Visiting Bremen: 4 musicians, a sailing boat, and a German grandfather!

The Musicians of Bremen. In Bremen!
The Musicians of Bremen. In Bremen!

Wow!

It’s been a long interesting year!

And most of it has centered around Europe!

It started with the shocking disaster of Brexit, terrorism in both Belgium and France, devastating earthquakes in Italy, and ending not only with the horrifying news that Donald Trump, is to be the next president of the United States, but a fatal terrorist action that occured on our very own doorstep of my beloved Berlin. In one of the most culturally vibrant German activities – the Christmas Market.

You really couldn’t make it up!

Street Art everywhere in Berlin!
Street Art everywhere in Berlin!

But have no fear.

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

The Christmas Markets, and everything else is open for business, but if you have any concerns about safety, feel free to contact me. I live here. I’m on the ground!

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

But it hasn’t all been bad. In fact, I had a fabulous summer which I planned and organised. You know the one, Victoria’s Summer European Challenge Campaign, in which I went to a different European country, throughout the summer.

Every weekend!

And travelled to these countries by train!

Well, it was certainly a challenge, but also soooo much fun!

This was where I went:

DENMARK:

Er. Not spending money in Copenhagen Mr. Hans Christian Anderson. What's that now? Surely not! How to visit Copenhagen on a budget. Even though I missed my last connection. Again!
Er. Not spending money in Copenhagen Mr. Hans Christian Anderson. What’s that now? Surely not!
How to visit Copenhagen on a budget. Even though I missed my last connection. Again!

SWITZERLAND:

Why you should visit Switzerland, and eat cheese!
Why you should visit Switzerland, and eat cheese!

LUXEMBOURG:

A delightful Poulade Auflauf! How to eat cheaply in Luxembourg!
A delightful Poulade Auflauf!
How to eat cheaply in Luxembourg!

SLOVAKIA:

Take photographs and wander at will! Go on a walking tour in the Old Town. Should you visit Bratislava, or stay at home and not bother!
Take photographs and wander at will!
Go on a walking tour in the Old Town.
Should you visit Bratislava, or stay at home and not bother!

GERMANY:

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

I always plan to spend a bit more time in other parts of my adoptive country, but I usually never make it. This time I did!

I wanted to go the seaside, and parts of Northern Germany. Here’s where I went:

OSNABRÜCK:

The Music Producer and
The Music Producer and “The Tall Young Gentleman” in beautiful Osnabrück, Germany.

Osnabrück is where my husband comes from. Here’s what I wrote about it last year:

USEDOM:

Take me to the Baltic Sea in Geeeeermany! 51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany! ©Usedom Tourismus GmbH
Take me to the Baltic Sea in Geeeeermany!
51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany! ©Usedom Tourismus GmbH

And then I went to Bremen, but didn’t get around to writing about it ‘cos very soon after,  I went to the Philippines and to a secret location, which I later revealed to be Taiwan. So here it is!

BREMEN

Bremen - a Hanseatic city in northwestern Germany, otherwise known as the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen!
Bremen – a Hanseatic city in northwestern Germany, otherwise known as the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen!

Bremen is a Hanseatic city in northwestern Germany, otherwise known as the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen!

It’s a commercial – industrial city, with a major port on the River Weser.

Bremen is part of the Bremen/Oldenburg Metropolitan Region and is, with 2.4 million people, the second most populous city in Northern Germany!

Bremen is a major cultural hub and home to historical galleries and museums, ranging from historical sculptures to major art museums.

I just couldn’t believe that the animal statues that were dotted all over the city, were the animals in the old Grimm folk story – The Musicians of Bremen!
I just couldn’t believe that the animal statues that were dotted all over the city, were the animals in the old Grimm folk story – The Musicians of Bremen!

I’ve been to Bremen a few times, but I remember the very first time that I visited. I just couldn’t believe that the animal statues that were dotted all over the city, were the animals in the old Grimm folk story – The Musicians of Bremen!

You can imagine how I felt when a German client of mine, told me that he came from Hamelin.

I burst into splutters of laughter!

