How I went to Liverpool, and I wasn’t robbed!

How I went to Liverpool, and I wasn’t robbed!

So I know you’re thinking.

Oy!

Who do you think you are?

Ah!

Wrong question my man!

I’m the girl who caused controversy with viral posts like this one, this one, this one, this one, this one, and this one!

I’m not afraid to write an article. With an interesting twist!

I like the attention.

Who knew?!

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Winnats Pass, Hope Valley – Derbyshire

But seriously, when I wrote to you a few weeks ago, I told you that I was going to visit Cheshire, Staffordshire, Manchester, Blackpool, Derbyshire and Yorkshire! At no point did I say Liverpool!

But that’s the beauty of travel and the nature of the beast, you sometimes change direction!

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

Now when travelling with family, I keep those impulses down to a minimum, in order to give them a good time, rather than my travel madness spurts, but I have been known to “just” take a ferry to Finland ‘cos it’s two (2) hours away.

I’ve also taken a bus from Berlin – London – Berlin ‘cos I was home-sick, taken a 26 hour bus from Estonia to Berlin as a challenge, decided it was hell, and then did a far worst thing by taking a bus from Berlin to Sweden. And back again!

Ho! For the the luck of the lovely Irish!

I’ve thought about taking a ferry to Ireland ‘cos we were in Wales, and the ferry port was on the island of Anglesey where we happened to be spending a very nice three (3) days on the sea coast! Our B&B (bed and breakfast happened to be in Holyhead, and not far away was a ferry linking Wales to Ireland and sailing for Dublin and Dún Laoghaire!

I’ve also gate-crashed an Embassy party in Hong Kong ‘cos I saw the event in a society magazine and thought it might be fun!

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I gate-crashed an Embassy party in Hong Kong ‘cos I thought it might be fun!

It was!

Perhaps, I’ll write about it one of these days!

And why did I do this?

Just because!

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How I went to Liverpool, and I wasn’t robbed!

But I digress, back to Liverpool.

Ah, Liverpool!

Liverpool doesn’t really need an introduction, so before I tell you what happened, let’s get the low-down on Liverpool for those not in the know!

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A SHORT HISTORY OF LIVERPOOL

Statues of The Beatles in Liverpool – Paul, George, Ringo & John

Liverpool is a city in North West England.

It has a population of about 478,580 people and is located on the eastern side of the Mersey Estuary, within the ancient hundred of West Derby, in the south-west of the county of Lancashire!

It became known as Liverpool as far back as 1207, but really came into prominence during the Industrial Revolution. During this time, the port of Liverpool was heavily involved in cargo, freight, raw materials such as coal and cotton, and the dreadful Atlantic slave trade.

Ned Parfett – the Titanic paperboy – with a large newspaper banner advert about the ill-fated RMS Titanic in London – 1912

In the 19th century, Liverpool was also a major port of departure for Irish and English emigrants to the United States and was home to both the Cunard and White Star Line, and was the port of registry of the ill-fated ocean liner RMS Titanic.

In modern times, Liverpool is known as the birth-place of The Beatles and is also the home of the annual Grand National horse race at Aintree, and two English Premier League football clubs – Liverpool and Everton. Indeed, Liverpool FC is the only British football club to win five European Cups!

Liverpool attracts a diverse population, and has done for hundreds of years!

Several parts of the city centre are now World Heritage Sites and Liverpool’s status as a port city has attracted a diverse population and is home to the oldest African community in the UK and the oldest Chinese community in Europe!

As I told you a few weeks ago, 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 Newcastle upon Tyne, are called Geordies, people from the East End of London are called Cockneys, people from Blackpool are either called Blackpudlians or Seasiders, and the locals from Liverpool are called Scousers!

Just above is a British sketch called The Scousers. For the Brits among you, I’m guessing some of you might remember one of the BBC’s comedy shows of the 90’s – Harry Enfield and Chums, otherwise known as Harry Enfield’s Television Programme, based on the Channel 4 soap opera – Brookside – featuring a set of stereotyped Liverpudlian characters!

To call a local from Liverpool a Scouser is not rude. It’s a name of affection and means Scouse – a type of lamb or beef stew. It originally came from the word Lobscouse – a stew popular in seaports and commonly eaten by sailors throughout Northern Europe!

Scouse is also considered to represent a distinctive Northern English, local working class, Liverpool accent, thus Scouser!

