Things to do in Berlin with locals

There are many Things to do in Berlin with locals ... photo by CC user Belappetit on wikimedia commons

Heading to Germany’s most culturally adept city, but have no idea what to do beyond the typical tourist attractions? In this article, we will go over the many things to do in Berlin with locals that will have you appreciating this city in a way that the casual traveler simply cannot comprehend.

Check out an authentic market hall

Although there are only two market halls left in all of Berlin (down from the original 13), Markthalle 9 has benefited largely because of the recent move towards local food production. Open since 1891, It is now home to a farmers market, craft sales, and plenty of hot food stalls.

Be sure to keep your eyes open for sales of local craft beers, as the these ales, pilsners, and lagers represent the leading edge of German beer making in the present day.

Explore neighborhoods with a local

Berlin is a very eclectic city when it comes to its neighborhoods, and the best way to discover their hidden secrets is to hire a local guide. Websites like Withlocals.com give you a chance to hire knowledgeable and professional guides that will help you uncover parts of this metropolis that you would never think to explore on your own.

From food tours that help you discover the best Wienerschnitzel in the city, to a flea market crawl that will have you finding some of the most eccentric but interesting knick-knacks that you have ever seen in your life, signing up for a tour with a local is one of the best decisions you’ll make while traveling.

Spend a beautiful day outside at Tempelhof Park

When the Tempelhof airport was closed to make way for a bigger and more modern airport facility for the city of Berlin, the airfield left a big gaping hole in Berlin’s cityscape.

After careful deliberation, it was decided that this giant parcel of land would be converted into a park, part of which would be set aside for wildlife, but also with a part that would allow for recreational use by city residents.

To that end, avid kiteboarders use the old runways to reach untold speeds on windy days, while others use the grassy infield as a perfect place to have a picnic lunch on a beautiful day in the city.

Pay your respects at the Berlin Wall Memorial

If there’s one thing that you should do here that is not off the beaten track, it should be to head to the Berlin Wall Memorial and pay your respects to those that lost their lives in an attempt to reach the freedom that West Germany represented during the days of division in this city.

While most of the wall was dismantled in the days following its fall in 1989, this section was left intact for the purposes of remembering the social and human cost of the construction of this barrier. Guides will relay their personal stories of suffering and hardship that was caused due to this wall’s construction, which divided families for decades.

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Exploring Belfast with the family

Checking out the zoo is a must when Exploring Belfast with the family

There’s a whole lot for families to do and see around Belfast, whether your kids need to be kept busy or enjoy relaxing and playing a couple games of Eurocup Game. When we traveled to Belfast recently, there was one attraction that really caught our eye – the Belfast Zoo.

Built all the way back in 1934, the zoo houses thousands of animals from around the world in beautiful, safe natural scenery, giving them an environment in which they can really relax. The zoo’s found a fair distance from the city itself (definitely better for the animals), but we didn’t have much of a problem getting there. We’d stayed at the Travelodge Belfast hotel, surprisingly cheap for something right in the city centre, and hopped on a Metro 1 bus from right outside straight to the zoo.

The buses don’t stop right outside the zoo – there’s about a 500 metre walk uphill (make sure you’re aware of this if you’ve got a pram) before you reach the zoo. Entrance to the zoo isn’t too pricey, with a family ticket coming at £23.20 at the moment. Once we actually got inside, we knew we’d made the right choice.

Across around 50 acres of nature, there’s more than a thousand animals, from natural inhabitants to a whole set of different visitors. We started off with a look around a few different types of monkey, from lemurs to gorillas and chimps (the kids recognised the ring-tailed lemurs from the Madagascar series).

Just walking around we saw everything from anteaters and kangaroos to capybaras (actually one of my favourite animals – they just look like they’re having a good time) and tapirs. The zoo’s taken animals from around the world and made sure that they’re all as comfy as possible, keeping them safe and happy.

