adepetun.
The Bee Hive by Simon Adepetun.

But 2016 was an interesting year, and even though in some parts it went terribly bad with politics and terrorism, in other ways it was great.

My own brother wrote a book which was taken up by a publisher in London, and I completed my MA (Education Management) at the University of Chester which had me flying in and out of the UK every 6 weeks!

I did a lot of media appearances not only about Brexit, but about the British monarchy too. I was recently invited to an exclusive Christmas celebration at the German parliament, with members of the House of Lords, the European Parliament, and the British Embassy!

My husband – The Music Producer – worked on two EP’s, mixed songs for several artists, and produced the music sound track of an independent short film, which is now applying for competition at international film festivals around the world!

My husband - The Music Producer
My husband – The Music Producer

I started a new job as the Vice School Principal of a Language School which might also lead to one of the biggest projects of my life. I can’t talk about it at the moment, but as I said last week, if it works out, it’s going to be huge. And if it doesn’t, well…!

No need to worry. I'll do the talking! © Pascale Scerbo Sarro
No need to worry. I’ll do the talking!
© Pascale Scerbo Sarro

The work of a lifestyle, expat, travel blogger is never done, so I’ll leave with you with some of my most inspiring motivational posts!

If you’ve noticed, you can now use the translation tab at the top of the page, to change my posts to the language of your choice. You can also check out some of the places where my writing and media appearances can be found, on this page here!

Heart-shaped Coeur d'Arras cheese in Nord-Pas de Calais.

In short, I had a blast in 2016, and there’s many more exciting things about to start for me in 2017!

I have a family and I have a life. Most importantly, I’ve already found my home-base – Berlin – and I’m extremely happy with where I am and who I am.

52 fantastic posts!

Thank you so much for your support everyone. 2016 was a great year. Here’s to the next.

Bottoms up!

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!
I’m not really a beach person as I prefer mountains or beach destinations that have more than the sea to recommend them!

I have so much to say, so next week I will be sharing some of my travel destinations for 2017 with you.

It”s a New Year. Hip! Hip! Hurrah!

HOW I WENT TO 10 UNBELIEVABLE COUNTRIES, WENT INTO A MEDIA FRENZY OVER BREXIT, AND LIVED TO TELL THE TALE IN 2016. IF YOU WANT THE SKY YOU’VE GOT TO REACH FOR FOR IT!

 If you want the sky, you've got to reach for it!
If you want the sky, you’ve got to reach for it!

This article is not sponsored, and the exhilarating countries that I visited in 2016, were all 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 throughout 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.  Save the Date!

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!

If you’re not in Berlin in January, then where the hell are you?

January is going to be splendid!

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 went to 10 unbelievable countries, went into a media frenzy over Brexit, and lived to tell the tale in 2016. If you want the sky, you've got to reach for it!
How I went to 10 unbelievable countries, went into a media frenzy over Brexit, and lived to tell the tale in 2016. If you want the sky, you’ve got to reach for it!

Where did you travel to last year? Are there any particular posts that you enjoyed? Let me know!

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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10 reasons why being a British European is a really good thing!

The last week has been extremely stressful!
The last week has been extremely stressful!

The last week has been extremely stressful, and we have the awful outcome of the Brexit Referendum to thank for that, and by all accounts, it isn’t a pretty story.

The Prime Minister – David Cameron – handed in his resignation. So did Boris Johnson.

The leader of the Labour Party is struggling to keep his head, Scotland and Northern Ireland are talking loudly about secession, and the pound lost a third of it’s value, and has never been lower!

The idea of BREXIT is gloomy and frightening.
The idea of BREXIT is gloomy and frightening.

The idea of BREXIT.

Is.

Frightening.

And.

Totally Awful.

But let me be clear.  I’m still British, and I’ll be British to the end.

A potrait of William Shakespeare.
A potrait of William Shakespeare.

Yes, those losers voted for Out. But they’re not my people. They’re not the British people that I know.

And.

