Expat Living, Travel

A Year in Review: My Top Ten Blog Posts of 2016

December 29, 2016
My Top Ten Blog Posts of 2016

My Top Ten Blog Posts of 2016

Another year has flown by and it’s time to take a look back and put a spotlight on the most popular posts on cherylhoward.com during 2016. Just what was it that you guys liked the most?

My Top Ten Blog Posts of 2016

From a travel perspective, your interests range from cool spots to hang out in Budapest, to why you should visit Mostar, to some of the weirder things in Brussels.

Because you’re clearly as obsessed with the city as I am, you’re into anything and everything Berlin, with articles about making friends and finding a job in Berlin becoming some of the blog’s mainstay content features.

Not surprisingly, your intense curiosity about the subject of German nudity is high and posts about whether or not Germans swim naked or what it’s like to embrace the textile free policy of the German sauna continue to rank as the most popular. 

Counting down, let’s take a look at my top ten blog posts of 2016.  

My Top Ten Blog Posts of 2016
10) Eight Cool Places in Budapest 

Eight Cool Places in Budapest

Budapest is pretty much my favourite place on the planet (after Berlin of course) and it seems that it might be yours too based on the popularity of this post. If you’re looking for something different when you’re visiting Budapest, check out this mini-guide about eight of the coolest spots in town. 

Recommended Budapest reading:

9) So I Moved To Berlin. The Back Story And Why. 

So I Moved To Berlin. The Back Story And Why.

This is an oldie but a goodie and it still pleasantly surprises me that so many people take the time to read through this rather long post. Here I explain all the reasons I moved to Berlin, having never been there before, alone, without a job, and not even knowing the language.

I laugh whenever I recall the time when I was a Berlin newbie! I moved here all eager to begin what I saw as a more sophisticated life abroad in Europe. I had romanticized visions of walking along tree lined cobblestoned streets in a fashionable outfit, coffee in hand, and a handsome (not to mention tall) European man on my arm. Of course, he’d be well travelled, speak multiple languages, watch movies with subtitles, and be able to carry on a conversation that didn’t involve the Toronto Maple Leafs or Blue Jays. He’d think my habit of saying sorry too much or the way I pronounce “about” was cute. 

At first, life in Berlin was completely overwhelming! Initially, I questioned my sanity about making the move. I was lonely and missed home. Doing the smallest thing was difficult because of language barriers. Finding work was nearly impossible. I was paying exorbitant rent to stay in a holiday flat. But within six months, I found a cheaper flat, started learning German, making friends, and working.

Recommended Berlin reading:

8) Ten Weird and Wonderful Things in Brussels

Ten Weird and Wonderful Things in Brussels.

A lot of people tell you to skip Brussels and that cities like Ghent, Antwerp, and Bruges are all far more worth visiting. It might be true, and I wouldn’t know as I haven’t been to any of these places, but as I like weird and offbeat things, Brussels had me from the start. It was just that  freaking weird.

I jokingly penned this post about some of the weirder things in Brussels, like a café where cash adorns the walls, a cat on a bicycle statue, and perhaps one of the most WTF highlights — a chandelier made from beetles!

Recommended Brussels reading:

7) Expat Living: Dana Newman in Munich, Germany

Expat Living: Dana Newman in Munich, Germany.

In my long-running expat living interview series, we meet the lovely Dana Newman who vlogs about what life is like as an American in Munich

Recommended Munich reading:

6) Vabali Spa in Berlin

Vabali Spa in Berlin

Pay a visit to my one of my favourite places in Berlin, Vabali Spa! In  a recent effort to bestow myself with a little self love on myself,  I went there on a cold November day to enjoy the wild thrill of swimming naked outdoors in their heated pool and getting all toasty in the warm waters of their jacuzzi. 

Recommended spa reading:

5) So I Moved To Berlin. Just How Did I Make Friends?

So I Moved To Berlin. Just How Did I Make Friends?

