What 2020 taught the Tour Guides

what 2020 taught Berlin tour guides

At the end of a challenging year, BBS members reflect on what 2020 taught them about the city they know so well.

It’s no secret that Berlin has seen its share of upheaval over the years.

For millions of visitors annually, this fascinating history is one of the German capital’s biggest draws. Guests from all across the globe have flocked to Berlin, determined to unlock, explore and understand its complex past. Those  lucky enough to experience the Hauptstadt with a skilled guide invariably leave for home having learned valuable lessons – not just about this city, but from it.

2020 was itself a historic year.

Beyond putting the brakes (quite rightly) on tourism, the global pandemic encouraged us to think differently about- well, almost everything. As tour guides, covid restrictions changed the way we engage with Berlin –  professionally, of course, but on a personal level too.

Ten tour guides tell us what they learned.

 

What did 2020 teach you about Berlin?

That I really don’t have to venture far from home to appreciate most things Berlin has to offer. My block is like a microcosm of the city and from my apartment, you can witness the effects of hard-hitting history, appreciate world-class street art, enjoy dozens of international cuisines and experience wildlife of all varieties.
Georgia Riungu

To appreciate the little things in life and take quiet time for reflection.
Jeremy Minsberg

That the more slowly you walk around, the better you realise how full of ginkgo bilobas this city is. There are so many of them! The female trees’ fruits do stink a little bit, but both female and male trees are so beautiful in Autumn. It’s really something you should not miss out on!
Alazne Artetxe

To appreciate the fantastic historic city I live in (and the free entrance at the German History Museum).
Susan Grouchy

2020 has taught me that Berlin can handle actually going to sleep once in a while.
Chris Moniz

That there are still so many places I need to visit!
Wouter Bernhardt

How special it was that I spent 15 years working as a guide. I know the city in a way that people with “regular jobs” cannot know, because I’m always out and about, whether it’s seeing the sites in Mitte or travelling to pick clients up. I’ll never know another place as intimately as Berlin. These last 12 months I’ve missed all that exploring.
Heather Mae Ellis

I enjoyed even more the fact that Berlin is a green city. What a delight to walk through all these beautiful parks with lakes! And the open-minded/freedom spirit – we are actually allowed to enjoy them, not like in France or other countries where you really have to stay home.
Stéphanie Kieffer

It’s not a bad place to be during a pandemic.
Jo Eckardt

Berlin is great in crisis. Who first comes to Berlin is puzzled by the rough Berliner ways.
But when the going gets tough you’ll always find a helping hand.
Yan Katz