They don’t represent me.

The people who voted for Remain ARE my people. And even though we lost the Referendum. We haven’t lost our spirit.

I’m proud to be British.

Berlin - very British - rbb
Berlin – very British – rbb

Being British has never been about self.

Being British has always been about supporting the common good, the underdog, freedom and fairness.

I may not agree with the verdict, but it’s democracy, and that vote has been taken, and so we must bear the consequences.

It’s true that I have the luxury of a double nationality if I so wish, and I have the right to do so.

I live in Germany. We can all choose our lifestyle.
I live in Germany.
We can all choose our lifestyle.

I have lived in three European countries as an expat, and each nation has been left better off than when I found it. They have benefited not only from my expertise, but also my money.

I am the British Berliner.

I’m a strong advocate for Europe and I will keep on advocating. Here’s why:

10 REASONS WHY BEING A BRITISH EUROPEAN IS A REALLY GOOD THING!

10 reasons why being a British Eurpean is a really good thing!
10 reasons why being a British European is a really good thing!
  • Being a British European means that you can learn a second, third, or fourth language:
Being a British European means that you can learn a second, third, or fourth language!
Being a British European means that you can learn a second, third, or fourth language!

Living in Europe means that you get to learn another language. Our son – “The Tall Young Gentleman” – speaks German, English, Spanish, and a bit of Chinese, although he would actually like to learn Japanese! My husband – The Music Producer – speaks German, English, Latin, and a bit of French. Myself – The British Berliner – well, I speak English, German, a bit of a Czech, a bit of Polish, and a weeny bit of French, although I would like to learn Hindi or Mandarin!

Now of course, the reality is, if you’re an Anglo-American expat and your native language is English, you don’t really need to but… And this is a huge but.

If you want to be truly a part of your new country, it helps if you try. They appreciate it.

  • Being a British European means being widely travelled:
Being a British European means being widely travelled.
Being a British European means being widely travelled.

I have been to 30 countries in Europe, 10 countries in Asia, 6 countries in Africa, 2 countries in North America, 1 country in South America, 1 country in the Middle East, and 5 dependent islands.  In 2014, I travelled to 10 countries, in 2015, I travelled to 11 countries. That makes a grand total of 55 countries and 5 continents!

I love re-visiting countries that I like, and so in 2016 I returned to Spain, Portugal, Belgium, and England of course!

In the summer, I’ll be travelling to 5 countries, and two of them will be new – Switzerland and Luxembourg – and in the Autumn, I’ll be in Asia again travelling to the Philippines, but open to China and Taiwan while I’m there, and trying to squeeze in France somewhere along the way lol!

Not too shabby!

I’ve said it before, and I’ll probably say it again, if you live in Europe (and that includes the UK), you have no excuse not to travel all around this beautiful continent.

While we still can!

  • Being a British European means free education:
Being a British European means free education. I prefer paper or hard back!
Being a British European means free education. I prefer paper or hard back!

In March 2016, I went back to England and attended the very dignified graduation ceremony for my MA Degree.

Yep!

I obtained an MA – Masters of Art Degree at the University of Chester.

In England!

My specialisation was in Education Management and Training. A bit like an MBA for teachers!

I am extremely pleased. And very proud!

My first degree was obtained at an elite university abroad, with a BSc. honours degree in Political Science! I then did a Master’s Degree at Durham University which is the 3rd oldest university in England!

I'm an MA graduate from the University of Chester. Whoopee!
I’m an MA graduate from the University of Chester.
Whoopee!

Now I’m a corporate inter-cultural life coach and an educational English language trainer and teacher in Berlin, as well as being an International Social Media Lifestyle & Professional Travel Blogger!

I love teaching and training others, and that is why I wanted a second Masters Degree. I might even go for a Phd sometime in the future. Who knows?

And I paid thousands of pounds for that esteemed and elevated education. And so did my parents!

In European schools and most European universities, you don’t pay a single penny.

Not a single penny!