The Pied Piper of Hamelin ©anastaciarts
The Pied Piper of Hamelin ©anastaciarts

I soon hung  my head in shame when I discovered that not only was Hamelin a real town in Germany, but that also, the fairy tale legend of The Pied Piper of Hamelin actually existed, and is based on a true real event….!

Oops!

Anyhoo, the German grandparents of “The Tall Young Gentleman” live in a small North German town called Achim, about 16 kms from Bremen, in the valley of the river Weser.

Achim was first mentioned in 1091, as Arahem!

The St. Lawrence Church in Achim upon Weser. ©Jürgen Howaldt
The St. Lawrence Church in Achim upon Weser.
©Jürgen Howaldt

I love spending time with the grandparents as it’s lovely and quiet, and so, you know, quite German!

On this visit, I wanted to discover some more of Bremen, and also go sailing, as grandfather is a bit of an old sailor, and has many tales of times gone by.

In many people’s mind, the image of a grandfather is of an old man, sitting by the fireside, a pipe or cigar in hand, slippers on his feet, port in his hand, and huddled beside the fireside.

Grandfather &
Grandfather & “The Tall Young Gentleman”

Grandfather is nothing like that!

He teaches at the local university, he does volunteer work transporting “the elderly,” did engineering projects in Indonesia, is an ex-army officer, and sails!

A most delicious breakfast spread you can expect, in a typical German home! Thank you Grandmother!
A most delicious breakfast spread you can expect, in a typical German home! Thank you Grandmother!
A most tempting breakfast spread of cold cuts.
A most tempting breakfast spread of cold cuts.
Fresh apricots and peaches!
Fresh apricots and peaches!
A mouth-watering platter of cheeses!
A mouth-watering platter of cheeses!
A healthy, but fun, morning egg!
A healthy, but fun, morning egg!

This is the type of breakfast spread you can expect in a typical German home! Thank you so much Grandmother!

If you don’t have German grandparents, book your hotel here!

SAILING IN MARDORF

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

Mardorf is a district of Neustadt am Rübenberge based in the Hannover Region of Lower Saxony. It’s located on the northern shore of the Steinhuder Lake and within the Steinhuder Meer Nature Park!

The seaside village of Mardorf ©fotocommunity
The seaside village of Mardorf ©fotocommunity

Mardorf means “village by the sea” and in 1171, was first mentioned as “Meredorpe.” It’s a small 850 year old seaside village community of just 2,000 people that is really nice and friendly, surrounded by half-timbered houses, oak trees, farmland, and a 6 km long lakeside path used for walking, cycling, and hiking!

The grandparents have been sailing from there into Hannover and Hamburg, for decades, and this time, I chose to go with them!

Grandfather and
Grandfather and “The Tall Young Gentleman” preparing to sail in Mardorf.
On the pier in Mardorf.
On the pier in Mardorf.
Off to the open sea!
Off to the open sea!
Off to the open sea!
Off to the open sea!

We had a bit of problem with the engine, so we had to make do with the tiller in the stern instead!

“The Tall Young Gentleman” looking displeased in Mardorf!
Grandfather keeping a watch over things in Mardorf.
Grandfather keeping a watch over things in Mardorf.
Grandfather and
Grandfather and “The Tall Young Gentleman” sailing in Mardorf.

This is how things are done on the Steinhuder Lake.

Sailing in Mardorf.
Sailing in Mardorf.
Sailing in Mardorf.
Sailing in Mardorf.
Sailing in Mardorf.
Sailing in Mardorf.

Such a summer feeling!

Sailing in Mardorf.
Sailing in Mardorf.
Myself on the boat in Marsdorf!
Myself on the boat in Marsdorf!
“The Tall Young Gentleman” taking to the sea in Mardorf.

And soon it was time to return to Achim.

Grandfather and
Grandfather and “The Tall Young Gentleman” sailing in Mardorf.

He won’t admit it, but I think “The Tall Young Gentleman” had a good time!

Wow!
Wow! “The Tall Young Gentleman” is a handsome chap, even if I say so myself!

The next day, we went to the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen!

THE FREE HANSEATIC CITY OF BREMEN!

Myself wit the famous Musicians of Bremen!
Myself with the famous Musicians of Bremen!

