48 hours in Bristol – 48 things to do!

© The Milk Thistle.
© The Milk Thistle.

Have you ever been to Bristol – Let’s eat & drink ’till the cows come home!

My second glorious press trip to England. Yes, I’m going to Bristol & Bath. Yippee!

But first, did you know that:

I thought I would put Shaun the Sheep in for light relief, in Bristol LOL!
I thought I would put Shaun the Sheep in for light relief, in Bristol LOL!
  • Bristol is located just 120 miles west of London.
  • It’s the largest city in the south-west of England.
  • Bristol is the only UK city to have won the title ‘European Green Capital’ for 2015 and is one of the first cycling cities in the UK too!
  • Bath is about 12 miles to the east of the city.
  • Bristol is a 45 mile trip across the Bristol Channel to Cardiff in Wales.
  • The city is situated on the rivers Frome and Avon.
  • Bristol has been a wealthy trading port since the Roman era.
  • Bristol is a port city known as the “Birthplace of America”.
  • John Cabot sailed from Bristol to help “discover” North America in 1497.
  • The city played an important role in England’s maritime trade in tobacco, wine, cotton and more.
  • From the late 1600s to the early 1800s, Bristol was involved in a massive slave shipping industry.
  • Bristol is a university city of 400,000.
  • The infamous pirate Captain Blackbeard once had a hideaway cave under St. Mary Redcliffe church. His original birthplace and childhood home still stands on Bristol’s harbourside.
  • Pero’s Bridge is named after Pero Jones, who was the African servant of a plantation owner.
  • John Wesley’s New Room in Broadmead, is the oldest Methodist church in the world!
  • Hollywood legend Cary Grant (Archibald Leach) was born in Horfield, Bristol. Grant’s first role in theatre was working at The Bristol Hippodrome.
  • Bristol is the street party capital of the UK. I know. Bristol!
I'm sorry but I look amazing! © Pascale Scerbo Sarro
I’m sorry but I look amazing!
© Pascale Scerbo Sarro

As you all know by now and if you don’t, whose blog have you been reading? No! Don’t answer that. Back to me!

As you know, I went to Bristol and I stayed there for two days. In short, just 48 hours. I’m sure that I could have stayed for at least a week but time is tight for many of us so I’m going to tell you how I managed it. And if I can do it, so can you!

Yes, I was working in partnership with Visit Bristol but if you’re looking for maps, brochures, addresses and the like, just log onto their website. It’s free and they’re wonderfully helpful.

So without much ado:

48 HOURS IN BRISTOL – 48 THINGS TO DO!

© The Cowshed.
© The Cowshed.
  • Go forth and have an English breakfast. As I told you last week, whenever you’re in England or anywhere else in Ireland or the United Kingdom, you must get yourself a full English, Irish, Welsh or Scottish breakfast. If you’re vegetarian, not to worry, just order a veggie English breakfast instead!
  • Book a Bed and Breakfast (B&B) rather than a hotel as a B&B has a more distinct British flavour. I went to the boutique Brooks GuestHouse B&B situated right next to the St. Nicholas Market!
  • Go on a walking tour: You know how much I like city walking tours here or here! I had my historical walking tour organised by a Blue Badge Guide called Liz Gamlin who even collected me from my B&B! She was lovely and flexible enough to make the walk geared towards my needs. She was also sensitive to my interests, and would stop whenever I wanted to take a photograph of something or needed more info. We got on so well that we eventually left each other about 13:00 instead of 11:30!

Banksy in Bristol.

  • Check out the Street Art: Banksy is huge in Bristol. I didn’t go on a specific street art tour but if you want to, you can contact the guys at The Ultimate Bristol Walking Tour.
  • Visit Bristol’s oldest market – the 200-year-old St Nicholas Market and soak up the delights of the vibrant marketplace that has been trading since 1743! I really liked it and bought many nostalgic English gifts!
  • Check out the historical buildings. Bristol is centuries old and there’s a lot to see.
  • Ramble and stroll through the cobbled streets. Don’t be afraid to go down a narrow off-street path, you’ll be surprised at what you’ll find.
  • Go into The Commercial Rooms or the Cosy Club on Corn Street. I won’t tell you what’s there. Go see for yourself!
  • Check out the churches: In pretty much every corner is a church or cathedral sticking out or hidden around the corner!
Redcliffe Sunset in Bristol. © Gary Newman
Redcliffe Sunset in Bristol.
© Gary Newman
  • Take a harbourside stroll along the floating harbour.
  • Have a snack on the river side. What better than with a bag of fish n’ chips!
  • Meet some of the locals at a typical old-time historical pub!
  • Go to the Old City and check out Norman Bristol, Georgian Bristol and Medieval Bristol which look as they did hundreds of years ago!
The Crucible at the Bristol Old Vic in Bristol with Daniel Weyman as Rev Hale and Dean Lennox Kelly as John Proctor. © Geraint Lewis.
The Crucible at the Bristol Old Vic in Bristol with Daniel Weyman as Rev Hale and Dean Lennox Kelly as John Proctor.
© Geraint Lewis.
  • Watch pieces of drama at the Bristol Old Vic. I watched an outstanding performance of The Crucible which was marvellous. I totally loved it.

