Is it safe to travel to Britain & the UK right now ‘cos I’m scared to travel abroad?

Is it safe to travel to Britain & the UK right now ‘cos I’m scared to travel abroad?

It’s been a rough few weeks.

I was going to write about the rest of my marvellous time in Sweden.

I was going to tell you that I was asked to be one of the five (5) members of an academic discussion panel on Brexit, at the Humboldt University of Berlin!

It’ll be on 24.06.17 as part of the Lange Nacht der Wissenschaften, or the Long Night of Sciences at the Centre for British Studies in Berlin.

I was also going to tell you that not only was I featured as a guest blogger on the University of Chester Alumni website, but I’m also going to be on the University of Chester’s official Case Study posters for postgraduate recruitment too! Now isn’t that cool!

Berlin – very British – rbb

However, bearing in mind what has been happening in my home-country of England, there was just no way that I wasn’t going to mention it.

And sadly, this isn’t the first time.

There have been terrorist attacks in both London and Manchester.

Everyone is in a state of shock.

Our sympathies and condolences are with the people, family and friends of both Manchester and London.

Tributes left in St Ann’s Square, Manchester, for the people who died in the terror attack
©Jeff J Mitchell /Getty

The world has been in a dreadful state within the last year.

First, we had that horrible referendum in which my fellow Brits voted to Leave the European Union, and won! Shortly after, we had airport explosions and train attacks in Belgium, awful situations of terror in France, mindless shootings in the US, the senseless mass killing of the gay community in America, a mad axe-wielding teenager in Germany, an airport terror attack and a near military coup in Turkey, another disturbed teenager ran riot of an evening, randomly shooting innocent shoppers, after luring them to a free McDonalds’ burger, in Germany, and the awful fact that Donald Trump, a laughable figure, actually ended up as the President of the United States, and thus, the leader of the Free Western World!

I mean, how did that happen?!

Is it safe to travel to Britain & the UK right now ‘cos I’m scared to travel abroad?

Berlin was targeted by a mad man at the German Christmas Market, then London was terrorised in March, Stockholm in April, and very very recently, Manchester was attacked, and just over the weekend, London, all over again!!

Just what is the world coming to?

MANCHESTER

That famous and historical city – Manchester!

I’m a British girl!

I was born and grew up in the suburbs of a most famous and historical city – Manchester.

Manchester is in England and when you think of England you think of icons like King Henry VIII, The British Empire, David Bowie, and of course, The Beatles.

Images of Cool Britannia with absolutely everybody LOL!
@Debbiefm

The Beatles may come from Liverpool, but you can’t have everything can you!

Manchester began as a Roman fort called Mamucium or Mancunium, in about AD 79 and was historically a part of Lancashire, and until the 20th century, became a part of Cheshire.

Manchester is fringed by the Cheshire Plain to the South, the Pennines to the North and East, and an arc of little towns surrounding it!

The lovely” Just So Festival” is an annual weekend camping festival that’s actually in Cheshire, but billed as Manchester!

In fact, where I grew up, is technically no longer known as Manchester, but Cheshire!

Throughout the Middle Ages, Manchester remained a manorial township, but began to expand around the turn of the 19th century, brought on by a boom in textile manufacturing during the Industrial Revolution, bringing extreme wealth to Manchester and making it the first industrialised city in the world!

Phew!

It’s lovely cruising down the Castlefield Canal, or any other canal in Manchester!

Manchester is the highest-ranked British city, apart from London of course, and is the third-most visited city in the UK!

It’s famous for it’s universities and seats of academic learning, architecture, art and culture, museums and galleries, theatre, literature, nightclubs and bars, cinema, music, Manchester Pride, the BBC, science and engineering, sport and excellent transportation. In fact, Manchester has loads of river canals which you can cruise along, free trams that you can use in the city centre, and Liverpool Road train station, which is the first inter-city passenger railway station in the world!

Manchester has about half a million people.

Now that Brexit & Article 50 has been triggered, as an island nation. We’re out. Alone.

So of course, when terrorism came to my home-town and therefore, my city, I was saddened and outraged.

This act of terrorism was not only cowardly, but taken out in an area where teenagers and young children were watching a fabulous concert of Ariana Grande.

Everyone was most upset.

And so was  I.

Everyone was most upset.

My fellow Mancunians rallied round to give each other comfort and support.