Bremen is a major cultural and economic hub in the northern regions of Germany, and also home to historical galleries and museums, ranging from historical sculptures to major art museums. In fact, in many parts of the old town, you stumble upon statue after statue! Even though historically, Bremen was known as a working class fishing port, many important manufacturers based their headquarters in the city!

The Focke Museum © Sigrid Sternebeck
The Focke Museum © Sigrid Sternebeck
Ouside the Focke Museum!
Ouside the Focke Museum!

We had a very nice time at the Focke Museum, otherwise known as the museum of history and the history of art, for the city and state of Bremen. In fact, this museum was formed in 1924 by the merger of the museum of industry and commerce and the previous historical museum, and named after Johann Focke, a Bremen privy councillor.

It’s absolutely huge! We spent about 2 hours there, and we didn’t even go to the outside buildings! We only went into the historical rescue boat, where we met an older German who spent his younger years living in England!

Letting us press the buttons of the rescue boat Seenotkreuzer Paul Denker at the Focke Museum was fun! ©Sigrid Sternebeck
Letting us press the buttons of the rescue boat Seenotkreuzer Paul Denker at the Focke Museum was fun!
©Sigrid Sternebeck

He was very pleased to spend a nostalgic afternoon talking about sailing, letting us press all the buttons, and speaking in English lol!

Then we went into various parts of the Old Town. Bremen was undergoing preservation construction work, so it was a little difficult to get decent pictures, but I tried my best!

In many parts of the old town of Bremen, you stumble upon statue after statue!
In many parts of the old town of Bremen, you stumble upon statue after statue!
In many parts of the old town of Bremen, you stumble upon statue after statue!
In many parts of the old town of Bremen, you stumble upon statue after statue!
In many parts of the old town of Bremen, you stumble upon statue after statue!
In many parts of the old town of Bremen, you stumble upon statue after statue!
In many parts of the old town of Bremen, you stumble upon statue after statue!
In many parts of the old town of Bremen, you stumble upon statue after statue!

Statues and sculptures can be found all over the city.

The Statue of Roland in Bremen!
The Statue of Roland in Bremen!

The most famous statue of them all, is the Statue of Roland, erected in 1404! Roland can be found in the market square facing the cathedral. Roland, was a paladin, otherwise known as one of the Twelve Peers, a warrior of the first Roman Emperor Charlemagne, and hero of the Battle of Roncevaux Pass.

Roland is also considered to be the protector of the city of Bremen. Legend has it that Bremen will always remain a free and independent state, as long as Lord Roland stands watch over the city. And just like the ravens in the Tower of London, the legend is taken very seriously such that a second statue of Roland is kept hidden.

Just in case!

One of the highlights of Bremen is Schnoor!
One of the highlights of Bremen is Schnoor!

One of the highlights of Bremen is Schnoor!

We bought ice-cream in the medieval centre of Schnoor!
We bought ice-cream in the medieval centre of Schnoor!

Schnoor is in one of the most famous neighbourhoods in the medieval centre of the city of Bremen, and the only part that remains medieval in character! Schnoor owes its name to old handicrafts associated with shipping as the narrow alleyways between houses, were often associated with occupations or objects. For example Schnoor (String) was so-called, because the area was known for producing ropes, cables, and of course string!

One of the oldest houses in Schnoor!
One of the oldest houses in Schnoor!

The oldest houses today date back to the 15th century, with most, from the 17th and 18th centuries. Famous  for being extremely narrow, Schnoor became one of the poorest parts of Bremen. Luckily, many of the houses are now being preserved and restored.

One of the highlights of Bremen is Schnoor!
One of the highlights of Bremen is Schnoor!

We went to Bremen in the height of summer and there were street entertainers galore. One chap was even giving away a new brand of Bremen’s most famous beer – Becks. For free!

This street performer was very entertaining!
This street performer was very entertaining!

We only had an afternoon to spend in Bremen, but surely, we’ll be back!

Book your hotel here!

I love living in the big city of cosmopolitan Berlin, but sometimes it’s rather nice to visit the grandparents, eat feasts of German food, go sailing, and just hang out!

Thank you so much Grandmother and Grandfather Genschow!

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!

VISITING BREMEN: 4 MUSICIANS, A SAILING BOAT, AND A GERMAN GRANDFATHER!

