Explore Hansa with me! 5 enchanting Hanseatic cities from Sweden, Estonia and Latvia!

Explore your taste buds & create an inspiring gastronomical experience on the HANSA Culinary Trip!

It’s September!

And just where has the time gone?

I simply don’t know.

Do you?

SUMMER TIME

Summer Loving & my travel plans for the rest of the year!

Well, I for one, have been extremely busy.

And why?

I went to Sweden, Estonia AND Latvia!

Phew!

Quite frankly, they really need no introduction because I have written extensively about them before, but if you insist, here are the articles I wrote previously.

SWEDEN:

A Swedish hotdog in Stockholm – Sweden!

ESTONIA:

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

LATVIA:

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

WHY DID VICTORIA GO TO SWEDEN, ESTONIA AND LATVIA?

A first time beginners’ guide to the ITB Berlin: 10 tips to help you prepare. Bam!

Well, you all know how I love going to the ITB Berlin – the international tourism trade fair, otherwise known as the Internationale Tourismus-Börse!

And for those of you who don’t know, the ITB Berlin represents B2B, hotels, tourists boards, tour operators and providers, airlines, transport operators, responsible travel organisers, information technology experts, social media bloggers, and anybody else interested in travel and tourism.

It’s also the world’s leading travel industry think tank, in which the convention trade fair establishes itself as the industry’s main knowledge platform, with top-notch presentations on global trends, travel innovations and path-breaking events for the entire tourism industry!

Happy bloggers at ITB Berlin – ©Natalie Deduck – Loveandroad.com

It’s one of the highlights of my year, and one of the places that I tend to meet contacts and plan where I’m going to travel to during that year, or the following one.

In fact, my first media trip ever, was sent to me by the virtue that I was chatting to a media person from Atout France – the France Tourism Development Agency!

My first press or FAM trip ever to Nord-Pas de Calais otherwise known as, Northern France!

I didn’t know that at the time, but she was so impressed, that she sent me a FAM Trip invitation to Nord-Pas de Calais.

I thought I was going to Normandy!

Haw! Haw!

I was the only press / blogger person there.

And well as the only British person too!

I had a fantastic time!

Myself on the M/S Star Tallink mini cruise from Tallinn to Helsinki.

A year after, I met another contact who invited me to use their sailing cruises. I didn’t have the time to sail extensively, but I did use the services of TALLINK SLJA LINE to cross from Estonia to Finland.

A year later, that very same person invited me to fly to Sweden and do a couple more cruises. I still wasn’t able to go since the timing wasn’t right, but she introduced me to a contact from Visit Stockholm instead, and before you knew it, both The Tall Young Gentleman and I were in Stockholm for the very first time!

Hamburg: An Introduction to a Port City!

I also met the PR person from Hamburg about a year ago, and when a window opened, I contacted her, and she invited me to a weekend in Hamburg for their Christmas Market / Holy Hamburg / Winter Event.

I had an awesome time!

In fact, it was at the ITB Berlin, and wandering through the Poland Stands, that some of the Polish staff recognised me from an article that I wrote all of four (4) years ago, they were so excited, and the word soon spread, that that blogger was actually there!

Apparently. In Poland, I’m a bit of a notorious star!

And the title of said piece: Going to Poland: 10 reasons not to go!

Apparently, in Poland I’m a bit of a notorious star!

Is it any wonder that this year, someone else reached out and invited me to a very interesting event, so interesting in fact, that how could I refuse?

The event in question was called Explore Hansa!

EXPLORE HANSA!

Explore HANSA

WHAT IS EXPLORE HANSA?

Explore Hansa with me!

Explore Hansa is a partner project consisting of nine (9) small and enchanting Hanseatic cities from Sweden (Visby), Estonia (Pernau and Viljandi) and Latvia (Cēsis, Koknese, Kuldīga, Limbaži, Straupe and Valmiera), but due to a lack of time, we were only able to visit five (5)!

All of these countries are enormously rich in heritage and tradition, and have developed active and culinary tourism that offers visitors a chance to explore nature, authentic history, and exciting local food!

One of the ways that these lovely cities want to do that is by inviting influencers and media representatives, of which I am one, to experience what these HANSA cities have to offer, feel the charm of tiny Hanseatic cities, immerse ourselves in nature, and to spread the word!

I’m certainly going to do that!

There were two (2) trips organised:

A level of fitness is expected for the HANSA Active trip!
  • THE ACTIVE TRIP route that went through Limbaži (Latvia) – Valmiera (Latvia) – Viljandi (Estonia) and Visby (Sweden), to explore the cobbled streets and cultural heritage of these small Hanseatic cities, as well as the beauty of nature, in which a level of fitness would be expected!

You all know how I am with bicycles!

Ha! Ha! Ha! Haaaaaaaaaa!

