Archive | Berlin

11 December 2013 ~ 0 Comments

The Best New Year’s Eve Street Parties in Europe

There is no place to usher in a new year quite like at a street party. Even better if it’s a street party at a beautiful landmark, surrounded by the evidence of centuries of history and similar celebrations. Here are some of our favorite spots to party away your New Year’s Eve 2014.

 

London
For one of the world’s most impressive firework shows, head on over to the South Bank of the Thames which tends to turn into a party on December 31st. As soon as Big Ben strikes twelve, the sky will burst into color in what is one of the most spectacular firework displays around.

 

English: Big Ben.

 

Edinburgh

 

Scotland knows how to party. To celebrate the full scope of the festivities with the Scots, show up two days prior to New Year’s and make sure to stay until January 2nd. On the night itself, people take to the streets in what is known as the Hogmanay Street Party, replete with concert on an outdoor stage in the West Princes Street Gardens. Just one thing – you better be singing Auld Lang Syne as the clock strikes twelve!

 

Hogmanay Party in Princes Street Gardens, Edin...

 

Amsterdam

 

To get into the party spirit, head on over to Rembrandtplein and Leidseplein. Make sure to try some deliciously warm and sugary olliebollen (deep fried dough-balls caked in icing sugar) as you wait for the new year to hit. If you’re into pyrotechnics, head on over to Magere Brug over the Amstel River to catch a show. If you’re feeling particularly boisterous, make your way to the town of Scheveningen for an icy dip into the North Sea.

 

English: Magere Brug in Amsterdam. Deutsch: Ma...

 

Berlin

 

Silvester, as the Germans call New Year’s Eve, turns Berlin into a huge party. To start your evening off, make sure to head on over to the Brandenburg Gates where fireworks and laser shows welcome in the new year. There is also typically a concert held there with some relatively well-known acts playing. For some fire-power, check out the Oberbaumbrucke – Berlin’s longest bridge – the main stage for all firecrackers and smaller range fireworks.

 

English: 2007 New Year's Eve in Berlin. Italia...

 

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13 April 2013 ~ 0 Comments

Why You Should Never Cross Anything Off Your Travel List Because Someone Said So

There has recently been published an article by one David Landsel in which he disbands the popularity of several pretty famous travel destinations for some pretty horrific reasons. The article has gained quite a bit of popularity on the internet, and has been shared a considerable number of times over social media. As a fellow travel blogger/writer, I obviously have absolutely nothing against travel critiques that are negative as long as they are honest and based on sound reasoning. In fact, I welcome such reviews even if personally I prefer writing mostly positive reviews. It is always a welcome change when an article points out the negative alongside the positive aspects as it can bring your expectations down to reality when the time comes for you to embark on your vacation. It’s nice to know what to expect in terms of weather, how much money to bring, what social mores to look out for, how much crime you should prepare for (if any) when on vacation.

However, this logic only applies if there is common sense behind the critiques which are well-founded and realistic and come from an educated outlook. For example, it is worth pointing out that Toronto (what up, hometown!) may not have the same plethora of gorgeous medieval buildings as Bruges – fair enough, good to know so that you don’t go there if a medieval vibe is what you’re after. On a budget? Some cities are naturally more affordable than others – from personal experience, I’d never advise anyone to go to London for a week if you don’t have at least a couple of hundred pounds to spend. Want a relaxing warm vacation for the entire family? Maybe don’t go to Moscow. Not altogether positive descriptors but, you know, helpful!

Pretty straightforward, right? The key is to assume from the get-go that every place and every individual there is of intrinsic value and has aspects to offer the likes of which you will not find elsewhere. If those specific features are not for you, then based on such a critique you can make a reasoned decision to go elsewhere. However, it just isn’t smart to assume that you can speak for everyone.

Now that THAT is off my chest, can we please just take a moment to appreciate how uninformative, biased, and, at times, frankly quite racist Mr. Landsel’s piece is?

  • “There are places worth a thousand dollars in airfare. There are even places where eleven hours of flying is a small price to pay. Then there is Buenos Aires. The steak and wine are cheap, the ice cream is outstanding and — children, cover your ears — the sex is even better.” Instead he suggests we try Rio de Janerio because it has a bigger impact, although on what he fails to say. While Landsel may pick his vacations based on the availability of steak, wine and sex – all good things, don’t get me wrong – can we just go ahead and assume they are not universal measures by which vacations are assessed?
  • Berlin is “an awkward teenager of a city, brimming with potential.” Now this one made me splutter tea all over my keyboard as I wondered if maybe the author was referring to the Town of Berlin, Connecticut? Because he sure as hell cannot have been talking about the the beautiful city of Berlin, capital of Germany, founded in 1192 AD?? He casts it off as a viable European destination because “Berlin is too modern, too sterile, too expensive and too unsure of itself to merit much of your time or money.” I’m just going to leave you with these images, Mr. Landsel:

    This image was selected as a picture of the we...

    Walking in Berlin - #02

English: Humboldt University of Berlin

Instead Landsel suggests we try Prague, which is sort of like saying “Don’t like cheesecake? Here’s a paella.”  Moreover, he recommends that if you are “civilized” you avoid eating in the heathen savage state of the Czech Republic head over to Budapest pronto, where the eating habits of the locals will be much more civil and to your liking. He’s probably right, I mean, just look at those savage Czechs!

Prague 2002: people and street vendors

Landsel suggests we all avoid the Caribbean islands (because, gross!) and instead just go to Mexico which is less of “an expensive and time-sucking nightmare to reach” and is actually fun. (Can you imagine if Landsel ruled the world? The mind boggles) He also suggests we ignore San Francisco and head over straight to the Bay Area, go to Houston, TX instead of Austin, TX, visit Portland instead of Vancouver, Utah instead of Colorado, Hawaii instead of Costa Rica, and Detroit instead of Chicago. Not only does Landsel seem to have an irrational dislike for  most of the Spanish-speaking Latin American countries except for Mexico, he is barely able to justify his suggestions which are, to put it softly, confusing.

Overall, his article is an excellent illustration of how NOT to write a travel piece. Not only does he not shy away from being blatantly offensive to local populations, he doesn’t recognize that people travel for different reasons and that not everyone in the world likes the same things (even if most of us do appreciate good wine, steak, and sex).

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15 March 2012 ~ 0 Comments

Things to do in Berlin

Welcome to Berlin, the capital city of Germany. It’s also its largest city with a population of over 3.5 million residents. First time visitors will be pleased to learn that Berlin is more than the hustle and bustle of the city, as a third of it is composed of parks, forests, gardens, lakes and rivers. Bus trips are a common choice for tourists seeking to savor the several tourist attractions. Some buses even contain commentaries that guide the visitors and suggest the attractions they can visit.

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