Although I left the security of my Northeastern Washington home in 1986, my rather rustic upbringing did little to prepare me for the grating noise, stink, nostalgia, and assault on every one of our guarded senses that is Berlin. From my first step onto the swampy banks of the Spree, I fell in love with the then divided city.
After a year in a quiet western US suburb, I enrolled in university, but soon felt the call to return to Europe and studied Art History in Florence, Italy. During that fateful year of 1989, I witnessed firsthand the fall of the Berlin Wall and demonstrated on Wenceseslas Square in Prague during the Velvet Revolution.
I have a master’s degree in Central European History accentuated with courses at Charles University in Prague and Judaica Studies in Munich. I gave my first tour in 1986 to a group of students in Osnabrück, Germany, but it was Rick Steves who taught me to be a guide. Rick and I have traveled together, and even after 20 years, he still says that I make “the 20th century a thriller.”
Berlin is filled with wonderful guides. I imagined that we could all come together and share our experiences and insights. With this in mind, I gathered several of the best guides, we founded the Berlin Guides Association, and I served as its first president.
I don’t do tours, at least not in the traditional sense. Together we will discover not just the major events in Berlin, but also the story of people and ideas that make the city what it is and how it got this way. I am a historian, but out time together will be about how everything fits together and why things are the way they are. Don’t expect a boring lecture filled with unpronounceable names and lists of dates; I want my experiences in Berlin to become the basis for you to find your own Berlin.
For over 25 years, Berlin has been home to me and my family. We have seen Berlin grow from our unique perspective – from the frontlines of the Cold War to the city that it was destined to become. If you have kids, bring them along and I will revel them with cringey Dad jokes and 1980s pop culture references.
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