Grandfather &
Grandfather & “The Tall Young Gentleman”

This article is not sponsored, and the Mardorf sailing experience, is my very own!

In January, I’ll be going to Holland.

The British Shorts Film Festival will take place from 12th – 18th January, 2017

Berlin Fashion Week will take place from 17th –  20th January, 2017.

At the end of January, I’ll be skiing in my favourite place, Rokytnice nad Jizerou, in the Czech Republic!

December is going to be filled with stuffing!

Have a great festive season, and an amazing Christmas!

Visiting Bremen: 4 musicians, a sailing boat, and a German grandfather!
Visiting Bremen: 4 musicians, a sailing boat, and a German grandfather!

Have you ever been to Bremen? Would you go sailing in Germany? Let me know!

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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The time that I fell off the ski lift in the Czech Republic!

As lovely as Rokytnice nad Jizerou!
As lovely as Rokytnice nad Jizerou!

Rokytnice nad Jizerou is lovely.

it’s in the Bohemian mountains of the Czech Republic and last week, I told you all about how to get there, where it is, and why we went there!

It’s skiing season and Rokytnice nad Jizerou has got eighteen (18) kilometres of wide pistes, excellent facilities, an adrenaline-inducing snow park, and wonderful views of the surrounding Krkonoše Mountains in the Czech Republic.

In fact, whether you’re a complete beginner or whizz down the slopes like a world champion, you will find what you’re looking for in Rokytnice.

Experts say that before you put on a single ski you should think carefully about which of the ski areas suit you best. There are five (5) of them. There is Studenov (near the centre of the village), Sachrovka, Modrá Hvězda, Bah’ynka (which are basically side by side) and Horní Domky which, with a splendid location on the slopes of the Lysá Mountain, has the longest slope in the country!

If only I had thought of that.

I’m a sucker when it comes to getting into trouble. Remember that time that we went to Inverness in Scotland, and the B&B landlord had forgotten that there were three (3) of us, The Music Producer, “The Tall Young Gentleman” and I, instead of (2) two…

My poor boy, who is taller than I am, had to sleep on a child’s camping bed which was jammed against the bedroom door, jammed against the bathroom door, and jammed against our very small British double bed!

On the city-kart in Leba, Poland before the chain and seat broke off!
On the city-kart in Leba, Poland before the chain and seat broke off!

Or what about that time that we went to a little village on the Polish Baltic Sea, and even though the sun was shining and everything, there was hardly anybody there and the circus, the cinema, the ice-cream waffle shop, the bicycle stand, the restaurants, and all the shops except for two (2).

Were closed!

Do you remember that time that I thought it was a good idea to climb up a live volcano in Bali.

Well, it wasn’t!

Akwaaaard!
Akwaaaard!

Have you forgotten when even though I can hardly ride a bike at all, I thought it prudent to go on a rural off-the-beaten-path mountain bicycle tour in Indonesia and ultimately fell in a ditch causing my guides to run into a panic!

How about the time that I was attacked by monkeys and they pulled my hair. Oh yes, they did!

Korean art and craft.
Korean art and craft.

And don’t even get me started on the horror of horrors and complete stupidity of flying all the way to Korea when actually, we should have been going to Qatar!

You would have thought that I had learnt my lesson from years ago, when I first came to Rokytnice nad Jizerou, and learnt to ski….

I mean, if you’re looking to spend your holiday just skiing or snowboarding, then Rokytnice nad Jizerou is just right.

Horní Domky or Grey Beard!
Horní Domky or Grey Beard!

Because of the terrain, Rokytnice nad Jizerou offers skiing and snowboarding for every level. It is recommended for beginners, skilled and very advanced skiers, of all age categories.

If you like slopes with greater difficulty, variety and width, or you’re an upper intermediate to advanced skier, the ski resort – Horní Domky is perfect. It has over 14 kilometres of perfectly groomed pistes which boast a width of up to 100 metres and a range from 630 to 1,315 meters, and is the best ski location in the Czech Republic in terms of its position, exemplary ski slopes, and facilities.

It is popular mainly for its large span of snow diversity, and the extent of its downhill courses.