They are brave, and so must we all be.

This was not the first time that Manchester has been bombed by terrorists, as the IRA tried to destroy the city in 1996, and sadly, it won’t be the last.

And this time it came very close to home, as the office of my brother – The Writer – is opposite the Manchester Arena! I rang home in the middle of the night with a shaking hand!

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

And I’m just so sad.

The terrorist have have struck my continent and attacked my country.

This wonderful continent of Europe might make tourists and visitors wonder.

They might think that perhaps travelling abroad isn’t all it’s made out to be.

Get a train ticket and travel through Europe!

They might think that Europe isn’t the place to be after all!

My blog isn’t about politics, and I’m not a politician or a secret agent, so outside of the odd look-between-the-lines rant, I can’t tell you what to do, or advice you as to who best to run your country. Or mine!

What I can tell you is how to cope, and how to keep on living, doing whatever it is you’re doing.

I’m a British person and I live in Europe. People are worried and concerned:

I’M SCARED TO TRAVEL TO THE UK!

Is it safe to travel to Britain & the UK right now ‘cos I’m scared to travel abroad?

You don’t need to be.

However!

I’ll tell you something for nothing.

We Brits are as stoic as we come.

Britain is thousands of years old and has been through battles many, many times.

We’re not strangers to attacks.

Or threats.

Or war.

Britain is thousands of years old and has been through battles many, many times.

You’ve only got to look through the last century to see that.

Britain has been blighted by the IRA in Ireland for years, and tourists still love to come to the UK.

Spain has had train explosions from people fighting for the separation of the Basque Region from the country, and tourists still love to visit Spain.

Heck! World War II was started by a madman from Austria, who terrorised the whole continent by his fantasy of German supremacy! Not to talk of the Berlin Wall that was to divide a nation for 38 years, and tourists still love to come to Germany too!

BUT WHAT SHOULD WE DO?

Manchester – And then we have to get up, brush down, wipe away the tears, keep calm, and Carry On with things!

We must cry, and we should.

And then we have to get up, brush down, wipe away the tears, keep calm, and Carry On with things!

Manchester people (of which I am one) are known for plain speaking, and being strong of mind.

We’re stoic, and have a stiff upper lip! #DontLookBackInAnger.

Whatever you think of Britain, the UK is open for business, and always will be.

The point I’m trying to make is:

DON’T LET FEAR TAKE CONTROL

The London Bridge attacks were devastatingly horrible, but you’ve got to keep your head up high, have a bit of a laugh, and get yourself a cup of tea, or in this case, take your beer with you!
©AP

During times of upsetting national news, as British people, we use bleak humour to comfort each other and rally around our community. And even though the London Bridge attacks were devastatingly horrible, you just have to keep your head up high, have a bit of a laugh and a cuddle, and get yourself a cup of tea. Or in this case, take your beer with you! So…

Walk outside your front door.

Drive your car.

Get on that train.

Take a flight.

Sail on a ship.

Take a step at a time.

Don’t let fear take control!

IS IT SAFE TO TRAVEL TO BRITAIN & THE UK ‘COS I’M SCARED TO TRAVEL ABROAD? 

Is it safe to travel to Britain & the UK right now ‘cos I’m scared to travel abroad?

Sure it is!

Manchester isn’t #reeling, and neither is London. We’re British, we’ve got a stiff upper lip, and we’re going to get on with things, and pull through!

Millions of international tourists and travellers visit and travel through the UK every year, and most visits are completely and utterly trouble-free.

Millions of international tourists and travellers visit and travel through the UK every year, and most visits are completely & utterly trouble-free!

However, if you have any concerns, or need help, or information, I recommend the following:

  • As much as possible, stay away from large crowds and high-profile events
  • Don’t leave bags or luggage unattended. Take care of your belongings and passports at all airports and train stations
  • Remain vigilant, but don’t go crazy and finger-point at random innocent people going about their business
  • Follow the instructions of the local authorities
  • Monitor media and local information sources
  • Allow extra time for your journey due to increased security measures at airports, important train stations, and international borders
  • If you’re German, contact the Außenministerium der Bundesrepublik Deutschland – Andere Länder
  • If you’re American, contact the Embassy of the United States in whichever country you’re in
  • Take out travel and medical insurance BEFORE you travel

Don’t panic. Remember:

Keep calm! Don't worry! Don’t panic!
Keep calm!
Don’t worry!
Don’t panic!

