Today I am revisiting Berlin, the focus of my first-ever blog post this past spring. That post focused on the complexity of the city’s many, many layers of history. I was reminded again of this complexity when visiting the city last week. Indeed, Berlin is a city with a number of different histories—its sudden rise as a 19th century commercial capital, its years under the Third Reich, its Cold War partition and now it’s blending into a complex present that includes not just this distinctly German past but its current life as a truly multi-national hub. One finds people of every stripe and sort and from every corner of the globe living in this very low-profile and livable city.
Ramble guide Boris Abel in front of the Bradenburg Gate
Berlin is not alone in laying claim to being a world destination. London and New York certainly come to mind--so many different nationalities, drawn as often as not by hope--the hope of future possibilities. Berlin feels like a world capital in a different way. It is for the present tense promise of an enjoyable life rather than the more typical lure of future-tense happiness that brings so many non-Germans here—and here to stay.
A view of the Ai Wei Wei exhibition at Neugerriemschneider
All this brings me to the real point of today’s post and that is in city as richly varied as modern day Berlin, the most valuable asset one can have is an excellent team of guides. If you have a limited time to make sense of the city, its many parts and its complex history and present realities then you are likely to welcome the help of the wonderfully well-informed.
'Fallen Leaves' by Menashe Kadishman at the Jewish Museum
Having just returned from leading a trip with the very talented Kristin Peterson Edwards of KPE ARTS, I can recommend with absolute confidence the guide team headed by Norbert Witzgall and Ariane Pauls. Together they’ve started a new company called Ramble. Ramble has as its primary focus arts and culture but trust me when I say that these two along with their excellent colleagues can provide the perfect introduction to Berlin in all its many facets. And while I have had the pleasure of working with several outstanding guides since starting Studio Traveler two years ago, it is a special pleasure to recommend Norbert and Ariane since Ramble is a brand new venture. I predict great things ahead and hope you will keep them in mind when traveling to this great city. I just know you will be as pleased as we are!