51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany!

51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany!
51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany!

It’s the 3rd of October in Germany, and that means it’s the celebration of the German Re-Unification. A day that nobody thought would ever happen in this lifetime.

But it did!

Two sides and two periods, of the Berlin Wall. East Germany and West Germany together again, after twenty-seven (27) years!
Two sides and two periods, of the Berlin Wall. East Germany and West Germany together again, after twenty-seven (27) years!

That’s right, East Germany otherwise known as the GDR or the DDR, and West Germany formerly known as the FRG, or the BRD, have now been together as one country for twenty-seven (27) years!

Tweeeeeeenty Seeeeeeeeven!

Isn’t it marvellous?!

On the border between East & West Berlin in Germany.
On the border between East & West Berlin in Germany.

Who would have thought that not only would I be living in this wonderful city called – Berlin, but I would be married to a German bloke to boot!

My husband - The Music Producer - looking gorgeous in Osnabrück, Germany.
My husband – The Music Producer – looking gorgeous in Osnabrück, Germany.

And even though I’m British, I’ve been living here as an expat for years, and it never gets old. In fact, I still feel as if I’ve only just got here!

So was it any wonder that I decided to add Germany onto Victoria’s Summer European Challenge Campaign across Europe.

It's summer. Drink up!
It’s summer. Drink up!

Yay!

But let me be clear, even though my fellow countrymen decided to opt out of the European Union, I’m still proud to be both British and I’m European ‘cos I’m not going anywhere!

We're not leaving!
We’re not leaving!

What better, than to spend the summer travelling through one of the world’s best continents – that’s right Europe!

If you want to read about ALL the countries that I’ve visited in the last two years, then just click here!

Oh, the summer!

Cricket and a spot of lunch!
Cricket and a spot of lunch!

My challenge was to visit a European city. Every weekend, through the summer holidays.

Every weekend!

For six (6) weeks!

And only to travel.

By train!

“The Tall Young Gentleman” didn’t look too happy that for Switzerland, we took the Sparpreis Europa city night line train!

So let’s see how we’re doing.

If you as lazy as I am (whaaaat!), I’m going to put the countries that I’ve been to, on Victoria’s Summer European Challenge Campaign below:

DENMARK:

Eat Danish street food or visit Danish farmers' markets. How to visit Copenhagen on a budget. Even though I missed my last connection. Again! ©Ditte Isager
Eat Danish street food or visit Danish farmers’ markets.
How to visit Copenhagen on a budget. Even though I missed my last connection. Again! ©Ditte Isager

I started off with Denmark and hopped off to Copenhagen.

Is Copenhagen a European city?

Yes. Tick!

Did I travel only by train?

Sort of a tick!

Copenhagen was great and you can read all about it below:

SWITZERLAND:

A few paces away you would find cows in the field gently chewing away, in Lucerne!
A few paces away you would find cows in the field gently chewing away, in Lucerne!

I then went to Switzerland, and bounced into Lucerne, otherwise known as Luzern!

Is Lucerne a European city?

Yes. Tick!

Did I travel only by train?

Yep! Tick!

Lucerne, otherwise known as Luzern was brilliant, and you can read all about it just below:

LUXEMBOURG:

After that, I went to Luxembourg.

Me in front of the Palace of the Frand Dukes. In August! Luxembourg: A smart guide to the Grand Duchy of one of Europe's smallest countries!
Me in front of the Palace of the Grand Dukes. In August!
Luxembourg: A smart guide to the Grand Duchy of one of Europe’s smallest countries!

Luxembourg was a new country for me, and I had heard lovely things about it, so I was pretty excited to visit!

Is Luxembourg a European city?

Yes. Tick!

Did I travel only by train?

Yep! Tick!

Luxembourg was pretty impressive, and you can read all about it just below:

The next destination was Slovakia. I hadn’t been to Slovakia for years so off we skipped to Bratislava.

A historical castle in Slovakia!
A historical castle in Slovakia!

Is Bratislava a European city?

Yes. Tick!

Did I travel only by train?

Indeed we did! Tick!

Bratislava was an interesting mix of charm and historical greatness of yore, and you can read all about it below:

Now let’s get back to Germany.

The Music Producer and The Tall Young Gentleman on the pier! 51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany!
The Music Producer and The Tall Young Gentleman on the pier!
51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany!

To be more exact – the seaside.

In a place on the Baltic Sea called Usedom!

I like going to the Baltic Sea. In fact, I’ve written many posts about it such as:

Polish fishermen on the Polish Baltic Sea who did fabulously well. :)
Polish fishermen on the Polish Baltic Sea who did fabulously well. 🙂

You see. In many cases, I was actually going to the Baltic Sea. In Poland….! I have been to the Baltic Sea in Germany, but I couldn’t remember the details ‘cos it was winter, and the sea was frozen!

