A lifestyle expat travel blog about culture, history, Brexit, the Royal Family, travels around the world, Europe, and being British in Berlin!
They tell me it’s Spring.
Ha! Ha! That’s awfully funny ‘cos we haven’t actually had a winter.
It’s going to be March in a few days so officially, that is the beginning of the Spring season. The travelling season.
In March and April, I’ll be travelling to England, Portugal and Spain. And here’s why!
England needs no introduction. It’s my home-country of course, and the land of Hope and Glory, Rule Britannia n’ all that.
England has been in the news a lot recently, well, Britain has!
If you’re a British expat living abroad and have been registered to vote in the UK within the last 15 years, you can register as an overseas elector, which entitles you to vote in the UK Parliamentary General Elections, UK-wide referendums, and European Parliamentary elections. Even though the date of the EU referendum is still unknown, you can already register to vote and you can register to vote online here.
For more information for overseas voters, please go here.
My blog isn’t about political issues but if you want to discuss the heavier stuff, you can find me on Twitter or Facebook or LinkedIn where we can “talk” if you like, but just to be clear, my vote will always be for Britain to stay WITH-IN the European Union. There. I’ve said it!
Back to the issue at hand.
England, otherwise known as Old Blighty!
Well, I’ll be going to Chester and Cheshire.
I’ll be attending the dignified graduation ceremony for my MA Degree.
My graduation ceremony!
If you look on the About Me page, you would see that I was obtaining an M.A. in Education Leadership and Management at the University of Chester in England.
I finished it!
My first degree was obtained at an elite university abroad, with a BSc. honours degree in Political Science! I then did a Masters Degree at Durham University which is the 3rd oldest university in England!
All of this was yonks ago of course and after a while, your mind starts to get mushy and a thirst for more learning develops.
I must be a sucker somewhat, ‘cos I decided to do a second Masters Degree. At the University of Chester!
I’ll write more about that in a couple of weeks!
I’ll be going to Chester.
Chester is a small city in the county of Cheshire and is very close to the tiny country of Wales!
It’s a very old Roman city founded in AD79 in the Roman province of Britannia (see what I mean!), over-flowing with history, glory and rich archaeological and architectural treasures from the era of Roman occupation. Not only was Chester an old Roman fort, but it was one of the last cities to fall to the French Normans and also boast of one of the best preserved walled cities in Britain.
In fact, part of that old Roman wall is just outside my Faculty window!
Chester has an effortless combination of history and heritage so that there is plenty to explore and lots of things to do.
It has a population of 120,622 people.
I’ll also be going to Cheshire.
Chester is actually a part of Cheshire, but Cheshire is the county (a bit like a State).
I grew up in Cheadle, a suburban village in what was then known as Greater Manchester, and when my brother and I went to university, my family moved to Cheshire.
Cheshire is an Anglo-Saxon settlement first thought to have been created by King Edward (Edward the Elder) in AD920. The county is in the country (the country-side) and is mostly rural with small towns and villages supporting the local agriculture and industry, and so we have horses not far from the home of one of my brothers!
Cheshire is also very close to Wales, sometimes having both Welsh and English names, in various parts of the county!
It has a population of about 1 million people.
I won’t really have much time to do stuff since this fleeting visit is really a family affair, but as English Tourism Week will take place in March, I might stretch a few hours to:
It’ll be difficult coming back home to Berlin!
No seriously. Why not?
They’re in the South of Europe, have long magnificent histories, fascinating cultures, and a gastronomy to die for.
And the dancing. Oh, the dancing…!
Spain, officially known as the Kingdom of Spain, Iberia or España is located in South-Western Europe, and on several territories known as the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea, and the Canary Islands in the Atlantic Ocean off the African coast. It has two (2) archipelagos islands, two (2) major exclaves in continental North Africa, and the islands and peñones or rocks of Alborán, Alhucemas, Chafarinas, and Vélez de la Gomera.
The mainland is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea except for a small land boundary – Gibraltar – which is British! Bordered by France, Andorra, the Bay of Biscay, France, Morocco and Portugal, it is one of the only three countries in the world to have both Atlantic and Mediterranean coastlines and also lies on the 1,214 km (Portugal–Spain border), which is the longest uninterrupted border within the European Union!
Spain is the second largest country in Western Europe and the European Union, and the fourth largest country in Europe, with a population of a little over 46 million people.
I know Spain quite well.
