I felt obligated to do one more post before I pass out. When asked about my time in Berlin, this is the first story I share.
I couldn’t sleep the first night in Berlin, partly because I could hear people drinking through the night, but mostly because I was excited for my first full day. I had no idea I was about to embark on my favourite day in Germany.
After waking up, we walked one block over and took our time choosing between what seemed like 15-20 places serving breakfast on one street. Eventually, we came to the conclusion that all of them were capable of serving a meal and we sat down in a spot with shade. Our pale skin was no match for a European summer (which is rather sad to think about). Breakfast was affordable and delicious. It included an assortment of meat, cheese, and eggs.
More importantly, a few of us indulged in a beer. A practise that continued for me throughout Germany (mom thought it would reduce the teenage attitude). While sitting down and eating was affordable, I definitely suggest swinging by a bakery instead. Especially for those who are backpacking. Bakeries offer tons of products for really low prices. Just fill up your water bottle and grab some grub to go.
After finishing up, we headed towards Museum Island, where we were signed up to do a 4-hour walking tour “Insider Tour Berlin”. At the time, I believe we paid around 20 euro for the 5 of us, and it was worth way more than that. We arrived a little early and I bought myself a Coke while I was waiting. Which reminds me: Don’t buy Coke in Germany unless you are actually craving one. Coke is more expensive than most juice and beer! Make sure to always have a water bottle with you
Once everyone arrived, I realized there were around 20 people (maybe more). I was relieved because I didn’t want to be the center of attention to the guide. I was so wrong! Our guide was Brian Deedrick, and Brian had a lot more in common with us than we thought. Here’s how it went (by my account):
Brian-“Is anyone here from God’s country?”
There was some chatter. I immediately crossed Canada off that list because I am cynical at best. I honestly thought he meant England.
American-“We’re from Texas” Brian-“America is beautiful, but not what I am looking for”
This pattern was repeated by a couple from England, a teenager from Scotland, and even a family from Ireland. All of which Brian moved passed.
Brian-“I meant is anyone from Canada” My heart sank. I think we were the only ones from Canada on this tour.
What followed was an embarrassing exchange between my Mom and Brian.
Mom-“WE’RE FROM CANADA”
Brian-“East or West”
Brian-“That’s interesting, I’m from Edmonton”
Mom-“WE’RE FROM EDMONTON”
I could go further, but it would take a while. As it turns out, Brian was the opera director at the Jubilee in Edmonton. My Mom, you ask? She works across the street at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. It’s a small world after all. Despite the fact he was from Edmonton, Brian was raised in Germany as well. His knowledge in German history was exceptional. He would have the entire group serious one moment, laughing the next, and then crying moments later. Brian is the best tour guide I have ever had.
Brian consistently picked on me and my brother, Sean. He used us as examples of kids growing up behind the wall, and would just tease us in general. We paid for a 4 hour tour. As we neared the end, Brian said he would be continuing for another 2-3 hours. A few people left, but the bulk of us stayed with him. He showed us the site where Hitler’s bunker used to be, and looped back towards where our tour started.
Honestly, the 7 hours felt like being engrossed into a really good book and I’m glad I stuck around for the end. After the tour finished, Brian encouraged everyone to join him for beer in an alley behind a local pub. It was amazing because it was so genuine; it wasn’t a tourist trap at all. He even got us hooked on our favourite German treat “currywurst”.
I got more out of that 7-hour tour than I would have gotten out of a week of walking around Berlin by myself. If you are ever in Berlin in July or August, I highly suggest this tour. Hopefully he is well enough to return this summer. Those are the months that Brian typically spends in Berlin. Brian loves his job, and people love him for it. Even if you find yourself in Berlin at a different time, I would still take one of the Insider Tours. I will be taking one with them next October. Thanks for reading.