‘Bridge of Spies, the lives of others, wings of desire, Deutschland ’83 – there are plenty fascinating stories about the East Side of Germany…’
I was convinced and surprised.
Convinced that I needed to find out all about East Germany, after all in 2016 it was the anniversary of the Fall of the Berlin Wall and surprised that I’ve yet to discover East Germany properly.
Thankfully, the German National Tourist Board invited me along to find out where just to gain East Germany at their exclusive event in ‘East’ London at the Revolution Bar where their partners from the six German states of Berlin, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia, would be hosted.
The theme was ‘East Side Stories‘ – a travel evening about what was then and what is now – from discovering the hidden corners, the little known yet fascinating eastern towns and cities, to plan for the future and emerging trends in Germany’s east.
To add a little sweetener to the event, gherkins would obviously feature heavily, a huge amount of tasting stations of amazing food and drinks e.g. buckthorn schnapps, and trying out the original Erika typewriter provided by the DDR Museum Berlin (it still works!). If that wasn’t enough, the original Stollen baker from Dresden would be providing the amazing Whiskey Stollen for us to sample, a porcelain painter from Meissen would be showcasing their wares, a steam train model from the Harz region to play with and checking out the original woodwork from the Erzgeoirge mountains.
Completely and utterly spoilt for choice!
Finally, as a personal touch, we would be hearing stories from people who experienced life in East Germany before or after the ‘Fall of the Wall’ and we would be hearing from them in person.
When I attended, I was pretty gobsmacked to find out how little I knew of East Germany and how much it contributes to Germany as we know of today.
I knew that I’ve been to Germany quite a number of times but I grew to realise that they were mostly in West Germany and South Germany with a visit to Berlin for a couple of days (for me that didn’t count):
Here are my highlights at East Side Stories:
Dresden Stollen Baker
Even before I had to chance to speak to the bakers (particularly Rudiger Zopp), the smell of their fresh bread had already convinced me to go to Dresden. Going for
seconds fourths of their samples, I was impressed to discover that Rudiger had delivered Whiskey stollen bread to Queen Elizabeth who sent him a letter of thanks. If the Queen thinks it’s brilliant, then I think it’s brilliant (it truly was!). So, it was then that whenever I’m in Dresden that I’ll be checking out the bakery for sure!
Mecklenburg-Western Pomeria Baltic Coast
As an adventure seeker, I was naturally drawn to find out more about Mecklenburg-Western Pomeria due to its proximity on the north-east German coast. I soon found out that they have gorgeous Baltic beaches that can be travelled through on a driveway that can be made along the coast starting from Rostock (the state capital).
With no tides, fine white sandy beaches on romantic bays, it comes to a pleasant surprise that in this region, it’s where bathing was invented! A Duke of Mecklenburg went into the water to bathe in Heiligendamm and established the first seaside resort of continental Europe! Neat! Let’s see if I can brave the Baltic waters then but I’m sure I’ll love it even more than the Mediterranean.
Can I go swimming please? Pretty please?
Unique Hotels with Arcona Hotels and Resorts
Hotels that mould into the landscape and cityscape is a big tick from me when I heard that Arcona Hotels and Resorts uses the local architecture to absorb into it. I don’t like big stand alone hotels that pervades the landscape so it was extremely interesting to hear what hotel options there are with Arcona. My favourite hotels after checking them out is Stralsund and Rostock purely because of their locations in the Hanseatic cities on the Baltic Sea. Guess, you can’t take the history buff out of me!
Barrier Free Travel in Thuringia
I was pleased to discover that Thuringia is deaf-aware and accessible. They had launched a travel theme called Barrier Free Travel in which not only they place emphasis on mobility issues but also hidden disabilities. So, I was intrigued to discover that the picturesque towns of Erfurt and Weimar alongside the Hanich National Park can cater for those with hearing loss. As a deaf travel blogger, I am interested in finding more about the way they have approached this and to see if this works.
Plus check out this video, who would;t want to go?!
Finally, getting a photo with Klaus Lohmann!
Ah, this guy is utterly amazing! As the UK Director of German National Tourist Office, he’s absolutely fantastic and passionate in promoting all things German in the tourism industry. So, when Roaming Required, The Travel Tester and I had a chance to take a photo booth esque shot with Klaus, we simply couldn’t resist!
So, what do you think? Would you go to East Germany and discover the stories within? i know I will be. Let’s make a story to remember.