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SO WHAT’S WITH THE CLICKBAIT TITLE?

There’s a beauty in click bait!
How I went to Liverpool, and I wasn’t robbed!

Ah!

Well, I’ve been to Liverpool only three times in my life.

Once as a child, on a river “cruise” to Sheffield with my mother, once just a few weeks ago, and once when I got robbed after I graduated from university!

Wait.

What?

You got robbed?

Yep!

No!?!

Yes!

So spill!

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I WAS ROBBED IN LIVERPOOL!

A silhouetted sculpture by Anthony Gormley’s – Another Place – one of 100 cast iron figures on Crosby Beach – Liverpool

I was a fresh graduate and a girl-friend of mine decided to visit a friend in Liverpool.

She didn’t want to go alone, so she asked me to go with her.

Liverpool isn’t known as being a “nice” county. In fact, some parts of the city can be considered quite “rough!”

This isn’t a rough part of town, it’s Penny Lane – the bus terminus in the Beatles song – Penny Lane!

We drove in from Cheshire.

And then we got lost.

We drove around and around, and in those days nobody had a mobile phone so we couldn’t just call this girlfriend.

We decided to stop on the High Street and ask for directions.

We went into a nice shop!

We saw a nice shop.

We parked the car on the kerb.

Jumped onto the pavement.

Walked towards the shop.

And then heard a smash!

Two local boys reached into the car and stole our stuff!

Two local boys reached into the car, took my girlfriends briefcase and our shopping bags.

And an apple.

And rode off on their bicycles!

We were so shocked.

We hadn’t even reached the nice shop.

Everybody came out.

They called the Merseyside Police!

They called the police.

They couldn’t really help.

Visibly shaken.

We called the girlfriend and told her that we weren’t going to visit her after all.

We left Liverpool.

And I never went back.

The Music Producer in Liverpool

Until now!

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SO WHAT NOW?

The Albert Dock in Liverpool.

As part of our Northern England trip, we stayed in Cheshire with the family and I was saying that I wanted to visit the canals in Manchester. My sister-in-law mentioned the docks.

In Liverpool.

She said that they were rather nice.

In fact, they were cleaned up and were now heritage sites.

The Liverpool Maritime Mercantile City, is a UNESCO designated World Heritage Site!

We ought to go.

And so we did.

Gulp!

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LIVERPOOL MARITIME MERCANTILE CITY

The Liverpool Maritime Mercantile City, otherwise known as the docks!

We went to the Liverpool Maritime Mercantile City, otherwise known as the docks!

It’s a UNESCO designated World Heritage Site and comprises six locations in the city centre and many famous landmarks!

Located at the tidal mouth of the river Mersey where it meets the Irish Sea, the maritime mercantile City of Liverpool played an important role in the growth of the British Empire reflecting Liverpool as the supreme example of a commercial port at the time of Britain’s greatest global influence!

Liverpool grew into a major commercial port in the 18th century, crucial for the organisation of the disgraceful trans-Atlantic slave trade.

Liverpool in the 19th century, was the world mercantile centre for cargo and mass European emigration to the New World & the British Empire!

In the 19th century, Liverpool became a world mercantile centre for general cargo and mass European emigration to the New World and had major significance on world trade as one of the principal ports of the British Commonwealth, and was instrumental in the development of industrial canals in the British Isles in the 18th century, and railway transport in the 19th century.

The six core areas that make up the historic world heritage site are:

Pier Head, otherwise known as the Three Graces – Liverpool!
  1.   Pier Head:  It’s the focal point of Liverpool’s waterfront and is dominated by three of its most recognisable landmarks: The Liver Building, The Port of Liverpool Building and the Cunard Building. Referred to as the Three Graces, they stand as a testament to the great wealth in the city during the late 19th and early 20th century, when Liverpool was one of the most important ports in the world!

It now houses the Museum of Liverpool and a memorial built to honour the engineers who remained at their post as the RMS Titanic sank.

The Beatles Story at the Albert Dock – Liverpool

2.   The Albert Dock: This dock is a complex of buildings and warehouses opened in 1846, and were the first warehouses in the world to be entirely fireproof!

It’s now home to the Tate Liverpool, the Merseyside Maritime Museum and The Beatles Story and is the largest single collection of Grade I listed buildings anywhere in the UK!

As you can imagine, we spent an awful long time in this part of the Maritime Mercantile City!