Britain is safe.

Ordinary people don’t carry weapons of any kind. There isn’t a need to!

They say that most accidents and deaths occur near to, or in the home. Statistically, you’re safer outside your home!

And if you’re still not sure take a peep.

See you next week!

Book your hotel here!

IS IT SAFE TO TRAVEL TO BRITAIN & THE UK ‘COS I’M SCARED TO TRAVEL ABROAD?

Is it safe to travel to Britain & the UK right now ‘cos I’m scared to travel abroad?

This article is not sponsored, and all opinions about taking control of travel nightmares and the fear of terrorism, are my very own!

Next week, I’ll continue my articles on Sweden.

In June, I’ll also be visiting Slovenia! Yay! Follow me on Twitter & Facebook to find out what I’m up to!

On June 24th, I’ll be at the Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens with Travel Massive Berlin.

From July 4th – July 7th, I’ll be at Berlin Fashion Week.

I’ll be there. Will you?

If you’re not in Berlin in June, you’re crazy!

Save the Date!

June & July are going to be awesome!

Is it safe to travel to Britain & the UK right now ‘cos I’m scared to travel abroad?

 

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!

Is it safe to travel to Britain & the UK right now ‘cos I’m scared to travel abroad?

Is it safe to travel to Britain and the UK right now? Are you scared to travel abroad? Will you let terrorism take control? Have your say?

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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Italy in photography: My homage to a remarkable country!

The masked ball carnival in Venice. Italy in photography: My homage to a remarkable country!
The masked ball carnival in Venice.
Italy in photography: My homage to a remarkable country!

I’m digressing from my usual post this week.

There has been an earthquake in Italy, and it is devastating.

Members of an emergency team walking on the rubble of collapsed buildings in Pescara del Tronto, Italy. ©Cristiano Chiodi - EPA
Members of an emergency team walking on the rubble of collapsed buildings in Pescara del Tronto, Italy.
©Cristiano Chiodi – EPA

Sadly, many of the buildings have been utterly flattened!

I have five (5) favourite countries in the world, and Italy is one of them!

Our deepest sympathies are with the Italian people and everyone affected by the terrible earthquake.

ITALY

Italy in photography: My homage to a remarkable country!
Italy in photography: My homage to a remarkable country!

Italy, otherwise known as the Italian Republic, is a country based in Europe, and is sometimes referred to as lo Stivale or the boot.

It has 61 million inhabitants, and is the third most populous EU member state.

Located in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea, Italy shares open land borders with France, Austria, Slovenia, San Marino, Switzerland, and the Vatican City.

Italy is one of my favourite countries and I have visited many parts such as Rome, Milan, Pisa, Florence, Trento, Siena, the Vatican City, Lake Garda, Cinque Terre, and Tuscany.

SO WHAT HAPPENED?

A man searches for victims among damaged buildings in Amatrice, Italy. ©Filippo Monteforte / AFP / Getty Images
A man searches for victims among damaged buildings in Amatrice, Italy.
©Filippo Monteforte / AFP / Getty Images

In the early hours of 24.08.16, central Italy was hit by a magnitude 6.2 earthquake, leaving at least 290 people dead and many more trapped under rubble!

The quake happened at 03.36 local time (01.36 GMT) on Wednesday, at a shallow depth of 10km, with some buildings shaking for 20 seconds. Survivors however, were rattled by a 4.5 magnitude aftershock on Thursday morning!

An aerial view shows the damage in Amatrice - Italy ©AP
An aerial view shows the damage in Amatrice – Italy
©AP

A number of towns and villages in the regions of Umbria, Lazio and Le Marche, about 65 miles north-east of Rome, were terribly affected with the mayor of Amatrice, in Lazio stating gravely that “half the town is gone!”

More than 4,300 emergency service workers have been summoned to the region, and are using heavy equipment, and their bare hands to shift the debris.

WHERE IS THIS REGION?

Umbria, known as the "green heart" of Italy. Italy in photography: My homage to a remarkable country!
Umbria, known as the “green heart” of Italy.
Italy in photography: My homage to a remarkable country!

The town and villages affected are in Umbria, known as the “green heart” of Italy.