It is dominated by Mount Hora, which is accessible by two (2) four-seat chair lifts and six (6) pole lifts. One of the chairlifts is the starting point of the Krkonoše cross-country skiing arterial trail and even takes you up to the Krkonoše National Park.

If you’re a snowboarder however, then Roktynice nad Jizerou won’t let you down as there is a snow park with several jumps, obstacles and its own lift popular for travellers and tourists, who love to Freestyle. On a length of over 11.4 kilometres you can ski on the blue, red, or black ski runs.

The Professionals!
The Professionals!

Only go on the black run if you’re ready.

I’m a strong red skier but when I was a blue skier in the 90’s, I decided to go on the black ski run with a bunch of friends who had been skiing for years and thought it might be fun, if we all skied together.

I guess you all know where this is leading!

We decided to go on the black run.

Me included.

The pole lift put in between your thighs!
The pole lift put in between your thighs!

We drove up and began to slowly ski up the hills of Horní Domky on the pole lift above. You know the one. Where the seat is put in between your thighs and you are whizzed along. It’s quite relaxing and as long as you don’t doze off completely, and you hold on tightly, it’s quite a pleasant way to go up.

This is what it looks like when you're whizzing up the pole lift!
This is what it looks like when you’re whizzing up the pole lift!

At some point, we began to climb higher and as such, the ski lift had to reflect that change in atmosphere and altitude. We went on a two-seat chairlift.

Now for the non-skiers among you, when you’re in a two-seat or four-seat chairlift, you’re outdoors and exposed to the elements. Most importantly, the skis are already attached to your feet so that you can quickly ski off. Away from the lift as the chairlift doesn’t stop, and automatically swivels around so that you must GET OFF!

I was supposed to be in a chairlift with my boyfriend at the time, but I somehow missed my seating, and ended up going on the next one.

The Alpine ski lift in Rokytnice nad Jizerou!
The Alpine ski lift in Rokytnice nad Jizerou!

Alone.

I was in an unfamiliar area and the speed at which we were climbing up those mountains was dizzying. I wasn’t completely in my seat and neither was I comfortable. At some point, I got confused and found that my skis were trapped in my alpine ski lift.

I tried to untangle my legs so that the skis would be in front of me rather than behind me, but I couldn’t.

So I lifted the ski bar.

Oh dear! What to do!
Oh dear! What to do!

And fell straight down into the forest!

I found myself face-down in a lot of snowy powder with my glasses stuck to my face!

I was in shock, and so was everyone else.

The empty chair!
The empty chair!

I could hear echoes of shouting, screaming, and frantic waving. All I could do was look on as my chairlift staggered emptily away into the cold distance.

The first thing I did was to check my legs.

They were at a funny angle.

Where are my skis?!
Where are my skis?!

And then I wondered where my skis were.

Then I burst into torrent of tears.

Luckily for me, gravity had flung my skis away from me. I was seriously bruised and in shock, but I had no broken bones.

I was in the middle of the forest and I was completely and utterly alone. There were no mobile phones in those days, and in 1994, the Czech Republic was an undeveloped East European country. Waiting for help would mean that I would freeze. I could see where the chairlift was supposed to go, so I began to walk towards the direction of the next chairlift station.

i_m_in_shock_look_i_have_a_blanket_by_teamfreewillangel-d62zdp0I began to search for my skis, put them together, stuck them in the snow, and began to walk. And shed tears, and talk to myself, and shed more tears.

I was in shock you see.

By the time I got to the chairlift station, it was 1.5 hours later, all my friends were enormously worried, and I couldn’t talk at all.

http://www.salon.com/2013/08/24/murder_intrigue_and_the_mysterious_origins_of_vodka/
A needed shot of vodka!

Happily, I was sat down, and a jacket was put around my shoulders. Somebody also slipped me some vodka.

I needed it as I still had to get down from the mountain!

One of my girlfriends’ gave me her skis and then she went back down into the forest with her boyfriend to find mine. Both of them on a tandem of one ski each!

Ha!

Never try to ski with equipment that has not been measured or weighed for you in mind. I was much taller and weighed less than the girl whose skis I was now using.

And it showed.

It’s a dangerous game as the skis kept slipping from my feet….!