The North Warehouse, overlooking Stanley Dock and the Tobacco Warehouse – Liverpool
  1.    The Stanley Dock: This dock includes huge swathes of Liverpool’s docking environ! Within the site are several other docks, parts of the Leeds Liverpool Canal and associated canal locks; and many smaller features such as bridges, bollards and capstans.

In fact, two of the Clarence Graving Docks are the oldest docks still in use today, and date back to 1830! Not only that, but the of the buildings – the Stanley Dock Tobacco Warehouse –  is the largest brick warehouse in the world!

The Liverpool Town Hall

4.   The Commercial Quarter: This part of Liverpool Maritime Mercantile City, includes Castle Street, Old Hall Street, Victoria Street, Water Street and Dale Street. It is also considered to be enormously historical as parts of this are medieval and many buildings have grandeur architecture and fantastic monuments, spanning over 300 years!

A lovely wedding at Bluecoat Chambers
© 2017 Samuel Docker

5.   Duke Street / Ropewalks: This area consists of the Duke Street conservation area, as well as two warehouses.

One of the buildings – Bluecoat Chambers – used to be a charity boarding school, was built in 1716, and is the oldest surviving building in Liverpool! It’s now known as the Bluecoat and is a centre for contemporary arts and considered to be the oldest art centre in Britain!

The Old Dock was the first enclosed wet dock in the world, which encouraged a lively community of sea captains, merchants, traders and artisans to live there. Today the area is known as Ropewalks, a reference to the large number of roperies present in the area when Liverpool was one of the busiest ports in the world during the 18th and 19th centuries!

Walker Art Gallery – Liverpool

6.   The Cultural Quarter /William Brown Street:  This quarter is the central point for many of Liverpool’s civic buildings, otherwise known as the Cultural Quarter.

The Cultural Quarter includes monumental cultural and civic buildings such as St George’s Hall, Lime Street Station, the Walker Art Gallery, the World Museum Liverpool, the former Great North Western Hotel and the entrance the Queensway Tunnel.

Victoria looking very pleased with herself, in Liverpool!
©Frank Böster – The Music Producer

You know how much I like history, art, architecture, and riverside cities.

We had a great time.

And I was pretty impressed.

I might even visit again!

Touche!

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HOW I WENT TO LIVERPOOL, AND I WASN’T ROBBED!

How I went to Liverpool, and I wasn’t robbed!
© Liverpool 360

This article isn’t sponsored, and absolutely all opinions, and the robbery and docklands experience 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, Derbyshire, Blackpool, Lancashire, and Yorkshire!

Yippee!

November is going to be splendid!

Book your hotel here!

How I went to Liverpool, and I wasn’t robbed!

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!

How I went to Liverpool, and I wasn't robbed!
How I went to Liverpool, and I wasn’t robbed!

Did you guess the secret location? Have you been to Liverpool? Have you ever been robbed? 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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Have you ever been to Split in Croatia – Bring out the dragons!

Croatia has such a Mediterranean vibe, that you could be in Italy or Austria!

So last week, I continued my writings about Croatia.

C-R-O-A-T-I-A!

If you’re just joining, this is what you missed:

The Music Producer in Zagreb. Geographically, Croatia is one of the previous communist states!

At the beginning of our journey, I told you that this trip was a family holiday along the coast of Croatia.

We had planned just ten (10) days – three (3) days in Zagreb, three (3) days in Split, and four (4) days in Dubrovnik.

Isn’t it thrilling?

How to visit the Balkans: Introducing Croatia – the dream of Game of Thrones!

Croatia is the first time that I’ve ever been to the Balkan States, my 62nd country, and the first (1st) new country for 2017!

It was better than I ever hoped.

Yay!

I would love to be able to write loads more about Zagreb, but that would take me months!

So sadly, we have to move on to:

SPLIT

Daenerys Targaryen and her biggest dragon in Game of Thrones!

I absolutely loved Split!

And it seems that I just can’t resist putting in some sort of reference in connection to Game of Thrones.

I’m a freak!

LET’S GET A LITTLE BIT OF HISTORY!

Have you ever been to Split in Croatia – Bring out the dragons!

Split is the second-largest city of Croatia and the largest city in the region of Dalmatia!

It lies on the eastern shore of the Adriatic Sea and is a link to numerous Adriatic islands and the Apennine peninsula.