Umbria was once regarded as the side-kick of Tuscany, but in recent years, has raised its profile with intimate and easily visited hill towns of Perugia (the capital), Assisi, Todi and Norcia.

WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT UMBRIA?

Umbria is known for its food. Italy in photography: My homage to a remarkable country!
Umbria is known for its food.
Italy in photography: My homage to a remarkable country!

Umbria is a region in central Italy.

It is the only Italian region having neither a coastline nor a border with other countries, and includes Lake Trasimeno, Cascata delle Marmore, otherwise known as Marmore’s Falls, and the River Tiber.

The regional capital is Perugia.

St. Francis of Assisi. Italy in photography: My homage to a remarkable country!
St. Francis of Assisi.
Italy in photography: My homage to a remarkable country!

Umbria is characterized by hills and historical towns such as Perugia (the capital), Assisi (a World Heritage Site associated with St. Francis of Assisi), and Norcia (the hometown of St. Benedict!)

Umbria is also known for its food, wine, culture, architecture, landscape, traditions, and history.

ARE EARTHQUAKES IN ITALY UNUSUAL? 

Two men walk on a flattened house in Amatrice, Italy. ©Filippo Monteforte / AF / Getty Images
Two men walk on a flattened house in Amatrice, Italy.
©Filippo Monteforte / AF / Getty Images

Sadly, like places such as Japan & California, many parts of Italy lie on a major seismic fault line, but you tend not to feel minor tremors that occur on a daily basis!

The Civil Protection Agency in Italy said: “Over the past thousand years, some 3,000 earthquakes have provoked serious and less serious damage. Almost 300 of them (with a magnitude higher than 5,5) had destructive effects, and one every ten years has catastrophic effects, with an energy comparable to the L’Aquila earthquake of 2009.”

Pompeii A devastating natural disaster in Italy.
Pompeii
A devastating natural disaster in Italy.

Any Italian municipality can be affected by earthquake effects, but the strongest earthquakes are focused in the following areas: Northern-Eastern Italy (Friuli Venezia Giulia and Veneto), Western Liguria, Northern Apennines (from Garfagnana to the Rimini area), and, above all, across the Central and Southern Apennines, in Calabria and Eastern Sicily.

In the wake of the 2009 earthquake, the Italian government launched a national plan to combat the effects of seismic activity.

WHAT DO I DO IF I’M IN AN EARTHQUAKE?

If you are indoors:

Victims sit among the rubble of a house in Amatrice, Italy. ©Filippo Monteforte / AFP / Getty Images
Victims sit among the rubble of a house in Amatrice, Italy.
©Filippo Monteforte / AFP / Getty Images
  • Find a shelter under a beam, in the doorway, or by a load-bearing wall
  • Watch out for things that could fall and hit you, such as plaster, ceilings, windows, furniture, etc.
  • Take care on the stairs as they could be unstable, or might be damaged
  • Avoid taking the lift as you might get stuck in it!

If you are outdoors:

A nun checks her mobile phone as she lies near an earthquake victim in Amatrice, Italy. ©Massimo Percossi / AP
A nun checks her mobile phone as she lies near an earthquake victim in Amatrice, Italy. ©Massimo Percossi / AP
  • Move away from buildings, trees, lamp posts, power lines: you could be struck by vases, tiles and material from falling debris
  • Pay attention to other possible consequences of the earthquake: collapse of bridges, landslides, gas leaks, etc.

ANYTHING ELSE?

Stay calm. Help will come - A man is rescued alive from the ruins in Amatrice, Italy. ©Remo Casilli - Reuters
Stay calm. Help will come – A man is rescued alive from the ruins in Amatrice, Italy.
©Remo Casilli – Reuters
  • Stay calm
  • Don’t panic
  • Check the state of health of the people around you
  • Come out with caution and put on some footwear if possible, as you may get hurt by broken glass
  • Try not to use your car, as private transportation could obstruct the passage of emergency vehicles
  • Reach the waiting areas provided by officials, or emergency services

I’M IN ITALY, WHAT SHOULD I DO?

Italy in photography: My homage to a remarkable country!
Italy in photography: My homage to a remarkable country!

I wasn’t able to find the English versions, but I’m sure you can translate them on google!

The affected regions of LazioUmbriaMarche and Abruzzo each have websites giving advice to travellers. The state police website provides updates about roads that are damaged.

