Travel, Type 1 Diabetes

Bloggers In Berlin

June 7, 2015
Instagram Camera

Berlin for the weekend you say? Yes please.

I was invited by Abbott (y’know, those of the Freestyle Libre and many other things) to join them for #DXBerlin, an exchange weekend bringing together type 1 diabetes bloggers from eight European countries to meet, chat, absorb, learn, engage and share insight and perspective around this glorious (read: not so glorious) condition of ours.

Apparently it’s not only boys that are like buses. Having only been back a few weeks from my glorious trip to Switzerland with Ypsomed – the first time I’d ever met any diabetes bloggers from outside the UK, and the first time I’d ever been invited anywhere else on a diabetes basis – I was still glowing (just – May was a lot) from how interesting, useful and almost therapeutic the trip had been, and here I am off the back of another one, feeling similarly inspired despite the trip being a rather different experience. It’s just so incredibly valuable to meet up with people from different cultures, different walks of life, different corners of the world because of a shared passion, never mind when that link is one that no-one else quite understands. And it didn’t hurt to be in one of Europe’s most progressive and interesting cities; so much so that I mostly took pictures of my incredible surroundings, rather than documenting the actual tasks at hand.

Like before I could bore you to tears with a lengthy diary of the last 48 hours, but I think these pictures tell it rather more beautifully concisely…

So let’s start by reinstating the classic ‘here’s an innocuous plane wing’ shot. If it ain’t broke, guys…

Plane Wing

 

Arrived in Berlin and it was TROPICAL. Win. Had a moment of being slightly confused as to why the airport was hellabusy until it dawned on me that the Champions League final was happening the following day. In Berlin. Uh oh…

Myself and Ralph the driver (literally the nicest guy ever, but I’m pretty sure that’s applicable to 99% of Germans, they are SO DAMN FRIENDLY) waited for a few other bloggers who were arriving at a similar time, including Kris who had been on my plane the whole way. Solid start. I was reunited with lovely Andrea who had flown from France, and met Marcel at the same time. Off we went into the centre Berlin, full of the joys of summer.

And I very quickly found the wine…

Bellini Lounge, Berlin

Followed quickly by an influx of around 25 diabetics and/or Abbott staff into the bar. Yay! Hugs, reunions, introductions ensued, including warm embraces from many of the friendly faces I’d met in Berlin. Most importantly I popped my selfie stick cherry (successfully if I do say so myself) with lovely Mel and Laura

Selfie Stick

We managed to put the camera (and the wine) down to head to the hotel at a reasonable hour ahead of what we knew was going to be a jam-packed Saturday. Arrived to find a nice little goodie bag full of treats from each country waiting for me on the bed. Fun! Representing the UK was mint sauce, naturally. (Alas, I had to leave it in the hotel room thanks to hand luggage constraints. Devastating, Those caramel waffles made it back though, you can be damn sure of that).

Abbott Goody Bag

Day two commenced on two wheels. YES.

Berlin on Bike

A lovely 4km cycle in the sun heading to the East of Berlin brought us to Fabrik23, which from the outside looked like a rather tired old warehouse. But this is Berlin, and I suspected there might be something to offer inside…

HELLO THERE INTERIOR OF DREAMS.

Warehouse

wall flowers fabrik23 decks chandelier2 Chair

So while I was busy dribbling over soft furnishings, the first speaker stepped up. Lovely Gemma is a blogger and YouTuber from Manchester who told us how she’d turned her hobby into a full-time career. Go on girlie!

Gemma Tomlinson

Then onto the Instagram workshop. I had to call on every last ounce of my conscience not to slip this thing into my handbag. WANT WANT WANT. (Abbott if you’re reading this, feel free to send it on).

Instagram Camera

polaroidscreen polaroidprinter Instagram Camera

More speakers, more insight, more ideas. The cogs were well and truly turning by this point. We heard from Bastian Hauck who is by all accounts a mover and shaker in diabetes and health advocacy in Germany, having set up the #DEdoc. I’d heard many, many positive and passionate things about Bastian, and he did not disappoint.

Here’s Sofia from Anna PS, a Swedish fashion company which makes tops, swimwear and pants with an integrated pocket to hold insulin pumps in place. Being a type 1 pumper herself, Sofia models the clothing rather fabulously:

Sofia

Next up, Boris Lauser gave us a raw food workshop. It was a brave new world for some, but he won the crowd over (and by all accounts making a raw vegan spaghetti bolognese in front of an Italian mama was a bold move!), while I found it served to completely reignite the wonderful stuff I learned at my long since dreamt of Kaliyoga retreat. FOOD for thought there for me… (Geddit?!)

Raw Food Demo

That being said, after another whimsical and sunny ride back to the hotel with our brains buzzing to the point that it was almost audible, we were taken to an absolutely gigantic and extremely packed bier keller to eat bratwurst and watch the football for the evening. Not so plant-based then, but entirely crazy and SO MUCH BLOODY FUN. There were plenty of Italians, Spanish as well as German fans in this place. Had an absolute ball.

Football

Not that I watched any of the match, because I’d found a kindred spirit in Gemma and we spent pretty much the entirety of the game gassing like  lifelong friends. This gave me a little case of the warm and fuzzies, although the sizeable steins of beer we’d waded through by that point might have had something to do with it…

Beer Keller

After the match, and buoyed but the boys’ choice of Jager (AH GAD), we wondered down to Alexanderplatz to soak up some of the entirely infectious atmosphere – Berlin was BUZZING. What a thing to witness.

Fast forward a few hours and the next morning there was something of a split in appearance between the bright-eyed bushies who had shunned the shots and got an early night, and those who had persevered with the Jagers. Ouch. No need for anyone to dwell as we were presented with this rather beautiful breakfast after a short walk to a local cafe which was a bit of an Instagrammer’s dream…

breakfast Breakfast in Berlin

There was a final chance to chat to the Abbott team before I was whisked away like a veritable Cinderella (sure) to the airport, making it back to Heathrow in time to catch the last of a weekend of blazing sunshine on our fair isle. The plane circumnavigated the whole of London at a very low level trying to find a landing slot, which I bloody loved – I spotted the park next to my flat, the Olympic Stadium, the Palace, and if you look closely in this pic you can just about clock The Shard and The Eye. It dawned on me from up there, looking down on massive sprawling London as a teeny tiny little part of the big bad world, that this place really is my home. Nice.

London Thames

Thanks very much to Abbott for inviting me along for a fleeting but wholly enjoyable weekend. Let’s not forget the obligatory group photo…

DX Berlin

 

 

4 Comments

  • Reply Frank June 9, 2015 at 12:21 pm

    Sounds like a lot of fun. I’ve been jealously reading tweets about this and the ADA Conference over the weekend, and its great to get an insight into some of the things you got up to here.

    • Reply missjengrieves June 17, 2015 at 6:56 pm

      ADA looked amazing didn’t it! Such a big operation. Berlin was a lot of fun, glad you like the photos (hopefully not too jealous!)

  • Reply Max June 9, 2015 at 9:54 pm

    Hi Jen!
    I love to read your blogposts! I´m very sad that I was not invited…:-/
    Best regards from Austria! Max

    • Reply missjengrieves June 17, 2015 at 6:57 pm

      Hi Max! How are you doing? How’s all the training going??!! I’m sad you weren’t invited too. Hopefully next time we will all be there, it was a lot of fun!

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