Split is one of the oldest cities in the region and considered to be slightly over 1,700 years old, founded as the Greek colony of Aspálathos  in 295 A.D!

It later became the ancient capital of the Roman province of Dalmatia, otherwise known as Salona, and thereafter, a Byzantine city.

In the 10th and 11th centuries, Split came under the rule of the Croatian kings.

Red Srebrnog Zmaja – The Order of the Silver Dragon
@Maja Homen

In the 12th century, it became a free commune under the Hungarian-Croatian king, and by the 15th century, the medieval free commune was replaced by the Venetian administration until the 18th century!

In the 19th century, Split was entangled with Napoleon and the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, Italy, the Kingdom of Yugoslavia, the ex – Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, and finally, as an important part of an independent Croatia!

WHY GO TO SPLIT?

Have you ever been to Split in Croatia – Bring out the dragons!

Split is a great little place.

It’s also the imperial city with a huge palace that was built by the Roman Emperor – Gaius Valerius Aurelius Diocletian – in 295-350 A.D. In fact, the palace is the city of Split!

The transformation of the palace into the town began in the 7th century, and is very Mediterranean in feel and pace.

There are little town squares, al fresco restaurants, palm trees, open-air markets, and classical seating under the arms and guises of historical buildings.

Split in Croatia, isn’t just a town full of old bones and ruins!

Everywhere you move is connected to the historic core, such that the historic town of Split and the Palace, is protected by UNESCO as a World Heritage site!

Not only that, but I was hugely impressed that Split was not just a town full of old bones and ruins, but that the city is actually growing out of the palace!

Split in Croatia, isn’t just a town full of old bones and ruins!

The market stalls are made from the bricks, the flea-markets are on the promenade, the restaurants are under the huge Roman columns, and the city gates are romantic meeting points, and places where everybody “hangs out!”

There’s a reason that I spend a lot of time travelling to old parts of Europe.

I like traditions.

And I like history.

And I really like the town of Split.

I was in awe!

Gasp!

Myself & Roman soldiers in Split – Croatia!

I even managed to get myself a couple of Roman soldiers!

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TAKE ME THERE?

The huge bronze foot of Gregory, Bishop of Nin, in Split – Croatia!

It’s not possible to fly non-stop from Berlin, so we flew with Lufthansa, via Munich on the way in, and Austrian Airlines, via Vienna, on the return leg.

Our outward journey from Berlin Tegel (TXL) to Zagreb (ZAG) with a stop-over, took 6 hours and 20 minutes. Our return journey from Dubrovnik with a stop-over, took just 4 hours.

However, you don’t even need to fly, as you can either take a cruise ship in from the Mediterranean States, a ferry from Italy, take a bus-coach from anywhere you like, or simply rent a car and drive from Austria or Slovenia!

Note: There’s a tiny little train station in Split, but it isn’t very regular so you’re better off by road!

Trains aren’t very regular in Split, so you’re better off by road!

If you’re on a tight budget then many bus-coach companies such as MeinFernbus / FlixBus also go to Croatia. But do be aware that the fastest routes are usually only sold in Croatia itself.

My husband – The Music Producer – doesn’t like driving on holiday, so we decided to use the coach-bus between Zagreb – Split.

Zagreb – Split was a straight-forward ride, and took 6 hours and 20 mins. Cost: €24.00 per person.

IS IT GOING TO BE CROWDED?

It can be a little tight as Split – Croatia is tiny!

Nope!

But it can be a little tight as Split is tiny.

In fact, there were very few tourists around as it wasn’t yet “the season,” and many a restaurant were luring customers in with 10% discounts.

But in the summer, prepare to gird your loins, and fight your way through!

Plan well.

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Split – Croatia is v. small & receives up to 3,000 guests per cruise ship, in the summer!
I can’t imagine where they would put them, but it won’t be pretty!

Zagreb is the capital city in Croatia, and it’s very small!

Split is even smaller, and receives up to 3,000 guests per cruise ship, in the summer!

I can’t imagine where they would put them, but it won’t be pretty!

Having said that, if that’s the only time that you can travel, don’t let anything get in your way, as most cruise visitors are only in town for half a day, so the evenings will all be yours!

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WHAT IS SPLIT LIKE?

Myself at one of the beautiful lakes in Split – Croatia!

It’s lovely!

