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Terry's Berlin Tour
When I told a friend of mine that I was planning on spending a few days in Berlin, he urged me not to miss the 'Terry's Top Hat Walking Tour'. He wouldn't stop raving about it, said it was worth the airfare to Berlin, and encouraged me to try to get the tour from the guy who started it, Terry.

I arrived in Berlin eager to put my friend's advice to the test, but was discouraged when I could only find information on two other major tours. I decided to try my luck at calling some of the major hostels in town to see if they'd ever heard of it. I started with the Circus Hostel and, to my surprise, they knew exactly what I was talking about.

They informed me that the tour has been renamed 'Brewer's Best of Berlin', and it stops to pick up guests at the Odyssee Hostel (9:15am), Clubhouse Hostel (10:15am), and the New Synagogue at Oranienburgerstrasse (10:30am). Tours run rain or shine from January 8th to December 17th. Afternoon tours depart Circus Hostel (12:45pm) and the New Synagogue (1:30pm) from May 1st to October 31st.

Terry has a small troup of about five young tour guides working for him, but he still does the occasional tour himself. I lucked out and ended up having Terry as a guide. He strolled up to our group at the New Synagogue, dressed in a loud Hawian t-shirt and armed with an umbrella. He introduced himself, collected the DM15 fee from us, and gave us a quick run down on the history of the Synagogue accompanied with some fascinating stories and personal thoughts.

Terry takes great interest in the architecture around Berlin and points out small details about the areas that you would never notice. Its very interesting to see the amount of rebuilding Berlin has done over the years, but Terry also took us to places that were still showing signs of Communist neglect.

Terry is a former employee of the British Embassy in East Berlin and has been showing people both sides of the wall since 1989. He was the official guide to the Allied forces before their departure in 1994. Because of this first hand experience, he has amazing stories that no other tours can offer. Talking with someone who's been through all the chaos over the years really opens your eyes to the reality of it all. Terry is friendly and will answer anyone's individual questions at any time.

I don't know if this is common, but our 5 hour tour stretched out to be an amazing 9 hours. The morning tour even caught up to us by our lunch break! It covered all of East Berlin's major sights such as the Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag, Potsdamer Platz, Hitler's Bunker, Checkpoint Charlie, the Palace of Tears, and loads more. This tour isn't great because of the places it takes you to though, its the inside information you get from Terry that sets it apart.

At one point, we were passed by one of the other major tours, and as the tour guide walked by, we could hear parts of his speech. He seemed so rehearsed and uninterested in what he was telling his group. Terry is genuine, informative, entertaining, and truly wants to educate young people about the history of Berlin.

At the risk of sounding like an advertisement... 'Brewer's Best of Berlin' shouldn't be missed! Try to do it on one of your first days in the city as it can shed a lot of light on things to spend more time visiting, and opens your eyes to places you might not have even thought of going. Trust me, it'll be the best 15DM you spend in Berlin.

By: Kirsty Henderson
August 2001

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