Have you ever been to Blackpool – Britain’s version of Las Vegas – OMG!

Have you ever been to Blackpool – Britain’s version of Las Vegas – OMG!

So here we are.

A few weeks ago, I told you that I would be travelling to the English countryside, and part of that has begun!

Just to recap, I’ll be visiting Cheshire, Staffordshire, Manchester, Blackpool, Derbyshire and Yorkshire!

However, not all of our travels would be the countryside itself, some of it would be of English quirkiness, and one of those places is Blackpool!

BLACKPOOL

Blackpool – A seaside resort on the coast of North West England!

Blackpool is a seaside resort on the Lancashire coast of North West England.

Blackpool faces the Irish Sea between the Ribble and Wyre estuaries, and is 15 miles (24 km) northwest of Preston, 27 miles (43 km) north of Liverpool, 28 miles (45 km) northwest of Bolton, 40 miles (64 km) northwest of Manchester, and has a population of about 142,065 people!

Throughout the Middle Ages and Early Modern period, Blackpool was a coastal hamlet in Lancashire’s Hundred of Amounderness, and remained so until the mid-18th century when it became fashionable to travel to the coast in the summer, for a bit of seaside air and the attraction of a sandy beach!

Beauty Queens in 1950’s Blackpool

Blackpool rose to prominence when a railway was built in the 1840’s connecting it to the industrialised regions of Northern England. By 1881, Blackpool was a booming resort complete with piers, fortune-tellers, public houses, trams, donkey rides, theatres, fish-and-chip shops, and was otherwise known as “the archetypal British seaside resort.”

Shifts in tastes, combined with opportunities for your ordinary Brit to travel abroad, affected Blackpool’s status as a leading resort in the late 20th century, and it fell to tacky, shabby decay.

In fact, I haven’t been there myself since I was twelve (12) years old, and found £5.00 in the sand!

Blackpool Rock & cheese!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Blackpool – October 2017

I was enormously pleased I can tell you, so my brothers and I spent it all on Blackpool Rock!

However, lots of money has been ploughed into it, and quite frankly, Northerners haven’t been deterred by it’s less than reputable past. In fact, at one time, it was billed as England’s answer to Las Vegas!

In 1954, Blackpool enjoyed a tourist boom and attracted up to 17 million visitors a year!

Blackpool’s major attractions and landmarks these days include Blackpool Tower, Blackpool Illuminations, the Pleasure Beach, Blackpool Zoo, Sandcastle Water Park, the Winter Gardens, its sandy beaches, and the UK’s only surviving first-generation tramway!

We went out there to see what all the fuss was about!

Blackpool got it’s name from a peat bog running over water!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Blackpool – October 2017

Blackpool got it’s name from a historic drainage channel (possibly Spen Dyke) that ran over a peat bog, discharging discoloured water into the Irish Sea, which formed a black pool.

On the other side of the sea, Dublin in Ireland,otherwise known as Dubh Linn, is derived from the Irish word for “black pool.” Some people also say that the origin could come from the local dialect for “stream” which was pul or poole, hence “Black poole!”

Britain has a lot of endearing names for locals who originate from a certain part of the country. So for example, I’m from Manchester, so I’m a Manc or a Mancunian. People from Liverpool are called Scousers. People from Newcastle upon Tyne, are called Geordies, and people from the East End of London are called Cockneys.

Blackpool is no different.  The locals are either called Blackpudlians or Seasiders!

I was a little nervous as Blackpool has a reputation of being slightly shabby, tacky, and a little rough on the edges!

I was a little nervous as Blackpool has a reputation of being slightly shabby, tacky, and a little rough on the edges, but luckily, we had nothing to worry about.

And I’ll be telling you more about that next week.

Phew!

Let me tell you a secret.

Meanwhile, let me tell you something about a hidden secret.

Now if you’re British, it won’t be a secret at all, but if you’re a tourist, it might surprise you.

Are you ready?

Blackpool has an amusement park.

Blackpool has an amusement park!

It’s called Blackpool Pleasure Beach.

Otherwise known as Pleasure Beach Resort.

Or simply.

Pleasure Beach.

And it’s an amusement park for all the family.

Shh!

Here’s some history.

BLACKPOOL PLEASURE BEACH

Sweets & Fudge at the North Pier – Blackpool
© 2017 The Blackpool Pier Company Ltd

Firstly, The Tall Young Gentleman was surprised to discover that Blackpool Pleasure Beach isn’t exactly a beach!