The Bristol Old Vic is the oldest theatre in Britain and celebrating 250 years with a special year-round anniversary programme that will feature five (5) world-class productions – one from each century of the theatre’s life – as well as a production of a Shakespeare play to mark the 400th anniversary of his death.

Jane Eyre at the Bristol Old Vic. © Manuel Harlan.
Jane Eyre at the Bristol Old Vic.
© Manuel Harlan.

With actors like Jeremy Irons and Lesley Manville in Long Day’s Journey Into Night, 2016 represents an extraordinary moment in British theatre history.

I’m a lover of the creative arts so this was always going to be something that I would be eager to watch. It was a great performance and surprisingly, the actors came out and mingled with the audience at the end. I’m used to this in Berlin but I’ve never had the luck in England, unless it was a premier night, so I was pleasantly surprised. Saturday, November 7th was effectively, the last performance night and everyone was in a merry mood. I would usually stay and hang out with the cast but was exhausted from the long day, I did however, manage to have a quick chat with the leading actor –  Dean Lennox Kelly – who used to be Kev in the original British series Shameless and who I found to be extremely humble as he told me that he couldn’t quite believe that he was performing in such an establishment as that of the Bristol Old Vic.

Dean Lennox Kelly
Dean Lennox Kelly

I found that charming!

  • Have a snack or a drink at the Llandoger Trow which was built in 1664 and one of the last timber-built buildings in Bristol! It’s also said to be the inspiration for the Admiral Benbow in Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island and where Daniel Defoe met his Robinson Crusoe, Alexander Selkirk!
  • Go on a ghost walking tour!
  • Bristol is surrounded by water so take a ferry ride with Bristol Ferry Boats which provides a scheduled water bus service around Bristol’s unique Floating Harbour. Due to Remembrance Day or Armistice Day on 11 November – a day used to remember all the people who died in wars since the Great War or WWI, I decided to sail with the Bristol Packet Boat Trips.

I was the only customer for half the ride but the skipper and his assistant were friendly and chatty and pointed out the best places to take photographs.

A Whippy 99 flake ice cream! © wouldliketoeat.wordpress.com
A Whippy 99 flake ice cream!
© wouldliketoeat.wordpress.com
  • Get yourself a Whippy or a 99 flake ice cream and make sure it has an original chocolate flake bar with raspberry or strawberry syrup on it!
  • Go to a museum or gallery. Most of them are completely and utterly free. Hurrah!
  • Take a trip to the M Shed which is on the harbourside. It focuses on the history of Bristol and it’s people and is a historic wharf which has been turned into a museum. I only had 1.5 hours there but I certainly could have spent more!
©Brunel's ss Great Britain in Bristol.
©Brunel’s ss Great Britain in Bristol.

I would utterly agree!

If you only have time for one thing, I recommend you do this one! I had a marvellous time sailing the flag, skipping through the decks and imagining what it would have been like to be a passenger on board. It’s got a dockyard museum, a glass sea view of the ship’s hull, a dockyard where you can dress up and take photos, and you can climb up the top deck complete with flags, and then go from deck to deck opening doors and seeing what’s behind them. Some even have sounds and smells!

Myself "sailing" Brunel's ss Great Britain in Bristol.
Myself “sailing” Brunel’s ss Great Britain in Bristol.

I liked it so much that I spent three (3) hours there!