As you might expect, a few of the animal enclosures get pretty crowded, with lions, elephants and tigers getting pretty packed around lunchtime. All in all, the Belfast Zoo really made for a great time, keeping the kids enthralled with some beautiful and rare animals.

The zoo’s actually part of a larger area, Cave Hill, which includes the famous Belfast Castle as well as a few more sights. With huge mountains and some really impressive natural sights, the park definitely looked impressive, but it’s really not the kind of thing the kids would enjoy. Maybe some other time.

Heading back towards our city centre Belfast hotel in the afternoon, we decided to stop off around something a bit more modern than the Belfast Zoo. Built a few years back, the W5 centre is a huge activity area designed for kids, with a whole lot of active attractions around. A bit more expensive than the Zoo, the W5 was definitely worth it – there’s hundreds of interactive things from a huge climbing frame to sciencey activities, music and way more.

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The Best Transportation Apps

No matter how experienced you are at traveling to new cities, there comes a time you’re going to need a helping hand to be able to get around. Fortunately, today’s business traveler usually comes equipped with a smartphone, and there’s a ton of great apps to help you get from A to B. Whether you’re looking to hire a car and driver at the last minute, or simply trying to find the best route to go on foot, you can always find an app specifically for it, no matter what destination you’re traveling to.

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Here’s our favorite transportation apps for business travelers in 2016:

AllSubway

The first and still the best subway app around, AllSubway provides highly detailed subway maps for dozens of cities in the world, including London, New York, Paris, Tokyo, Sydney and many more. The maps are very easy to use, and you can pinch or pull to zoom in and out. The app also tells you what platform to go to and which stations to get off at if you plot a complicated route.

Blacklane

Sometimes it’s just too annoying to hail a cab in some cities, while other in other cities the taxi ranks are often overflowing with scammers who’ll charge extortionate rates for a very poor service in a beaten up old vehicle. Why bother with all that hassle when you can simply book your ride 60 minutes before with Blacklane? Blacklane is kind of like Uber, only it’s a bit more reliable with fixed rates that don’t increase during busy times. The company touts itself as a worldwide airport transfer service specialist, and provides a hassle-free way to get into the city or to the airport in comfort, and for a reasonable price.

Embark

If you’ve traveled in a foreign country before you’ll be all too aware that you can only get online when there’s a Wi-Fi connection around. But for those moments when we’re outside of the hotel and Wi-Fi isn’t available, Embark is a great way to plot your subway station trips. The app constantly downloads data in the background when you’re connected, so even when you’re offline you can still pull up information on any station to find out the train schedules.

Google Maps

It might be an obvious choice but there really is no maps app that comes close to Google’s offering. The new Google Maps is far superior to the older versions too, with new features like voice-guided GPS navigation, no matter if you’re walking, driving or riding a bike, and also transit directions for more than 15,000 cities. And thanks to the integrated Street View, it’s even easier to find exactly what you’re looking for, and know which landmarks to look out for. Google Maps also offers live traffic conditions in many western cities, so you can do your best to avoid the delays.

Kayak

For travelers in a hurry Kayak offers a very quick fix. Simply search for a flight by entering your location and destination and voila! – Kayak will throw up all available flights starting with the cheapest. Even better, you can book and pay for the flight right their in the app, so there’s no faffing about.

 

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How to Make Money While Sitting on Your Couch

Work From Home

It’s everyone’s dream. Make money while sitting on your  couch. But it is not always easy to earn cash while sitting around in your bathrobe.  Here are some tips to help you find the dream job you can do from your sofa.
Work From Home
Utilize a Skill You Already Have
The best way to start earning money from home is to take advantage of skills you already have. Are you a natural writer or have experience doing so? Perhaps you could find a job as a copywriter. This is often a flexible position as far location and you could definitely find a gig that would allow you to work from your couch. Do you have experience in computer programming or design? Then you are in luck! Many tech industry positions often allow flexible work environments including working from home. Some other popular work from home industries are medical transcriptionists, call center operators, travel agents, and tech support staff. So look at your work history and maybe you are already qualified for one of these positions.