Time to change all that but first, a little history.

USEDOM

On Usedom - a Baltic Sea island in Pomerania, Germany! ©Usedom Tourismus GmbH
On Usedom – a Baltic Sea island in Pomerania, Germany! ©Usedom Tourismus GmbH

We chose Usedom as the part of the German seaside that we wanted to visit.

Not only is Usedom pretty, but it’s also the seaside resort of the people who live in Berlin. In fact, it’s rare not to see your neighbour or your mates at work, running down the beach or leaping into the sea!

Usedom is a Baltic Sea island in Pomerania which originally used to be one single island region but since 1945, was divided between Germany and Poland!

This is what happens to children who don't eat their greens - boiled fish for dinner, and only boiled fish!
This is what happens to children who don’t eat their greens – boiled fish for dinner, and only boiled fish!

About 80% of the island belongs to the German district of Vorpommern-Greifswald in the North German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.

The other side and the largest city on the island, is part of the Polish West Pomeranian Province bordering the German federal-states of Mecklenburg-West Pomerania and Brandenburg to the west, and the Baltic Sea to the north. Its capital and largest city is Szczecin which is enormously easy to get to…!

The Usedom island’s total area is 445 square kilometres (172 square miles). The German part is 373 square kilometres or 144 square miles, and the Polish part is 72 square kilometres or 28 square miles.

51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany!
51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany!

With a population of just 76,500 people – 31,500 on the German side and 45,000 on the Polish side, Usedom is the sunniest region of both Germany and Poland, and it is also the sunniest island in the Baltic Sea Region!

We were excited to travel to a sunny old beach, and a bit of the sea!

Now that’s done with, let’s get to it:

