The Berlin Spectator
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The Berlin Perspective: Tourist Guide in Corona Times

I would show you the dome on top of the Reichstag, if it was open. Hey, welcome to Berlin.

Keeping your tourists happy is the main task. No matter where they come from, Kathmandu, Kulala Lumpur, Kansas City, Khartum, Kaunas or Kyoto, they want three things: Sightseeing, sightseeing and sightseeing. Let’s give them what they want.

Information and Friendliness

On the tourist bus, don’t talk too much or you will overload them before you even get to the first tourist magnet. “This is Berlin Cathedral. It was built in the past.” Once you gave them this kind of in-depth information, offer them some goodies: “Cold Coca Cola and Fanta cans are available right here with me for 4 Euro. We accept debit and credit cards, Paypal, Bitcoin, cash and vouchers.” Yes, this is the kind of stuff they really want to hear.

“And this building on your right is the Pergamon museum. It used to be popular when it was open. Questions?” The usual suspects among your tourists will always ask the question you just answered. “What is this building?” Hide the fact that you are annoyed. Always be friendly: “I just told you it’s the Pergamon museum, dammit!”

Lunch and Opera

“We are at the East Side Gallery. This is the Berlin Wall. It stood from 1961 to 1989. Yawn.” Try not to fall asleep while you tell them the same story over and over. “What is this wall?” There are no stupid questions, remember? Politeness is the key. “It’s the damned Berlin Wall, for Christ’s sake.” Once you really have enough, just take them to lunch. While they eat, they might shut up for a few minutes.

The challenge is to take them to a restaurant while they are all closed. Who cares? Just order 120 cheeseburgers and salted fries in huge buckets. Have lunch on the bus. “Bon appétit, mes amis. After lunch we will see the Victory Column and tonight we’ll go to the opera.” They will ask you whether it is open. “No.” Don’t raise their hopes.

‘Lovable, Strong and Inspiring’

Seriously: Corona Berlin is not only somewhat different. It is the exact opposite of the Berlin we know. Where are those people with green hair and metal rings through their noses? Where are those 14 million tourists who usually buy away all the Currywurst and plum cake they can get their hands on? It looks like they are stuck in a parallel universe.

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