Well, it is, and it isn’t!

I mean, Blackpool is definitely a sea-side resort, and many parts hang off the side of the pier certainly, but as far as Blackpool Pleasure Beach Resort is concerned, you can only see the beach aspect of it, right across the other side of the road!

And perhaps, once upon a time, all of Pleasure Beach was actually on the beach. Who knows?

Try not to compare Blackpool Pleasure Beach to Disneyland or Las Vegas. You’d be disappointed!

Secondly, you’re not to be comparing Blackpool Pleasure Beach to Disneyland or Las Vegas.

You’d be disappointed!

BLACKPOOL – THE MOST VISITED AMUSEMENT PARK IN THE UK!

Infusion – Blackpool Pleasure Beach

Suffice to say, Blackpool Pleasure Beach is an amusement park situated along the Fylde coast in Blackpool, Lancashire, England.

The park was founded in 1896, and has been owned and operated by the Thompson family, since its inception.

It is the number one most visited park in the United Kingdom, one of the most visited tourist attractions in the whole country, and one of the top twenty most visited amusement parks in the world, with millions of visitors every year!

In 2014, it was voted as the best theme park in the United Kingdom and the ninth best park in Europe, by the Travelers’ Choice Awards!

Blackpool Pleasure Beach park is host to many records, including the largest number of roller coasters of any park in the United Kingdom – ten (10) – of which five (5), are wooden!

The Big Dipper at Blackpool Pleasure Beach
©Blackpool Pleasure Beach Ltd

Namely:

  • The Big Dipper
  • Blue Flyer
  • Grand National
  • Nickelodeon Streak
  • Wild Mouse
When it opened, The Big One was the tallest and fastest roller coaster in the world!
When it opened, The Big One was the tallest and fastest roller coaster in the world!

Many of the roller coasters in the park are record-breaking attractions.

When it opened in 1994, The Big One was the tallest and fastest roller coaster in the world!

It was also the steepest, with an incline angle of 65° and one of the longest, measuring 5,497 feet (1,675 m)!

At the moment, this ride holds the record as the tallest roller coaster in the United Kingdom, standing at 213 ft (65 m), with a first drop of 205 ft (62 m)!

Oh my giddy god!

The Big Wheel at the Central Pier – Blackpool – Oh my giddy god!

Pleasure Beach is one of only two parks left in the world to operate a traditional wooden Wild Mouse roller coaster, the other being Luna Park Sydney in Australia.

The ride was built entirely in-house, post-World War II, but is currently under maintenance.

The Grand National is one of only three Möbius Loop coasters in existence, where a singular track loops around itself, offering a facsimile out-and-back layout and creating a racing effect on two parallel tracks.

Blackpool Pleasure Beach is also the first amusement park in Europe, to introduce a fully inverting 360° steel coaster – Revolution – and is the last remaining park in the world to still operate a Steeplechase roller coaster!

Not only that but, Sir Hiram Maxims Captive Flying Machine, otherwise known as simply – Flying Machines – is the oldest amusement park ride in Europe, having opened in August 1904!

Wow!

The Music Producer & The Tall Young Gentleman outside Valhalla in Blackpool – the biggest and most expensive indoor dark ride in the world!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Blackpool – October 2017

Recent records include Valhalla, which at a cost of £15 million was until 2016, the biggest and most expensive indoor dark ride, in the world!

Valhalla won “Best Water Ride” at the 2016 Golden Ticket awards.

Outside the world’s only Wallace & Gromit ride – the Thrill-O-Matic, in Blackpool!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Blackpool – October 2017

Blackpool Pleasure Beach also operates a Nickelodeon Land and the world’s only Wallace & Gromit ride – the Thrill-O-Matic!

The latest record is taken by the Red Arrows SkyForce, a Gerstlauer Sky Fly thrill ride which is the first ride of its kind in the United Kingdom.

A new roller coaster  – Icon – is expected to open in Spring 2018.

Whilst my husband – The Music Producer – and our teenage son – The Tall Young Gentleman – proceeded to invoke the many exciting thrills and spills of HUGE roller coasters, I contended myself with searching for more relaxing attractions because:

VICTORIA HATES ROLLER COASTERS!

I’d rather go to the pub, than go on a roller coaster in Blackpool!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Blackpool – October 2017

Ay Up!

Why’s that then?

Well, once upon a time, my brother and I went on the turbo coaster – the speed demon – of Brighton Palace Pier, in East Sussex.