Being a British European means free education at the Humboldt University, in Berlin!
Being a British European means free education at the Humboldt University, in Berlin!

Of course, you pay student union fees and probably for transport (student discount of course), but no school fees!

The point I’m trying to say is that education is free to all.

Our son used to go to an international school and we paid just €6,000 a year! He now goes to an elite school for scientists – and we don’t pay a cent!

In a few years, he’ll be off to university, and the money that I would have saved will go to his exchange year abroad, when he’s 16 years old, and his GAP year-around-the-world, when he’s 18!

  • Being a British European means excellent healthcare:
Being a British European means excellent healthcare.
Being a British European means excellent healthcare.

In the UK, the NHS is free of charge but there’s a hell of a lengthy queue and as a result, many people have opted for private care. On the continent, your health card will cover you in every European country, there are no fees to be paid, medication is subsidised, and healthcare for children is absolutely free!

Lat year, I went skiing in the Czech Republic and became enormously ill, but I didn’t have to pay for anything, except for prescription drugs that cost me all of €13.00!

Being a British European means tolerance on sexual orientation, and exploring your sexuality.
Being a British European means tolerance on sexual orientation, and exploring your sexuality.

There I said it. SEX. If you’re an adult. Yes. You. Can!

I wrote a post about this a few years ago, and it was based on another post that hit a nerve and got lots of people very upset!

There are many advantages to living in Europe. People fought for a right to choose their own way of living.

We’re liberal.

We can choose without eyebrows raising.

We can marry or not marry.

Be single or in a relationship.

Be committed or be free-loving.

Have a lover or have a million lovers.

Being a British European means tolerance on sexual orientation, and exploring your sexuality.
Being a British European means tolerance on sexual orientation, and exploring your sexuality.

Be gay, straight, bi-sexual or transsexual.

Have children or have none.

And isn’t that the point?

CHOICE.

  • Being a British European means parental leave for both genders:
Being a British European means paternity leave for both genders - All smiles and bunny ears at the end of a great day at Baanchang Elephant Park in Thailand!
Being a British European means parental leave for both genders – All smiles and bunny ears at the end of a great day at Baanchang Elephant Park in Thailand!

Germany gives both genders, the right to parental leave, for up to three (3) years. As do many other European countries! Either gender or both, can stay at home to look after their children.

When our son was born, I stayed at home for a year, and my husband stayed at home for the other two!

We were also entitled to a home water-birth (which I took) and a girl who came in and did the cleaning and shopping for a fortnight (two weeks), all paid for by my health insurance!

The child benefit is generous as the state would like people to have more children, sadly most of us either have “an only child” or none at all.

Ah well!

  • Being a British European means having a holiday and using it!
Being a British European means having a holiday and using it - Turtles in the Philippines!
Being a British European means having a holiday and using it – Turtles in the Philippines!

Europeans take their holidays and vacations seriously, and they’re not afraid to use them! You get a minimum of 24 holidays per year (by law), and between 11-15 public holidays on top of that. That makes 35 days.

You are also allocated breaks and if you’re ill during your vacation, you’re entitled to get those days back! Even I didn’t know that, until last year when I was so ill on vacation, I couldn’t ski. But when I contacted my company, they’re were great, and when I contacted my health insurance, they were fantastic, and gave me the complete week back again!

  • Being a British European means free or cheap access, to sport and exercise:
Being a British European means free or cheap access to sport and exercise
Being a British European means free or cheap access to sport and exercise

In the summer, most Europeans are out and about, either on holiday / vacation, out of the city, or on their bikes. It’s great. Everyone does things outdoor.

In Berlin, it’s so green that you would hardly know that you’re in the capital city of Europe’s strongest economy, and one of the largest countries in the European Union. And if you didn’t already know, Berlin is a river-city too!

In fact, 44% of Berlin is covered with parks, forests, fields, rivers, lakes and canals, and Berlin has about 30 beaches and 960 bridges, which is far more than the ever romantic city of Venice!