  • Potter around a vintage or second-hand bookshops.
  • Hang out and chat with the locals. I spotted quite a few people in fancy costume and one of them was dressed as Keith Richards in Pirates of the Caribbean!
  • Go to fringe theatre performances. Perhaps make a stop at the Tobacco Factory Theatres or the Raucous.
  • If you’re into film culture and media and digital technology, then the Watershed is not to be missed!
  • I haven’t visited myself but I hear that the riverside restaurant – The Glassboat  – is to be considered for that extra something.
  • Take a hop-on-hop-off city sightseeing bus and let a local guide provide a unique and personal experience of Bristol.
  • Explore British artists and go to the gallery.
  • Get yourself a plate of good British grub and chomp on locally served nosh at The Cowshed.
  • Have a pint of ale, craft beer or English cider and scrumpy.
A speakeasy at the Hyde & Co. in Bristol.
A speakeasy in Bristol. ©Hyde & Co.
  • Be creative and search for Bristol’s speakeasies which have secret entrances and payphones to call a waiter, so part of the fun is to find how to get to the entrance in the first place!
  • Go unconventional and chase the white rabbit at the Illusions Magic Bar!
  • Go to the Old Market Quarter which is home to a great selection of vintage fashion and antique shops and also has strong connections to the LGBT community and popular gay-friendly shops, pubs, bars and clubs.
  • Climb up the hill and go to the bohemian village known as Clifton.
  • Be an undergraduate for a day and visit the University of Bristol.
A bottle of sherry from Harvey's Bristol Cream.
A bottle of sherry from Harvey’s Bristol Cream!
  • Get a real taste of Bristol’s heritage at Harvey’s Cellars – the home of Harvey’s Bristol Cream –  and relax while you fantasise about Bristol’s glorious past!
  • Take a discrete peek at Queen Elizabeth’s Hospital, an independent school for boys and founded in 1586!
  • Go for a walk through the huge protected parkland and countryside known as The Downs.
  • Gasp over the amazing views and wildlife of the Avon Gorge.
  • Have a classy meal or Afternoon Tea at the Avon Gorge Hotel.
  • Prepare yourself for the gorgeous unparalleled views of Brunel’s grade-one-listed Clifton Suspension Bridge. A bridge said to be one of the greatest bridges in the world!
Go for a night out at the Milk Thistle in Bristol.
©The Milk Thistle in Bristol.
  • Go for a night out at any of the 101 bars and restaurants dotted about the Old City, the Harbourside, the West End and Broadmead.
  • Explore Bristol and hop on a bike.
  • Take out your credit card and go shopping at the Bristol Shopping Quarter. You know you want to!
  • Be an artist for a day and join in one of Bristol’s biggest and oldest art trails.
  • Visit The Harbourside Market which describes itself as ‘no ordinary market’ but an independent alternative to the high street, supporting local creativity and providing a safe space for people to shop, eat and relax within a setting rich with tradition. I saw a few food stalls, arts, crafts. It definitely lives up to it’s name!
  • Experience the luxury and glamour of a roof top Retro Rocket. The only one of it’s kind in the UK! More about that next week!
  • Have champagne. Why not!

 

 A glass of champagne at the Avon Gorge Hotel, Bristol.

Even though I was invited on this trip as a guest of Visit Bristol all opinions and the sailing experience and skipping that I indulged in, are my very own!

I have so much to share with you and will continue next week with my final post on Bristol!

In December, I’ll be taking part in The Best of Berlin in 48 Hours campaign.

Yay!

Sausages and a meat pie at the AspirePlus Airport Lounge in Bristol.
Sausages and a meat pie at the AspirePlus Airport Lounge in Bristol.

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

If you have any questions about Bristol or Bath, let me know!

November is going to be frosty!

Watch this space!

48 hours in Bristol - 48 things to do!

Have you ever been to Bristol? Is there anything else you would do on a 48 hour weekend visit to Bristol?

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!

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4 Days in Prague – 40 Things to Do!

Just below the Astronimical Clock in Prague.

Prague never gets old for me and why should it?

It’s not New York. It’s not Paris. It’s Prague. In the East but with a blend of the West.

Speaking of the East. The refugee situation in Hungary and other European countries is an international crisis and a bloody mess. We need to think of humanity and compassion. It would be irresponsible of us all to just look away and leave these vulnerable people to sleep in the streets and huddle under bridges. Every little bit helps.

They need our help. #Refugeesarewelcome
They need our help.
#Refugeesarewelcome.

In that wise, I’m utterly pleased that in my adopted country ordinary people and individual federal states are trying to help and sending a message that #refugeesarewelcome.

Thank you Germany.

Up the hill in Prague – Prague City Tourism.

Back to Prague.

The Heart of Europe. The City of 100 Spires. The Golden City, etc. These descriptions are just some of the nicknames that Prague has acquired over the ages, but one thing remains constant – Prague is truly one of the world’s most unique cities with beauty, interesting food and brilliant alcohol!

So what to do in a city that has everything your heart can so desire?

Trdelník in the Czech Republic but also known as Kürtőskalács in Hungary!
Trdelník in the Czech Republic but also known as Kürtőskalács in Hungary!

