Last week had me stay a night in Hamburg. I love Hamburg, always have. The people here are a completely different mentality to the ones around my home area. But despite their rather rough and direct exterior, I do get on well with them. And as for Hamburg? It is just a beautiful city with a very relaxed atmosphere. In recent years I have only occasionally visited for work though. But whenever I do have a night in Hamburgon my work agenda, I am really looking forward to it. As these always turn out to be rather special. From visits to the Hamburg Christmas market, to a spontaneous concert at the (then newly opened) Elbphilharmonie.
As you might know, I grew up in Germany. And although I have lived in the UK for over a decade now, Germany is where I spent most of my life. But the longer I live abroad, the more I stumble across little peculiars. Nothing major. After all, life in the UK and in Germany isn’t a million miles apart (language aside obviously) and you can adapt fairly quickly. But same as the Brits have their own ways of being, so have the Germans. So, if you are considering a trip to Germany anytime soon (Berlin for example), let me share with you 12 things to know about Germany. Some might be obvious, others not so much. But if you want to avoid sticking out like a sore thumb and being instantly recognised as a tourist, try and memorise at least a few of those things.
Flying over to Germany for a day trip can be hard work. For sure it will always be a long day with a very early alarm. But it doesn’t always mean you get to see much beside airports and meeting rooms. So, the day trip to Weil am Rhein this week was a pleasant change. Yes, the meeting we had lasted most of the day. But in between wrapping up the meeting and heading back to the airport, we had an hour spare and where offered a quick tour around the Vitra Campus. So, let me tell you what to see and do at the Vitra Campus, even if you only have limited time.
It must have been more than 20 years since I have last been to Lake Constance (Bodensee). So I was delighted to get a chance for an overnight stay here during a recent trip.
To get there, I flew into Zurich and took a train (well three trains actually) to Radolfzell. My time here was fairly limited, as I was being picked up the next morning for a meeting nearby, before travelling to Stuttgart to catch my afternoon flight back to London.
Recently travelling back from Görlitz, I found myself with an hour or two to spare when changing in Berlin. So I wondered what to do and came up with a list of things you can do in Berlin if you only have an hour (or maybe two).
Don’t get me wrong. I am not claiming that you only need one hour to see all of Berlin. Far from it. You should allow at least 3 to 4 days if you are visiting for the first time. Or even more, which would give you a chance to also explore the surrounding areas, like the Spreewald and lakes.
But surely I am not the only one that might occasionally find herself at Berlin Hauptbahnhof (main station) with an hour or two spare before heading to the airport or taking a connecting train to somewhere else in Germany.
To me Berlin is very marmite. You either love it or hate it. Not much in between. And what shall I say… I don’t love marmite…. Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying I hate Berlin. Not really. But it would not make it into my top five of cities (hey here’s an idea for a new blog post… stay tuned). Nor would it be my first (second or third) choice of places to live in Germany. But I am always up for the odd weekend or visit (unlike marmite… that I do loath at all times). So if you are planning a trip to Berlin, let me tell you which airport to pick for Berlin.
Every now and then the choice of hotel or location turns out to be just perfect, making an otherwise standard work trip that little bit special.
I am usually in charge of my own itinerary. So within limits I can pick and choose my preferred dates, flights and hotels. But saying that…. When it comes to hotels I am regularly at the mercy of the client, as they confirm the appointments with the dealerships, pick me up from the airport and drop me at the hotel (often the case when they actually stay at the same hotel). This can be a bit hit and miss obviously. Sometimes I am informed before where I will be staying (or even get a say in where I want to stay), other times I just have to hope they actually remembered to book me a room.
Last week’s work trip was yet another two day trip to Germany.
It all started with an early morning flight from London City to Düsseldorf, a fairly straight forward affair with no notable story to share.
After visiting two showrooms in the area and a brief sweat getting stuck in traffic during rush hour on the way back to the airport, I eventually made it back to Düsseldorf just in time to board my onward flight to Berlin for the night.
After weeks of hardly travelling, I am back to travelling hard with trips lined up every single week for the next six weeks (and counting). So to kick things off I had a trip to Germany, more specific Erfurt and Weimar.
Ever so often you find yourself in the right place at the right time. Such as last January. We had a 2 day trip to the vicinity of Hamburg and decided to take the opportunity visiting the newly opened Elbphilharmonie, which after years of delay finally opened three weeks prior.
So we booked ourselves into a hotel near the harbour, at the top end of the Reeperbahn. Within walking distance so to say.
The original plan was to walk along the harbour to the Elbphilharmonie, have a look around, see if we could get tickets for the viewing gallery and go for dinner afterwards. But what are plans, if not to change?