I mean, thirty (30) beaches!

So is it any wonder that water activity is an important aspect of living in Germany. As well as mountains, hiking, fields and beaches.

I’m quite lazy but in the last three years, I have done tango dancing, hip-hop, skiing, a little bit of horse-riding, tai-chi, Broadway Musical dancing classes of “Chicago” – that was a killer! And a bit of ballet.

I would like to go back into ballet again. Eeeeek!

  • Being a British European means cheap and available public transport:
Being a British European means cheap and available public transport.
Being a British European means cheap and available public transport.

As you know, I don’t drive, although my husband does, and in only a few years, our son will too!

And it hasn’t been a problem!

I use other alternative means of getting around. And living in Europe makes that extremely easy to do so! I can, and do love using the train as you can spread out, you can read, you can walk about, and you can take as many suitcases as you want (within reason of course)!

I also love flying and flying within the EU is a doodle, as everywhere is just so close by.

And if you’re really short on cash, taking the coach or bus, is not a problem as nowadays, they’re as fully equipped as planes with wi-fi, flat-screens, free drinks, and everything!

If you’re as romantically inclined as I am, then go ahead and take a ferry cruise, or go the whole hog, and cruise around Europe instead!

  • Being a British European means a work / life balance:
Being a British European means a work / life balance.
Being a British European means a work / life balance!

I don’t need to tell you how important this is.

So how did I do it?

Well, if you look at my About Me page, you will see that I’m married, I have a husband, a tween child and a very nice corporate job, as an inter-cultural life coach, educational English language trainer and teacher in Berlin, so if you need help with anything, just let me know lol!

And I have this wonderful lifestyle, travel, expat blog!

In short, I live a normal life. Just like you.

I’m married, in a relationship with someone, or have been single. Just like you.

I have family responsibilities. Just like you.

I have a full-time job. Just like you.

And so I get smart. And work things around family life, and I have an understanding German husband to thank.

10 REASONS WHY BEING A BRITISH EUROPEAN IS A REALLY GOOD THING!

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

I’ve always been a supporter of Germany – my adopted country – and I’ll continue to do so.

I’m a strong advocate for Europe and I will keep on advocating.

I’m the British Berliner – a British European.

And I’m proud of it!

I'm the British Berliner - a British European. And I'm proud of it!
I’m the British Berliner – a British European.
And I’m proud of it!

This article is not sponsored, and all opinions and the wonderful things associated to living in Germany, and being a British European, are my very own!

Next week, I’ll be writing about Berlin Fashion Week!

July is Pride Week!

From 02.07.16 – 24.07.16, the LGTB (community), well-wishers and gay-friendly supporters will gather in Berlin to celebrate and advocate a tolerant and open-minded society.

The Lesbian-Gay City Festival will take place from 16.07.16 – 17.07.16.

CSD on the Spree (River) will take place on 21.07.16.

Dyke * March Berlin will take place on 22.07.16.

Our main Gay Pride Day otherwise known as Christopher Street Day (CSD), will take place on 23.07.16.

The Berlin Chapter of Travel Massive and Terminal 3, will be hosting True Stories. Told Live. Digital Nomad Style as part of the Tech Open Air Festival on July 14th, at Spielfeld Digital Hub.

I’ll also be attending an Exclusive Food Tour with Fork & Walk on Wednesday, August 10th.

Save the Date!

July is going to be flamboyant!

I’ll be there. Will you?

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

If you’re not in Berlin in July, you’re missing all the excitement!

Watch this space!

10 reasons why being a British European is a really good thing!
10 reasons why being a British European is a really good thing!

Is being a British European a jolly good thing, or utterly rubbish`? What do you think? Have your say?

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

Think David Bowie! Think Alan Rickman! Think the British Shorts Film Festival!

BRITISH SHORTS Film Festival, 2016.

Just over a fortnight ago, the world lost two very important British icons.

