10 Christmas gifts that don’t cost a single thing, and 10 gifts that do – 2018/2019!!

10 Christmas gifts that don’t cost a single thing, and 10 gifts that do – 2018/2019!!

It’s never too late.

And I do so love winter!

It’s that great time of year.

Christmas & the New Year!

I love the crispness of the air, the early evenings, the freshness of the cold, and the darkness  when the lights come out.

I love it so, because December is my most favourite month ever, and also the month of my birth!

It was my birthday almost two weeks ago.

So what did I do?

Well, instead of having a huge birthday party, I decided to treat my family to an all-expenses-paid-entirely-by-me weekend away, to Prague!

Yay!

It was my birthday a few weeks ago – Happy Birthday to me! Victoria in Prague
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Czech Republic – December 2018
My birthday cake at Boris’ Apartments Prague Castle – Happy Birthday to me! Victoria in Prague
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Czech Republic – December 2018
Staroměstská – Old Town – Happy Birthday to me! Victoria in Prague
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner -Czech Republic – December 2018

The Czech Republic is one of my favourite countries.

Indeed, before I came to live in Germany as a British Expat, once upon a time, I lived in Prague!

On Charles Bridge – Karlův Most – Happy Birthday to me! Victoria in Prague
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Czech Republic – December 2018
In front of Charles Bridge – Karlův Most – Happy Birthday to me! Victoria in Prague
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Czech Republic – December 2018

Don’t I look happy?

I even managed to do some of my Christmas Shopping!

Speaking of Xmas Shopping.

Aaaaah!

The horror of Christmas shopping – Get me out of here!

You might not be excited about winter or the horror of Christmas shopping, but you are still liable to the festive season.

At least in Europe you are!

However of late, Christmas has been high-jacked by activities contrary to what this season is all about. Everywhere you look there’s some disaster or another, and afterwards, merriment galore, then huge bills!

Yikes!

Let’s figure out a way to make Christmas time as pain-free as possible!
10 Christmas gifts that don’t cost a single thing, and 10 gifts that do – 2018/2019!!

So let’s make a deal.

Instead of wasting a huge amount of money on things you either don’t need, or probably already have, making the issue of #firstworldproblems completely and utterly true.

Let’s figure out a way to make Christmas time as pain-free as possible.

So come with me as I feature 10 Christmas gifts that don’t cost a single thing if you’re broke, and don’t have a penny to your name. And 10 gifts that do, for those who have the dosh, and really want to spend it!

Please note that there are three affiliate link companies connected to this Christmas / New Year gift post! Every time one of these services is used, booked, and paid for via my link, I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself! A win-win for all!

10 CHRISTMAS GIFTS THAT DON’T COST A SINGLE THING, AND 10 GIFTS THAT DO!!

10 Christmas gifts that don’t cost a single thing, and 10 gifts that do – 2018/2019!!

Here we go!

1.  MAKE A PHOTOGRAPHY ALBUM

Photographs don't cost a single thing!
Photographs don’t cost a single thing!

IT DOESN’T COST A SINGLE THING!

In todays’ world, pretty much everyone and his mother has a mobile phone. In many cases, a smart phone too.

It doesn’t take a genius to take a photograph or two of yourself, your friends, and family, or even your hobby using stuff like postcards, ticket stubs, old T-shirts, money, etc, making your photography more than just a bunch of photos, but a scrapbook of your life. And theirs!

Then all you have to do is upload the photographs, edit as appropriate, then send off to your loved ones by Email.

IT DOES! IT’S CHRISTMAS!!

It does. It’s Christmas!!
The INSTAX Mini 90 Neo Classic Retro Camera!

If you’re looking for something different, why not get a retro camera for instant photographs with your friends and family. ‘Remember when this was a thing?

I recommend this fabulous INSTAX Mini 90 Neo Classic camera – because it’s a blend of stylish quality with a retro camera design that looks good, feels great, has a full range of camera functions, and performs beautifully!

It also comes in classic black!

And get this.

It’s under £120.00 / €120.00 / $120.00!

How fun is that!

The Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 Instant Film Camera!

