A lifestyle expat travel blog about culture, history, Brexit, the Royal Family, travels around the world, Europe, and being British in Berlin!
It’s been a rough few weeks.
The citizens of France are in a state of shock.
The world is in a dreadful state.
Our sympathies and condolences are with the people, family and friends of Nice.
First, we had that horrible referendum in which my fellow Brits voted to Leave the European Union, and won!
Shortly after, we had situations of terror in France, mindless shootings in the US, the senseless mass killing of the gay community in America, a mad axe-wielding teenager in Germany, an airport terror attack and a near military coup in Turkey, and the awful fact that Donald Trump, a laughable figure, might in fact, end up being the next President of the United States, and thus, the leader of the Free Western World!
And just recently, very very recently, we had another disturbed teenager run riot of an evening, randomly shooting innocent shoppers, after luring them to a free McDonalds’ burger, in Germany!
Just what is the world coming to?
I’m in shock.
And I’m just so sad.
The terrorist attacks have struck my continent.
This wonderful continent of Europe might make tourists and visitors wonder.
They might think that perhaps travelling abroad isn’t all it’s made out to be.
They might think that Europe isn’t the place to be after all!
My blog isn’t about politics, and I’m not a politician or a secret agent, so outside of the odd look-between-the-lines rant, I can’t tell you what to do, or advice you as to who best to run your country. Or mine!
What I can tell you is how to cope, and how to keep on living, doing whatever it is you’re doing.
I’m a British person and I live in Europe. People are worried and concerned:
You don’t need to be.
I’ll tell you something for nothing.
We Europeans are as stoic as we come.
Europe is thousands of years old and has been through battles many, many times.
We’re not strangers to attacks.
You’ve only got to look through the last century to see that.
Britain has been blighted by the IRA in Ireland for years, and tourists still love to come to the UK.
Spain has had train explosions from people fighting for the separation of the Basque Region from the country, and tourists still love to visit Spain.
Heck! World War II was started by a madman from Austria, who terrorised the whole continent by his fantasy of German supremacy. Not to talk of the Berlin Wall that was to divide a nation for 38 years, and tourists still love to come to Germany too!
The point I’m trying to make is:
Walk outside your front door.
Drive your car.
Get on that train.
Take a flight.
Sail on a ship.
Take a step at a time.
Don’t let fear take control!
Sure it is!
Millions of international tourists and travellers visit and travel through Europe every year, and most visits are completely and utterly trouble-free.
However, if you have any concerns, or need help, or information, I recommend the following:
Don’t panic remember:
Crime rates in many countries are low.
Standards of living are high.
Education is free, therefore literacy is high.
Many Europeans speak at least three languages.
There is social security, therefore the social gap is lower than outside the European continent.
Health and health insurance is taken seriously and in many cases, is the law.
Social infrastructure works wonderfully and is available to all.
Tolerance is extremely high.
Fairness and truth are important.
Ordinary people don’t carry weapons of any kind. There isn’t a need to!
They say that most accidents and deaths occur near to, or in the home. Statistically, you’re safer outside your home!
And if you’re still not sure take a peep.
Yes, that time is soon nigh.
Get ready for…..
Victoria’s Summer European Challenge Campaign!
European Challenge what?!
Oh. Cooooome. On!
I’ve already told you about this. Remember?!
Every weekend, I’m going to be visiting a different European city.
For six (6) weeks!
So, since I’m a happily married woman, a responsible mother, and it’s going to be the summer holidays (being smart here), I’m going to be taking the “Tall Young Gentleman” with me!
We’re going to be travelling completely by train!
Copenhagen is the capital of Denmark and has a population of just under 600,000 people!
Copenhagen is situated on the eastern coast of the island of Zealand, partly located on Amager, and is separated from a town called Malmö which is actually in Sweden, by the strait of Øresund!
Originally a Viking fishing village founded in the 10th century, the name of the city reflects its origin as a harbour and a place of commerce. The original Danish name was Køpmannæhafn, meaning “merchants’ harbour,” or often simply Hafn or Havn meaning “harbour” and so in the early 15th century, Copenhagen became the capital of Denmark.