Men who were true artists of their craft and who didn’t shy away from the experimental. Men who at first glance weren’t considered classically handsome chaps or the type of men for leading roles, but who made a huge significant impact on British film, music, art and popular culture. Men who knocked you for six at their sparkling performances.

David Bowie ©Alpha Press.
David Bowie

True performers who wouldn’t bat at undertaking complex non-traditional roles.

The type of film that one might be inclined to call an independent film.

Alan Rickman
Alan Rickman

An independent film that can be found in such an event as the British Shorts Film Festival!

I Am Here by David Holmes.
I Am Here
by David Holmes.

This film festival has been around since 2007 but I only found out about it in 2015 and it’s a funny story. You can read all about it here!

Honestly, it’s great being British in Germany ‘cos you get to participate in all kinds of stuff. Only last week, I was honoured to be invited to the Friedrichstadt-Palast for a British evening of talks with distinguished guests, a room full of up-coming bloggers and interesting hacks, a look behind the scenes of the world’s largest theatre stage and an opportunity to watch the latest performance of the hit production THE WYLD which was still as brilliant as the first time that I watched it!

If you remember, I was awfully impressed and wrote all about it right here!

Yet again, the Film Festival started on 21.01.16 which was a Thursday so I went on Friday and pretty much made it a weekend to remember lol! This time, the German organiser Jürgen Fehrmann knew exactly who I was and was delighted to have me on board!

WHAT IS THE BRITISH SHORTS FILM FESTIVAL?

Three Brothers by Akleem Khan.
Three Brothers
by Akleem Khan.

The British Shorts Film Festival is a collection of 155 British and Irish short films shown within a span of five (5) days from the 21st – 25th January, 2016!

This was the 9th edition of British Shorts with the publicity title: Shorts. Now. Forever. And this film festival didn’t disappoint!

British Shorts Film Festival Logo.

The British Shorts Film Festival has evolved to become a true international audience festival with one of the most interesting platforms for British and Irish short films outside the UK and Ireland. There were showings of short exciting films embracing drama, comedy, animation, thriller, horror, experimental, documentary, and music videos. There were also concerts, parties, a free film workshop (including a 48-hour film project), Open Screenings, talks and an exhibition that created an atmosphere of festivity and involvement imbibing both a jury award, and an audience award. In fact, the 2016 retrospective was dedicated to the animation department of the world-famous National Film and Television School who include such talent as the Wallace & Gromit inventor Nick Park!

RETROSPEKTIVE - Wallace and Gromit - British Shorts Film Festival 2016.
RETROSPEKTIVE – Wallace and Gromit – British Shorts Film Festival 2016.

WHO IS THE BRITISH SHORTS FILM FESTIVAL FOR?

Mr Madila by Rory Waudby-Tolley which was hilarious, by the way!
Mr Madila
by Rory Waudby-Tolley which was hilarious, by the way!

Well, this film festival is for established film-makers, promising newcomers, talented film students, and anybody else who has an interest in the making of short films. Indeed, the likes of Judi Dench (James Bond – 007), Michael Fassbender (The X. Men), and Martin Freeman (Sherlock Holmes (BBC) & The Hobbit) have all appeared in previous festival films. And this year, we seemed to have a who’s who’s from Games of Thrones (Michelle Fairley & Liam Cunningham) and the BBC’s Dr. Who (Arthur Davill)!

It doesn’t matter if you have a large budget, a low-budget, or no budget at all (like we had LOL)! I very much like the British Shorts Festival because not only, were the films of the highest quality and really gripping but also, at the end of the festival ANYONE at all can present a film to be judged by a respected jury, as well as the audience.

Gulp!

BUT WHAT IS IT EXACTLY?

British Shorts Film Festival 2016.

Well, the film screenings have the following categories:

Drama.

Comedy.

Experimental.

Documentary.

Don't Fear Death by Louis Hudson
Don’t Fear Death
by Louis Hudson

Animation.

Mockumentary.

Romance.

Thriller.