If you want one:

  • Buy your loved ones a fun retro camera via Amazon UK here!
  • If you’re in the US, buy this fun retro camera via Amazon.com here!
  • If you’re in Germany, buy this fun retro camera via Amazon.de hier!

2.  MAKE MUSIC

A personalised mixed tape doesn't cost a single thing!
A personalised mixed tape doesn’t cost a single thing!

IT DOESN’T COST A SINGLE THING!

Ha! Ha! Not a measuring tape.

I mean tape cassette!?

Tape?!&%!!

When was the last time that you actually saw a good ‘ol cassette player?

Like never!

Nevertheless, the sentiment remains the same. Why not make a customised mixed playlist from your huge collection on iTunes or Spotify, and make a CD! You can even sing on it….!

IT DOES! IT’S CHRISTMAS!!

It does. It’s Christmas!!
What a really cool RockJam Full Size Electric Guitar Superkit!

On the other hand, if you’ve ever wanted to be in your own rock band, and make your own style of music, now you can!

I recommend this really cool RockJam Full Size Electric Guitar Superkit. It even comes with it’s own amp, strings, tuner, strap, case and cable, as well as an association of colours – black, red, brown, and sunburst!

Perfect for the aspiring beginner!

And get this.

It’s under $120.00 / £120.00 / €100.00!

Move over Eric Clapton!

Move over Eric Clapton!

If you want one:

  • Buy this electric guitar superkit via Amazon UK here!
  • If you’re in the US, buy this electric guitar superkit via Amazon.com here!
  • If you’re in Germany, buy this electric guitar superkit via Amazon.de hier!

3.  MAKE YOUR OWN COOKBOOK

Making your very own cook and recipe book, doesn’t cost a single thing!

IT DOESN’T COST A SINGLE THING!

I’m not the best of cooks.

Even though I love eating wonderful food, and I have a whole bookshelf of cookery books.

I SIMPLY CAN’T COOK!

But if you can, why not make your very own cook and recipe book for your friends and family?

Add personalised notes and extra information about why you chose that particular recipe, ‘cos who doesn’t like something delicious. Or even the secret to making a good cup of tea!

IT DOES! IT’S CHRISTMAS!!

Croatian food is most delicious!

If you fear that you might kill people, leave it to the experts, and buy your loved ones a cookery book instead, so that they can make it like mummy used to.

Properly!

If the pressure is far too much, why not try out some fun cook books, to remind you of your obsession in 2018 instead…

It does. It’s Christmas!!
The Walking Bread!

From the creators of Baking Bad comes the ghoulishly funny spoof cookbook The Walking Bread, inspired by the hit television series that viewers have been hungrily devouring for the past eight years.

Fans of the show will be dying to get their hands, on this new pun-tastic, post-apocalyptic book!

It does. It’s Christmas!!
Game of Scones – All Men Must Die!

And of course, if you’re as obsessed with Game of Thrones as I am, you simply must get Game of Scones: All Men Must Dine!

Inspired by the hit television series, this Game of Thrones baking book is the struggle for the Iron Scone where chaos reigns throughout the Seven Kingdoms!

Kings, queens, knights, and honest men, battle it out as they play the Game of Scones while Jammy Lannister, by right of birth, blood and dough, lays claim to the Iron Scone of Westeros!

Join him as he fights his way through the kitchen, via desserts such as Unsullied Soldiers (without nuts), Brienne of Tart, Jaime and Cersei’s Family Mess, and Tyrion’s Shortbread!

 

I highly recommend both books, and the Blu-Ray / DVD!

And get this.

Each book is under £10.00 / €10.00 / $10.00!

So what are you waiting for?

If you want one:

  • Buy your loved ones The Walking Bread here. And the Game of Scones via Amazon UK here!
  • If you’re in the US, buy this hilarious cookbook The Walking Bread here. And the Game of Scones via Amazon.com here!
  • If you’re in Germany, buy this hilarious cookbook The Walking Bread: (Englisch) hier. And the Game of Scones: Das witzige Backbuch zur Kultserie via Amazon.de hier!

4.  GO ON A WALKING TOUR

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

IT DOESN’T COST A SINGLE THING!

You’re broke and you can’t afford to travel the world.