Explore HANSA at Pils krodziņš Pils Ķēķis in Valmiera – Latvia!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Latvia – August 2018
  • THE CULINARY TRIP route that will go through Viljandi (Estonia) – Valmiera (Latvia) – Cēsis (Latvia) – Koknese (Latvia) and Visby (Sweden), to explore one’s taste buds of seasonal local produce and create an inspiring gastronomical experience

Aha!

You can guess which one I chose!

I’m most interested in the annual Medieval Week or Medeltidsveckan taking place in Sweden!

There was lots of stuff going on, but one of the activities I was most interested in, was the annual Medieval Week or Medeltidsveckan event taking place in Sweden.

For one week only!

What an event!

Medieval Week is a paradise for all who like jousting, markets, church concerts, street theater, fire shows, storytelling, walks, lectures and more.

It takes place mainly in Visby’s medieval fairytale environments, but also on the rural island of Gotland.

Locals all dressed up & a Medieval Tournament to remember at the annual Medieval Week or Medeltidsveckan taking place in Sweden!

In fact, we got to see knights and maidens, people jousting and battling, locals dressed up as grand nobles, poor peasants and minstrels, medieval street markets, street theatre, fire-shows, storytelling, and a medieval tournament to remember!

It took place from August 5th to August 12th, 2018 and I’ll be telling you all about it in the next few weeks!

Exciting stuff!

Yeah!

Are you ready to Explore Hansa?

Find out more in the following weeks!

‘Rah! ‘Rah!

EXPLORE HANSA WITH ME! 5 ENCHANTING HANSEATIC CITIES FROM SWEDEN, ESTONIA AND LATVIA!

Explore HANSA with me on the island of Visby in Gotland for Medieval Week in Sweden!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Sweden – August 2018

This article is not sponsored, and all opinions and the exciting time that I had in the HANSA cities, are my very own!

Stay tuned.

Yay!

That’s it for now.

See you next week!

Explore Hansa with me in town – Sweden, Estonia & Latvia!

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!

Explore Hansa with me!
5 enchanting Hanseatic cities from Sweden, Estonia and Latvia!

Do you want to explore HANSA with me? Have you ever been to Latvia, Estonia or Sweden? 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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Osnabrück – a medieval town in a German valley – the hometown of my German husband!

Roman cohorts at the Varus Battle © Tourismusverband Osnabrücker Land e.V.
Roman cohorts at the Varus Battle
© Tourismusverband Osnabrücker Land e.V.

As you read this, I’m actually in Bath!

Yep! Bath.

In England.

Not the object of your morning ritual!

I was previously in Bristol and it was amazing. Once again, thank you Bristol for making my stay fun and exciting!

More about that next week. For now though, the medieval town of Osnabrück!

When I told The Music Producer that I was going to write about his home-town, he was chuffed and extremely pleased. My hubby is a lovely fellow and so is his hometown, so here we go.

OSNABRÜCK or in English OSNABRUECK

Greetings from Osnabrück in Germany!
Greetings from Osnabrück in Germany!

I love going to Osnabrück. It’s a quaint town, enveloped in medieval history, quite German-like in nature, pretty to look at, and once known as the happiest place in Germany! What not to like!

What not to like in Osnabrück!
What not to like in Osnabrück!

Osnabrück is a city in the Federal State of Lower-Saxony in North-West Germany.

Even though Osnabrück is regionally based in the region of Lower Saxony, historically, culturally and linguistically, Osnabrück is said to be a part of Westphalia. Osnabrück is situated in a valley penned between the Wiehen Hills and the northern tip of the Teutoburg Forest, has a population of 158,000 people, is the third (3rd) largest city in that State and the only German city situated in a nature reserve that is a 1,220 square kilometer, UNESCO Nature and Geo Park TERRA.vita!

THE HISTORY OF OSNABRÜCK

Church tower of St. Mary's Church in Osnabrück ©Osnabrück-Marketing und Tourismus GmbH
Church tower of St. Mary’s Church in Osnabrück
©Osnabrück-Marketing und Tourismus GmbH

The history of Osnabrück began in 780, when Charlemagne – King of the Franks, erected a stone church on the banks of the Hase River – the nucleus of today’s Osnabrück.

The city’s name is presumably a combination of the German words “Ossen” (ox) and “Brügge” (bridge). In 1002, the Bishop of Osnabrück was granted a charter to hold a market, mint coins, and collect customs dues.

Slightly before 803, the city became the seat of the Prince-Diocese of Osnabrück which is believed to make the city the oldest diocese in Lower Saxony! As an old trading route hub and as the seat of a bishop, Osnabrück developed into a thriving center for commerce in the Middle Ages. In 1157, Emperor Frederick Barbarossa granted the city its fortification privileges.