Surgery (Horror) by George Clemens & Samuel Clemens.
Surgery (Horror)
by George Clemens & Samuel Clemens.

Horror.

Fantasy.

Film Noir.

Mystery.

Sci-Fi.

Holding The Strings by Benjamin Cowie
Holding The Strings
by Benjamin Cowie

Music Videos.

Retrospective: An evening’s screening dedicated to the National Film and Television School (NFTS), London showing big successes from the past four decades four (4) decades in “Directing Animation” followed by a Q&A.

DON'T CALL ME URBAN! The Time of Grime by Simon Wheatley.
DON’T CALL ME URBAN! The Time of Grime by Simon Wheatley.

And an exhibition featuring photographs, and experimental films. This year’s selection was the photography and short film series DON’T CALL ME URBAN! The Time of Grime by Simon Wheatley.

Oops!

The film documents the rise of Grime, an angst-ridden and confrontational sound that emerged from the UK. The photographer and filmmaker Simon Wheatley was present for Q&A and during the entire festival, the film was shown in loops.

Paaaaaarty!
Paaaaaarty!

We live in Berlin.

Berlin is an exciting city filled with young inspiring talent so there were other interesting and exciting events and items such as:

A free festival workshop & a 48-hour film project.

Concerts & Parties.

Exhibitions.

Talks with film-makers, directors, producers and writers.

An an Open Screening for ANY short film.

Open Screening.
Open Screening.

WHERE DOES THE BRITISH SHORTS FILM FESTIVAL TAKE PLACE?

At Sputnik Kino. On Bricks!
At Sputnik Kino. On Bricks!

This is the 9th year and the festival always takes place at the home base cinema called Sputnik Kino in the suburb of Kreuzberg, with some screenings taking place at the Badehaus Szimpla in Friedrichshain, Acudkino in Mitte, and City Kino in Wedding. All delightful cinemas who show art and independent films!

I went to the Sputnik Kino which has many cool memories of stone-distressed seating made of bricks! Yes, you heard me.

Bricks!

Not to worry though as times have changed, and seating is now covered with leather, cushions and plastic beer crates!

Acudkino.
Acudkino.

This year, I also went to the Acudkino in Mitte, and City Kino in Wedding.

I’ve only been to the Acudkino in Mitte perhaps once or twice, which is embarrassing as it’s only about 15 minutes from my home! In the olden days when I didn’t actually live in Prenzlauerberg, I used to go on that street all the time as it has a place called the Weinerei Forum.

In those days, the drinks were free!

Sortof!

The Weinerei in Berlin!
The Weinerei in Berlin!

It’s shabby chic daaaarling!

I hadn’t been to the City Kino at all as it’s in a dodgy neighbourhood, but right next to the French Cultural Literature Centre! I was surprised to discover that the venue was quite nice.

City Kino. This queue was wound all the way down the staircase and right to the front door. 'Good thing I was on the press list!
City Kino.
This queue was wound all the way down the staircase and right to the front door. ‘Good thing I was on the press list!

Once you stepped in!

I really enjoyed the films as many were recognisable respected British actors in my opinion! The films I saw were of excellent quality and we were able to observe a Q&A session with two directors of the film that we had just seen! This is why I really love going to film festivals. Not only do you see outstanding films worthy of each and every award, but you get the opportunity to be close to the Directors, Producers and Actors too!

 

Open Screening - British Shorts Film Festival 2016.

The Sputnik Kino has a lovely reputation of supporting aspiring independent film-makers and once a month, every third (3rd) Wednesday, has an Open Screening. This Open Screening allows film-makers to show their movies to a live audience, and is in both English and German.

No appointments are necessary, no application forms, no testings made, it doesn’t have to be “finished,” any language is accepted, no previous qualifications necessary.

It’s a forum whereby you can “test” your film, and a live audience can ask questions, make comments, positively criticise or praise your film.

The requirements?

Not more than 25 minutes. And members of the public are the judges of the film.

Cost?