Not to worry. Let the world travel to you!

Join a walking tour in a major city near you. Completely and utterly free (except for the tips of course.)

We said save money, not steal it!

IT DOES! IT’S CHRISTMAS!!

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

On the other hand, you’ve got holiday time due to you, or you want to surprise a loved one, then don’t be shy take the next train, or flight, and book a hotel to anywhere in the world.

Go on. You deserve it!

  • If you’re in Britain, book a hotel room via Booking.com. here!
  • If you’re in the US, book a hotel room via Booking.com. here!
  • Wenn Sie in Deutschland sind, sie können ein Hotelzimmer über Booking.com auf Deutsch, hier buchen!

5.  GROW YOUR OWN FOOD

Pickles, in many cases, don’t cost a single thing!

IT DOESN’T COST A SINGLE THING!

We all eat far too much!

Using the fruit and vegetables from your garden, your terrace, or even your window sill, can give you pickles and jams galore!

Food should be a delight, but most people eat far too much!

Instead of throwing out your excess fruit, make jam and give them to your friends and family.

Instead of throwing out your excess vegetables, make chutney and give them to your neighbours.

And if you’re worried about the effects of dry summers and warms winters, then by all means, go ahead and make your own pickles!

My garden. Notice the bunting in the background!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner
One of the apples from our garden!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner

We have a plum-tree, an apple tree, a blackberry tree, and hundreds of home-grown vegetables.

We even have our own wormery and compost box!

Fresh produce doesn’t do itself justice, bearing in mind that there are no added chemicals.

In fact, no added anything at all!

Just put in a little sunshine, a bit of water, some basic pruning from time-to-time, a couple of old teabags, crushed eggshells, and dried coffee granules, and you’ve got yourself a vegetable patch, and freshness to last you through the winter!

IT DOES! IT’S CHRISTMAS!!

It does. It’s Christmas!!
How to Grow: A guide for gardeners who can’t garden yet

I’m a very bad cook, but I do actually know how to grow my own food!

Yes, I do!

And in this day and age of chemicals, fertilisers, horse-meat, and who knows  what in our food, isn’t it about time that you get yourself a garden book and learn how to find fruit and vegetables that is simply all around us?

So why not buy your loved ones inspiring books that show you how to choose good food. Use good food. And eat good food, while at the same time encouraging a degree of self-sufficiency.

How to Grow: A Guide for Gardeners Who Can’t Garden Yet is not only a useful book, but a jolly good read!

This is a gardening book for people who want to learn how to grow things, but haven’t got a clue where to start!

It does. It’s Christmas!!
Hippie Lane: The Cookbook

And for the vegans out there.

How about a book that is extremely attractive to vegans who are not only serious about wholesome food, but also people who might like to try out a few recipes too! Check out Hippie Lane: The Cookbook!

Yes, you too can go meat free. For a day or two with Hippie Lane: The Cookbook!

I utterly recommend both books!

And get this. Each book is under $25.00 / £15.00 / €20.00!

So what are you waiting for?

If you want one:

  • Buy your loved ones How to Grow: A guide for gardeners who can’t garden yet here. And Hippie Lane: The Cookbook via Amazon UK here!
  • If you’re in the US, buy this inspiring How to Grow: A guide for gardeners who can’t garden yet here. And Hippie Lane: The Cookbook via Amazon.com here!
  • If you’re in Germany, buy this inspiring How to Grow: A guide for gardeners who can’t garden yet (Englisch) hier. And Hippie Lane: The Cookbook (Englisch) via Amazon.de hier!

6.  MAKE A HOME-MADE MOVIE

A home-made film doesn’t cost a single thing!

IT DOESN’T COST A SINGLE THING!

If you have a smart phone, a camera, or a selfie stick, you can start making your very own-home movie, starring YOU.

 

 

Produced by you, and directed and scripted, completely and utterly by you.

Boy, but what a thrill!

I’m not going to show you any of my own home-movies. I’m not mad you know!

But if you want to see some of my professional ones, click here!

IT DOES! IT’S CHRISTMAS!!

It does. It’s Christmas!!
If you’re serious, register at the Met Film School!