The Heger Tor, otherwise known as the Waterloo Gate in Osnabrück, Germany.
The Heger Tor, otherwise known as the Waterloo Gate in Osnabrück, Germany.

Most of the towers that were part of the medieval fortification are still visible in the city and are a rather interesting, energetic  photographic walk!

From 1412 to 1669, Osnabrück became an influential member of the “Hanse” or Hanseatic League, which was the most important trading alliance of its time and brought great stature and wealth to its member cities. Magnificent town houses and other prestigious buildings reflected the power and wealth of the medieval merchants.

Friedensdokumente_Referat-Medien, Osnabrück, Germany.

Osnabrück also became hugely important during the negotiations for the Peace of Westphalia that took place here as well as in Münster between 1643 – 1648. In fact, it was this treaty in October 1648, that finally ended the Thirty Years’ War and changed the face of Europe forever. To commemorate this event, the treaty is annually recreated by local children with a hobby-horse parade! Osnabrück also adopted the official title of Friedensstadt known as the “city of peace.”

While the Catholics used Münster as a venue, the Protestants resided in Osnabrück. As a result, Osnabrück was alternately peacefully ruled by both Catholic and Protestant bishops, until 1803!

In contemporary times, the old trade routes have been turned into pleasant streets and the mixture of historic quarters and modern architecture is the hallmark of Osnabrück today, not only as a university city, but also a cultural and commercial trading centre in industries such as automobile, paper, steel and perishables.

Gabled houses in Osnabrück market place. ©Tourismusverband Osnabrücker Land e.V.
Gabled houses in Osnabrück market place.
©Tourismusverband Osnabrücker Land e.V.

Due to it’s industrial importance, Osnabrück was heavily damaged during WWII although the Old Town, had it’s medieval architecture reconstructed.

It’s just so lovely that the locals still come together in places where merchants used to meet in the old market place, also known as the “Markt.” You can regularly find either the farmers’ market, local festivals, or the native German Christmas Market right there and we’ve always enjoyed either having an organic grilled sausage of some sort or organic home-made cheese. Don’t even get me started on their historic craft beer and fine German wine!

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

Osnabrück’s picturesque flair is formed by the Town Hall, the various churches, the Romanesque St Peter’s Cathedral and the high gables of the old merchant houses.

Osnabrück is surrounded by charming countryside and around 2,300 km of long distance and circular footpaths in a romantic landscape, and 1,500 km of bike paths. The ridges of the Teutoburg Forest and the Wiehen Hills shape Osnabrück’s surroundings, and most of the region is part of the UNESCO nature reserve Geo Park TERRA.vita, a European network of nature parks.

"The Music Producer" looking cool, calm & gorgeous in Osnabrück, Germany.
“The Music Producer” looking cool, calm & gorgeous in Osnabrück, Germany.

Now when I first met my husband, I actually thought he was Danish as his English was incredibly good, with a slight North American tilt! Hardly any wonder when Osnabrück used to be home to the largest British garrison (outside of the UK), in the world!