Brighton Pier in East Sussex!

In Brighton you understand.

I know!

And.

It.

Was.

The.

Worst.

Ride.

Of.

My.

Life!

The hellish Turbo Coaster in Brighton!

This roller coaster is huge, and I was very much looking forward to enjoying the ride.

Now, I don’t know whether you’ve noticed, but I actually wear glasses, ‘cos I have the most appalling eye-sight, and since I’ve been wearing glasses since I was about 9 years old, you forget that you have them…

Until.

You’re on the top tip of a roller coaster!

Yep!

We had just wheezed to the tip of the turbo coaster when I suddenly remembered that I needed to take off my glasses!

I’m sorry but I look amazing!
© Pascale Scerbo Sarro

But.

I was far too late.

And my glasses flew off into the sunset!

Well in this case, the early evening sundown.

As it was about 20:00 in July!

I was so distressed that I couldn’t enjoy any part of the ride.

Because.

I couldn’t see!

And not only was each twist and turn a surprise.

It was a horrific shock!

A free shot of vodka isn’t a bad thing!

And once we came off the Turbo Coaster, I just burst into tears!

The staff came over wondering what all the commotion was about, and tried to console me.

But I couldn’t be consoled.

Because.

Without my glasses, I really couldn’t see!

And I was in Brighton. At night!

Neither of us had been to Brighton before so I didn’t know my way back to the train station!

And neither of us had been to Brighton before so I didn’t know my way back to the train station, in order to get to London!

I think my blubbering and weeping affected the staff so much, that they really wanted to help me, and asked if I could remember exactly where I was sitting, when the incident occurred.

Well, I knew exactly where I was, when.

The staff had a good search, and would you believe it, they found my glasses!

They found my glasses. Phew!

Utterly unbroken!

Thank goodness, it didn’t happen when this accident happened.

Phew!

I opted for the Ghost Train at Blackpool Pleasure Beach, ‘cos I was scared!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Blackpool – October 2017

Is it any wonder that anytime I was in the vicinity of a roller coaster, I began to get extremely anxious, and develop symptoms of a panic attack!

In that wise, I opted for the more gentler rides such as:

I’m not entirely sure which roller-coasters my husband and son went on, but I’m definite that they went on:

The Tall Young Gentleman & The Music Producer, looking very sorry for themselves at Valhalla – Blackpool!
©Victoria Ade-Genschow – The British Berliner – Blackpool – October 2017
  • The Big Dipper – A good ride
  • Nickelodeon Streak – Exciting, but a very short ride
  • Valhalla – They loved it, but you get extremely wet. Including your trousers and shoes!
  • Grand National – They found it to be the most exciting ride with great dips and leaps, as well as getting to race other visitors! You really need the bar to be secure as well as your seatbelt, as you practically get lifted into the air. However, they loved this ride the most!

They were very surprised that three (3) of the above attractions were made entirely out of wood!

It’s perfectly safe though, and they had a great time.

MY VERDICT:

Great fun for the family at Blackpool Pleasure Beach!

Great fun for the family, and snack prices were as low and as reasonable as we have ever seen at an amusement park. Ever!

TOP TIPS!

Ask me about Blackpool!

We booked online, but even the queues to collect pre-paid tickets were quite long. We hadn’t opted for a Speedy Pass as we reckoned that it wouldn’t be that crowded.

It was during the British Half-Term School Holiday break, so wrong!

Some rides attracted up to a 40 minute wait, and I ended up queueing at an attraction twice, and giving up because the lines were still too long, or took ages to get people in!

  • If you want to use a locker, wait until you’re actually inside the amusement park, as it’s cheaper – £3.50 for small lockers – all day!
  • If you know what you’re doing and what you want to ride on, wait until the evening, as tickets were being sold for £20.00 – two hours before the end of day!
  • Book Online at least 24 hours before you want to enter the park. We paid £24.00 per person for an Unlimited Ride Wristband Peak online, instead of £32.50 at the gate! The staff also told you us that as long as we booked by midnight the night before, we were still covered to buy an online ticket, as we were still undecided as to the type of ticket we wanted!

So that is what we did!

HAVE YOU EVER BEEN TO BLACKPOOL – BRITAIN’S VERSION OF LAS VEGAS – OMG!

Have you ever been to Blackpool – Britain’s version of Las Vegas – OMG!

This article isn’t sponsored, and absolutely all opinions, and the rather wonderful fish and chips that we scoffed, are my very own!