51 REASONS TO GO TO THE SEASIDE. IN GERMANY!

51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany!
51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany!
  • Simply put, the seaside is one the best places to go to, in the summer
  • The German seaside is located in the North of Germany in places known as the Baltic Sea or the North Sea. Usedom is on the Baltic Sea otherwise known as the Ostsee!
  • It’s great for families. All you need is a bucket and spade, some sand, water, a bit of sunshine, and kids – big or small!
  • And it’s safe and secure
  • You can be a child again and build sandcastles, collect shells, and explore the beach
The Tall Young Gentleman trying to make a sandcastle! 51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany!
The Tall Young Gentleman trying to make a sandcastle!
51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany!
  • It’s only 3.5 hours away from my beloved Berlin!
  • You can go by car, by bike, or simply take the train
  • Once you organise your hotel, B&B, or tent, everything else is free of charge!
  • If you’re on a budget, you can camp in the forest, near a lake, or not far from the beach
  • If you’ve got some cash, you can splash out and stay at the many wonderful seaside resorts, imperial villas, thatched houses and exclusive hotels such as the elegant five-star historical Usedom Palace where we stayed – otherwise known as the Jewel on the promenade in Zinnowitz! I’ll write more details about the hotel next week or you can simply book your hotel here!
  • You’ve not tasted ice-cream, until you’ve had it at the seaside!
You've not tasted ice-cream, until you've had it at the seaside! 51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany!
You’ve not tasted ice-cream, until you’ve had it at the seaside!
51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany!
  • You can have 1,906 hours of sunshine per year making Usedom Island the sunniest place in Germany?
  • You can be Jesus for a few hours, and walk on water on one of the oldest piers in the Baltic Sea area!
  • The German Baltic Sea is 42 kms of fine white sandy beach and up to 70 meters wide, making Usedom Island the longest beach promenade in Europe, if not the world!
  • Germany has five (5) historic wooden piers that lead into the Baltic Sea. The longest pier is in Heringsdorf at 508 meters. The oldest pier built in Ahlbeck 1898, is 118 years old!
On the oldest pier in Usedom - a Baltic Sea island in Pomerania, Germany! 51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany! ©Usedom Tourismus GmbH
On the oldest pier in Usedom – a Baltic Sea island in Pomerania, Germany! ©Usedom Tourismus GmbH
  • You can actually walk or cycle the length of the island starting from Germany and ending in Poland, or vice-versa. And since both countries are part of the EU, you don’t even need a visa! But take your passport along. Just in case!
  • There are three (3) imperial summer residences of the previous German monarchy so you can stroll between the villages of Bansin, Heringsdorf, and Ahlbeck, to find them. It’s a lovely walk with many cafes, bars and restaurants, along the way!
  • Everywhere you look is some sort of historical art or architecture preserving the seaside in a unique Wilhelminian style
  • You can admire the wonderful picturesque architecture
  • Usedom used to be quite the bohemian place packed with artists, intellectuals, and the liberal wealthy bourgeoise of the time who would meet for music, art, and entertainment. Very like Bristol or the city of Bath, back in the day
You would find the Bohemian Set, intellectuals, and the liberal wealthy bourgeoise of the time staying in such villas 51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany! ©Usedom Tourismus GmbH
You would find the bohemian set, and the liberal wealthy bourgeoise staying in such villas
51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany! ©Usedom Tourismus GmbH
  • Usedom is also a nature park reserve with coasts, lakes, marshes, dunes, pine and beech woods, as well as beaches
  • There are eagles on the island of Usedom, and more than 280 species of birds such as Nordic geese, cranes, ducks and woodcocks
  • The world ́s largest beach volleyball tournament in the world, according to the Guinness Book of Records, takes place on Usedom Island!
  • You can be healthy via the power of the Baltic Sea!
  • You can go au natural (Germany!), and go to a spa and pamper yourself with a chocolate massage, a sea buckthorn bath, an algae mousse package or treatments with iodine brine
You can go au natural and go to a spa and pamper 51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany! ©Usedom Tourismus GmbH
You can go au natural and go to a spa and pamper
51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany! ©Usedom Tourismus GmbH
  • You can stroll on the beach, sunbathe, or just relax with a glass of wine, or bottle of German beer!
  • You can go bare-foot on the beach in the safe knowledge that there’s no garbage or glass lying around. It felt so goooood to have sand between our toes
  • You can go swimming in the sea as the sea is clean, but watch out for the jellyfish. They’re pretty huge!
  • The German seaside is the best opportunity to really get to grips with cycling as you have access to 180 km of cycle tracks, and more than 13 recommended cycling routes, and you can rent bikes at more than 100 rental stations using a mobile payment concept covering the island known as Usedom Rad. In fact, my husband and our son, used this facility quite a bit. I took the train from Zinnowitz to Heringsdorf, and they cycled all the way. It took them about 3 hours but they enjoyed the ride! If you buy a family train ticket, the one way cycle journey is included in your ticket, so you get the bike ride for free!
  • You can eat fairly well, but try to leave plenty of time for dinner as the seaside resorts tend to close early. On our last night, we left things a little late at 21:00, and were lucky enough to catch the chef before he closed the kitchen. Usedom, like the UK, closes it’s restaurants quite early!
A traditional fresh fish lunch at the famous Fisch Domke restaurant in Ahlbeck! 51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany!
A traditional fresh fish lunch at the famous Fisch Domke restaurant in Ahlbeck!
51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany!
  • You can eat as much seafood as you like. And you should!
  • Because if you haven’t had a fresh herring sandwich, you haven’t lived!
  • You can go fishing. And you don’t necessarily need a licence…
  • You can have one ice-cream or two..!
  • If you like honey, you can go on a Beekeepers Cycling Tour through farming villages often used by bees on the HoneyBee Island! Start in Korswandt, stay on the cycle path, and follow the signs leading to the Bienchen Fienchen where you get to meet two beekeepers and learn all about bee gardens, and how honey is made
Meet beekeepers and learn all about bees and how honey is made. 51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany!
Meet beekeepers and learn all about bees and how honey is made.
51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany!
The German seaside is extremely close to Poland! 51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany!
The German seaside is extremely close to Poland!
51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany!
  • We took the local seaside train and it wasn’t a big deal to travel to Poland. Many visitors were doing the same
  • Polish food!
  • Fantastic tankers of ice-cold beer
  • Have I already said beer? Lovely German beer!
  • You can charter a yacht and do your own sailing, or just rent a canoe between the many harbours and marinas of the Baltic Sea
  • You can take a cruise along the Baltic Sea
You're merely a yacht away from Denmark and the UK! 51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany!
You’re merely a yacht away from Denmark and the UK!
51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany!
  • You can sail to Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Latvia, Estonia, Russia, Poland, other parts of Germany, or to the UK!
  • You can visit many castles and historical buildings such as Fort Engelsburg. We weren’t able to explore it as they had a private function on, but we could climb some of the hills around it, and peep in!
  • The German seaside is ideal for water sports such as sailing, surfing, jet skiing, kite surfing, canoeing, and rafting. And it’s not particularly cold. Or hot. It’s Just about right
  • Nude beaches. Germans are enormously open-minded so the Freikörperkultur, or FKK movement, otherwise known as the Free Body Culture, was set up for everyone to participate in
Germans are enormously open-minded so nude beaches as Freikörperkultur, or FKK movement - Free Body Culture - was set up - 51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany! ©Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-1984-0828-411A / Settnik, Bernd / CC-BY-SA 3.0
Germans are enormously open-minded so nude beaches as Freikörperkultur, or FKK movement – Free Body Culture – was set up – 51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany!
©Bundesarchiv, Bild 183-1984-0828-411A / Settnik, Bernd / CC-BY-SA 3.0

TAKE ME THERE!