The Civil Protection department in Italy has also provided:

  • An international hotline +39 06 828 888 50 for information
  • Within Italy, you can also call 8008 40840 or 808 555 for the dedicated Lazio line

It’s going to take many years before these regions recover from the devastating effects of a natural disaster.

WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP?

Beautiful Florence. Italy in photography: My homage to a remarkable country!
Beautiful Florence.
Italy in photography: My homage to a remarkable country!

Once the safety of the local people and the area has been secured, don’t run away from Italy, but go and visit the country and spend your money in local areas.

Here’s why:

Tantalising gelato ice-cream! Mmm! Italy in photography: My homage to a remarkable country!
Tantalising gelato ice-cream! Mmm!
Italy in photography: My homage to a remarkable country!
On the venice cancal. Italy in photography: My homage to a remarkable country!
On the venice cancal.
Italy in photography: My homage to a remarkable country!
The legend of Pinocchio! Italy in photography: My homage to a remarkable country!
The legend of Pinocchio!
Italy in photography: My homage to a remarkable country!
The Leaning Tower of Pisa, in Italy. Italy in photography: My homage to a remarkable country!
The Leaning Tower of Pisa, in Italy.
Italy in photography: My homage to a remarkable country!
An espresso with an Italian biscuit! Italy in photography: My homage to a remarkable country!
An espresso with an Italian biscuit!
Italy in photography: My homage to a remarkable country!
Rome. Italy in photography: My homage to a remarkable country!
Rome.
Italy in photography: My homage to a remarkable country!
An Italian flutist! Italy in photography: My homage to a remarkable country!
An Italian flutist!
Italy in photography: My homage to a remarkable country!
Fashion icons in Milan. Italy in photography: My homage to a remarkable country!
Fashion icons in Milan.
Italy in photography: My homage to a remarkable country!
Michelangelo's statue of David! Italy in photography: My homage to a remarkable country!
Michelangelo’s statue of David!
Italy in photography: My homage to a remarkable country!
The pomp & religious glory of the Vatican City. Italy in photography: My homage to a remarkable country!
The pomp & religious glory of the Vatican City.
Italy in photography: My homage to a remarkable country!
Fantastic scenery. Italy in photography: My homage to a remarkable country!
Fantastic scenery.
Italy in photography: My homage to a remarkable country!
That old romantic - the vespa! Italy in photography: My homage to a remarkable country!
That old romantic – the vespa!
Italy in photography: My homage to a remarkable country!
Gladiators! Are you reeeeeeeeady! Italy in photography: My homage to a remarkable country!
Gladiators! Are you reeeeeeeeady!
Italy in photography: My homage to a remarkable country!
Real Italian beer! Italy in photography: My homage to a remarkable country!
Real Italian beer!
Italy in photography: My homage to a remarkable country!
Real pizza without a million toppings! Italy in photography: My homage to a remarkable country!
Real pizza without a million toppings!
Italy in photography: My homage to a remarkable country!
Real pasta! Italy in photography: My homage to a remarkable country!
Real pasta!
Italy in photography: My homage to a remarkable country!

That’s it for now.

See you next week!

ITALY IN PHOTOGRAPHY: MY HOMAGE TO A REMARKABLE COUNTRY!

The Music Producer & I, in Italy! Italy in photography: My homage to a remarkable country!
The Music Producer & I, in Italy!
Italy in photography: My homage to a remarkable country!

This article is not sponsored, and all opinions and thoughts about Italy, are my very own!

The Pop Kultur Festival is a new festival based in hipster Neukölln, over three (3) exciting days of new international and German bands, live concerts, performances, talks and reading, taking place from 31.08.16 – 02.09.16.

Berlin Art Week will take place from 13.09.16 – 18.09.16, so if you like contemporary art, this is the place for it!

I’ll also be attending the Down Under Berlin Australian & New Zealand Film Festival, from 14.09.16 – 18.09.16, which is the largest film festival in Europe dedicated to Australian and New Zealand film!

Save the Date!

September is going to be artistically creative!

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 August, what are you waiting for?!

Watch this space!

Italy in photography: My homage to a remarkable country!
Italy in photography: My homage to a remarkable country!

Have you ever been affected by an earthquake? Have you been to Italy? What’s your favourite photograph? 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

 

Is it safe to travel to Belgium or Europe?

