Berlin: Day 2 - Context Travel

Monday 12 November 2012

When we travel, we don't do tours.  I tend to get frustrated and cranky in groups of tourists and I like the freedom to do my own thing.  Because I was so interested in the history of Berlin, I knew that I wanted to be able to delve a little deeper on this trip but I wasn't sure how to do it.  Then, I came across Context Travels.  Their tagline, "Walking tours for the intellectually curious," piqued my interest and when I began hearing so many great things about them, I was sold.

Context does walking tours in several cities around the globe.  While normally I would never consider this, the fact that the maximum number of participants in a group is 6 and that it's led by a scholar seemed more credible and much more what I was looking for.  We debarked on our tour, The Topography of Terror: Nazi Berlin, Saturday morning, meeting our lovely docent near the Brandenburg Gate.

Our docent walked us through the gate, to the Reichstag, then to the Memorial of the Sinti and Roma people (which had just opened the week prior,) on to the Memorial to the Murdered Jews, past Hitler's bunker and further on to the Topography of Terror museum all the while, stopping along the way at important buildings and sites.  It was fascinating.
Memorial to Political Prisoners outside of the Reichstag

Memorial to the Murdered Roma & Sinti

Memorial to the Murdered Jews
Interesting Note:  Many ideas were proposed as to how to memorialize the 6 million Jewish who lost their lives during WWII.  One idea was to write the names of all of those people in this space but even with 6 point font, they would need at least double the amount of space.

Some refer to the raindrops that sit on the columns as tears.

Outside the Topography of Terror Museum - a section of the Wall in the backdrop.

Our Context Travel Walking Tour was one of the best things we did on our stay in Berlin and it was most definitely worth the 65€ cost per person.  I feel like we came away much more knowledgeable but as always, the more one learns, the more questions they have.  We were, in fact, so impressed that we immediately tried to book a second tour (on the divided city) but unfortunately, none were running during the remainder of our stay in Berlin.

Luckily, Prague is also one of Context's tour cities and we're looking at booking a walk while we're there in the next couple of weeks.


  1. This sounds like such a great alternative to normal tours... I'm like you in that I usually avoid them like the plague. But if it was a scholar and the groups were small then I might just change my mind! And a place like Berlin full of so much history must have been an ideal place to take advantage. Thanks for sharing :)


  2. Very cool. Jotting this one down for when we finally make it to Berlin!

  3. I just went on the Divided City Context tour a few weeks ago and LOVED it. I had a blog post all ready this morning but before I could publish I got locked out of wordpress :| and haven't had time to fix it yet. I am so glad you enjoyed the tour, and your time here in Berlin!

  4. Those memorial photos are so powerful. Being Jewish, I have an extra interest in the Holocaust and would love to go see the memorials someday. I've been to the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, but that was many years ago and I was too young to truly appreciate and understand everything.

  5. this sounds amazing - I'm definitely going to look them up if I go back to Berlin! I've been twice but only did one tour, and it was a bike tour for 20somethings who didn't want to be too serious. it was fun, but I'd love to learn more!

  6. Thanks for the lovely post. We're so glad to hear you enjoyed the walk in Berlin and would love to have you with us in Prague as well!

  7. i'm with ya on tours... hhhaattee them... but i think berlin is a place i would definitely want to know a lot more information and history about... let us know how the prague one goes! i'd love to do it next time i'm there if it's good


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