We all know how hard it is to make friends whenever you move to a new city, so in this post I share tips about how to go about making friends in Berlin, like signing up for a German class, going to a bar alone, and even stalking people on social media (i.e. Twitter). Believe it or not, all of this helped me to meet new people and make friends. And yeah, the liquid courage might have helped too! 

I never dreamed that this post would trigger my friend Adam and I to start a meetup that would grow to 3,000 members and see us hanging out at cool spots like House of Weekend where we’d have the rooftop to ourselves for two hours. Our meetups bring locals, expats, visiting travellers, and other newcomers together who are all eager to meet new people in Berlin. It’s been heartwarming to watch people become forge long-lasting friendships that help them adjust to their new life in the city and feel more settled and at home. 

Top ways to make friends in Berlin?

  • Join our meetup group with close to 3,000 members and attend one of our monthly meetups
  • Join our Facebook group and start connecting with locals right away

4) Ask Cheryl: Do Germans Swim Naked? 

Ask Cheryl: Do Germans Swim Naked?

Someone once Googled “Do Germans swim naked?” and arrived at my blog. After having a glass or two of wine, I crafted this very sarcastic response. The post has done so well on Google, that I’m now considered an “expert” on naked German swimming.

Read on if you really dying to know whether or not “zee Germans” swim without a stitch of clothing. Hint: if you paid attention to my mention of Vabali Spa in Berlin, you already know the answer.

Recommended naked Berlin reading:

3) 8 Reasons to Visit Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina

8 Reasons to Visit Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina

During the summer of 2014, I paid a visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina, choosing Mostar as my base for five days. After seeing pictures of the city’s iconic bridge on Pinterest, I knew I just had to visit. Swimming under waterfalls, exploring an abandoned airport hangar, and checking out some mystic and ancient holy sites were among just a few of the area’s highlights. 

Recommended Bosnia and Herzegovina reading:

2) 12 Tips About How to Find a Job in Berlin

12 Tips About How to Find a Job in Berlin

Finding a job in Berlin is no easy feat, especially if you’re working within the ever tumultuous start-up scene. Look no further than me, as I’ve had three different jobs over the past year and now consider myself a professional job seeker. 

I actually wrote this post after I moved back to Canada and was plotting my way back to Berlin. It was more a set of guidelines for me to follow than anything and never did I think it would gain so much attention. I’m happy that I’ve been able to help so many others find employment in our “poor but sexy” city.  

1) An Expat’s Account Of Getting Naked at a German Spa

An Expat’s Account Of Getting Naked at a German Spa

I remember talking to friends about my first German sauna experience — a conversation that always seemed to happen when I had more than a few drinks in me. They told me I should write about it and attempt to rank well for it on Google so that whenever someone typed “naked in Berlin” that I’d appear on the first page. 

Well, that happened and ever since then tons of weirdos find their way to my blog. If you’re looking to be entertained, give the post a read. The comments are something special. 

This blog is now in its sixth year. Can you believe it? As always, I remain astounded and of course, pleased that you continue to read and follow my adventures in Berlin and elsewhere. Stick around as there’s plenty coming up in 2017!

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2 Comments

  • Reply Ali January 6, 2017 at 12:02 pm

    You sure do have a lot of posts about nudity on this list!

    I’m glad you guys started the meetup group (even if I can’t seem to make it lately) because I think it’s a great way to meet people in Berlin, and you guys always manage to find interesting locations for it. And it’s crazy that it’s grown so big!

    Also, I totally want to go to Mostar! It looks so pretty!

    • Reply Cheryl Howard January 8, 2017 at 11:49 am

      Hey Ali –

      Ha ha, yeah. The naked German sauna posts help to keep me “relevant” in Germany. 🙂

      I’m/we’re so happy you guys come to the meetups! The one next month in the trampoline park is going to be so weird, but so much fun.

      Mostar is awesome. I hope to go back to Bosnia this year, as I still haven’t been to Sarajevo and want to go back to Mostar. Or would love to go to Kosovo as you did.

      – Cheryl

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