There is no better orientation to any city than walking its streets and trying to explore on your own what makes it what it is. This is why our first actual conscious day in the city of Berlin kicked off with such a tour.
I can’t speak enough about how amazing this tour was. For anyone thinking of coming to Berlin or any major city, please take the free walking tour with Sandeman’s New Europe. They work on a tip basis, meaning they’re the most passionate group of guides, trying to deliver the best experience possible.
As we were walked through 800 years of history, our guide Stephanie made a very important point that the Germany we all know today is only 25 years old.
That means that in my own lifetime, this whole country built itself back from two world wars, multiple occupations and regimes, flattened buildings and different ideals to be become the strongest economy in Europe, as well as a great place to live.
Coming from Lebanon, a country where we have had our fair share of problems and a civil war whose effects still linger to this day, I couldn’t help but draw parallels and wonder why we couldn’t do the same.
We as Lebanese love to talk about history but we do so in a way where we lament our luck and just move on. The Germans on the other hand built memorials in the middle of their busiest districts so that no one forgets that history is cruel and unforgiving.
They educate their students early on and are very upfront about their history. We can’t even get one book right because everyone wants to be a winner… In the end, we are all just losers.
I mean Berlin had a bloody wall splitting it in half and look at them now. There is so much more to this place than just the nightlife and walking around, this is evident. You see that people are happy to be living here. Our tour guide today actually hails from New Zealand!
Berlin may not be a city for everyone but it should be the role model for us to become. As they prepare to celebrate 25 years since reunification, it’s a good time to look up to them and see how it has been done. We can do it if we get our priorities straight and understand that we cannot live in the past anymore or we will be left behind.