My work accords me the privilege of traveling quite a bit. Some of it in the form of scouting new destinations for our tours and others for marketing purposes and this one was as such. This can seem obvious because after all that is why I am in the business I am in – the travel world. This trip often happens in March every year where we go to attend the ITB Berlin.
As always I go a few days to the expo or extend my stay to explore a little bit more of the area. I had heard quite a bit about Germany and bits about world war II with Hitler being something else. I had always wanted to visit Berlin and see the famous Berlin wall and the town. I have come to love Berlin because it has such a multi cultural feel to it. The town is easy to navigate with its excellent public transport and taxis not forgetting the advent of Uber makes it even more accessible. It is not jammed up with impossible traffic but one that is manageable. Thankfully in a lot of places one is able to speak English and get service making it even more pleasant.
A friend told me about a walking tour he had found on the internet which we would join in and explore this city. It run twice a day on particular days of week depending on the weather and how many people confirmed to take it. We choose the morning tour so that I could use the afternoon to do any last minute shopping. Our tour guide was a young lady from Ireland who decided to come to Berlin for work and ended up with tour guiding job, not a formal job but it is a better opportunity for her compared to the work she had back home. The way it works is that the tour is free but you are obliged to tip at the end of it. I found this a good way of getting people to join in and still make money at the end of tour. She had really done her research and shared the history of Germany from her finger tips answering whatever question sent her way.
I enjoyed this walking tour because it afforded us an opportunity to see the city in very real ways and walk through alleys that would not be possible if we were using a tour bus. My highlight was the Berlin wall – not that it was still their but small fractions of it, most of it was a line showing where the wall used to be. I liked visiting the old government buildings and their significance in history. She shared about the role of education and how it had evolved over the years, we also visited the earliest catholic church and Protestant church in this area and how there was tension between the two religious groupings at some point in time. We visited the holocaust monument for the Jewish lives lost during Hitler days plus the area where Hitler was eventually defeated in his bunker underground, it is now a play center for children and has apartments.
Overall my Berlin trips are usually about work but certainly shopping is a big part of the experience. I get to visit several multicultural restaurants and hangout places.