If you’re serious about movies and films, and want to take making a movie to the next level, why not go to film festivals for inspiration, pile on the pressure by joining a how-to-make-a-film workshop hosted by the University of Bedfordshire (UK), where you have to make an independent film project in just 48 hours!

And not only that, you get to show your film via Open Screenings and free entrance to the public at the British Shorts Film Festival, or enrol at a film school nearby.

I’m constantly being asked to make some sort of film production, made and produced by myself.

Er. Nope!

I love watching films. I love being in films, but I’m not skilled enough to actually make the film!

And nor do I want to.

Me being thoughtful during a Live TV broadcast in Germany, and looking as if I’m about to sing!
©Pascale Scerbo Sarro

I love being in front of the camera, rather than behind it!

Last year, I was asked by the BBC to take part in a creative art make-your-own-digital-film project, but I turned it down!

The BBC!

I know!!

However, they were kind of enough to invite me for a BBC4 London radio show instead.

I readily accepted!

Having said that, I love learning stuff which is why I’m always at one workshop or another, and there’s nothing wrong with adding to the skills that one already has. So I might book one of the MET practical filmmaking world-renowned weekend courses after all.

And certainly, if you’re serious about this stuff, you should do the same, or get one of your grannies to pay for it!

7.  READ A BOOK

Reading a book doesn't cost a single thing!
Reading a book doesn’t cost a single thing!

IT DOESN’T COST A SINGLE THING!

If you’re clever, getting a book for free is as easy as getting a slice of bread!

All you had to do is search for a classic book online, or go to the free openlibrary.org or your local library, and the book is yours!

Certainly the Berlin Central and Regional Library (ZLB), yearly library membership cost between just €5.00 – €10.00 a year, and includes being able to borrow DVDs, Videos, Music CDs, Booklets, Audio books, Art related items, and up to 60 books at a time!

On top of that, you have access to every other public library in the city.

All pretty much free of charge.

Gosh!

IT DOES! IT’S CHRISTMAS!!

It does. It’s Christmas!!
Gifts for Children & Millennials – The next generation Kindle Fire HD 8!

Why waste time?

Buy your loved ones a kindle, and they can have a book for life!

Kindles are on special offer right now, and they’re much cheaper than an iPad!

I have Kindle on my iPad, and Kindle on my Samsung Galaxy 8+ phone, and a few years ago we bought The Tall Young Gentleman a Kindle Fire Tablet, and he’s still using it!

For children, teenagers and Millennials, Kindle Fire HD 8 Tablet with Alexa, is your man! It also comes in canary yellow, marine blue, and punch red!

And get this. It’s under $50.00/ £80.00 / €90.00!

I really don’t think you can get cheaper than this, with all the extra features!

If you want one:

  • Buy your loved ones the next generation Kindle Fire HD 8, via Amazon UK here!
  • If you’re in the US, buy your loved ones the next generation Kindle Fire HD 8, via Amazon.com here!
  • If you’re in Germany, buy your loved ones the next generation Kindle Fire HD 8, via Amazon.de hier!
It does. It’s Christmas!!
The All-New Kindle Paperwhite – Now waterproof!

If you’re a dedicated reader, then the All-New Kindle Paperwhite is probably more useful!

If you want one:

  • Buy your loved ones the Kindle bestseller – the All-New Kindle Paperwhite, via Amazon UK here!
  • If you’re in the US, buy your loved ones the Kindle bestseller – the All-New Kindle Paperwhite, via Amazon.com here!
  • If you’re in Germany, buy your loved ones the Kindle bestseller – the All-New Kindle Paperwhite, via Amazon.de hier!

Whatever.

Buy a Kindle!

8.  CHARITABLE GIFTS THAT YOU CAN SEE!

Donating an old toy, doesn't cost a single thing!
Donating an old toy, doesn’t cost a single thing!

IT DOESN’T COST A SINGLE THING!

I personally like to donate clothes, books and toys.

I’ve also donated my time by teaching for free, or offering some other service.

At one point, I was a Charitable Director of a Woman’s Shelter in London, and a civilian sergeant in the Engineering Unit of the Territorial Army!

