Tigrest Travel Blog

This is a blog about destinations, food and travel tips

Category: Germany

Tropical Islands water park sea

How to visit Tropical Islands water park from Berlin

Tropical Islands water park sea

Sightseeing in Berlin wasn’t our only plan during the short trip in May. One of the main goals was also going to Tropical Islands water park – the largest indoor water park in the world, that is home to the biggest indoor rain forest in the world, a beach, many tropical plants and a number of swimming pools, bars and restaurants. This place is a perfect get away during cold months in Northern Europe. The place is ideal for visiting with kids, and you can stay overnight for an even better experience.

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Saxon Switzerland National Park schramm-9

Bucket List Destination: Saxon Switzerland National Park, Germany

Saxon Switzerland National Park schramm-9

By Casey Snook

Germany has no shortage of beautiful nature and while the Alps and the Black Forest might come to mind first, one of the best natural areas in the country is Saxon Switzerland. While you might assume it’s located in Switzerland, Saxon Switzerland National Park is actually in the far east in Germany on the border with the Czech Republic. (The park gets its name from two Swiss men who were reminded of the landscapes of their home country.) Although a bit under the radar as far as tourist destinations go, its a wonderland for lovers of the outdoors. The park was founded in 1990 and today, it includes more than 100 km² of protected natural land.

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72 hours in Berlin with a kid

Amazing 72 hours in Berlin with a kid

We managed to grab those cheap Ryan Air tickets in the last moment. Long weekend in Berlin seemed like a great idea. This time, however, it was a different trip because we had a nine year old, who came along for her first long distance travel. Berlin is great at this time of the year – already pleasantly warm, green and blooming. Every time I come here, it looks very different. This time, the gap has been almost 10 years and the city surely changed a lot. Here is our guide – how to spend 72 hours in Berlin with a kid.

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Bachelor degree in Germany in English - Bremerhaven

Bachelor degree in Germany in English – Tourism studies in Bremerhaven

Bachelor degree in Germany in English - Bremerhaven

During my latest trip to Osnabrück and Bremerhaven, I met students from the University that I went to almost 15 years ago – Hochschule Bremerhaven. Back in the days, Bachelor degree in Germany in English that I studied was called CIM, or Cruise Industry Management. It has been only the second year since its launch and a lot of things were still in test mode. Today, it has evolved and changed its name to CTM, or Cruise Tourism Management. I was happy to discover that, it’s still alive and provides great value to young students eager to discover the world and study tourism.

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Germany Weekend trip Osnabrück

Germany Weekend trip to Osnabrück and Bremerhaven

Germany Weekend trip Osnabrück

Flying over to Germany for the weekend is almost as easy as taking a bus to a nearby city. Despite our Ryan Air flight being late, we only had to spend 1,5 hours in the air. Thanks to the great flight schedule, this Germany weekend trip was easily possible without missing at work: Friday evening flight to Bremen and back in Tallinn on Monday morning!

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Hostel jobs Berlin – my experience working in Pegasus

How it started and how did I end up working at Berlin hostel?

The madness started on a boring and cold February morning, when I departed my home town and went on a long bus ride, heading for Hostel jobs Berlin from the town of my studies. It was time for internship at the university, my second year living in Germany. I had never been to the capital before, so journey itself was very promising. It was supposed to be one day trip, I was planning on spending just a few hours in the city of my dreams, and my goal was to attend an interview for an intern position at one of Berlin’s youth hostels.




Finding the hostel was not an easy task and took me 2 hours of walking round and about the area called Friedrichshain. Finally I found the place – it was really nice and cosy. The manager – a French lady – was welcoming and showed me around. There was no real interview, not really. We just confirmed the details of my employment and living arrangements. I was allowed to sleep in a mixed dormitory for free for the first month. The Hostel jobs Berlin was about to start in April.

Berlin hostel called Pegasus

Hostel building, front yard

Moving to Berlin

Two months flew by like a breeze, and it was time to pack and take on the Hostel job in Berlin. I didn’t grab too much stuff with me on this journey – some clothes and my laptop, that’s about it. My first room was 10-bed dorm, I could pick a bed that I like (upper bunk) and there was a locker. Not too comfortable, but hey, I was just 20! You don’t care about comfort when you are that young! Or so I thought. First nights were definitely a struggle – strange people, strange sounds. Later I was moved to 6-bed women’s dorm – much better to my opinion! At least it was easier to sleep.