I have so much to share with you.

In the Autumn, I’ll be visiting the UK and travelling around the areas of Cheshire, Staffordshire, Manchester, Blackpool, Derbyshire and Yorkshire!

Yippee!

October & November is going to be delightful!

Book your Blackpool hotel here, or here!

Have you ever been to Blackpool – Britain’s version of Las Vegas – OMG!

Watch this space!

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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!

Have you ever been to Blackpool – Britain’s version of Las Vegas – OMG!

Have you ever been to Blackpool or Blackpool Pleasure Beach? Do you absolutely love roller-coasters or do you panic, like I do? 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

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12 Unique things to do in the Algarve!

Spain & Portugal!
Spain & Portugal!

I’ve finally completed my write-up about our Spring Break!

As you know, my family and I went to, not only Spain, but Portugal too!

In fact, we went to the Algarve, Lisbon and Porto!

And in  the following weeks, I’ll be letting you know all about it!

I’m not too shy to remind you about our journey to Spain, so just in case you’ve been out-of-town, here it is!

Oranges in Spain!
Oranges in Spain!

I’m very excited to be writing about Portugal as it’s been nine (9) years since I was last there!

I usually prefer to travel solo, with a bunch of like-minded friends, or with my family, but at that time, I travelled with a German girlfriend of mine.

She was marvellous!

She’s about ten (10) years older than me, and I wasn’t sure if it would work out as it was a last-minute I-have-an-extra-flight-ticket-who-wants-to-come-with-me-appeal, on Facebook!

However, in a nutshell, everything went swimmingly well!

So let’s get down to the nitty-gritty.

What do we know about Portugal?

PORTUGAL

Statues in Portugal.
Statues in Portugal.

Portugal, officially known as the Portuguese Republic, is a country on the Iberian Peninsula, in the South West of Europe. The republic also includes the Atlantic archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira.

Portugal is indeed the most western point country in the whole of mainland Europe, and I have a certificate to prove it!

Portugal is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean and Spain and the Portugal–Spain border – 1,214 km or 754 miles – is considered to be the longest uninterrupted border within the European Union!

Portugal  has a population of almost 10.5 million people!

The strength of a lost Portuguese global empire!
The strength of a lost Portuguese global empire!

Portugal is one of the first global empire countries and had great influence across the world in the 15th and 16th century but sadly, after the independence of Brazil in 1822, and the end of the longest-lived European colonial empire, the return of Goa back to an independent India, and the handing over of Macau back to China in 1999, hardly anybody speaks Portuguese anymore, and most tourists are reluctant to visit. Preferring instead, it’s neighbour and colonial rival – Spain!

Strange really!

There are over 250 million people who speak Portuguese world-wide, it has left a most profound cultural and architectural influence across the globe, has an advanced economy, and a higher living standard than France, Spain and Italy!

It’s time to change it’s image!

THE ALGARVE

This is the way to the Algarve. In Portugal!
This is the way to the Algarve.
In Portugal!

The Algarve is in the southernmost region of continental Portugal.

It has an area of 4,997 square kilometres, 450,000 people living in the coastal town, and is the most popular tourist destination in Portugal!

The Algarve has several cities, towns and villages with the region’s capital being the city of Faro!

It’s main source of income is tourism related, and the production of seafood, fruit, and a variety of nuts!

During “the season” almost 10 million people visit on an annual basis, with the Algarve being the third richest region in Portugal, after Lisbon and Madeira!

I'm not really a beach person as I prefer mountains and rivers or beach destinations that have more than the sea to recommend them! Me at the Grotto in the Algarve!
I’m not really a beach person as I prefer mountains and rivers or beach destinations that have more than the sea to recommend them!
Me at the Grotto in the Algarve!

I’m not really a beach person as I prefer mountains and rivers or beach destinations that have more than their waters to recommend them! However, we wanted to be by the sea and booked a really nice studio-villa apartment in the coastal town of Lagos. Our villa was called Canavial I & II Apartamentos with British / Portuguese ownership.

I was utterly surprised as we paid just €44.00 per day!

I had initially made our booking via villas.com but of course, for free cancellations and reservations, you ought to book here!

If I had known it would be that nice, I would have planned to stay longer than the two (2) days that we had booked!

For a family with a young teenager, it was just perfect!

Book your hotel here!

Perfect access to the small private swimming pool, complete with private deckchairs!
Perfect access to the small private swimming pool, complete with private deckchairs!