In that wise, here are forty (40) tips to guide you on what to do and where to go.

This is what we did. Are you ready?

  • The first thing you have to do is to go to the Old Town Square (Staromeska), enjoy it’s beauty and grandeur of the 12th century and have a drink or two. We went in the summer and it was so burning hot that the town had organised the spraying of soapy water in the Square. It was a lot of fun LOL!
  • Next, check out Prague’s most famous 15th century Astronomical Clock. Enjoy the view but keep a tight hold of your pocket as the Square tends to get tightly packed.
Franz Kafka.
Franz Kafka.
  • If you’re going to read about anybody who is Czech then it ought to be Franz Kafka.
  • Visit the Jewish Quarter Josefov (Old Jewish Cemetery and Synagogues) and perhaps hear a whisper of the legend of the Golem.
  • Go on a walking tour. I love walking tours and even in my own city of Berlin, I go on a walking tour every now and then, just to keep abreast of new developments in different parts of town. Prague was no different. I chose to go with a company called Prague Extravaganza Free Tour. The tour is free and you can decide how much the tour is worth to you by giving the guide a tip. There is no obligation to do so of course, but if you feel that they do a good job then why not show your appreciation!
  • Use public transport. Prague has underground trains, trams, buses and a funicular and they are clean, efficient and marvellously easy to use. Try to avoid using taxis as best you can. They really are awful and will do their best to rip you off.
  • Take Tram 22 – This tram is the best mode of transport you can take as it travels through one of Prague’s most scenic routes passing very near the Old Town (Staroměstská) and the New Town (Malostranská) as well as via the Prague Castle. It really is a good tram to travel with, as it covers pretty much every tourist sight that you ought to see.
Tourists in Prague.
Tourists in Prague.
  • Visit the Prague Castle which has been an important symbol of the Czech state for more than a thousand (1,000) years. It was founded in the 9th century and became the seat of Czech rulers and later presidents. The castle, one of the largest complexes in the world, is made up of historical palaces, offices, church and fortification buildings, gardens and picturesque spots. It covers an area of 45 hectares and the panoramic view of Prague Castle is one of the most spectacular in the world!
  • Observe the Changing of the Guard at the Prague Castle. On the hour.
  • Go to the gothic cathedral of St. Vitus which was established in 1344  and took nearly 600 years to build! You can find it right next to Prague Castle.
  • Visit the St. Wenceslas Chapel with the tomb of St. Wenceslas, the crypt where Czech kings are buried, and the Crown Jewels.
  • Take a stroll along the Golden Lane (Zlatá ulička) which used to belong to castle soldiers and craftsmen from the 16th century.
St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague. © Petr Salek
St. Vitus Cathedral in Prague.
© Petr Salek
  • Take the nostalgic Tram 91 – This tram is a historic one that only runs on Saturday & Sunday and during the main holidays from April to Mid-November. It leaves on the hour until 17:30.
  • Go to a local Czech outfit and have a meal of stodge!
  • Get yourself a grilled Czech sausage. Just make sure that the kiosk is clean and there’s a waiting queue!
  • Drink some delicious Czech beer. Don’t be shy. It’s pretty good and very, very cheap. ps. If you’re over 18. Absinthe can be bought in the TESCO supermarket!
  • Go to a Black Light Theatre. As many as you are inclined to visit. They’re all quite entertaining.
Black Light Theatre - Image Theatre - Prague.
Black Light Theatre – Image Theatre – Prague.

Black Light what? I hear you say!

Black.

Light.

Theatre!

Black Light Theatre - Image Theatre - Prague.
Black Light Theatre – Image Theatre – Prague.

Let me tell you, a black light theatre or černé divadlo is a theatrical performance characterized by the use of augmented black light illusion and has become a Czech speciality. Without giving too much away, the use of black curtains, a darkened stage, and UV light in conjunction with fluorescent dayGLO costumes is mixed with music and entertainment to create an intricate visual illusion. My favourite black light theatre is called IMAGE THEATRE and every time I visit Prague, I never fail to watch a performance! The theatre used to be in the Jewish Quarter but has now re-located to a new venue at Národní  třída. About 100 meters from Charles Bridge!

Even though I am a full-grown woman, the magic of black light never fails to intrigue me and I knew that even with the arrogance of on-coming teenage-hood, “The Tall Young Gentleman” would be impressed by an audio-visual performance, a compilation of dance, comedic mime sketches, pantomime and the black theatre metamorphosis of reality.

Black Light Theatre - Image Theatre - Prague.
Black Light Theatre – Image Theatre – Prague.