IT DOES! IT’S CHRISTMAS!!

It does. It’s Christmas!!
Most people are charitable and want to help others, but are we really helping others?

Most people by their very nature are charitable and want to help others, but sometimes there’s a nagging feeling if you’re really doing what you can?

Is your money going to the people who need it most, or some administrative office in Switzerland?

Some organizations offer more tangible ways to do this.

I’ve donated to UNESCO for children and natural disasters. I’ve also given money to start-up organisations in Berlin, as I like to support up and coming talent in various ways!

I was first introduced to a company called Kiva.org via my previous company who made a donation of $25 on my behalf, promising to double whatever I donated myself.

Kiva is a non-profit organisation that allows people to lend money via the internet to low-income entrepreneurs, to alleviate poverty.

It does. It’s Christmas!!
I prefer to lend money to women on low-incomes in developing countries, who are setting up local businesses to get themselves & their families out of poverty.

I donated another $25 and got to choose who I would give this loan to.

I chose the female owner of a small corner shop in South America.

She paid me $2.00 every month and paid back the loan.

But not to worry, I didn’t keep the money!

I’ve donated to countries in Samoa and Columbia.

And Tajikistan!

I know!

I didn’t know where Tajikistan was either!

But that’s beside the point!

Once the loan is repaid, the money is put back into your account where you can donate it or loan it out again!

Well-known charities like Oxfam, allow you to donate a specific animal – a goat or llama – or other basic items needed by the village.  You can also “adopt” endangered animals through animal conservation organisations such as the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

Whichever you look at it, at least it’s a tangible effort to help others, less fortunate than ourselves, in a more sustainable way.

9.  FAMILY HISTORY 

Researching your family history doesn't cost a single thing!
Researching your family history doesn’t cost a single thing!

IT DOESN’T COST A SINGLE THING!

Research your family history  and ask your grandparents about your ancestry, your roots, and your family history.

You can also go to the local library, local burial grounds, church, place of worship, the town hall or failing that, go online and do some digging via Ancestry.com!

You’ll be surprised at what you find!

Via an old newspaper article, I found out that my dad was the first engineer and person of colour, in his Northern England unit!

He’s in his 70’s now, so you can imagine what an achievement that was at the time!

IT DOES! IT’S CHRISTMAS!!

It does. It’s Christmas!!
Hire an expert historian who will dig up your genealogical tree!

You can hire an expert historian who will do the digging for you and make your genealogical tree, or you can get your family tested for DNA.

After all how do you think I know that I’m descended from royalty. I always tell people that I’m related to the other Queen Victoria.

I’m not. It’s different royalty.

But I might be!

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

Failing that why not come to Europe and find out.

Many of you are descended from people in England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Poland, Ukraine, Eastern Europe, Scandinavia.

Don’t you think it’s time you took a plane and found out!

If you need any help, click here!

10.  WRITE YOUR OWN BOOK or START YOUR OWN BLOG

How to write & publish a book! I prefer paper or hard back!
How to write & publish a book!
I prefer paper or hard back!

IT DOESN’T COST A SINGLE THING!

Get yourself a glass of wine, grab some plain  white paper or your laptop, and get writing!

IT DOES! IT’S CHRISTMAS!!

The Bee Hive by Simon Adepetun.
The Bee Hive by Simon Adepetun.
Buy on Amazon
Buy on Amazon

Buy the book of someone else.

An ordinary person.

Just like you.

And represented by the London publishing house – Austin Macauley Publishers.

Someone like my very own brother, who wrote a children’s book called THE BEEHIVE.

In just three (3) months!

If you want a copy of the book just in time for Xmas or the New Year…

  • Buy your loved ones The Bee Hive, via Amazon UK here!
  • If you’re in the US, buy your loved ones The Bee Hive, via Amazon.com here!
  • If you’re in Germany, buy your loved ones The Bee Hive. It’s only available in English so buy via Amazon.uk here oder Amazon.de hier!
How to start a blog in just a mere 10 minutes: A simple guide!

If you want to be like me when you grow up – a well-respected smart British – German blogger, all you have to do is to get yourself a website host such as Blue Host, and open up the website of wordpress.com.