Absolutely nothing! For both the film-makers and the audience!

Stutterer by Benjamin Cleary.
Stutterer
by Benjamin Cleary.

I’M INTERESTED IN FILMS BUT I’M NOT A FILM-MAKER.

Room 55 by Rose Glass
Room 55
by Rose Glass

I’m not a film-maker either but I do love independent films.

I saw various clips of film between 2 and 23 minutes. Most were really interesting and clever, and some were downright disturbing, but I’m glad that I had the opportunity to see them!

I watched a whole host of Festival Screenings / Documentary Specials / Retrospective Screenings and an amazing number of short Animation Films, after which I dragged myself home, using the über-efficient German public transport system in the wee hours, and chatted with the pretty friendly Berlin punters!

Edmund by Nina Gantz
Edmund
by Nina Gantz

The performances were completely packed out, showing British and Irish talent in a Berlin setting.

CAN YOU MAKE A FILM YOURSELF?

Make it yourself!
Make it yourself!

You sure can!

The attraction of British films for an international crowd is either historical drama or gritty down-to-earth films. I like British films because of the grit and the reality concept, as I do Berlin films.

The Man Who Fell to Earth. David Bowie.
The Man Who Fell to Earth.
David Bowie.

At the British Shorts Film Festival, we even got to watch a part of Nicolas Roeg’s 1976 sci-fi masterpiece The Man Who Fell To Earth with the main character played by a young David Bowie about an alien on an elaborate rescue mission, to find water for his planet.

At the film festival we booked into a workshop on film-making!

Last year, I went for the fun of it and to see what it was all about but this year, I decided to take it more seriously.

We only had 48 hours and this time I wanted to go it alone as the workshop was centred on the idea of a journey. Sadly, I couldn’t find enough inspiration that would satisfy my lust for quality.

I went for the Screening of the workshop films and the standard of the film-making workshop collection was amazing. Thank goodness I didn’t submit my sorry piece of video work. It would have been shameful!

The films produced were good quality stuff with many meeting for the first time, deciding to work together, and yet managing to create, produce, edit and design, in only a few hours, even editing right before the submission deadline!

They say, stick to what you know.

I like independent films and I love film festivals.

I’m a good writer and I don’t mind writing about films, or speaking and performing in front of a camera, but I’ll leave the art of film-making to the experts!

British Shorts Film Festival.

DO I NEED TO UNDERSTAND GERMAN TO PARTICIPATE?

Manomann by Simon Cartwright
Manomann
by Simon Cartwright

Nope!

All literature and instruction is in both German and English. It’s a British & Irish Film Festival so the films are of course, in English!

MY VERDICT?

Just Desserts by Michael Yanny
Just Desserts
by Michael Yanny

Lots of fun and learning and a really good project!

At a time when large budgets and big stars are the norm, it’s quite nice to see, support, and encourage a non-profit film-making project.

In our city.

In Berlin.

I salute you David Bowie & Alan Rickman. RIP.

For more information. Please contact: British Shorts Film Festival.

For more information about Open Screenings. Please contact: Sputnik Kino.

The back of me - © Pascale Scerbo Sarro
The back of me –
© Pascale Scerbo Sarro

This article is not sponsored and although I received complimentary tickets, all opinions and the film that I attempted to make are my very own!

I have so much to share with you.

Next week, I’ll be writing Part II of the Berlin Fashion Week supplement!

On 04.02.16, I will be at a private dinner organised by the Thai Embassy!

The 66th Berlin International Film Festival – the Berlinale – will be taking place from 11.02.16 – 21.02.16 and for the first time, I will be an accredited member of the press force. I’m so excited!

Cinestar Original will be showing William Shakespeare’s “As You Like It” on 25.02.2016, presented by the National Theatre LIVE!

In March, I’ll be travelling to England, Spain & Portugal!

February is going to be bursting!

Watch this space!

British Shorts Film Festival 2016!

Have you ever been to the British Shorts Film Festival? Do you like British films?

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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