We watched The Best of Image which was hilarious.

The performances are non-verbal and language skills are not necessary. The show is very family-friendly and available for all ages. There are two (2) performances per day so if you want to go out on the night, there’s still plenty of time to do so.

Ticket prices are 480Kč or €18.00.

I highly recommend the IMAGE THEATRE as it’s a local establishment and it’s Czech.

p.s. Don’t sit at the front. The best view is in the middle or at the back LOL!

The Farmers Market at Anděl in Prague.
The Farmers Market at Anděl in Prague.
  • Take the Petřín Funicular which was first operated in 1891! You can take the Funicular from Malostranská which wil take you up the Petřín Hill and visit the Petřín Hill itself which is covered by hills (quite handy when you just need an immediate nap in the fresh air), and rocks! It also has a vast amount of parks. In fact, we did quite a lot of walking in spaces that I had never even seen before. We also skipped and jumped about quite a bit. We were so worn out that we didn’t have any dinner!
  • Check out the Petřín Lookout Tower which was originally built in 1891 as a mini version of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, and don’t forget to visit the Royal Rose Gardens, the Mirror Maze, the Observatory and the lake. All very much in the hills within the Prague Castle made up of historical palaces, offices, churches and fortification buildings, gardens and picturesque spots covering an area of 45 hectares!
  • You certainly can’t go to Prague without visiting Prague’s most elegant café and restaurant – the Café Louvre.
Café Louvre, Prague.
Café Louvre, Prague.

The Café Louvre was opened in 1902 and was a place where the elite and intelligentsia of Prague came for coffee, cake and conversation with the likes of Franz Kafka and Albert Einstein among them.

As a Czech expat in those days, I had a couple of spots where I would go to read and write or just generally wile my time away and the elegant surroundings of the Café Louvre was one of them.

Our delightful apple strudel, custard and cream at the Café Louvre, Prague.
Our delightful apple strudel, custard and cream at the Café Louvre, Prague. Nom! Nom!

We went there for delightful apple strudel, ice-cream sundaes, and cocktails as it was such a steaming hot day. I also recommend their wonderful soups. Ask for their lunch specials for middle-class Czech prices!

  • Why not go to the Reduta Jazz Club which is right next door to the Café Louvre? I’m not very much into jazz but it used to be a happening place and such a rich spectrum of Prague’s cultural life that the likes of Wynton Marsalis and Ronnie Scott used to play there. Even Bill Clinton. Yes, Bill Clinton, did a jam session at the Jazz Club in 1994!
  • Go to the centre of Prague which is called Můstek. Walk around, peep in and out of backyards and back alleys. Ramble about and look up at the beautiful buildings and facades.
  • Walk towards a street called Celetná. Celetná was a former Prague trade route and now has a “gate” which is a sort of arch, It’s one of the oldest streets in Prague and will lead you towards the Old Town or (Staroměstská).
Celetná in Prague - ©Moyan Brenn
Celetná in Prague –
©Moyan Brenn

Celetná is a place of pride because that was the road where my office and classrooms were located. It was on this very quaint and cobbled street that I first cut my teeth as the Regional Manager in Eastern Europe. It’s a marvellous street. And if you look up, you can still see the chandeliers through the upstairs windows, and the old and Renaissance family symbols above the many doors. Of course, the street is now filled with elegant stuff, Bohemian crystal, glass, porcelain and amber, Czech specialities. Oh and a wax museum.

A wax museum?

Huh!