Since the turn of the 21st century, Copenhagen has seen strong urban and cultural development facilitated by investment, in its institutions and infrastructure. It is one of the major financial centres of Northern Europe and has become integrated with the Swedish province of Scania and its largest city, Malmö, forming the Øresund Region!
I’ve been to Denmark many times, but it’s been twelve (12) years, since I was last there, and we’re going to be staying at a hotel hostel-style, ‘cos Danish prices are out of this world!
Lucerne is a city in the German-speaking part of central Switzerland and is the capital of the Canton of Lucerne, and the capital of the district of the same name!
With a population of about 80,501 people, Lucerne is the most populous city in Central Switzerland.
Owing to its location on the shore of Lake Lucerne (der Vierwaldstättersee), within sight of Mount Pilatus and Rigi in the Swiss Alps, Lucerne has long been a destination for tourists.
The official language of Lucerne is Swiss German, which is very different from German-German and very sing-songy…!
I live in Germany and Switzerland is practically next door but…
Shock & Horror!
I’ve never actually been!
Mainly ‘cos it’s frightfully expensive!!
This time I’m going to cough up, and just go for it. And with a demanding growing lad too.
Luxembourg, otherwise known as the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, is a country in western Europe.
It is bordered by Belgium to the west and north, Germany to the east, and France to the south.
Its capital Luxembourg City, together with Brussels and Strasbourg, is one of the three official capitals of the European Union, and the seat of the European Court of Justice, which is the highest judicial seat in the EU!
The culture, people, and languages of Luxembourg’s are highly intertwined with its neighbors, making it essentially a mixture of German and French!
With an area of just 2,586 square kilometres or 998 square miles, it is one of the smallest sovereign states in Europe, and about the same size as the state of Rhode Island in the US, or the county of Northamptonshire in England!
Luxembourg has a population of just 524,853 and is one of the least-populous countries in Europe!
It is a democracy with a constitutional monarch, headed by the Grand Duke of Luxembourg, and is the only remaining grand duchy in the world! Not only that, but Luxembourg is considered to have the world’s highest GDP per capita!
Luxembourg will be a new country for me, and I’ve heard lovely things about it.
To put the cherry on the cake, we’re also going to be guests of Visit Luxembourg.
I’m pretty excited to visit, aren’t you?!
Bratislava is the capital of Slovakia, and with a population of about 450,000 is Slovakia’s largest city!
Bratislava occupies both banks of the River Danube and the left bank of the River Morava, which borders on Austria and Hungary making Bratislava, the only national capital in the world, that borders two independent countries!
In fact, Bratislava is so small, that most people end up taking a day-trip to Vienna (Austria) that is just one (1) hour away by train!
I’ve always been impressed by the history of Slovakia as after the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in post World War I, the Slovaks and Czechs established Czechoslovakia!
On 1st January 1993, Slovakia became an independent state after the peaceful dissolution of Czechoslovakia. A very prime example of how two nations, even after separation, still live together and or are, connected to each other, without hate and strive!
As you know, I used to live in the Czech Republic and whilst there, I lived briefly in Slovakia too!
In those days, there was hardly any difference at all, so I’m going to have to find out if it’s still true!
And because this is my blog and I can do whatever I like, I’m going to add two German destinations!
Bremen is a Hanseatic city in northwestern Germany, otherwise known as the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen!
Bremen is a commercial – industrial city, with a major port on the River Weser.
It’s part of the Bremen/Oldenburg Metropolitan Region and is with 2.4 million people, the second most populous city in Northern Germany!
Bremen is a major cultural hub and home to historical galleries and museums, ranging from historical sculptures to major art museums.
I’ve been to Bremen a few times, but I remember the very first time that I visited. Over twenty (20) years ago…!
I couldn’t believe that the animal statues that were dotted all over the city, were the animals in the old Grimm folk story – The Musicians of Bremen!