I usually prefer Barcelona but it’s been over thirteen (13) years since I last went to Madrid and after last years’ nightmare experience, it’s clearly time to go back again.
I’ll be going to Madrid and Seville.
Madrid is still a little up in the air but I’ll be staying in the historic zone which has one of the most beautiful urban landscapes as well antique buildings. It’s a unique neighbourhood rich in history, architecture, food, bars and restaurants, and is livened up by the local people and local art.
I’ll be staying with a blogger friend and her husband, in Seville.
We’ll be staying with an expat local, and getting to grips with the fact that we’ll be in the beautiful city of Seville with it’s Moorish influences and Arabic architecture coupled, with beautiful weather (I hope) and fabulous food!
It’s going to be awesome!
Portugal, officially known as the Portuguese Republic, is a country on the Iberian Peninsula, in the South West of Europe. The republic also includes the Atlantic archipelagos of the Azores and Madeira.
I’ve been to Portugal before and let me tell you, it is indeed the most western point country in the whole of mainland Europe, and I have a certificate to prove it!
Portugal is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean and Spain and as I wrote above, the Portugal–Spain border – 1,214 km or 754 miles – is considered to be the longest uninterrupted border within the European Union!
Portugal has a population of almost 10.5 million people!
It’s one of the first global empire countries and had great influence across the world in the 15th and 16th century but sadly after the independence of Brazil in 1822, and the end of the longest-lived European colonial empire, with the handing over of Macau to China in 1999, hardly anybody speaks it’s language and most tourists are reluctant to visit. Preferring instead, it’s neighbour and colonial rival – Spain!
Strange really, when there over 250 million people who speak Portuguese world-wide, it has left a most profound cultural and architectural influence across the globe, has an advanced economy, and a higher living standard than France, Spain and Italy!
I’m going to try and change it’s image!
I’ll be going to the Algarve, Lisbon and Porto
We’ll be staying at a hotel apartment in the Old Town of Albufeira, which is an old fisherman’s village and very near to the sea in Lagos. We’ll also be going to Lisbon and staying at the StayInn Lisbon Hostel which is a hostel located a few minutes walk from many historic and tourist attractions, right in the heart of Lisbon’s Bohemia nightlife! And we’ll be staying at the trendy luxury artistic family-run Gallery Hostel in Porto!
Perfect for trendy parents with a young teenager!
There’ll be seafood galore!
I love seafood.
I just don’t know if I can wait!
This article is isn’t sponsored and the academic Masters Degree that I’m going to collect, is my very own!
In March and April, I’ll be going to England, Portugal and Spain!
I’ll be attending the Spring Reception for the British Community, at the British Embassy on March 2nd.
On March 8th, I’ll be at the ITB Berlin Opening Party taking place at Urban Spree. It’s always a lot of fun, so if you’re in town, come and join us.
To celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8th, I’ve joined the Berlin Travel Massive campaign which is hosting an OPEN CALL for the best photos of awesome WOMEN IN TRAVEL. You can share your pictures using the hashtag #WomenInTravel & #travelmassive until March 4th where photos will be featured at Travel Massive’s biggest night of the year – the Opening Party at ITB Berlin on March 8th: To RSVP go here!
The best pictures will also be published on the platform of Travel Massive & featured by Lonely Planet, on Twitter!
The world’s leading travel trade show – ITB Berlin – will be taking place from 09.03.16 – 13.03.16.
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 in March, I haven’t a clue where else you’re going to be!
March is going to be busy!
Watch this space!
See you in Berlin.
Exciting! I love Chester, and have spent lots of time in Manchester. Love that part of the world. I need to read up on your nightmare time in Spain though! I’m very intrigued by Madrid and Barca.
Congrats on getting your MA!!
Thanks so much Lawrence!
Chester is marvellous and Manchester is just the place to be. So much history, art, culture and music. As well as the country-side and rivers nearby. An ideal childhood, me thinks!
Yep! Read up on the disaster that was Barcelona and Lloret de Mar in 2015. I felt so bad, as I love Barcelona so and that experience was spoiling it. Thank goodness, I’m back in Spain so that I can erase the karma lol! 🙂
In fact I think I might return to Chester this summer. i’ve only been once, about five years ago, and that was just because of Hollyoaks! Ha!!
I used to watch HollyOaks myself when it first came out in the 90’s. I didn’t really like the girls. Only the boys. And two of them I still like – Will Mellor & Jeremy Edwards.