I saw the the Mountain Rescue Service in action. They were quick, efficient  & top notch. Sadly, they didn't exist in 1994!
I saw the Mountain Rescue Service in action. They were quick, efficient & top-notch. Sadly, they didn’t exist in 1994!

It took me 1.5 hours to ski down a black run that should have taken 30 minutes.

I was wet.

I was cold.

And I was scared.

I was scared of hurting myself on the slopes, but the only way to get down those slopes was to ski down them.

The ski map of Rokytnice nad Jizerou.
The ski map of Rokytnice nad Jizerou.

I did it.

I finished the black ski run.

I lived to tell the tale.

And then I didn’t ski for 10 years!

I went to Andorra (a tiny country between France and Spain). I went to Southern Germany. And in 2009, I went back to the Czech Republic.

To Rokytnice nad Jizerou.

What I should have done was to get a guide to go with me or simply not go up the black ski run mountain at all, but you live and learn right?

Right!?!

Ski School Yetti in Rokytnice nad Jizerou.Since I don’t ski every year, I always make sure to brush up on my skiing skills and reflexes by booking a few lessons at a reputable ski school. The school that I go to is called Ski School Yetti, is right next door to the Hotel Stary Mlyn. Very convenient not only because you get a discount if you’re a guest of the hotel, but also because it’s only 5 minutes away from the piste itself!

Hurrah!

It’s owned by a bear of a man called Petr. He’s Czech and speaks German and a little English but all his ski instructors are young Czechs, full of energy and enthusiasm, and speak either fluent English, fluent German, or Polish.

In many cases, more English than anything else!

Jakob, my son's skiing instructor.
Jakob, my son’s skiing instructor.

You can learn or improve your skiing, snowboarding, snowkiting, or snowtubing. You can also rent all the ski equipment that you need. And as I told you last week, skis go quickly and Czech prices are out of this world!

I paid 1,522 kc or €55/$62.00 for my son’s skis, poles, boots and a helmet for six (6) days. That’s equivalent to €9.20 or $10.50 a day! I also paid 3,591 kc or €131/$148.50 for advanced ski lessons for children between the ages of 9 – 12 years old in a group of 4 – 8 children. The class started with 5 teenagers and by the middle of the week pretty much ended up being a private class for one, as parents tend to ski with their kids as the week progressed.

I used to do the same.

The old days!
The old days!

I was ill that week and couldn’t ski, so I was pretty relieved to know that my son was never alone whilst on the ski piste! The cost of €22/$26 per day is astounding for ski lessons of four (4) hours per day. Not only that, but the daily ski pass for kids were 270 kc or €10/$11.50 per day and 50 kc or €1.80/$2.60 refundable deposit for the chip cart.

My ski improvement lessons for middle-advanced classes would have cost 2,280 kc for three (3) days or €83/$95 or €28/$32 per day. My ski rental for five (5) days would have cost 1,220 kc or €44.30/$50.50 or €9/$10.30 per day.

You can always leave your stuff, if you need a break. It's perfectly safe.
You can always leave your stuff, if you need a break.
It’s perfectly safe.

I thought that I would recover from my illness and kept the skis for four (4) days but I had bronchitis and was forced to spend most of my vacation time in bed! Petr knew I had been ill. In fact, everyone knew that I was ill, and didn’t charge me!

Thank you Petr.

ANY APRÈS-SKI?

Fun & games in Austria!
Fun & games in Austria!

Rokytnice nad Jizerou isn’t the Austrian Alps and you’re not going to find many people doing the conga here! Having said that, there are ski schools for adults and children a-plenty, equipment rentals, ski service, restaurants, fast food booths, paragliding, a mountain rescue station (which I saw in action), a few small discos and a TESCO!

Parking is free of charge and there is a ski bus service which is completely and utterly free, to take you from one ski piste to the other.

I’d say that if you’re looking for a good time, there’s plenty of good food, cheap booze, and skiing to be had.

You’d best bring a group of friends or the family with you, and get the party started LOL!

I don’t think you can get any better than that!

Prosím!
Prosím!

For more information, please contact: The ski website of the Czech Republic.

For more information, please contact: Rokytnice nad Jizerou.

For more information, please contact: Ski School Yetti,

A local Czech snowboarder.This article is not sponsored and even though I received a small discount, all opinions and the delicious Czech dishes that I had, are my very own!