Our villa was at the top of a walkable hill, had a fully equipped kitchenette, a surrounding garden, air conditioning, tiled floors, a kettle (thank goodness!) en-suite bathroom, a private balcony and free WiFi!

We were on the ground floor and so we had perfect access to the small private swimming pool, complete with private deckchairs!

There was another German family in the building too.

Umm. Ahem!

WHAT IS LAGOS ALL ABOUT?

Lagos is an ancient maritime town with more than 2,000 years of history!
Lagos is an ancient maritime town with more than 2,000 years of history!

Lagos (not to be confused with Lagos in Nigeria!) is in the Barlavento region of the Algarve, in southern Portugal.

It is an ancient maritime town with more than 2,000 years of history!

The name Lagos comes from a Celtic settlement, derived from the Latin word Lacobriga, the name of the settlement established at the time.

It became an early settlement of the Carthaginians, who recruited Celtic tribesmen in their war against the Romans.

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.

Owing to it’s already important harbour, it was colonized by the Romans and integrated into the Roman province of Lusitania.

With the fall of Rome, the town of Lagos was occupied in the 6th century by the Visigoths and later by the Byzantines. The Moors arrived in the 8th century from North Africa, renaming the settlement Zawaia (meaning lago, or lake).

The town became part of the much larger coastal region of al-Gharb, which eventually became known as the Algarve!

The coastal region of al-Gharb, which eventually became known as the Algarve!
The coastal region of al-Gharb, which eventually became known as the Algarve!

Lagos has a population of 31,000 people with almost 22,000 people living in the main town of Lagos itself!

While the majority of the population live along the coast and work in tourism and services, the inland region is sparsely inhabited, with the majority of people working in agriculture and forestry.

Lagos is one of the most visited cities in the Algarve due to its variety of tourist-friendly beaches, the in-the-season summer nightlife, and rock formations!

Book your hotel here!

Lagos is also the historic centre of the Portuguese Age of Discovery & the frequent home of Henry the Navigator!
Lagos is also the historic centre of the Portuguese Age of Discovery & the frequent home of Henry the Navigator!

However, Lagos is also the historic centre of the Portuguese Age of Discovery, the frequent home of Henry the Navigator, historical shipyards and, at one time sadly, the centre of European slave trade!

Although I’ve been to Portugal before, I’ve never been to the Algarve.

I was pleasantly surprised as Lagos was awfully quiet!

Perhaps too quiet!

And even though we had arrived during the Easter break, it was still relatively low season and similar to the experience that we had when we went to the Polish Baltic Sea!

So just in case you find yourself on the beach with nothing to do, read this!

12 UNIQUE THINGS TO DO IN THE ALGARVE

12 Unique things to do in the Algarve!

12 Unique things to do in the Algarve!
  1.  Need I even say it at all: Go to the beach of which there are many to choose from and some of the best in Portugal! Praias is the Portuguese word for beach thus beaches such as the sandy bay of Praia Porto de Mõs, which was a mere three (3) minute walk from our villa! The 7 km Meia Praia beach stretch, the charming Praia do Pinhão, the remote Praia de Beliche, the Praia Batata near the town centre, the small, sheltered Praia do Camilo, and the Praia Dona Ana Beach. Indeed, we spent our first evening running around on the Praia Dona Ana, and trying to climb it’s spectacular rock formations nestling beneath the cliffs!
  2.  Take a walk along the cliffs: The Algarve view is so quiet and serene and surrounded by an intense network of paths so that you can literally walk from clifftop to clifftop. And we spent a merry few hours just doing that!
  3.  Look for the Cape St. Vincent Lighthouse: This Lighthouse is located at the most westerly point of Sagresand is one of the largest lighthouses in Europe since 1846! It’s a most famous attraction and even includes a small museum!
  4.  Take a boat trip and sail among the Algarve Grottos: I love water and I found the little caves and grottos of Ponta da Piedade pretty amazing, and the view of the the coastline stunning. It can get pretty crowded though, but everyone was really lovely, and the price (if I remember), was only about €10.00 a pop!
  5.  Do water activities: Go canoeing, parasailing, windsurfing, kayaking, waterskiing, “ordinary” sailing, StandUp Paddleboarding, or dolphin-watching!
  6.  There are also horses: Ride away on the coastal beach!
  7.  Make your way to the Portuguese Navy museums and nautical homes: Drop in on the Maritime Museum in Faro.
  8.  Stuff yourself with Portugal most famous and utterly delicious snack: The very enticing Pastel de nata, otherwise known as a Portuguese egg tart!
  9.  Go look for the many aristocratic remains of Portugal’s historic past: There be castles such as the Forte da Ponta da Bandeira which is a 17th century fort, the Castelo de Paderne which are the remains of a Moorish castle, or the Loulé Castle which used to be a part of the medieval city wall! Failing that, the remains of the Torre do Relógio otherwise known as the clock tower!
  10.  Learn about the history of the 1755 Lisbon earthquake which destroyed great parts of Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Southern England and Ireland. In fact, Portugal is still known as having one of the deadliest earthquakes in history!
  11.  Go fishing at “Fishermans beach” otherwise known as Praia dos Pescadores!
  12.  And while you’re at it, go ahead and have as much seafood as you dare!
There be seafood galore!
There be seafood galore!