Pegasus hostel in Berlin

My first bunk in the 10-bed dormitory

First surprise

My first big surprise was that my laptop crashed on the same day when I arrived. Oh great, what am I going to do? Sure, there was an ancient looking computer with super slow internet speed in the hall – but it was for the guests! Nevertheless, I managed to learn its habits and tricks. The more time for new friends. There were no social networks at the time, people were actually talking to each other!
Pegasus hostel in Berlin

Main area of work – reception

The job

The job was quite demanding – I had to start early, around 8 am. My tasks included keeping an eye on the smooth operation of the hostel – attention to detail! For example, I had to greet the guests and show them to their rooms (not carry luggage!). Our hostel had 5 floors – imagine the amount of running up and down the stairs! By the end of the internship I was fit like never before in my life.


Pegasus hostel in Berlin

Reception area, front door

My other tasks included making sure the rooms are ready – so called “quality check”. I have to say that our Polish cleaning ladies, who didn’t speak a word in German or English, did a great job! Another task for me was making sure guests who were bound to leave that morning made it before check-out time. Now imagine a tiny girl walking into a 10-bed dorm and asking for some Mister X to leave please. You wouldn’t believe how many guests were stuck in their rooms for way longer than they should. Also my responsibilities included handing out feedback forms, showing guests to luggage storage rooms, shopping, later on answering emails, making bookings, answering the phone.

Pegasus hostel in Berlin

Guest area – also my responsibility

Fun parts

There were fun parts too – like making a huge board with different national flags for FIFA world championship. Berlin in summer 2006 was crazy, bursting with colours, flags, fans all over and celebrations every day. It was super fun to be right in the middle of it all! Watching football on huge screens is an experience hard to explain – even if you are not a fan, somehow you become part of this craziness.


Pegasus hostel in Berlin

FIFA World Cup board

 Not everything was smooth though – after about one month of working I started to feel pressure from my employer – it was difficult to understand the French lady’s accent and she was often demanding things that were illogical to me. To my relief she left the job soon and there was a much nicer person in her place.
Pegasus hostel in Berlin

Countdown to final game

I have met a few very nice people during my stay there. With some of them we went to visit museums – there was a so called “Thursday night deal” so all museums had free entrance every Thursday between 6 and 10 pm. That’s how I got to see most of them. One Australian girl took me to Jewish museum – very impressive and informative museum about holocaust.
Berlin bike

My dearest friend – this bike took me countless times around Berlin

Bike

After settling in first thing I did on my limited budget was to buy a bike. Berlin is very bike friendly. Later, when I moved out of the hostel and rented an apartment in far eastern part of the city (Hellerdorf), I was cycling to work every day (about 15 km one way). My bike took me everywhere I wanted to go – as I didn’t have any long-term friends, I was mostly alone, enjoying parks, the river, the busy city and its culture, and of course the people!

Berlin bike

Another lazy afternoon

 One day, when it was already summerish warm, I went out of the house and the door behind me locked itself. It was another 5-6 hours until someone was coming home and I was wearing only bikinis. So instead of wasting time sunbathing I just climbed back in the house through I tiny little window about 2 meters above ground! Still wondering how I managed to squeeze myself in there. Must have looked funny but I just didn’t care at the time.
Berlin house

This is the famous window that i climbed into – small one on the right

What did I learn?

There were times when I felt incredibly happy, riding my bike at 2 am from a party, listening to a nice song on the radio, feeling like there is nothing in the world stopping me from doing exactly what I want. Easily the best time of my life in terms of personal freedom and self-exploration, though sometimes it was challenging and demanding. Every day was a surprise – where would I go, what would I do. The whole city was my tiny little universe – I could do anything I want. Money was the issue, of course, Berlin isn’t cheap. But you can manage, if you are smart and do some research. And I went to some weird places! I went to parties alone and met some cool people. I went to all sorts of weird shops, ate street food for almost no money, and used a free coupon to dye my hair red! Cycled literally from one side of city to the other and back, just because I felt sad and needed distraction. But most importantly – I have learned so much about myself! Working in that hotel allowed me to step out of my comfort zone, broaden my horizons. I could truly say Berlin had changed me mentally and physically for a better, more self-confident person. For someone who has no fears of what life might throw at them.