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

You can drive to the Baltic motorway where two bridges connect the Usedom Island to the mainland. If you’re flying in, the island is connected by air with nonstop flights from nine cities around Germany, Austria and Switzerland flying into the Heringsdorf regional airport whereby with shuttle buses will get you to your final destination within 30 minutes.

The best way to travel to the Baltic Sea seaside is by the island`s own train – the Usedomer Bäderbahn – which connects all the seaside resorts on the Usedom Island.

The best way to travel to the Baltic Sea seaside is by the Usedomer Bäderbahn train! ©Jens Scheider
The best way to travel to the Baltic Sea seaside is by the Usedomer Bäderbahn train!
©Jens Scheider

You can get to Usedom from Germany with a Mecklenburg-Vorpommern or a Mecklenburg Western-Pomerania ticket for a one day unlimited travel experience at just €23.00 (+ €4 for each person extra, max. 5 people) on any day of the week, when purchased at a DB ticket machine or online! You can also buy your ticket on the train. Valid for just one day from 09:00 – 03:00 and children or grandchildren up to 14, travel free of charge!

You can also travel anywhere in Germany for a day for as little as €40 (+ €4 for each person extra, max. 5 people) on a Saturday or Sunday with a Happy Weekend Ticket, when purchased online or from ticket vending machines. Unlimited train travel across Germany for just one day from 12:00 – 03:00 and children or grandchildren up to 14, travel free of charge!

51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany!
51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany!

That’s it for now.

Vielen Dank!

51 REASONS TO GO TO THE SEASIDE. IN GERMANY!

Magnificent groynes in Usedom! 51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany!
Magnificent groynes in Usedom! 51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany!

Even though I was invited on this trip as a guest of Usedom Tourismus GmbH,  all opinions and the wonderful time that we had on the German seaside island of Usedom, are my very own!

In the coming weeks, I’ll be writing about travels to the German Baltic Sea, to Bremen, art and films in Berlin,  as well as a comprehensive post on how to use the train in Europe!

In a few weeks, I’ll be travelling to the TBEX ASIA travel conference in the Philippines, and revealing the extra Chinese-speaking country. It’s a new one!

In November, I’ll be travelling to Austria and starting a new job!

Save the Date!

October is going to be unbelievable!

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 October, forget it!

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!

51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany!
51 reasons to go to the seaside. In Germany!

Have you ever been to the seaside in Germany? Would you like a lick of my ice-cream, or a sip of my beer? 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

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A 5 minute introduction to Warsaw. That’s in Poland didn’t you know!

Warsaw - the capital of Poland!
Warsaw – the capital of Poland!

Well! Well! Well!

I went to Warsaw.

To be clear, Berlin will always be my first (1st) love so nothing is going to take that away not even lovely Prague, but it’s nice to see the competition LOL!

If you recall, I wrote a post a year ago about how to party in Berlin and another piece called If you’re going to dance the night away – Do it in Berlin so I know what I’m talking about!

Whoopee! Yeeks. That was some week!

I’ll be writing about the party spots of Warsaw very soon LOL!

At Zalando Fashion House/ i.D /Not Just a Label - Berlin Fashion Week.
At Zalando Fashion House/ i.D /Not Just a Label – Berlin Fashion Week.

From the moment I got off the train in Warsaw, to the moment that I stepped forward onto the bohemian mecca of Nowy Świat, Warsaw has been nothing but an utter surprise.

And the locals have been fantastically pleasant and helpful.

Right!

Where to start.

Warsaw is much bigger than you think because really cool locations are scattered about. Warsaw is, on the other hand, pretty easy to get around so follow my footsteps and don’t just talk the talk but walk the walk too!

WHY GO TO WARSAW?

War monument in Warsaw.
War monument in Warsaw.

Yeah, why bother?

After all, Warsaw isn’t gorgeous like Riga. It isn’t romantic like Prague or exciting like Budapest.

It doesn’t have a proper beach and it isn’t as pretty as the lovely seaside villages.

And yet?

Yet!

Warsaw is something else.

Warsaw is old and historic with culture.

The Palace of Culture & Science in Warsaw, Poland.
The Palace of Culture & Science in Warsaw, Poland.