You can imagine how I felt when I found out that Hamelin from the The Pied Piper of Hamelin fame, actually existed and is based on a real true life event….!
Usedom is a Baltic Sea island in Pomerania which originally used to be one single island region but since 1945, was divided between Germany and Poland!
About 80% of the island belongs to the German district of Vorpommern-Greifswald in the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.
The other side and the largest city on the island, are part of the Polish West Pomeranian Voivodeship!
The island’s total area is 445 square kilometres (172 square miles). The German part is 373 square kilometres or 144 square miles, and the Polish part is 72 square kilometres or 28 square miles.
With a population of just 76,500 people – 31,500 on the German side and 45,000 on the Polish side, Usedom is the sunniest region of both Germany and Poland, and it is also the sunniest island in the Baltic Sea Region!
I’m absolutely thrilled, as we’ve been lucky enough to be invited as guests of the Usedom Island courtesy of Usedom Tourismus GmbH!
I’ve never been to Usedom before, so I just can’t wait to experience 42 kms of beach, which is even said to rival that of Brighton!
I am excited to be able to see the magnificent historic bath architecture villas on the German promenade, the echo of nobility and the wealthy bourgeoisie, artists and intellectuals of the 19th century, as well as lakes, marshes, dunes and woods, all blended into tiny countryside villages within a Natural Park!
Yes! Yes! Yes!
I live in Berlin.
And Germany is right in the center of Europe.
It has airports, train stations, bus stations, bicycle stations, cars, ships, ferries, and every possible means of transport.
I travel a lot for leisure and pleasure so we’re going to be travelling by one of my favourite forms of transport.
We’re going to be travelling by train!
See you next week!
This article is not sponsored, and all opinions about taking control of travel nightmares, are my very own!
July is Pride Week!
From 02.07.16 – 24.07.16, the LGTB (community), well-wishers and gay-friendly supporters will gather in Berlin to celebrate and advocate a tolerant and open-minded society.
Throughout the summer months of July & August, all the museums in Berlin will be open each and every day! This will conclude with the bi-annual Die Lange Nacht der Museen otherwise known as the Long Night of Museums taking place on 27.8.16 from 6p.m. in the evening ’till 2a.m in the morning!
The Pop Kultur Festival is a new festival based in hipster Neukölln, over three (3) exciting days of new international and German bands, live concerts, performances, talks and reading, taking place from 31.08.16 – 02.09.16.
I’ll be attending an Exclusive Food Tour with Fork & Walk on Wednesday, August 10th organised by the Berlin Chapter of Travel Massive.
Berlin Art Week will take place from 13.09.16 – 18.09.16 so if you like contemporary art, this is the place for it!
Save the Date!
July is going to be hot!
I’ll be there. Will you?
As usual, you can also follow me via daily tweets and pictures on Twitter & Facebook!
If you’re not in Berlin in July, you’re missing all the action!
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!
Fear would never stop me traveling, I guess you just have to carry on living your life. All the events you described are awful, but as you pointed out wars and conflict are, sadly, not a new event. Europe still a very safe continent to visit. Your travel plans are very exciting 😄
Thanks so much Gilda! I’m with you there. Once a traveller, always a traveller! Sadly, I don’t think these terrible events are going to end anytime soon either, but that doesn’t mean that we should go crazy. We should take precautions where we can, and just be calm, and carry on!
p.s I’m so excited about the summer as I’m desperate to spend as much quality time with my tween son, as I can lol!
Enjoy spending time with your son…precious times😄
Thank you Gilda! He’s 14 now (where did the time go?), and still interested in travelling along with me. He’s great as he’s very easy to cater for. A clean bed, fast wifi, and plenty of food is his minimum requirement lol! He’s not very into museums but will tolerate it, if the museum is interesting enough (machines or horrible things lol!)
I really loved your approach to this question people are asking more and more! We can’t let fear rule and cripple our lives. Thanks for articulating this!