We were only there for 3 days, but we could have stayed for an extra day, making it four (4).

It’s of historical and architectural interest, the seafood and wine is impressive, and the waters are clean, green-blue, and crystal clear.

You simply can’t go wrong!

I DON’T SPEAK CROATIAN.

There’s no need to talk in Split – Croatia. The pictures can speak for themselves!

Neither do I!

It’s amazing how many languages a typical European speaks.

Most speak a minimum of three (3)!

If you speak German, Italian or Korean, you’re good to go.

Besides, everyone pretty much speaks English too!

AM I GOING TO LIVE IN A HUT?

You don’t have to stay here in Croatia, if you don’t want to!

Ha! Ha! Not unless you really want to!

I’M ON A BUDGET. WHAT SHOULD I DO?

Split – Croatia isn’t as cheap as chips, but the seafood is bloody marvellous!

Split isn’t cheap-cheap, but if you’re from the UK or the US, it’s as cheap as chips.

If you’re from Germany, prices are the same as in Berlin, and you can eat at gourmet restaurants, at budget prices!

And the seafood is marvellous!

We pretty much spent a large amount of time drinking lots of wine, whilst people watching. And a few more!

And on this trip, we decided to book apartments instead of hotels or hostels.

Book your apartment here!

Prices are low, but the quality & standard of apartments available in Croatia, is exceedingly high!

We had great difficulty with personal space in Madrid last year, as The Tall Young Gentleman has recently turned 15 (OMG!), and is very tall. We decided to either book two (2) hotel rooms, or a large apartment instead.

Prices are low, and the quality and standard of apartments available, is exceedingly high. I’ll write more about it in the next few weeks!

Book ahead to get good prices.

Book your apartment or hotel here!

I’M LOOKING FOR SOMETHING A BIT DIFFERENT. ANY IDEAS?

I’ve got plenty. More next week!

You betcha!

Too many to write at the moment.

More next week!

WHAT ABOUT TRANSPORT POSSIBILITIES?

The best way to see Split – Croatia is to simply walk!

All of Croatia is pretty small, so every city we visited was quite walkable.

Cars are not allowed into the Old Town!

For the day-to-day, the locals used some sort of cart!

The best way to see Split is to simply walk.

We were lucky to get a private customised city tour courtesy of the Split – Dalmatia County Tourist Board who paired us with an expert guide called Dino Ivančić.

Our Split-Croatia guide – Dino Ivančić – was lovely & so, so funny!
Image ©london-unattached.com

Dino was lovely & so, very funny!

In fact, Dino is a bit of a local star himself. Not only is he a qualified expert historian, but his Split – Croatia roots (not his hair. Ho! Ho!) go back more than 1,000 years! And he’s a hit with journalists & bloggers from all over the world!

Game of Thrones in Meereen, but really in Split - Croatia!
Game of Thrones in Meereen, but really in Split – Croatia!

I was interested in getting the low-down on Game of Thrones.

I know. I know!

This is where Ser Barristan Selmy was murdered by the Sons of the Harpy, in the streets of Meereen, but really in Split – Croatia!

And he very kindly obliged, showing us not only the Roman remains, but also where bits of the series was filmed.

I was so excited, running around and pointing out where the former Slave-Masters got stabbed to pieces, Grey Worm and the Unsullied got attacked, and Ser Barristan Selmy was murdered by the Sons of the Harpy, in the streets of Meereen!

This is where Daenerys Targaryen locked up her dragons when they became too large to control in Meereen, but really in Split – Croatia!

The Music Producer and The Tall Young Gentleman looked on in gentle despair, but to their credit, listened with enthusiasm as I babbled on, throwing Dino question after question.

About historical culture of course!

We really got a wonderful insight into the people and history of Split, and fantastic guidance around the world heritage that is the Diocletian Palace.

Thank you so much!

ANYTHING ELSE?

Split has nothing at all to do with bananas or a banana split. Yuck!

Split has nothing at all to do with a banana!

MY VERDICT:

How to visit the Balkans: Introducing Croatia – the dream of Game of Thrones!

Split is superb!

It has astonishing culture, and the sea is gorgeous.

Because, Game of Thrones!

And there be Dragons!

WOULD I COME AGAIN?

Myself at one of the beautiful lakes in Split – Croatia!

All the way!

The city of Split is a living monument, alive and brimming with history.

I can’t wait to visit again.

Let’s do it!