This article is not sponsored and all opinions and the lovely coastal walk and impressive seafood, are my very own!

In the summer I’ll be going to Germany, France, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Norway and possibly Russia!

I’ll be interviewing someone quite important. Find out who, next week!

From May 18th – May 22nd, I’ll be at the Berlin Music Video Award ceremony.

From June 2nd – June 3rd, I’ll be at the Berlin Fashion Film Festival.

From June 28th – July 2nd, I’ll be at Berlin Fashion Week.

Save the Date!

May & June are going to be glorious!

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 May, whyever not?!

12 Unique things to do in the Algarve!

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!
12 Unique things to do in the Algarve!
12 Unique things to do in the Algarve!

Have you ever been to the Algarve? Have you ever been to Portugal? Mountains or the sea?

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!

If you’re looking for a cheap holiday. The Polish Baltic Sea is pretty alright!

On the beach pation of the Hotel Neptun, Leba.
On the beach patio of the Hotel Neptun, Leba.

Yesterday, “The Tall Young Gentleman” and I returned from Poland and we had a fabulous and rather relaxing time.

However, the fact remains that when I say that I’m going to Poland, people laugh. The fact remains that travellers and tourists see a million reasons why Poland isn’t on the radar. Yes, it’s true that transport can be a bit of a problem if you’re not familiar with the language, and so I explained how easy it is to use the train and why once you get there, Oh-my-god-Polish-food-is-going-to-kill-you!

I’m here to let you know that if you’re looking for a cheap holiday then the Polish Baltic Sea is indeed, pretty alright! Let’s start with the basics:

WHY GO TO THE POLISH BALTIC SEA?

Fish at the Polish Baltic Sea.
Fish at the Polish Baltic Sea.

As you know, I am The British Berliner therefore, logic demands that I live in Berlin. That being the case, it’s enormously easy to travel anywhere in Europe and one of the countries nearby, is Poland. In fact, the German-Polish border is less than two hours away. Yes, just two hours, so if you’re coming to Berlin in the summer (and you should), why not add a couple of days to Poland while you are here, and cross off that East European bucket-list!

HOW DO I GET THERE?

It’s really quite simple. If you’re flying, international airports in Poland are in Warszawa (Warsaw), Kraków, Wrocław, and Poznań. If you’re taking the international train, they generally connect to Warsaw. However, if you’re coming from Berlin like I did, then Szczecin (Stettin) on the German-Polish border is your best bet.

Book your hotel here!

The Deutsche Bahn train going to Szczecin Glowny/Stettin.
The Deutsche Bahn train going to Szczecin Glowny/Stettin.

There are discount prices from the German Railway Service known as Deutsche Bahn or DB. You can get a one-way single ticket from Berlin to Stettin for €10.00. Reduced tickets for €7.50. If you want to make a day of it, a day ticket would be €20.00 and €15.00 respectively. You could use it for every local transport in Stettin and the ticket is valid until 03:00 the next day! For more information about how to use the trains in Poland check here.

We paid €72.60 or $100.80 on the outward journey for a seaside trip between two countries, and we paid a rather wonderful €41.50 or $57.45 on the way home. This is how we did it:

In the corridor of the Polish Train.
In the corridor of the Polish Train.

€4.00 or $5.20 from Leba to Lebork. €20.00 or $27.00 from Lebork to Szczecin (Stettin), and €17.50 or $24.20 from Szczecin (Stettin) to Berlin.

IS IT GOING TO BE CROWDED?

OMG. You have got to be joking. There was hardly anyone there! I’m used to going to Leba in June or July and for the first time, we decided to go in April. In fact, apart from a German family and a young American couple, we were the only tourists in town!