Thank you so much Lola! This is high praise indeed, coming from one of the world’s top photographers, of the National Geographic no less! Sadly, these questions will keep getting louder but hopefully, people continue to fight the demon, living on the best way that they can.
I grew up in Russia during the 90’s when we had seemingly one terrorist attack after another. I was in DC on 9-11 and in Madrid during the 2004 Atocha bombings. I went to Tunisia this year a week after an attack in the south of the country, and then Paris and Brussels in May and July. Yes be aware, yes be alert and take precautions, but I am a big believe in continuing to live your life, individually and collectively (otherwise, as the cliche goes, the terrorists win), and, to a certain degree, fate. As the Russian proverb goes, he who is meant to burn will not drown.
Thanks very much Anna! Exactly! Russia. Spain. 9/11 (OMG!). Paris. Brussels. Tunisia. It probably isn’t going to get better anytime soon, but will it stop us from living a full life? No Ma’am!
p.s. I like your Russian saying, “He who is meant to burn will not drown.”
First of all, your travel plans sound great! Secondly, you’re writing about an important issue. We shouldn’t let the fear take over. After all, you can never know when and where the next disaster happens, whether it happens due to terrorism or even nature! Or due to some idiot who is drinking and driving. We can’t lock ourselves inside our houses and never step out of the door again. And we shouldn’t—according to some statistics, most accidents happen in the safest place on Earth, at home! 🙂 Being careful is the best we can do. Being careful and sensible. Happy (and safe) travels!
Thanks so much Saana! I totally agree, we should all just stay calm and carry on as best we can. We’re in horrible times, but Europe has seen worse. And survived.
p.s. It’s an exciting summer. Bloody expensive, but exciting!
Cheers on the well-written post and your upcoming train journey 🙂 Yes, Europe is still safe. America on the other hand….
Personally, I’m still eager to visit Turkey and hopefully will be able to make it before the end of the year.
Thanks so much Derek! Europe is absolutely safe even with the troubles we’re going through at the moment. As for the USA, I’m not sure what’s going on, but I’m hoping that common sense will prevail, and that the local American people #dotherightthing, and choose a Democratic leader who understands how world politics works. We can’t stand alone. No man is an island. America is important, etc!
p.s. I was supposed to go to Turkey but I’ve postponed it at the moment ‘cos of the state of emergency, as I wanted to go to Istanbul! I’ve been there before, and I really like it! 🙂
This is unfortunately not a new thing..well maybe newer for the developed countries, but a lot of people have been living with terror for ages. It doesn’t stop them, and it won’t stop us. I have a feeling this is the new normal till it comes to a boiling point. Mankind is not kind 🙁 . We must however soldier on and hope good will eventually conquer evil. Have fun on your travels.
Thanks so much KemKem! Sadly, it isn’t looking pretty but as I say, we’re stoic. We’ve got a stiff upper lip about these things. We’ll survive and indeed, soldier on!
p.s. Very much looking forward to summer destinations lol! ‘Can’t wat to read about the rest of your Swedish trip. 🙂
I wish I was in Europe right now! Beautiful buildings, great coffee/beer/food…ugh. Why am I here in Wisconsin? Anyway, come visit my blog today, see you soon!
Thanks so much Jacob! How are you mate? It’s summer, the beer’s great, the food is delicious, and the people are lovely. Come on back to Europe! 🙂
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I totally agree, it’s so important not to let fear take control; all these attacks are hideous but they shouldn’t stop us all living and travelling as normal. Your challenge is amazing! We were in Bratislava a few weeks ago and it was a lovely little city, not the liveliest but full of lovely buildings and squares. We also took a day trip from there to Vienna and fell in love with the city!
Thanks so much Amy! That’s right, we won’t let fear take control!
I’m so looking forward to my summer challenge. It’s so eyxciting! Exhausting, but exciting! It’s been years since I was last in Bratislava. I just hope that I can still recognise things lol!
p.s. Have you written about it? I won’t be going to Austria this time as I’ll be taking my husband to Vienna for his birthday, and I don’t want to spoil the surprise by going there twice!
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