Shocking times. © Anneleen Bouttery.
Shocking times.
© Anneleen Bouttery.

The citizens of Belgium are in a state of shock.

The world is in a terrible state.

Our sympathies and condolences are with the people, family and friends of Belgium.

THE FACTS.

A map of Belgium.
A map of Belgium.

There were explosions at Zaventem International Airport and Maalbeek station in Brussels on 22nd March, 2016.

On 24th March 2016, the Belgian threat level was changed to Level 3. Police operations are ongoing.

There have been a number of police raids and arrests in the Brussels region and other Belgian cities in recent weeks.

Belgian security operations are likely to be carried out at short notice. If you’re in an affected area you should follow the instructions of the Belgian security authorities.

Don't reveal police operations on social media!
Don’t reveal police operations on social media!

Police have asked the public not to comment on police operations on social media.

Public events and busy public areas across Belgium are likely to see additional security and some public events and tourists attractions, might be cancelled or closed. The general advice is to contact event organisers for information on whether specific events are going ahead.

I’M IN BELGIUM WHAT SHOULD I DO?

Millions of tourists visit Belgium and you're always going to be welcome! ©Augustijn_TCoussement.
Millions of tourists visit Belgium and you’re always going to be welcome!
©Augustijn_TCoussement.

Millions of international tourists and travellers visit Belgium every year, and most visits are completely and utterly trouble-free.

The official advice if you’re in Belgium or about to travel to Belgium, is to remain vigilant, stay away from crowded places, and follow the instructions of the Belgian authorities.

However, if you have any concerns, or need help, or information, I recommend the following:

Help others if you can.
Help others if you can.
We're all in shock. Try not to panic!
We’re all in shock. Try not to panic!
  • If you’re anywhere near the former World War II battlefields, and you see anything that looks like a shell or munition, don’t panic! Move away from the site and call the police emergency number 112.  Stay on the footpath and exercise caution.
  • Stay away from large crowds.
  • Don’t leave bags or baggages unattended. Take care of your belongings and passports at all airports and train stations in Brussels and elsewhere.
  • Remain vigilant but don’t go crazy and finger-point at random innocent people, going about their business.
  • Follow the instructions of the Belgian authorities.
  • Allow extra time for your journey due to increased security measures at airports, important train stations and international borders.
  • If you’re British, contact GOV.UK for foreign travel advice to Belgium or any other country!
  • If you’re German, contact the Außenministerium der Bundesrepublik DeutschlandAuswärtiges Amt über Belgian oder Andere Länder.
  • If you’re American, contact the Embassy of the United States in Belgium.
  • Take out travel and medical insurance BEFORE you travel.

I’m a British person and I live in Europe. People are asking me one very important question:

I’M SCARED TO TRAVEL ABROAD!

I wanna travel the world with you....
I wanna travel the world with you but I’m scared…

You don’t need to be.

Let me clear, my blog is not about political affairs and neither am I a politician, a civil servant, or a secret agent!

I wish!

My opinions are my own and my own only, however.

However!

I’ll tell you something for nothing.

We Europeans are as stoic as we come.

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.

Europe is thousands of years old and has been through battles many, many times.

We’re not strangers to attacks.

Or threats.

Or war.

You’ve only got to look through the last century to see that.

The madness of war.
The madness of war.

Britain has been blighted by the IRA in Ireland for years, and tourists still love to come to the UK.

Spain has had train explosions from people fighting for the seperation of the Basque Region from the country, and tourists still love to visit Spain.

Heck! World War II was started by a madman from Austria, who terrorised the whole continent by his fantasy of German supremacy. Not to talk of the Berlin Wall that was to divide a nation for 38 years, and tourists still love to come to Germany too!

The point I’m trying to make is:

DON’T LET FEAR TAKE CONTROL!

One day, I'll travel the whole world.
One day, I’ll travel the whole world.

Walk outside your front door.

Drive your car.

Get on that train.

Take a flight.

Sail on a ship.

Take a step at a time.

Don’t let fear take control!

IS IT SAFE TO TRAVEL TO EUROPE OR BELGIUM?

Sure it is. Everyone is welcome!
Sure it is. Everyone is welcome!

Of course!

Crime rates in many countries are low.

Standards of living are high.

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

Education is free, therefore literacy is high.

Many Europeans speak at least three languages.