It’s in the “other” Eastern Europe. It’s still pretty unknown, very former “East” and not really on the backpackers or tourist run, so it’s pretty cheap and is never going to break the bank. If you’re looking to go to the Eastern or former Soviet States then of course, you have to pass through Poland at some point. For many, it’s Krakow, but if you’re in Poland anyway, why not drop into Warsaw too!

It’s also a “new” city with young people and a lively heart of art, food and drink because Warsaw has had to start from scratch as it was razed to the ground towards the end of WWII.

I was pleased to hear that Warsaw locals love visiting and living in Berlin as Berlin is a city of tolerance and individuality, but relations between Germany and Poland are still rather prickly.

Yes, Warsaw is ugly however, if you look behind the skyscrapers, there’s a synagogue. If you look between the cheap, horrific 1950’s block of flats, there’s a lively church.

It’s no wonder that the locals recommend getting a guide. Everything of interest is hidden.

Book your hotel here!

Pegasus in Warsaw, Poland.
Pegasus in Warsaw, Poland.

Items of modern art are everywhere and sometimes in the most unlikely places with strange items like Pegasus, and stone or iron monuments of war and remembrance.

Chopin is a god in Warsaw. His face, his name, his memory and of course, his music. You can even sit on a bench and his music is played. Very relaxing!

Oh yeah, it’s cheap. Not as cheap as Lithuania of course.

Unless you come from Cardiff LOL!

More about that next week!!!!!

Because cabbage, sausages and dumplings, otherwise known as pierogi!

TAKE ME THERE?

The Berlin Warsaw Express train in Poland.
The Berlin Warsaw Express train in Poland.

You know how much I like trains. They’re just so comfortable and full of ease. And if you’re on the European Continent, it’s the easiest and sometimes, cheapest way to travel.

If you’re going to Britain or any English-speaking country, I recommend flying!

Most airlines will be flying into Chopin Airport with a minority flying into Warsaw Modlin Airport. Once you get in, take the buses. There are five (5) bus lines taking you into the city centre. Try to avoid taxis or ask your hotel/hostel for help as to the “right” taxi to take. Warsaw has a reputation of dodgy drivers but then so does Bangkok! Just keep your wits about you.

If you’re coming in by coach-bus, you’ll most likely drop off at Warszawa Zachodnia which is on the other side of the river. In a place called Ochota.

Once again, I booked the very easy-to-use Deutsche Bahn – German Train and it was a rather nice €29.00 each way for a five (5) hour and 15 minutes journey. It was on the second (2nd) class train and I bought my ticket in September. There is WiFi on board and you get offered a cup of coffee or tea. Absolutely free!

You really couldn’t get any better than that!

My carriage mates came from Thailand, Poland and Britain (myself) and even though our compartment was fully booked, the rest of the train was pretty empty until we got to Poland itself! All the women brought their own food with them and at some point, one person even had a home-made meal of chicken and a bowl of dumplings. I felt pretty boring with my pâté and ham & cheese sandwich!

You will most likely alight at Warszaw Centralna which is in an area called CENTRUM. You can also buy your ticket on the Polish inter-city train (ICCC) website.

IS IT GOING TO BE CROWDED?

Birds in Poland.
Birds in Poland.

Not really!

Warsaw isn’t an OMG-we-have-just-got-to-go-visit destination. Not yet anyway, but only because the throngs of communist times are still very much attached to the post-war image of Warsaw.

Warsaw isn’t big in my opinion. It’s wide but really walkable. I was able to walk from Muranow (where the Jewish History Museum is) to Ujazdow (where my hotel was). It was low season and the weather was really rather nice, sunny and dry.

In October!

WHAT IS WARSAW REALLY LIKE?

Myself and Polish university students dressed in traditional clothing. In Warsaw!
Myself and Polish university students dressed in traditional clothing. In Warsaw!

I was in Warsaw for four (4) days and it’s definitely a city that I would like to visit again.

I found Warsaw to be different to what I expected and in some parts it reminded me of Berlin. The people are authentic and tell it like it is but it’s definitely Polish because the natives don’t talk a lot about the capital. You would even think that they hated it, but secretly, I think  they’re proud of their roots and foundation.

Most people are traditional at heart and the church plays a very strong role in Polish society as does the family. Everywhere I looked were collections of lit tea-light candles and flowers put on the ground. (Does anyone know why?). Photographs of the Fallen during the 1944 Warsaw Uprising and Old Art depicting what Warsaw used to look like 100 – 200 years ago.

Having said that, although Warsaw and in fact Poland, is extremely homogeneous and limited in diversity, it’s not without culture. There is no doubt that Warsaw is a cosmopolitan city.