I have so much to share with you.

Next week, I’m going to concentrate on the rustic delights of Czech food. You can read the tweets that I sent of Rokytnice nad Jizerou under the Twitter # tag of #RokytnicenadJizerou, #Rokytnice, #HotelStaryMlyn or #skischoolyetti.

You can also follow me via daily tweets and pictures on Twitter & FB!

Strictly Stand Up – The English Comedy Night is going to take place on 25.02.15 at the Quatsch Comedy Club in Berlin.

I’ll be participating in the pre-ITB Travel Massive event on 03.03.15. If you’re a blogger or just fancy a knees-up, come meet us. It’s going to be so much fun!

The actual International Travel Trade Fair – ITB – will be taking place from 04.03.15 – 08.03.15 and after that I’ll be off travelling to the next destination. More exciting info in March!

If you’re not in Berlin in February, it’s not too late!

February is going to be warm and dandy!

Watch this space!

Returning to Rokytnice nad Jizerou. Because we're worth it!
Returning to Rokytnice nad Jizerou.
Because we’re worth it!

I’m thinking of taking a small group of people to the Czech Republic next year. Who’s with me? Would you consider skiing in Rokytnice nad Jizerou?

See you in Berlin.

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How I watched basketball for the 1st time. Ever. And I liked it: The Original Harlem Globetrotters.

 

It's not Berlin but a street cafe in Beverly Hills!
It’s not Berlin but a street cafe in Beverly Hills!

Living in Berlin is brilliant! At the beginning of the year I told you that it was time to get out and do stuff. I did some public reading and sweating at bookshops and I went Carnival in Cologne. I went to the ITB, Berlin and learnt a whole bunch of stuff and I insisted on telling you how to be British and Great! and now I went to a basketball match for the first time. Ever.

My goodness. I’ve been busy!

So, who are The Original Harlem Globetrotters?

Harlem Globetrotters courtesy of cub scout pack 4020 - Basketball.
Harlem Globetrotters courtesy of cub scout pack 4020 – Basketball.

The Harlem Globetrotters are a basketball franchise legend. They began dazzling America in 1926 and were originally known as the Savoy Big Five. In 1941, the Globetrotters took on an amazing player called Reece “Goose” Tatum. This guy brought and developed comedy moves into the game, and their road to international acclaim was assured. By 1961, The Harlem Globetrotters were on the cover of “Life Magazine” and were breaking records in an America that was complicated by racial divide. By 1950, the Globetrotters were the first team to play basketball in Europe and “release” the first person of colour to contractually play in the NBA. His name was Nathaniel “Sweetwater” Clifton.

In 1959, The Harlem Globetrotters sold-out in the then USSR and met Pope John XXIII. Since then, they have been touring world nations and breaking down cultural and social barriers with their ball wizardry, artistic tendencies and good all-round tradition of family entertainment.

The Harlem Globetrotters are coming to Germany! Courtesy of The Harlem Globetrotters - Basketball.
The Harlem Globetrotters are coming to Germany! Courtesy of The Harlem Globetrotters – Basketball.

I even remember a Saturday morning cartoon TV programme that they used to have when I was a little girl. Even though we didn’t know a thing about basketball, we were suitably impressed.

The idea to watch the game came from the American Boy Scouts. If you can recall I mentioned that one of the benefits of being an expat is joining other expats and even though I was the only British person, we were fully involved, as the Boy Scouts had a job to do. They were going to flag and parade the Harlem Globetrotters in!

Excited American Scouts!
Excited American Scouts!

I mean, what an honour!

And so yours truely was able to get a close-up of the basket ball players and take lots of lovely photos and videos. We even had a section reserved for our group, family and friends. Unfortunately, quite a few photos were a bit of a blur with the fast-paceness of the game n’all, but you get the picture!

Press & Family Only!
Press & Family Only!

The Harlem Globetrotters basketball game is not really a competitive event but a means of entertainment and a way to spread the basketball word to novices such as myself, and to lovers of the game, such as overseas American folk.

The game was located in “the other” Berlin sports auditorium of which there are two. The Olympia stadium in West Berlin of Jessie Owens fame in 1936, and the Max-Schmeling-Halle of East Berlin. The location was great because I live in the gentrified old Jewish quarter of that very same area of East Berlin.