  • The wax museum is connected to Madame Tussauds but confusingly is also called the Prague Wax Museum.
  • On the same street of Celetná is another wax museum from France called Musée Grévin or the Grévin wax museum.
  • Not too far away on a side street is the Sex Machines Museum which I visited years ago. It’s amusing but NOT FOR ANYONE UNDER 18!
  • Follow the crowds until you  get to the Old Town Bridge Tower which is the beautiful Gothic gateway to Charles Bridge from the Old Town and decorated with symbols of various kings and saints.
St Charles Bridge in Prague. © Jorge Royan
St Charles Bridge in Prague.
© Jorge Royan
  • You must absolutely go visit Prague’s most iconic and famous Charles Bridge (Karlův most). It is the oldest bridge in Prague covered with statues of saints, artists, entertainers and tourists and has fantastic views of the river. I love going there at all times of the day and night but it can get quite crowded so stay with your party, and watch your pockets!
  • Make sure that you take a stroll on Wenceslas Square which hosts any event worth it’s salt, New Year’s Eve and various important historic and social events. There are also numerous shops, restaurants and historical hotels as well as side-streets with local cinemas and small Czech theatres.
  • Check out the classical concerts and orchestras in almost every religious house and building.
  • Throw yourself into the music halls and venues of Prague such as ballets and operas and go to as many museums and galleries as you can.
Don Giovanni marionette opera in Prague.
Don Giovanni marionette opera in Prague.
  • Experience the art of classic puppet and marionette theatres in shows such as the performance of Don Giovanni and The Magic Flute of Mozart.
  • Go clubbing at RadoxFX, Roxy, Akropolis, MeetFactory, or Karlovy Lazně.
  • Indulge in fresh seafood such as grilled trout or stuffed salmon fillet served with fresh herbs and lemon!
Boating away in Prague.
Boating away in Prague.
  • Enjoy the picturesque Vltava River. With over thirty bridges and footbridges and ten little islands, you can afford to go on a river cruise, rent a rowing boat or try your hand at pedal boating.
  • Make your way to the John Lennon Wall which is a wall that has been filled with John Lennon-inspired graffiti, pieces of Beatles lyrics and words of world peace, freedom and hope. It’s on the other side of Charles Bridge near the French embassy. Ask around!
  • Go to a flea market and get chatting with the locals.
  • Drink Viennese coffee – I don’t drink coffee but it doesn’t mean that you can’t!
  • Prague’s views are breathtaking. Enjoy the moment and get a table by the riverside and rejoice that you get to see it.

Have fun!

And there you have it. Forty (40) things to do in four (4) days.

Marvellous!

Sunset in Prague.
Sunset in Prague.

For more information about the black light theatre, please contact: IMAGE THEATRE.

This article isn’t sponsored and even though I received a complimentary theatre ticket all opinions and the scrummy apple strudel that I lovingly devoured, are my very own!

I have so much to share with you. Next week will be my 100th post. Yay!

Stay tuned!

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

On 16.09.15, the Strictly Stand Up English Comedy Night will be taking place at the Quatsch Comedy Club in Berlin.

Until 26.09.15 only, the Wintergarten Varieté will be presenting The SOAP Opera show or Show SEIFEN OPER.

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

I’ll be there. Will you?

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

If you’re not in Berlin right now, hurry up!

September is going to be windy!

Watch this space!

4 days in Prague - 40 things to do!
4 days in Prague – 40 things to do!

Have you ever been to Charles Bridge? Would you have an apple strudel with custard and cream or just custard?!

See you in Berlin.

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

Please Share it! Tweet it! Or like it!

You’re not British if you haven’t walked down Abbey Road, Penny Lane, and Strawberry Fields, with Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds!

A Hard Days' Night - The Beatles.
A Hard Days’ Night – The Beatles.

If you’re here for the first time, let me just start by introducing myself.

Hi! My name is Victoria.

I was named after the Queen. Not that Queen. The other one!

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

The suburban rivers of ye olde Manchester at the Bridge Canal.
The suburban rivers of ye olde Manchester at the Bridge Canal.

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

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

A few months ago, I wrote a piece on how to be British and even though I live in the amazing city of Berlin, I do sometimes get homesick.

Yep!

Afternoon Tea.
Afternoon Tea.

I sometimes miss dandelion and burdock, buttercups, and daffodils, cups of tea with delicate cupcakes and sandwiches. English butties smothered with chunky bits of marmalade filled with the rind and zest of oranges, that gives thickly sliced bread that extra bit of Oompf!

The Police with the lead singer - Sting.
The Police with the lead singer – Sting.

I sometimes miss walking along the Manchester canal surrounded by gentrified gastro-pubs that used to be working men pubs. Pubs filled with underaged kids either wearing tightly ripped jeans and second-hand leather jackets, or listening to the 70’s post-punk music of The Police, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Smiths, and The Cure.

Adam and the Ants in 1981.
Adam and the Ants in 1981.

I sometimes miss the bunch of English kids all wearing creamy-white shirts with ruffles, fancy glam Jodhpur pants, large hair, and a huge amount of make-up. Kids listening to the 1980’s New Romantics of David Bowie, and falling in love with Bryan Ferry of Roxy Music. I still love the man even after all these years, as well as Adam and the Ants, Culture Club, Spandau Ballet, and Duran Duran.

Oasis - Liam and Noel Gallagher.
Oasis – Liam and Noel Gallagher.

I definitely miss the 90’s we’re-back-on-top-Britpop independent music scene era of singing in regional British accents, with lyrics and images of British places, culture, fashion and food, and the troublesome local Oasis boys from Manchester.

I actually met Noel once, on a side-street with Meg Mathews in Paris! He signed my diary in lipstick as I didn’t have a pen!