Veganism has arrived with a crash and a bang, posh shops are “in,” fashion skinny men with their equally fashion skinny dogs, Paris-slim attractive women and the lure of organic food.

The young and middle-class have a rising income, are very interested in new designs and modern art, look good, dress well, know how to party, and want to spend their money.

Book your hotel here!

I DON’T SPEAK POLISH.

If you can't speak Polish, sing and dance instead!
If you can’t speak Polish, sing and dance instead!

Umm!

In the really local places like the milk bar, nobody spoke anything else. BUT there was always at least one (1) person who could help me and that person was usually between 50 – 70 years old LOL! There was a bit of staring.

OK then, a lot of staring!

But it was due to the shock of seeing a person of colour wearing a pink coat, multi-coloured pop socks, and orange suede shoes walking down the street!

On a serious note, young people do speak English and I had no problems walking up to random people and asking for help, advice or directions. Some people even asked me for a photograph.

I obliged.

They were from The Ukraine!

AM I GOING TO LIVE IN A HUT?

#RefugeesAreWelcome even in Poland!
Warsaw might be homogeneous but #RefugeesAreWelcome even in Poland!

Nah! Warsaw might be a country from “the other” Eastern Europe but you’re definitely not going to be living in a cave!

I’M ON A BUDGET. WHAT SHOULD I DO?

Patchwork Design Hotel in Warsaw.
Patchwork Design Hotel in Warsaw.

There are plenty of hostels to be had.

Since I was travelling solo this time around, I decided to spend one (1) night at a hostel.

If you want to party, I’m told that Okidoki Hostel is the place to be but I just couldn’t do it to myself. I still have vivid memories of discovering a complete stranger on my bed, in a mixed dorm. In Prague! Those cheap and cheerful days are terribly over so I chose Patchwork Design Hostel instead which caters to the more budget conscious traveller, is fairly new, clean, right off the corner of Nowy Świat and is quieter!

Book your hostel here!

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

One of the bedrooms at Autor Rooms in Warsaw, Poland.
One of the bedrooms at Autor Rooms in Warsaw, Poland.

Delightfully so!

I stayed at a rather lovely unique designer boutique hotel called Autor Rooms. The hotel is located in one of Warsaw’s most beautiful and historic kamienica-style residential buildings. It’s right opposite the Faculty of Architecture and is one street behind the Warsaw University of Technology. Autor Rooms is an artistic concept and designed by independent young creatives who come from, and believe in a world of modern fashion, craft, art and design. More details next week!

Book Autor Rooms or your own Warsaw Hotel here!

WHAT ABOUT TRANSPORT POSSIBILITIES?

The Central Station in Warsaw - Dworzec Centralny.
The Central Station in Warsaw – Dworzec Centralny.

Warsaw has plenty of variety and has trains, trams, buses, bikes. I used the bus once while I was in Warsaw but the highlight was the underground station.

OMG! The metro station is amazing. It’s new and just so clean and quiet. The stations were even announced in English. Take note Berlin!!!  I couldn’t believe that the underground train lines were so short. There’s just two (2) lines. TWO! M1 (blue) and M2 (red). You won’t get lost…!

But don’t forget. Don’t take taxis!!

ANYTHING ELSE?

Buckwheat at a milk bar in Warsaw, Poland.
Buckwheat at a milk bar in Warsaw, Poland.

Try a milk bar.

What’s a milk bar? I’ll tell you next week!

Oh, and watch your pockets.

I almost got pick-pocketed by a dodgy-looking Polish couple.

Almost!!!

Luckily, I noticed that the woman was walking at my pace and the man was standing too close to me and so I quickly side-stepped them and then they stood on the cobbled streets and started arguing about it!

Phew!

MY VERDICT:

Me on the riverside in Warsaw, Poland.
Me on the riverside in Warsaw, Poland.

I liked Warsaw.

It’s very, very green and has parks everywhere, it’s young and upcoming and the tourist hordes aren’t yet here which means the prices are cheap and you’re likely to get more of an authentic experience, AND it has a river.

WOULD I COME AGAIN?

Totally!

Book your hotel here!

A 5 MINUTE INTRODUCTION TO WARSAW. THAT’S IN POLAND DIDN’T YOU KNOW!

A 5 minute introduction to Warsaw. That’s in Poland didn’t you know!

This post is not sponsored and even though I received a discount on the hotel, all opinions and the astonishing experience that I had, are my very own!

I have so much to share with you.

Stay tuned!

In the next few weeks, I’ll be writing more about what to do in Warsaw and how to do it!

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

If you’re going to Warsaw, Bristol or Bath, let me know!

October is going to be Autumny!

Watch this space!

A 5 minute introduction to Warsaw. That’s in Poland didn’t you know!