Make Use of the Global Economy
Maybe an at home  job may seem like a low pay rate but it is all relative. A small hourly rate in Manhattan could be a king’s ransom amount in a country like Vietnam. So if you can flexibility where you work, you are opening yourself up to a plethora of opportunities. A recent publicized trends of of “digital nomads” is highlight workers who are taking advantage of this and working abroad while making a U.S. salary. If you choose a low cost country to visit while working remotely, not only can you work from your couch but you can travel the world as well.

Do Your Homework
If a job is too good to be true, it likely is. Be skeptical of banner adds about retirees earning $100,000 a with nothing more than laptop. Check out legitimate job sites and referrals from people you know. There are plenty of work from home jobs but remember they are actual jobs that require actual work. You will still have to work just as hard as in the office, if not harder! Also, it is important to make sure working form home is for you. It’s not for everybody. Some people think working from home will be ideal but after a few weeks get bored or miss the routine. For some it is nice to get out of the house ever once in a while.

So whether you are looking for a little extra cash on the side or a full time career from the couch; if you do you research and are qualified you can find it. Make sure you have a strong internet connection and a fast laptop and update your resume. The next thing you know you could be logging 40 hours a week from the comfort of your couch.

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5 Destinations that Should Be On Your Radar for 2016

Prague Destination

Looking for the hottest destinations for the new year? Here are 5 destinations that should be on your radar for 2016. So make sure your passport is up to date and choose one of these travel destinations!

Cuba
cuba destination

With United States and Cuban relations beginning to normalize (indeed the U.S. embassy in Havana has reopened) there is no better time to visit this Caribbean jewel than now. How often can you fly to a McDonald’s free country just miles of the Florida coast. Cuba’s unique culture includes much more than antique cars and beautiful beaches (though those are not to be missed.) Once you get down there don’t forgot to spend days admiring Havana’s architecture or the island’s jungles.

Myanmar
Formally known as Burma, this country was also off limits to tourists until recently. This beautiful southeast asian nation is located on the northern coast of the Indian Sea and borders the l0ng time tourist hub of  Thailand. From its countless historic temples and ancient cities to spectacular views, Myanmar is not to be missed. Though this country has spectacular beaches, they may take some getting to as the infrastructure still needs some works. Myanmar’s remoteness is also its biggest asset as it will allow for an amazing crowd-less opportunities, hard to find in neighboring nations.

Argentina
This giant South American country gives travelers extreme variety; the chance to explore tropic jungles in the north, the over the top Andes,the rolling cattle plains , the long bikini crowded Atlantic beaches, and the ultimate penguin photo ops of Patagonia; for tips on landscape photography, be sure to read David Gibbeson’s blog (https://davidgibbeson.com/). Remember Buenos Aires, famous for its cultural sophistication and loud architecture. Don’t forgot you dancing shoes!

Vietnam
Recently tourists have been coming to Vietnam in increasing numbers. Many are coming for the deep and fascinating history others for the wild jungles. There is also no shortage of breathtaking beaches. Yet another reason not to miss Vietnam is its food. The Vietnamese food scene is blossoming both internationally and locally so no better time to get your food in the door and start exploring the fascinating cuisine of this culture.

Czech Republic
Prague Destination

There is no better time to visit the Czech Republic than now. This notoriously affordable European nation is even more so due to a strong dollar. Czech is a travel destination that should be on your list because it is one of the few countries you can enjoy traditional European cities and villages while staying on a budget. Prague’s remarkable cathedrals and bridges are worth the trip alone, not to mention the beer!

So I hope one of these 5 destinations that should be on your radar for 2016 striked your interest for the new year. Countries are always changing so what is an idyllic beach today could be a crowded tourists hub by next year. So get out there as soon as you can and don’t forgot the camera!

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