The game started with a warm up by the mascot who was a blue ball-like creature. This mascot was a merry fellow and proceeded to dance into the crowd, jump onto the seats and generally pull people out in order to take iphone selfies and play the adult version of musical chairs. The kids loved it. Even the adults were not averse to a few mascot shots of fame.

The Harlem Globetrotter Mascot - Basketball.
The Harlem Globetrotter Mascot – Basketball.

Once the Boy Scouts paraded the players in and all the little children could try their hand at dunking, the game could begin. I could tell that “The Tall Young Gentleman” wanted to get in the queue too but apparently, that wouldn’t be cool. The 16 year and 17 year old boys behind me also had desire in their eyes but no way were they going to surround themselves with babies.

"Moose". The Harlem Globetrotters & Basketball.
“Moose”. The Harlem Globetrotters & Basketball.

In public.

And with mother in tow.

A scandal!

I was astonished because the game began with the players jingling around and twerking and giving the referee merry hell. Don’t ask me about the rules and scoring system because I truely haven’t got a clue! All I can tell you is that as we were sitting 3rd row from the front, the aim of the game seemed to be to dunk the ball into the net in as flamboyant a way as possible.

"Firefly" Fisher: The Harlem Globetrotters - Basketball.
“Firefly” Fisher: The Harlem Globetrotters – Basketball.

Being that I had never watched a basketball game before, I actually thought that the running around in slow motion, making moves in a flashback manner, swinging, jumping, standing and sitting in the net, was the real deal! It was only after my jaw hung open when I saw what I thought was the ball “flying” in the air for an enormous amount of time, that the penny dropped, and I realised that the ball had been swooped for a plastic airball, the type that you find at the amusement fairground.

"Ant" Atkinson. Harlem Globetrotters - Basketball.
“Ant” Atkinson. Harlem Globetrotters – Basketball.

I’m gullible like that sometimes!

We went All-American and stuffed ourselves with popcorn, cola, nachos, and beer, at surprisingly cheap prices. I mean, where can you find popcorn for €1.50 or $2.00? Admittedly, the drinks were “middle class” prices though but that was perfectly alright!

Popcorn and stuff at the Harlem Globetrotters - Basketball.
Popcorn and stuff at the Harlem Globetrotters – Basketball.

We really had a great time and The Harlem Globetrotters encouraged the audience to take part by taking handbags from people, throwing water at us, involving the kids in the game and generally making fun and destroying the semantics of the German language and yes, a lot of the conversation piece had to be translated in order for the general audience to understand what the players and referee, were saying.

"Sweet J" at the Harlem Globetrotters - Basketball.
“Sweet J” at the Harlem Globetrotters – Basketball.

The team leader “Ant” was a scream. The guy called “Flip” was entertaining, and “Moose” I particularly liked, as he had gorgeous hair!

You can see how close we were to the front.  Some of the younger Scouts with "Ant" at the Harlem Globetrotters - Basketball.
You can see how close we were to the front. Some of the younger Scouts with “Ant” at the Harlem Globetrotters – Basketball.

At the end, the players were generous enough to give autographs and make photographs to anyone who wanted them. I thought that was lovely. We only “worked” with two of the players as “The Tall Young Gentleman” was beginning to droop.

It was rainy and stormy that night and we even had hailstones, but we didn’t care as we both watched a real basketball game for the first time. Ever. And we liked it!

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

"The Tall Young Gentleman" with "Quake" at the Harlem Globetrotters - Basketball.
“The Tall Young Gentleman” with “Quake” at the Harlem Globetrotters – Basketball.

The Harlem Globetrotters are doing a German Tour in 2014 so if you still want to catch them in another part of Germany please contact: The Harlem Globetrotters German Tour.

Prices were very reasonable for 3 hours of entertainment. Our group ticket for adults were €30.00 or $41.00. Children 12 or under, were €20.00 or $27.00.

For general information about their world international tours contact: The Harlem Globetrotters International.

Have you ever been to a basketball game? Did you like it? Have you played basketball yourself?

"The Tall Young Gentleman"
“The Tall Young Gentleman”

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