Where we stayed: Luxury Guest House Roman Horizon – We paid just €45.00 per night however, there was a mix-up in the apartment that we booked, and the apartment that we received. I booked a huge apartment with a communal roof-top terrace, and got a studio instead!

It was border-line uncomfortable for 3 people. I’m still trying to settle our differences on whether the description quoted was wrong, or whether I misunderstood the description!

UPDATE! I’ve sent in my thoughts to booking.com who were great. It seems that some other guests had the same complaint! However, to be fair, the apartment would have been fantastic for TWO (2) people rather than for three (3)!

My recommendation: A great apartment for two (2) people (and a small child) only.

Book your hotel or apartment here!

HAVE YOU EVER BEEN TO SPLIT IN CROATIA – BRING OUT THE DRAGONS!

Have you ever been to Split in Croatia – Bring out the dragons!

This article is not sponsored and even though we received a complimentary city tour courtesy of the Split – Dalmatia County Tourist Board, all opinions and the delightful ruins and lakes that we strolled through, are my very own!

In May, I’ll be writing more about Croatia, and visiting Sweden!

I’ll be there. Will you?

If you’re not in Berlin in May, you’ll miss all the fun!

May is going to be exhilarating!

Have you ever been to Split in Croatia – Bring out the dragons!

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!

Have you ever been to Split in Croatia – Bring out the dragons!

Have you ever been to Split? Do you like bananas! 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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How to spend 48 hours in Berlin – DAY TWO and WIN 2 Berlin WelcomeCard packages! – #bestofBerlin

 

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

I’m back again!

Last week, I wrote about my experience of how to spend 48 hours in Berlin – #bestofBerlin, as of part of the tourism initiative to discover new and old parts of Berlin.

If you’re just joining, here’s the lowdown:

The Berlin campaign was based on 48 hours i.e two (2) days, so let’s so let’s not waste anymore time and go into the second day:

HOW TO SPEND 48 HOURS IN BERLIN – DAY TWO: #bestofBerlin

A Christmas Market killer!
A Christmas Market killer!

First of all, read the first part of DAY ONE here.

Leave your hotel, hostel or apartment and take a bus, tram or train. Use the Berlin WelcomeCard transport ticket.

Start at Brandenburger Tor or Brandenburg Gate which is Berlin’s most iconic monument. Take a couple of pictures at Pariser Platz so-named ‘cos of the anti-Napoleon occupation of Paris in 1814! There’s bound to be carriages, horses, cycle rickshaws, beerbikes and sometimes even a Berlin Bear hanging around. However, it’s Germany so don’t except jugglers, bubbles or Luke Skywalker to be walking down the street!

Berlin's most iconic Brandenburg Gate - Let the good times roll!
Berlin’s most iconic Brandenburg Gate – Let the good times roll!

Turn right and cross the street, you will find yourself staring at the Reichstag or Berlin’s most beautiful Bundestag or Parliament Building. You can visit the roof terrace and glass dome built by the most talented British architect Norman Foster now known as Baron Foster of Thames Bank of Reddish! It’s free of charge but if you haven’t booked in advance, you can register at the Visitors’ Service office nearby but be prepared to queue! Oh, and bring your passport or international I.D!

After that, walk straight down and stroll along the Straße des 17. Juni surrounded by Tiergarten – Berlin’s largest park and urban garden built in 1527! It used to be the hunting grounds of the nobility and the location of the world’s most popular electronic dance music festival. Yes, the Love Parade.

Gosh! Those were the days!

Through the canal at the Tiergarten in Berlin.
Through the canal at the Tiergarten in Berlin.

Tiergarten is now a most lovely park which you can cycle through, hire a boat on the lake (Berlin has many wonderful rivers and lakes), see the birds and animals (as the zoo and city aquarium are next door), jog through, or have tea at the English Garden!

If you stay on the left hand side, you will go into the park and garden and see many historical statues and 19th century gas lanterns. If you stay on the right hand side, you will see many Soviet war memorials, and straight in front of you is the Siegessäule or the Victory Column. For a small fee you can climb all 270 steps. Take a few photographs.

Walk back to Brandenburger Tor or use the Berlin WelcomeCard and take the train or bus.

From Brandenburger Tor, cross the road and turn left. You will see the Holocaust Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. It is a memorial field of 2,711 concrete pillars of various heights. There is also an information centre of historical films, photographic documents and video interviews with survivors of the Holocaust.