But seriously, yeah. Go back to Chester. It’s a great little town. 🙂
You lucky broad! Algarve is still one of the best vacations I’ve ever taken – I was there early/mid-April and it was GLORIOUS! Warm enough to swim, blooming meadows and almost trees, AMAZING food and wine at the lowest prices, GORGEOUS scenery – the works! I am so so so so jealous!
The other ones arent bad either 😉 J/K – I studied in Spain for a semester and loved every second of it. And as you know I just cant get enough of England!
Thank you daaaaarling! I really can’t wait for our holiday. We won’t be in the Algarve very long but long enough to get a taste of the region. We’ll be there sometime between March and April so I’m not expecting hot weather but rather a windy warm spell!
I didn’t know that you had studied in Spain. That is so cool! My boy is learning Spanish at his elite school, so I’ll be interested to see how much he can actually use lol!
As for England. I do know how much you love her and that’s why we’re friends lol !!!! 🙂 🙂
Welcome home (in anticipation) Victoria. I hope you have a great time and all your trips are planned out so well.
Lucky you to have such an affinity with Chester, it really is a beautiful city and should be seen by tourists in my view. It is a place full of history and beauty.
I’ve never been to Spain or Portugal (well apart from in transit through Lisbon airport) so can’t comment on whether they are must sees. Judging on how popular they are and what I’ve read I guess they are.
Thanks so much Guy!!
I loooove Chester. It always makes me proud to be living or associated with cities of great history and culture. I’m a very lucky girl! 🙂
As for Spain & Portugal, they are both countries I would highly recommend. Re-Spain, when you do decide to visit. As you should!!! 🙂 🙂 Choose the mainland itself and not the beer-drinking-holiday-package islands! I’ve always loved Barcelona rather than Madrid but I’m prepared to be surprised after so many years. As for Portugal, I last went to Lisbon in 2007 for a week, with a German girlfriend of mine. And it was great.
I met a bunch of young Americans who came over for “Spring-Break!” Apparently, New York was just a few hours away and it was quicker and cheaper to go to Lisbon instead of Mexico! It was hilarious how, a few of the girls decided to stick with me as they became intimidated by the hot-looking, over-confident, more mature Portuguese lads! I even got hit on myself by some 22 year old boy who thought he was a match!
Whoa not one, but two Masters! You clever woman, you!
Have a fabulous time at your ceremony and enjoy Cheshire, it’s such a beautiful city. Coincidentally, I’ll be going to Berlin this weekend, it was a last minute thing with a group of my girlfriends. If I were there longer I would totally have tried to hit you up!
Have a super time in Portugal, but of course you will – it’s Portugal!
Thanks so much Shing!
I’m very much looking forward to Chester & Cheshire. It’s just so English & hostorically & back in the Old Ages type of city lol!
No worries about your fun weekend in Berlin. Just have a ‘lorra ‘lorra fun with your girls & we’ll see each other another time! You won’t need any help at all!!! 🙂 🙂
Oh..the hard life of Victoria !!! 🙂 . This trip sounds awesome. I haven’t been to Manchester, but want to visit, even if just to get to do the Man U tour. A lot of people in my family would be jealous. We look forward to seeing you in Spain and of course, l am envious that your return visit to Portugal will be before ours. It is going to be a fun time for the family for sure. Congratulations on the degree!!! Well done indeed 🙂
YOLO! Kemkem! YOLO! 🙂
Manchester is great. Even if I say so myself lol! And we can’t wait to see you in sunny Spain. At least, I hope it’ll be sunny. A bit! You can’t believed that it snowed in Berlin yesterday morning! I’m predicting snow for Easter but I won’t care as I’ll be stuffing myself with paella and drowning in sangria lol!
Yep! I’ll let you know all about Portugal and you’ll have to share more details about India as “The Tall Young Gentleman” will be in his stride but “The Music Producer” will have an enormous shock I fear!
Thanks once again for your lovely wishes and support. 🙂 🙂
Well done! Congratulations on your second(?!) Masters Degree! What an exciting month you have coming up. I love Madrid (and the other places I’ve visited in Spain). For unknown reasons, I’ve never been to Portugal, so I’m looking forward to read about it here:)
Thanks so much Mitzie Mee!
I know!! I’m so excited to go back to Spain after last years’ fiasco in Barcelona lol! Portugal is a really nice country too. I’ve only been to Lisbon and it was really good but I’ve heard so much about the Algarves and Porto seems to be the next place to be!