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!

A 5 minute introduction to Warsaw. That’s in Poland didn’t you know!

Did you know that Warsaw had a river? Are you surprised about this introductory guide? Let me know in the comments below!

See you in Berlin.

If you like this post or if you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

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I’m going to Warsaw – It’s going to be astonishing and quite wacky!

Chopin - Classical Warsaw - Poland's most famous composer and virtuoso pianist.
Chopin – Poland’s most famous composer and virtuoso pianist.

So in the very nearest future, I’m going to Warsaw.

Yep!

Warsaw.

In Poland.

I like Poland. Very much. In fact, I have a love affair with the Czech Republic and I like Eastern Europe too. I always have and I probably always will.

Nevertheless, Europe has been in the news over the awful way some countries have treated in-coming refugees, many of whom have witnessed terrible situations.

Greece - #Refugeesarewelcome.
Compassion – #Refugeesarewelcome.

It’s distressing to see.

This blog. My blog is not about politics but every now and then I put in a line or two over a contemporary issue that affects us all, and my two shakes about this is that our help is needed. It’ll be winter soon and the refugees will need protection, food, clothing and shelter but most importantly, they’ll need understanding and compassion.

#Refugeesarewelcome.

Back to the topic at hand.

Pooooooland!

I’ve been going to Poland on and off for probably about twenty (20) years. The first place that I ever went to was Krakow. It’s a lovely place and has a history of dragons!

At the opera in Krakow. Courtesy of krakow.pl
At the opera in Krakow. Courtesy of krakow.pl

At the time, I was doing a six (6) week road-trip around Eastern Europe and we were just into the second (2nd) week when my German boyfriend (Ha! How I like German boys!!!) became ill and since I don’t drive we had to call our insurance company to send over a driver so that we could get home.

And they did!

Meanwhile, we had booked into a hostel and I had taken out the Polish equivalent of £200 just the day previous, as we didn’t know when next we would find a bank. It was the mid-90’s you see…! Poland was surprisingly civilised and up to par with technology when even Berlin at that time, had problems accepting an EC card, not to talk of a credit card.

It sometimes still does!

Anyway, once we knew that we couldn’t continue our trip, I obviously wanted to return the Polish Zloty that I had, as the currency was not convertible. If you had it, you kept it, used it, or lost it.

I didn’t want to lose £200 so I asked the Polish bank in Krakow to reconvert the cash for me.

Ummm!

They said No!

No?

No!

Why not?

Apparently, that was the bank managers monthly salary and it was a huge amount of money in those days and anyway, who did I think I was?

Bloody, stupid tourists!

!&%$?!

money

I was quite arrogant in those days so I stamped my pretty little foot and insisted that I speak to the bank manager.

The bank manager came out as I was beginning to make a British scene. He agreed that I was in my rights to ask for a currency exchange but it would take a couple of days as it was such a huge amount of money and they didn’t have enough British money, only US dollars.

I didn’t want US dollars. I wanted my precious British pound sterling.

In cash.

And then the bank manager got ugly and said that there was no proof that I had even withdrawn any money from their bank!

Aha!

I’m quite an organised lady especially where my hard-earned money is concerned and I’ve even got receipts from twenty (20) years ago, not to talk of 24 hours!

I handed the bank manager the cash machine receipt, my credit card and my passport and it all tallied up. Indeed, I had withdrawn £200 worth of Zloty merely a few hours previously.

I got all my money in full.

And I still like Krakow.

I returned a few years later on a wintry November afternoon where I tried very hard to spend €50.00 worth of Zloty all weekend, and I couldn’t.

Everything was awfully cheap in those days.

It still is!

Bernardo Bellotto: a Venetian painter in Warsaw - Musée du Louvre.
Bernardo Bellotto: a Venetian painter in Warsaw – Musée du Louvre.

Warsaw, I’m told, isn’t.

Ah Warsaw.

Gulp!

I try to go to Poland every two (2) years or so. Yes. I like it that much but I tend to go to Poland ‘cos I like the Baltic Sea.

And I’ll tell you a secret. I like the Polish Baltic Sea more than I like the German Baltic Sea.

Oooops!

Here’s some history.

POLAND

In Poland.

Poland also known as the Republic of Poland is a country in Eastern – Central Europe. It’s border is about 1.5 hours away from Germany so if you visit Berlin, then Poland is pretty much a hop and a skip away! Poland is also surrounded by the Czech Republic, Slovakia (not Slovenia), the Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania and of course, the Baltic Sea itself!

It’s an old country dating back from 966 and is enormously proud of its post-communist background and historic roots.