Berlin FIFA 2006

FIFA World Cup celebrations near Brandenburger Tor

 If someone asked me today – how to get to know a city of your dreams, I can’t think of a better way, than to live there for few months, work with the people, use every opportunity you get to explore it! Get a bike and cycle through the streets. It’s not a typical “been there, check” kind of exploring! Taking your time and going places (especially solo) is truly the best way and as a young female I can assure – it is safe too!
studying in Germany

Why study in Germany – all you need to know

 Germany is a great country to study! Why study in Germany? Germany has (mainly) free education, offers some courses in English, is friendly to foreigners and offers good opportunities for students to find jobs. Applying for universities is not difficult at all and they are all open for foreign students. One of the best ways to study in Germany is through Erasmus programme. However, many young people come here to take full 3-5 years study course and possible stay in the country for longer period. Studying in Germany was very popular when i graduated.


 

Getting an apartment

Germany is all about rental flats. As much as 60% of all people rent flats. Finding a flat for rent is relatively easy, there are companies in each city specializing in rental flats. They should be the first point of contact. These people may also help you with any problems regarding your flat. However, if something doesn’t work, there is another person you should speak to – the Hausmeister. This guy knows exactly who to contact for possible repairs, so don’t lose your head if your tab is leaking. When you get a contract for rental flat they will automatically book the rent from your bank account, so make sure the money is there in time – Germans are very precise when it comes to money. German neighbors may be nasty so make sure you don’t listen to music in high volumes after 10 pm. Generally, Germans are nice people but they like their order.

Another great option for students are so called WGs – Wohngemeinschaft. These are large apartments shared by two or more people. Apartments like these are particularly popular among young people and students. Your college may have a board with advertisements, where people are looking for a new person to live in, so make sure to check it out.

Why study in Germany

Source: pixabay.com

Why study in Germany – Living among Germans

First couple of weeks may seem like living on a different planet. Especially in small towns where people know each other for years, you may feel like an alien at first. Getting to know Germans may be a challenge – they are friendly but that’s all you get. Not until you grab a beer with them and go to the football game. German lifestyle is very work and family centric. A typical German goes out strictly on Saturdays to a football game and on Sunday’s stays at home or goes to church. Young people are different, of course, although many keep the tradition and generally spend their time with families.


So how do you find new friends? By meeting other foreigners like yourself! Luckily that is really easy – there are a lot of different nationalities and many people feel the same like you. During my high school years my best friends were from Bulgaria and Colombia. This is certainly not a rule – there are Germans who are great people and great friends but they are generally difficult to find.

Student life

Being a student in Germany has many benefits. Firstly, you get to travel very cheap or for

Why study in Germany

German universities are high tech

free. In our school this meant free train rides in 200 km radius and that meant free rides to big cities like Hamburg. Having access to such freedom may open great possibilities. For instance, going to events and parties you would otherwise not have an opportunity to go to. Secondly, students have cheaper health insurance. If you are working in Germany you will be spending around 10% of your salary on insurance. For a student this fee is around 80 Euros per month. When visiting a doctor, be prepared to pay a visit fee of about 10 Euros though.

Why study in Germany

it’s not all about drinking, but Germans respect their traditions

Student jobs

Finding student jobs may sometimes be tricky if you are studying full time. Still, there are a few positions where students can work and earn some pocket money. These are for example fast food restaurants, stadiums and big events where additional help is needed. Seasonal work – selling hot wine at Christmas markets – is often available for students and young people. Hourly wages are quite good and working part time may be just enough for some people. Still, you need to have a back-up plan in case you are going to be unemployed for a while. When applying for study permit officials will ask you about your income sources. In case you have your parents sending you money, make sure to have official letter from your country with employer confirming your parent is working with them. This will save you a lot of trouble.

Future perspective

Germany is a great land, it has a lot to offer but you need to be careful and understand where you would like to be. There are already a lot of foreigners so German employers are particularly selective when it comes to choosing an employee for a full time job. So why study in Germany? Having a German education will help but still there is a human factor – they will choose a local. So unless you are studying to be an engineer or some important specialist, consider moving to other countries after your studies as you might get stuck at restaurant jobs for a long time.




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