WHAT TO DO IN OSNABRÜCK

Dancing around the Maibaum or May Pole in Osnabrück, Germany.
Dancing around the Maibaum or May Pole in Osnabrück, Germany.
  • Osnabrück is a really sweet place and so we tend to go for the May Week Festival locally known as Mai Woche. Mai Woche is a bit like dancing round the May Day pole in England and is a unique festival with ten (10) days of music, comedy and open-air shows and entertainment. This takes place annually during the second (2nd) week in May.
  • Visit the picturesque Market Square and the wander through the weekly Farmer’s Market.
  • Visit the historical Town Hall and engross yourself in the history of Osnabrück, with the help of the Town Hall museum.
A family bike ride in Osnabrück. © Tourismusverband Osnabrücker Land e.V.
A family bike ride in Osnabrück.
© Tourismusverband Osnabrücker Land e.V.
  • Get out and cycle or bring your own bike! Osnabrück has ten (10) attractive cycling tours, four (4) long distance bike trails and a total of 2,500 kilometers marked routes.
  • Drink wine! Osnabrück always has local wine tasting sessions in the Old Town. And why not, it’s Germany after all!
  • Eat chocolate! I don’t like chocolate but there’s no reason why you shouldn’t indulge in one of Germany’s oldest family owned chocolate shop. The 106 year old Leysieffer is a confectionery that is famous world-wide for it’s hand-made chocolate truffles and chocolate bars, with exotic flavours such as chili peppers or sea salt!
Fireworks & moonlight shopping in Osnabück, Germany.
Fireworks & moonlight shopping in Osnabück, Germany.
  • For one night only. Experience the cultural diversity of outstanding cultural entertainment in Osnabrück. On the last Saturday in August. At night!
  • Check out the traditional and historical Christmas Market from the end of November to December 22nd.
  • Visit the “Dom St. Peter” also known as St. Peter’s Cathedral which has been a place of worship for more than 1,225 years!
  • Visit other churches!
A Self Portrait of Felix Nussbaum in 1943.
A Self Portrait of Felix Nussbaum in 1943.
  • Make it a point of duty to get to grips with the Felix Nussbaum Museum which houses the impressive life collection of Felix Nussbaum as a German-Jewish surrealist painter, in a desperate state of living, in Holocaust Europe.
  • If you aren’t short on time, visit other museums such as the Museum of Cultural History or the Museum of Industrial Culture. I guess you can see a running theme here, I like museums LOL!
  • Discover Osnabrück’s history with the Romans!
Grützwurst!
Grützwurst!
  • Eat a variety of delicious rustic German food such as asparagus – Spargel – green cabbage – Grünkohl – served with cured and slightly smoked thick cuts of pork – Kasseler –  or a traditional blood sausage made out of pig’s blood, pig offal and buckwheat stuffed in a pig intestine flavored with onions, black pepper, and marjoram – Grützwurst!
  • Go high-brow and dine at Osnabrück’s most famous three (3) Michelin star exquisite La Vie restaurant and don’t forget to make a reservation!
  • Have a bite and a rest at Walhalla – Osnabrück’s oldest inn built in 1690!
The most famous Rampendahl brewery in Osnabrück, Germany.
The most famous Rampendahl brewery in Osnabrück, Germany.
  • Drink litres of German beer in large beer steins and glasses at the merchant-friendly Rampendahl brewery re-collected in historical books as far back as 1177! Go upstairs for a better view and don’t forget that you can even go on a tour of the brewery itself!
  • Go shopping and really stroll around into nooks and crannies and cobble-stoned streets!
  • Track down dinosaurs!
  • Go to as many monasteries as you can muster.
The Old Town in Osnabrück, Germany.
The Old Town in Osnabrück, Germany.
  • Take a walk down memory lane and go to the most exquisite Old Town in Osnabrück. Think taverns bustling with merchants. Think black and white half-timbered houses and Romanesque vault buildings and monuments from the 13th century. Think knights , ladies and serfs, from the Middle Ages!
  • Visit one of the earliest baroque palaces in Germany built in 1668 with it’s stylish palace gardens, palace´s terrace, palace statues and palace fountains. Now a part of the University of Osnabrück but open to the general public and quite enchanting!
  • Visit the various castles in Osnabrück.
"The Tall Young Gentleman" at Bad Rothenfelde - the salt spa near Osnabrück, Germany.
“The Tall Young Gentleman” at Bad Rothenfelde – the salt spa near Osnabrück, Germany.
  • Go to the spa town of Bad Rothenfelde where my husband’s father grew up. It has a spa garden and the famous Saline Rothenfelde salt works. The water is warm and you can really taste the salt!
  • If you’ve got a couple of days, you could get yourself the Osnabrück City Card. It allows you access to every bus within the city, free admission to six museums in Osnabrück, plus a voucher booklet for other interesting cultural activities. Prices for 24 hours are €8.00 per person (adults & children 14 and above), €11.00 for a family (two adults with a maximum of two children up to the age of 14). Tickets for 48 hours are €11.00 per person or €16.00 per family. Valid for any two days within a period of three months.

HOW TO GET TO OSNABRÜCK

Osnabrück - The City of Peace.
Osnabrück – The City of Peace.
  • By train: The train station that you would need to get to is Osnabrück Hbf (Main Train Station) via Germany’s Deutsche Bahn. It’s about  four (4) hours from Berlin.
  • By plane: The nearest airport is the Münster/Osnabrück International Airport. It’s about 30 minutes from Osnabrück and has an airport express bus that operates regularly.
  • By bus: Many coach/bus companies also travel to Osnabrück and within Osnabrück itself, the public transport network is highly efficient throughout the day and night!
  • By car: You can reach Osnabrück via the motorways A30 Amsterdam – Bad Oeynhausen, A33 Diepholz – Bielefeld and A1 Hamburg – Dortmund.
My husband - "The Music Producer" and "The Tall Young Gentleman" in beautiful Osnabrück, Germany.
My husband – “The Music Producer” and “The Tall Young Gentleman” in beautiful Osnabrück, Germany.

I might be biased but I really like Osnabruck as the German traditions are still very much sought after for example, my husband told me that there is an ancient custom that unmarried men who are 30 years old must sweep the streets in front of the town hall or have their houses covered with paper and plastic, until they are kissed by a virgin. As punishment!

Go see for yourself!

Next week, I’ll be writing about the wonderful time that I had in Bristol.

Get out your brolly and put on your wellies!

See you next week.

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

Osnabrück - the hometown of my German husband!

Would you go to a medieval town? Have you ever been to Germany? Isn’t my husband cute?

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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