I still have the diary!

The young band - Blur - with their lead singer Damon Albarn. Damon later went on to form the  virtual band -  Gorillaz.
The young band – Blur – with their lead singer Damon Albarn. Damon later went on to form the virtual band – Gorillaz.

Blur, The Verve, Pulp, Skunk Anansie (I love that edgy girl – Skin), Supergrass, Placebo, Elastica, Suede, The Prodigy, and the Spice Girls. I miss them so much that sometimes I want to cry!

Those were the days!

The days when Britain rode that wave of alternative poprock and before moving into the mainstream, forming that cultural movement called Cool Britannia.

Cool Britannia!
Cool Britannia!

But of course, none of this would have happened without the grandfathers of British rockpop. That’s right, none of this would have happened without those four (4) young working class boys from Liverpool.

The 4 young men known as The Beatles.
The 4 young men known as The Beatles.

Those boys later to be known as The Beatles.

Just two weeks ago, I went to a musical performance and smash-hit tour of a Beatles-Revival production show called Let It Be.

I found out about them because I saw a poster a couple of months ago, so I contacted the Berlin venue, who put me in touch with the European promoters, who very kindly offered me two complimentary press tickets.

I was very excited!

Let It Be - The Musical.
Let It Be – The Musical.

So, let’s get started!

I watched Let It Be at one of Berlin’s oldest theatre venues: the Admiralspalast.

WHAT’S THE ADMIRALPALAST?

The Admiralspalast in 1940. © Berliner Morgenpost 2014.
The Admiralspalast in 1940.
© Berliner Morgenpost 2014.

The Admiralspalast or the Admirals Palace, is a theatre in the “Mitte” district of Berlin. Mitte is now known as the East End and the Broadway area of Berlin. It’s also part of Berlin’s hip nightlife quarter so if you’re looking for the theatre land of Berlin, all you have to do is walk.

Opened in 1909, it was one of the locations of the glamour set and a major contribution to the distinctive cultural image of the jazz years in Berlin during the roaring twenties, and the early swinging thirties. The golden twenties resulted in the wonderful artistic spread of revues, cabarets, dancing halls, and variety shows, before that world and everything in it, was destroyed by Hitler in 1933.

Now one of the last few preserved variety venues of the pre-World War II era, the Admiralspalast originally included a skating rink, a luxury spa and swimming pool, and a 24 hour cinema! After the Second World War, the Admiralspalast became the venue of the State Opera and during the Soviet occupation in 1946, became a theatre under the watchful eye of the Communist Party.

A beautiful piece of the Admiralspalast in Berlin.
A beautiful piece of the Admiralspalast in Berlin.

Thankfully, the very beautiful Admiralspalast suffered very little damage from the various wars and so after the Berlin Wall Fell in 1989, the Admiralspalast once again became an exclusive venue for art and entertainment.

WHAT’S LET IT BE?

An acoustic scene at Let It Be.  Photo@ Paul Coltas
An acoustic scene at Let It Be.
Photo@ Paul Coltas

Let It Be is a British West End production that was based at the Garrick Theatre in London.If you recall, the last time I went to London, I went to another musical at the Sadler’s Well Theatre in London called – The Merchants of Bollywood. Anyway, Let It Be had such a successful summer that they decided to take their show on the road with a rocking European tour across Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Italy!

Last week, I told you how lucky we are in Berlin, that we can still watch such amazing British performances without actually having to go to the English capital! And to make it even more interesting, you don’t even have to be in Berlin, you can also be in Munich (Germany), Linz and Vienna (Austria), and Zürich (in Switzerland).

Not only that but Let It Be are also going to be touring 2015 in Canada and New Zealand!

WHAT DOES THE SHOW’S NAME MEAN?

At the Liverpool club called the Cavern - Let It Be. Photo@ Paul Coltas
At the Liverpool club called the Cavern – Let It Be.
Photo@ Paul Coltas

Let It Be is a jam-packed performance of over forty (40), of The Beatles’ greatest hits. It’s the story of the boys meteoric rise from their humble working class beginnings in Liverpool at the Cavern Club, to their discovery in Hamburg Germany, and the life-changing height of Beatlemania, and studio masterpieces.

We even got to see live black and white performances of early tracks of songs such as Twist and Shout, She Loves You, and Drive My Car, as well as global mega-hits from Yesterday, Hey Jude, Come Together, and of course, Let It Be!

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band - Let It Be. Photo@ Brinkhoff Moegenburg.
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – Let It Be.
Photo@ Brinkhoff Moegenburg.