Potsdamer Platz around 1900 in Berlin.
Potsdamer Platz around 1900 in Berlin. And there’s the clock!

Further on you will find yourself walking into a most important part of Berlin – Potsdamer Platz built in 1838. It’s interesting to note that whenever you see black & white 20th century photographs of Berlin, you can always see that clock.

It’s still there!

Stroll around. Go shopping at the Mall of Berlin or LP12 – the largest shopping mall in Germany and for kids, the Cinestar IMAX and Cinestar Original (English), Legoland, the Museum of Film and Television, and the best of all, the new German Spy Museum Berlin!

Take a break at any of the many restaurants, cafe, and bars then take a bus or train back to Brandenburger Tor.

The library © Hotel Adlon Kempinski.
The library © Hotel Adlon Kempinski.

In front of Brandenburger Tor on your right, is one of Europe’s most famous hotels. Think Michael Jackson almost dropping his child – Blanket – over the hotel balcony in 2002, think Queen Elizabeth, think actors, celebrities and multi-millionaires. In fact, I once literally bumped into Hugh Grant right outside the hotel front door myself. I tried to follow him and get an on-the-stop interview but I was wearing a football shirt at the time and security saw the glint in my eye! Yes, the 5-star Hotel Adlon Kempinski. Under normal circumstances, they’re brilliant.

I once strolled in with no shoes on (it’s a long story) and they didn’t even bat an eye lol!

With Brandenburger Tor behind you, walk down a very long boulevard road called Unter den Linden. I absolutely love walking down this very old iconic historical road as it takes you from West Germany – Tiergarten, into East Germany – Alexanderplatz. I wrote about that area last week. Continue walking passing Madame Tussaud’s on the left hand side and the embassy’s of four (4) world powers (certainly as far as Berlin is concerned), America, France, Russia and Great Britain, on the right hand side. Continue your stroll and take your time. It’s a bit of a long walk but it’ll be worth it as you’ll pass the Komische Oper, art galleries and smart shops. You will then see a very long street that cuts across. This is Friedrichstrasse. I wrote about this last week. Turn left and you will get to the High Street which will lead you to Checkpoint Charlie. Turn right, and it will lead you to Friedrichstrasse Main Train Station. Walk straight down on Unter den Linden and this will lead you to the area known as the Upper Eastside. It used to look really awful and drab in the 90’s but how, times have changed!

The Museumsinsel or Museum Island © visitBerlin - Wolfgang Scholvien
The Museumsinsel or Museum Island in Berlin, Germany. © visitBerlin – Wolfgang Scholvien

Walk further on and you will pass some of the most beautiful regent buildings in Berlin such as the Kronprinzenpalais or Crown Prince’s Palace, the Prinzessinnenpalais or Princesses’ Palace also known as the Opernpalais or the Opera Palace which hosts free open-air opera in the summer. (It’s brilliant!) and the Prince Heinrich Palace, which is now known as the elite Humboldt University! You’ll see the Armoury (the oldest surviving) and most important baroque 1706 building and now known as (one of my faves) the Deutsches Historisches Museum or the national German Historical Museum.

You’ll pass a bridge with lots of statues called the Schloßbrücke or Palace Bridge. It was built around 1800 and is certainly attractive but in my mind, not as outstanding as Charles Bridge in Prague, but acceptable, nevertheless! From the bridge you can see the magnificent Museumsinsel or Museum Island with it’s five (5) wonderful collections of UNESCO heritage museums.

To go to these museums, turn left.

Tango Dancing at the StrandBar in Mitte Monbijou Park. © visitBerlin - Günter Steffen
Tango Dancing at the StrandBar in Mitte Monbijou Park.
© visitBerlin – Günter Steffen

Turn left again and follow the river around, you will find another bridge called the Monbijoubrücke or Monbijou Bridge. This is a pedestrian bridge that crosses over the River Spree and connects Monbijoupark with the Museum Island. It’s right next to the Bode Museum and if you cross it you’ll come to a place called the StrandBar or Beach Bar. It’s open throughout the year but better in the summer of course. It’s more a river-side “beach” but there are deck chairs (free of charge) facing the river, an open air theatre (in German), but it’s all pretty bohemian and out there, and with a few glasses of wine or bottles of beer down you, you’ll get what they’re talking about and if not, well, the novelty is all the fun! This beach bar also has free open air tango dancing, swing and salsa. And anyone can participate. I can actually do a few steps of the tango but I wouldn’t dare. Those people are good!