Nobody coming or going except for us on the Polish Baltic Sea!
Nobody coming or going except for us on the Polish Baltic Sea!

It took us a bit by surprise at first but it was rather nice, and everyone got to know us.

And wave!

It was enormously quiet except for the church bells, and more of the church bells!! Leba is a small town so when we went to the “centrum” it took all of 10 minutes. If you’re looking for a bit of peace and quiet, then Leba in the Spring is an excellent choice. If you’re looking for a bit more “action” then the summer season is probably better.

Book your hotel here!

WHAT IS THE BEACH LIKE?

All alone on the Polish Baltic Sea!
All alone on the Polish Baltic Sea!

The beach is lovely and white. As much as I love my new adopted country, I prefer the Baltic Sea in Poland rather than in Germany. It’s quieter, it’s less crowded, and it’s totally undeveloped! “The Tall Young Gentleman” and I went on a 7 km walk on the beach and apart from an old couple, and a middle-aged couple with a grandmother and a baby, THERE WAS NOBODY ON THE BEACH. We were completely and totally alone.

On our own.

It was marvellous.

We ran around. We made shapes in the sand. We jumped and screamed. Then we got really cold because even though the sun was shining, we were grossly under-dressed as the wind was bitingly sharp and there was no cover. At one point, I got a little worried as we seemed to be walking for miles.

We were, and there were no “land dividers” so that we could go inland and it can be dangerous, as inland is the Slowinski National Park forest, and huge moving sand dunes!

Book your hotel here!

I DONT SPEAK POLISH.

Most people only speak Polish but there will always be someone around who can help.

I’m not going to lie. Most people only speak Polish but there will always be someone around who can help.  If you can speak English, German or Russian. You’re in!

When we tried to buy our train ticket to Malbork, the sales assistant didn’t speak English or German and neither did most people around us, except for one lady who spoke pretty good English. Not only did she translate things for us but I found myself needing 30 zlotys more than I actually had, as that particular train station in Lebork didn’t take EC or credit cards. This wonderful lady who didn’t know me from Adam or Eve, actually paid the extra 30 zlotys that I needed.

Thank you so much Ms. Iwona Wolocznik!

AM I GOING TO LIVE IN A HUT?

Witches and cake in Leba, Poland!
Witches and cake in Leba, Poland!

In the past, we have always been to the same family hotel. We used to stay with a local family that owned 3 houses, restaurants and the gingerbread house that quite aptly sold Paczki, which is a type of doughnut-like sticky bun and Sernik or cheesecake. This time around, I decided to use the services of booking.com and found this wonderful little family run bed and breakfast/pension/hotel.

This lovely place is called Villa Akacja.

Villa Akacja, Leba. In Poland.
Villa Akacja, Leba. In Poland.

The Villa was lovely. I didn’t know what to expect and was surprised at what we received. We had:

Our bedroom at the Villa Akacja, Leba.
Our bedroom at the Villa Akacja, Leba.

An en-suite double room with a quaint dining table and two chairs. A flat screen TV. A fridge. A hot water boiler/kettle so that you could make your own tea or coffee in your room, free fast WiFi and OMG underfloor-heating in the bathroom!

All this for €22.00 per night!

The dining table at the Villa Akacja, Leba.
The dining table at the Villa Akacja, Leba.

We also had a delicious home-made breakfast that varied daily from pancakes, omelette, different types of bread, salads, yoghurt, juice and slices of cake. At €5.00 or $7.00 per day, they were virtually giving it away!

We weren’t sure if we wanted to have breakfast included but we were so glad that we chose that option. You can also choose not to have an inclusive breakfast as there is also a fully equipped guest kitchen, so that you can make your own meals, which we utilised one night when we had pot-noodles for dinner!

Book your hotel here!

Breakfast at the Villa Akacja, Leba.
Breakfast at the Villa Akacja, Leba.

I’M ON A BUDGET. WHAT SHOULD I DO?

No Problem. Pretty much any Eastern European country is quite cheap and is never going to break the bank. If you’re on a budget, you could do worse. Beer is under €1.00 or $1.00. Meals including a starter are about €6.00 or $8.00 and that was for both of us. Not including drinks!

If you’re making your own meals there are a few local supermarkets around and they are very helpful. We should probably have asked them about the milk situation as I ended up buying a carton of yoghurt instead. It made for quite an interesting cup of hot chocolate I can tell you!