Chester is lovely! Ah! You’re going to have such a great time!
Loved reading through your posts, as always! 🙂
Lloyd & Yaya xx
Thanks so much Hand Luggage Only!
I totally agree! Chester is so beautiful. I’m only sad that I only have a few days since I’m really in town to attend my Masters’ graduation! I’ll just have to come back again lol! 🙂
Woohoo! Exciting places coming up Victoria! I’ll hopefully be making my way to Spain and Portugal finally as well, but that will have to come after E. Europe of course. And Chester, WOW! Though incredibly small, look at that bridge! I’m obsessed with ancient Anglo-Saxon history and one day I’ll make it to the UK to do some serious exploring around the countryside. Excited for you!
Thanks so much Lost Boy!
I can’t wait to read about your travels to Spain & Portugal later in the year. You’ll love it! As for Chester. Yep! It’s gorgeous! And if you’re obsessed with history as much as I am, you’ll be in for a treat!
Have fun! 🙂
Congratulations on finishing your degree! You are amazing! Seriously, congrats! I can’t think of a more productive and creative woman than year.
I can’t wait to read all about your adventures this year. I have visited England (though not Cheshire and Chester) and Portugal. Spain is definitely on the list to visit. Have you heard of the blog NextBiteOfLife.com? They live in Spain and their posts are awesome!
As I have probably told you before, Portugal has my heart. I loved every part of it. You are going to the same areas that I went, I am really excited to hear about your adventures there and everywhere else really.
Thanks for the info on the Women’s Day event with Travel Massive. I will try to participate and hopefully will find some more lady travelers to chat with.
Thanks so much for your kind thoughts my darling!
Have I heard of NextBiteofLife? Most certainly! I’m staying with her in Seville! We met in Berlin two years ago and have remained friends meeting up in Barcelona last year too. 🙂
It’s really difficult to choose between Spain & Portugal isn’t it. Thank goodness they’re so different!
p.s ‘Looking forward to Women’s Day at Travel Massive next week. It’s lovely to support strong women and women who travel, wherever they come from, all over the world. 🙂
Yay! I live Kemkem! I am slightly jealous that you have met in person! Well now I need to go to Spain and Berlin I think 😉
Me too! And she’s exactly as she is in the blog. Funny, straight as a die, and lovely. Fredico is hilarious too. Very Italian lol!
p.s. Come to Europe Jenny. Come to Europe. Come to Europe.!!!
I feel your call so much 🙂 soon hopefully haha
Oh, girl, what a great news! To be honest, I would have a hard time deciding which country is the best! My heart belongs to England where I spent over 3 years studying, but Portugal took my breath away and I have the best memories from there. On the other hand, tapas are so good that I could live in Spain!! 🙂 Enjoy it, sweetie and if you need any budget travel tips, let me know! x Bon voyage and ole!
Thank you so much Agness!
I can’t decide either although England has the edge, being my home country n’ all!
p.s. Budget tips for Portugal. Yes, please! 🙂
Yay! Congratulations on your degree! I watched something on CNN about Seville, it seems a really interesting city. And I think Soanish food looks sumptuous..I’m looking forward to your stories!
Thanks so much Africanagril!
Yes. Seville is supposed to be quite the beauty. ‘Very much looking forward to telling you all about it. Yum!
Congrats on your graduation! That looks like some exciting travels ahead! 😀 I was in Spain two years back and I’m dying to go back!!
Thanks very much Michelle! I’m extremely excited! I went to Barcelona last year. Read my story! But I haven’t been to Madrid for 12 years and Portugal for 7 years. It really is time lol! Yeeeeeah! 🙂
Been looking for information about voting (EU referendum) thanks for the link!
You’re very welcome Lily. Good luck and hurry! 🙂
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We’re really hoping the UK stays in the EU too, I’m just hoping the stay campaign gets their message across to the voters clearly. Have a great trip; we are now in Madrid and I have to agree with you, we much preferred Barcelona too. It is still really cold here too, hope the weather warms up soon!
I know! ‘Keeping my fingers crossed that the common man thinks the same way lol!
I’ll be looking forward to your updated thoughts about Madrid. I know it’s the capital n’ all that but I’m a Barcelona girl. Perhaps, when we visit soon, I might change my mind!
p.s. ‘Hope it’s not too murky. I prefer cooler climates, but when I’m in Spain, I’d like to feel as if I were in the Med. rather than just “down the road!” 🙂
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