It’s really easy and can be done in all of 10 minutes!

Here’s a simple guide I wrote, about how to start a blog!

WordPress.com

Not only that, if you start a new blog before the year runs out and 2019 begins, there’s an exclusive sale for 20% off WordPress.com!

For the 20% discount, use the coupon code. Click here!

  • Dates: Monday, December 17th – Monday, December 31st
  • Coupon Code: HOLIDAYS20
  • Can be used for: WordPress.com, WooCommerce.com & Jetpack

If you’re still having problems or would prefer a step-by-step live guide, I offer a personal consultancy which can be done in either English or German!

Speaking of languages, have you seen my language tab at the top of the page?

Now you can switch my post to any language you desire!

Nifty!

Me just walking down the road. Thrown into the spotlight LOL!
© Pascale Scerbo Sarro

So what are you waiting for, Xmas & the New Year is just around the corner.

Get to work!

And good luck!

10 CHRISTMAS GIFTS THAT DON’T COST A SINGLE THING, AND 10 GIFTS THAT DO!!

10 Christmas gifts that don’t cost a single thing, and 10 gifts that do – 2018/2019!!

This article isn’t sponsored and all opinions and amazing gifts, are my very own!

I have so much to share with you.

I’ll tell you all about it next year!

If you’re not in Berlin in winter, you’re not going to have any sausages!

Yay!

10 Christmas gifts that don’t cost a single thing, and 10 gifts that do – 2018/2019!!

Watch this space!

Please note that there are five affiliate link companies connected to this Christmas / New Year gift post! Every time one of these services is used, booked, and paid for via my link, I get a little percentage, but at no extra cost to yourself!

A win-win for all!

Let’s get ready for Christmas & New Year!

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!

A win-win for all!

Thanks a million!

10 Christmas gifts that don’t cost a single thing, and 10 gifts that do – 2018/2019!!

Which of these gifts do you like? Would you buy them for yourself? 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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How I went to 11 marvellous countries, & taught the Germans about the Queen in 2015. If I can do it, so can you!

Original photo © Belén de Benito
Original photo © Belén de Benito

HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!!

My. What a year we’ve had.

2015 was fabulous for me and 2016 is going to be even more spectacular!

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 WordPress annual report, over 69,000 people have read my blog in the last year from 171 countries. 69,000 people!! To think this little blog is but two (2) years old. Isn’t that brilliant?

The three (3) top countries were:

  1. USA – 13,000 readers.
  2. Germany – 10,000 readers.
  3. UK – 9,500 readers.

With the lovely Latvia right behind – 9,300 readers.

Amaaaazing!

Thank You!

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 11 COUNTRIES THAT I WENT TO LAST YEAR WERE:

  • England
  • Holland
  • The Czech Republic
  • Hungary
  • Lithuania
  • Latvia
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • Poland
  • Spain
  • Germany

ENGLAND:

Oysters and stout on a wooden table outside a pub, England UK - ©VisitBritain Daniel Bosworth
Oysters and stout on a wooden table outside a pub, England UK –
©VisitBritain Daniel Bosworth

Last year I went to Bristol and I was extremely honoured to be invited as a guest of Visit Bristol. While I was there, I decided to drop into the city of Bath too but I haven’t actually written it about it yet, but you’ll get that post soon enough lol!

Not bad at all!

HOLLAND:

In the Red Light District, Amsterdam.
In the Red Light District, Amsterdam.
  • I have a great husband and every now and then I get a free weekend. It was January and I hadn’t been to Holland in nine (9) years so I decided to go on a solo weekend to Amsterdam and this is what I did: I went to a sex-show!!!

THE CZECH REPUBLIC:

"The Tall Young Gentleman" surrounded by teenaged girls at Rokytnice nad Jizerou!
“The Tall Young Gentleman” surrounded by teenaged girls at Rokytnice nad Jizerou!

Not only did I visit one of my favourite countries ever. But in 2015, I actually went twice!

And then I went to Prague.

In Prague reading something and looking all serious, but not completely serious!
In Prague reading something and looking all serious, but not completely serious!

What?

You haven’t yet been?

Incredible!