There is social security, therefore the social gap is lower than outside the European continent.

Health and health insurance is taken seriously and in many cases, is the law.

Estonian Young Folk.
Estonian Young Folk.

Social infrastructure works wonderfully and is available to all.

Tolerance is extremely high.

Fairness and truth are important.

At 10 Downing Street in London! Even our local Bobbies don't carry weapons, although they do, outside the Prime-Ministers' house!
At 10 Downing Street in London! Even our local Bobbies don’t carry weapons, although they do, outside the Prime-Ministers’ house!

Ordinary people don’t carry weapons of any kind. There isn’t a need to!

They say that most accidents and deaths occur near to, or in the home. Statistically, you’re safer outside your home!

And if you’re still not sure take a peep.

THIS IS BELGIUM!

Horse Carriage in Bruges. ©VisitFlanders.
Horse Carriage in Bruges.
©VisitFlanders.

Let’s talk a little about Belgium.

Because we should.

Belgium officially known as the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in the Western part of Europe unlike Latvia which is in Central Europe or Poland which is in the Eastern part of Europe!

It is bordered between Germany, Holland, France and Luxembourg and has a population of just eleven (11) million people!

Hanswijk procession Musicians, Mechelen. in Belgium. © Jan Smets.
Hanswijk procession Musicians, Mechelen. In Belgium. © Jan Smets.

Culturally, Belgium is Dutch-speaking, French-speaking and if it couldn’t get more complicated, German-speaking too!

The Dutch-speakers tend to be Flemish comprising 59% of the population, the French-speakers are Walloon comprising of 41% of the population and the German-speakers are the minority, who live around the borders surrounding Germany!

Officially, Belgium is, like Canada, officially bilingual being Flemish (Dutch-speaking) and French and known as being from the Low Countries, or the Benelux group of states, consisting of Holland, Luxembourg and Belgium itself.

Belgium was a Roman province known as Gallia Belgica and was a prosperous centre of business, commerce, trade and culture from the Middle Ages right up to the 17th century.

In 1830, Belgium spilt off from Holland and became independent in its own right, and during the 20th century participated in the colonization of the African continent, as well as itself being occupied by Germany in WWI and WWII.

SO WHAT’S BRUSSELS ALL ABOUT THEN?

The Manneken Pis Fountain in Brussels! ©VisitFlanders.
The Manneken Pis Fountain in Brussels!
©VisitFlanders.

Well, Brussel is the capital of Belgium.

The last time I was there was really for a long weekend where I spent all my time rambling but that was years ago! You know how I love strolling along cobbled stones of yore, and poking my nose into every nook and cranny. Belgium does that for you.

It’s also a city that has a river running through it and you know how I do love my rivers, brooks and lakes.

TinTin at the Belgian Comic Strip Center in Brussels. ©VisitFlanders
TinTin at the Belgian Comic Strip Center in Brussels.
©VisitFlanders

It’s also a city of history and culture so I spent quite some considerable time going to galleries and museums as I like Old Art, architectural treasures, Art Nouveau and Art Deco buildings.

Brussels also has Contemporary Art in spades too, as you only have to look at Belgiums’ most famous comic strip artist who wrote the amazing stories and adventures of TinTin to realize that art and culture is all around.

Waffles! Yeah! ©VisitFlanders.
Waffles! Yeah!
©VisitFlanders.

Brussels is also big on waffles, craft beer, and chocolate.  I don’t really like chocolate so….!

I know!

You’re going to have to explore and discover the chocolate Museum and all its’ delights for yourself!

ANYTHING ELSE!

Mussels, chips and chilled white wine, in Antwerp! © Antwerpen Toerisme en Congres.
Mussels, chips and chilled white wine, in Antwerp!
© Antwerpen Toerisme en Congres.

Yep!

Crispy Belgium frites and mussels cooked in exquisite white wine are to die for.

Go see for yourself.

This article isn’t sponsored and even though it saddens me that I even had to write it at all, opinions, thoughts and ideas, are my very own!

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

Watch this space!

Is it safe to travel to Belgium or Europe?
Is it safe to travel to Belgium or Europe?

Have you ever been to Belgium? Are you frightened of travelling to Brussels, Belgium or anywhere else in Europe?

See you in Berlin.

If you like this post or if you have any questions or concerns about travelling anywhere in Europe, 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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