I’M LOOKING FOR A BIT MORE LUXURY, IS THERE SOMETHING FOR ME?

Yep! There is a historical castle on the beach in Leba called the Hotel Neptun. This castle was built in 1903 and retaining it’s style and elegance of times gone by, has become a charming 100-year-old castle-like hotel.

Hotel Neptun: A castle in Leba.
Hotel Neptun: A castle in Leba.

It’s actually on the beach and in the summer has it’s own private beach section for guests as well as a heated swimming pool. The dining room has a sort of English sea-side style with a fire-place, candles and a huge chess-set in the very simple lounge area.

I had previously contacted the hotel for a reservation and they very generously offered a complimentary dinner (excluding drinks) for “The Tall Young Gentleman” and myself.

The dining room of the Hotel Neptun in Leba.
The dining room of the Hotel Neptun in Leba.

We had been there a few times before, for yummy cake, but let me tell you that our dinner was fantastic. It’s not easy satisfying a demanding, fussy, 12-year old boy, but the Hotel Neptun did pretty well. We had:

A lovely salad of ham, peppers, white cheese and figs, and a traditional Żurek Polish sour soup with horseradish, combined with egg and white sausage, for our starter course.

A fantastic salad. With figs!
A fantastic salad. With figs!

We both had guinea fowl breast with French beans and pureed carrots in red-current sauce,  for our main course.

Guinea fowl breast with French beans and pureed carrots in red-current sauce. Yum!
Guinea fowl breast with French beans and pureed carrots in red-current sauce. Yum!

For dessert we had, Crêpes Suzette – pancakes flambéd in orange liqueur, served with vanilla ice–cream and Szarlotka – warm apple pie with vanilla ice– cream covered in anglaise.

Crêpes Suzette – in orange liqueur served with vanilla ice–cream and fruit.
Crêpes Suzette – in orange liqueur served with vanilla ice–cream and fruit.

The meal was delicious and the service was attentive. Drinks were extra and a glass of wine and a soft drink was €5.00 or $7.00.

Thank you Hotel Neptun!

Szarlotka – warm apple pie with vanilla ice– cream covered in anglaise sauce.
Szarlotka – warm apple pie with vanilla ice– cream covered in anglaise sauce.

 WHAT SHOULD I DO WHEN I GET TO LEBA?

There is plenty to do in the high/full season. You can:

  • Go to the Slowinski National Park. The National Park is a world protected area of lakes, bogs, meadows, woods and forests.
  • Check out the Sand Dunes. These sand dunes are unique in Europe as they split and move. It’s great. In the summer, the sand is so plentiful that you can surf on the sand and the amount of middle-aged men who think they can do so, is plentiful, but you have to be careful though because it hurts!
  • Go to Malbork. The town of Malbork has the largest Gothic castle in the world and is 4 hours away from Leba, but definitely worth going to!
  • Rent a bike, motorbike, or a city-kart. Check thoroughly as on this trip, both the chain and seat of our city-kart broke, and fell off!
  • Go fishing or on a pirate boat ride.
  • Go horse-riding or play tennis.
  • Go to the local cinema. It’s in Polish but very entertaining.
  • Bars, restaurants and discos are aplenty.
  • A fair-ground and a mini-circus are also in town during “the season.”
Victoria on the city-kart in Leba - Poland, before the chain broke and the seat fell off!
Victoria on the city-kart in Leba – Poland, before the chain broke and the seat fell off!

ANYTHING ELSE?

Learn a few words of Polish such as:

  • Dzień dobry: Good Day!
  • Cześć: Hello and Goodbye!
  • Tak: Yes
  • Nie: No!
  • Proszę: You’re welcome or Please!
  • Dziękuję: Thank You!

Most importantly, have fun!

Some of the local Polish girls that we met on the Polish train to Malbork.
Some of the local Polish girls that we met on the Polish train to Malbork.

This article isn’t sponsored and even though we received a simply splendid complimentary meal, absolutely all opinions are my very own!

For the months of May and June, I’ll be writing about summer time in Berlin, and what to do when you get here.

Book your hotel here!

If you’re looking for a cheap holiday. The Polish Baltic Sea is pretty alright!

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!

"The Tall Young Gentleman" and myself, on a sunny day in Leba - Poland!
“The Tall Young Gentleman” and myself, on a sunny day in Leba – Poland!

Would you consider going to the Baltic Sea in Poland? Have you stayed in a castle before? Do you like fish!! 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

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