For night-time activity, from the StrandBar, turn right. The road in front of you will lead you to Oranienburgerstrasse. Turn right again, for small cocktail bars, nicely-priced restaurants, discrete speakeasy bars and ladies of the night. Turn left towards Berlin’s New Synagogue,  various small Jewish outlets and Hackescher Markt. This will lead you to Hackesche Höfe and the backyards of tiny little bars selling beer for €2.00 or less. You’re going to have to look closer though as this Quarter is now gentrified!

SHOW ME: Bursting through water at the Friedrichstadt-Palast. © Robert Grischek
SHOW ME: Bursting through water at the Friedrichstadt-Palast.
© Robert Grischek

Having said that smoky little back bars are everywhere as well as vintage boutiques, bohemian shops, independent cinemas and burlesque cabarets. Berlin of the 1920’s and 30’s is right in front of your eyes! Use the Berlin WelcomeCard.

If you’re go back to outside the Deutsches Historisches Museum or the national German Historical Museum, on the right-hand side of Unter den Linden, you will see the re-building of the Palace of the Republic. On the left-hand side, you should walk straight down and hop onto the Lustgarten park and sprawl onto the grass which is right in front of the Berliner Dom or the Berlin Cathedral. And as I told you last week, if you can see the Cathedral in front of you, you’re right next to the DDR Museum and you’ve come full circle!

After a bit of a rest there are a few museums and galleries that I would like to recommend. There are so many great places that I would do them injustice if I didn’t write about them properly so I’m going to write an extra post about them next week but if you can’t wait, here’s a spoiler….

Outside the Märkisches Museum - Lord Roland of Brandenburg or perhaps just a sword-holding knight depicting the privelage of Berlin in the Middle Ages!
Outside the Märkisches Museum – Lord Roland of Brandenburg or perhaps just a sword-holding knight depicting the privilege of Berlin in the Middle Ages!

Take the train and go to an underground station called Märkisches Museum. Follow the signs outside for a little while and they will lead you to an actual museum called the Märkisches Museum. I know! I used to think that the museum was named after the station. But it isn’t, it’s the other way around and in fact, it used to be the museum of Berlin. It’s a little bit hidden but well worth it.

I’m a freak. I spent a couple of hours there and I still left it unfinished!

Oh, and up until a few weeks ago, there was a bear living there. A real live bear!

Until it passed away!

Berlin WelcomeCard IV (2)

If it’s your first visit to Berlin? You’re spoilt for choice. You know how much I love this town and that is why I’m giving away 2 Berlin WelcomeCard packages to be validated by December 31st, 2015, at the latest.

Suuuuurprise!

The Berlin Welcome Card package will include transport tickets for 48 hours including the city of Potsdam, 200 discounts, inside tips, information on top attractions, a city map, a mini guide-book written in English, German, Italian and Spanish, a €5.00 discount for the TV Tower restaurant or bar and a free voucher for a glass of glühwein (mulled wine) at the Christmas Market on Alexanderplatz valid until January 3rd, 2016!

Perfect for the New Year celebration in Berlin!

To take part, you need to subscribe to The British Berliner and either tell me why you would like to win the tickets on my blog here, on my Twitter feed attached to this post, or on my FaceBook page, also attached to this post. The person that I think gives me the wittiest or funniest reason, wins!

Only comments attached to this post will be considered.

You have until 12:00 or 12p.m. on December 27th and the announcement will be made on the blog on December 28th. The winners will meet me personally and receive the tickets on the evening of December 27th, anywhere in Berlin!

Good Luck!

You can see all the places that I went to previously by following me via #bestofBerlin on Twitter & Facebook.

See ya next week!

Oh, and have a wonderful festive season with you and yours.

Merry Xmas One and All!

We love my blog!

This post is not sponsored so I can’t wait to hear from you!

If you have any questions about Berlin, don’t be shy, I’m an expert! Go ahead and ask me!

How to spend 48 hours in Berlin - DAY TWO and WIN 2 Berlin WelcomeCard packages! - #bestofBerlin

Would you like to win two (2) Berlin WelcomeCard #bestofBerlin tickets? What would you do and where would you go?

See you in Berlin.

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