My favourite bits were tracks, images, and performances from the colourful, psychedelic album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. It was and is, my favourite Beatles album although as a little girl I couldn’t understand why they kept singing about a girl called Lucy with diamonds, and tangerines and marmalade. Lucy was the name of my favourite raggedy doll you see!

Imagine a throwback of the recovering 1950’s of Britain.

Imagine the dingy clubs and pubs that each and every artist has to go through.

Imagine the colourful images of love, freedom, and flowers.

Imagine the rush of knowing that you were in the middle of something new, important, and so “it”.

Imagine starting a musical revolution, breaking stereotypes, and putting your country on the world musical map.

A poster of the Ed Sullivan show in America.
A poster of the Ed Sullivan show in America.

Image going to America, on the Ed Sullivan show, and every other important show on the planet.

I mean, imagine young teenage girls fainting and crying.

Imagine young teenage boys fainting and crying!

Imagine people pulling your hair. storming your hotel, squashing and shoving your car.

Imagine the fame, the noise, and the love.

Ladies and Gentlemen. I present to you the story of The Beatles!

Ra! Ra! Ra!

Screaming teenaged boys and girls!
Screaming teenaged boys and girls!

At the end of the evening, we were all standing and cheering. A few people were even dancing! Let me tell you, this is a feat. It’s difficult to get a German audience to clap their hands to the beat, not to talk of shaking a little.

This performance was a triumph!

"Paul" and "George" at  Let It Be. Photo@ Paul Coltas.
“Paul” and “George” at Let It Be.
Photo@ Paul Coltas.

DO I NEED TO UNDERSTAND GERMAN TO WATCH IT?

Not in the least!

There were a few moments when the audience didn’t understand the jokes of the performers as they spoke in “real” English with Scouser (Liverpool) accents, but with a few waves of the arms, and a couple of “Come On’s’,” the audience began to understand what was requested, and to warm up.

The show is excellent for an international audience, as you just need to know the lyrics and singalong. And singalong we did!

"Ringo" on the drums - Let It Be. Photo@ Paul Coltas
“Ringo” on the drums – Let It Be.
Photo@ Paul Coltas

MY VERDICT?

A stunning success!

Let It Be is a family friendly (albeit not for very young children), musical production.

If you love lavish entertainment, music, dance, and cabaret, in the wonderful setting of Germany’s capital city – Berlin, then the Admiralspalast is an excellent location.

Let It Be is a performance worth going to in either Europe, North America, or New Zealand!

Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band - Let It Be.  Photo@ Paul Coltas
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band – Let It Be. Photo@ Paul Coltas

Because if you’re a Beatles fan you can:

  • Be extremely close to (depending on your ticket), an entertaining musical production.
  • Be enthralled by the scenery and story of The Beatles.
  • Travel back to the magical sixties when all you needed was love, and a little help from your friends.
  • Imagine that you’re actually there, and judging by the mixed audience age-group, I think some of the audience were actually there!
  • Come early and wander around one of the largest theatre stages in Berlin.
  • Be a part of history and imagine yourself back in the fifties and sixties of Beatlemania.
God Save the Queen in Cool Britannia!
God Save the Queen in Cool Britannia!

WHAT IF LET IT BE REALLY ISN’T MY CUP OF TEA?

Not to worry. Keep reading my blog. There is more to come!

Let It Be was only in Berlin for a fast-paced six (6) days but you can still catch them in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Italy until 07.12.14, so get your tickets soon!

Tickets for Let It Be are at various prices around Europe, and can be bought online here.

Approximate running time: A little under 3 hours, including a 20 minute interval.

For more information about the show, please contact: Let It Be.

For more information about the venue, please contact: the Admiralspalast in Berlin.

Images of Cool Britannia with absolutely everybody LOL!  @Debbiefm
Images of Cool Britannia with absolutely everybody LOL!
@Debbiefm

This article is not sponsored and even though I received a complimentary ticket, all opinions and the delicious champagne that I wonderfully drank, are my very own!

I have so much to share with you so next week I will be returning to our adventures in Indonesia, and Qatar!

Christmas is coming, with more exclusive productions, and merry-making at German Xmas Markets. Yay!

Additional National Theatre Live productions are also coming up and can be seen at the Cinestar Berlin – Original such as:

For the rest of the year, Berlin will be celebrating and marking the 25th anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall.

November is going to be a blast!

Watch this space!

The Abbey Road Zebra Crossing.
The Abbey Road Zebra Crossing.

Have you walked down the Abbey Road in London? What is your favourite Beatles track? Would you watch a dazzling musical such as Let It Be?

See you in Berlin.

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