HUNGARY:

Chess players in the Széchenyi Thermal Bath and Swimming Pool - Budapest.
Chess players in the Széchenyi Thermal Bath and Swimming Pool – Budapest.

Hungary was on the map this year but for all the wrong reasons. Sadly, rather than the lovely goulash and paprika soup, it became far more known for the dismal handling of refugees running for their lives. Lest we forget, as far as the common man in Europe is concerned, #refugeesarewelcome.

THE BALTIC STATES:

A map of the Baltic Sea.
A map of the Baltic Sea.

I travel a lot and as much as I love travelling to my favourite regions of the world over and over again (Hello Tuscany!), one of the most interesting things about the Baltic Region is that I had never been there before so I decided to make a family trip out of it.

My husband gulped when I told him that not only were we going to the “other” Eastern Europe otherwise known as The Baltics, but we were going by long-distance coach-bus from country to country! I’m a determined woman and so with the part-sponsorship of an Estonian company called Lux Express, we went by road and back again!

LITHUANIA:

Vilnius B&B in Lithuania.

LATVIA:

Riga Black Balsam.

Twenty six thousand (26,000) views, hits and shares!

Absolutely Outstanding!

Thank you Latvia!!

ESTONIA:

Estonian Young Folk.
Estonian Young Folk.

FINLAND:

Helsinki Monument, Finland. @VisitFinland
Helsinki Monument, Finland.
@VisitFinland

POLAND:

Jesus in Warsaw.
Jesus in Warsaw.

For many people, Poland is an unknown country somewhere in an obscure part of Eastern Europe. If you do want to venture there, not to worry as I’ve been going there for almost twenty (20) years, so I’ve got tips to help you plan your way!

SPAIN:

Paella for lunch at TBEX in Lloret de Mar - Spain. Yum!
Paella for lunch at TBEX in Lloret de Mar – Spain.
Yum!

I love Spain and for the first time, I decided to attend the TBEX conference which is the holy grail of the travel blogging world and stands for Travel Blog Exchange.

I decided to stay closer to home and attend TBEX EUROPE. In previous years, the bloggers conference had been in Dublin and Athens but in 2015, it was in Costa Brava, Catalunya. In Lloret de Mar to be specific. Near the beach. Olé!

But is it just me or does disaster follow me around like a bad smell? Firstly, my flight out from Berlin to Barcelona was delayed, and was so late coming in, that I had to stay at Barcelona Airport all night! And secondly, my return flight was also delayed, ten (10) hours behind schedule! Ten (10) hours!

I mean.

Come on!!

OTHER PARTS OF GERMANY:

Roman cohorts at the Varus Battle in Osnabrück. © Tourismusverband Osnabrücker Land e.V.
Roman cohorts at the Varus Battle in Osnabrück.
© Tourismusverband Osnabrücker Land e.V.
  • The most popular post about Germany is still actually the very first post, that I ever wrote on my blog. Isn’t that funny! The title was: Germany is Boring. Ooops! Yeah, I got insults and abuse for this post. Mainly from people who never read it.

Ah well, I’m famous now. Right. Right?!

MORE NEXT WEEK!

The Black Kilts and my British-German family! © Pascale Scerbo Sarro
The Black Kilts and my British-German family!
© Pascale Scerbo Sarro

Blogging is a lone game and a solo art and in 2015, many more experienced bloggers struggled to maintain momentum or to overcome exhaustion. I’m lucky. 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.

Thank you so much for your support everyone. 2015 was a lovely year. Here’s to the next. Bottoms up!

I'm a very happy British lifestyle, expat, travel blogger. Right here in the beautiful city of Berlin - © Pascale Scerbo Sarro
I’m a very happy British lifestyle, expat, travel blogger. Right here in the beautiful city of Berlin –
© Pascale Scerbo Sarro

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

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

I have so much to share with you so next week I will be writing about some of my travel destinations for 2016 with you.

It”s a New Year. Hip! Hip! Hurrah!

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

January is going to be splendid!

Watch this space!

We love my blog!

Where did you travel to last year? Any achievements that you would like to share?

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!

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

Please Share it! Tweet it! Or like it!