It’s the sixth (6th) largest EU country and even though it joined the European Union in 2004, it still retained it’s own currency known as the Polish Zloty (PLN) which today is 100 PLN or €23.7 / $26.5.

WARSAW

Warsaw by Night - Poland.

Warsaw is the capital of Poland and has been for over 400 years! It’s Poland’s largest city and is a living, breathing cultural space. The old part of town was founded in the 13th century and is surrounded by city walls which were destroyed during WWII. In 1980, Warsaw became a UNESCO World Heritage Site of Culture and is now a lively place, bustling with tourists and locals, and crammed with art, archeology, historical exhibitions and society.

Warsaw is a bustling metropolis and features an unforgettable aristocratic history, a pulsing nightlife and enchanting parks.

It sounds like just the type of place that I would go to.

And yet.

I’ve never ever been to Warsaw.

Ever!

in Warsaw.

I had always heard that Warsaw was an ugly place with no character or heart until I met some Polish people at our B&B in Lithuania. They came from Warsaw. We got chatting and I asked them to tell me about Warsaw. They told me it had a river and beaches.

It. Had. A. River.

You know how much I love river-states having lived in them all my life, in one place or the other!

As soon as I heard that I just knew that I had to go visit for myself.

To say that I’m excited is to say the very least. In fact, I’m not excited, I’m thrilled and exhilarated!

I’m not even there yet and already I’ve had a bevy of people just dying to show me around. Thank you so much everyone!

WHAT IS THE BRITISH BERLINER GOING TO BE DOING IN WARSAW?

The Deutsche Bahn train leaving Berlin.
The Deutsche Bahn train leaving Berlin.

Well, I’m going to be travelling by train.

Yay!

I love trains!

I’m going to meet up for a few drinks on the day that I arrive. I’m going to be a hanging out in an old communist van with Adventure Warsaw.

Adventure Warsaw
Adventure Warsaw

Adventure Warsaw is an urban off-the-beaten-track sightseeing tour. I’m going to be introduced to pre-World War Warsaw, shown around the Praga neighbourhood, given the low-down of contemporary Warsaw, learning about the communist era, having lunch at a milk-bar and hopping around town in a genuine classic Nysa 1968 Polish van!

It’ll be charming!

I’ll be doing my own personal historical tours as I hear their museums and galleries are something that I must just see. In the evening, I’ll be snacking and going for cocktails on Warsaw’s oldest Pub Crawl.

Cocktails at the rooftop bar of Cloud 47 in Bangkok!
Cocktails at the rooftop bar of Cloud 47 in Bangkok!

Yes! I’ll be putting my glad rags on, strapping my boots, sipping on classics and downing some shots.

I might even go clubbing.

Warsaw Pub Crawl, Poland.

Oh god! I’m used to being on the guest list and having a car take me home or a driver waiting.

Wish me luck!

Polish Your Cooking
Polish Your Cooking

I’ll also be doing something culturally useful and learning how to make one of my favourite Polish dishes – pierogi. I’ll be joining Polish your Cooking who have bravely offered to teach me how to master some culinary skills and familiarize with the local cuisine in a fun and casual atmosphere.

I’m going to have breakfast with them, learn about the history and cuisine of Polish cooking and make Pierogi Grandma Style. We even get a certificate too.

I just hope nobody dies!

Insects on food! Photo@ blogspot.com
Insects on food!
Photo@ blogspot.com
And to add to the excitement, I’m going to be staying at a unique designer boutique hotel called Autor Rooms. The hotel is located in one of Warsaw’s most beautiful and historic kamienica-style residential buildings and is an artistic concept all of it’s own. Designed by independent young creatives from a world of fashion, crafts, art and design, I really can’t wait to see the outcome for myself.
The creators & owners of Author Rooms!
The creators & owners of Author Rooms!

Even though I’ll be a guest of the above organisations and be part-sponsored by the hotel, all opinions and the interesting architecture that I’m bound to find interesting, are my very own!

I have so much to share with you.

Stay tuned!

In the next few weeks, I’ll be at the following events:

From 28.09.15 – 07.10.15 the Bar Jeder Vernunft will be presenting, for one (1) week only, a festival of top British entertainment – Britain’s Best! Music and Comedy.

I’ll be there. Will you?

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

If you’re going to Warsaw or Bristol or Bath, let me know!

September is going to be surprising!

Watch this space!

I'm going to Warsaw!

Have you ever been to Warsaw? Would you like to go to Poland?

See you in Berlin.

If you like this post or if you have any questions send me a tweet, talk to me on Facebook, find me on Linkedin, make a comment below, look for me on Google+ or send me an Email: victoria@thebritishberliner.com

Please Share it! Tweet it! Or like it!