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Going Places: To Really 'Get' Berlin, You Have To Learn Its Story

Matthias Leibing
Berlin is not a "classically beautiful" city, says tour guide Shlomit Lasky. She says you need the city's story to really appreciate a visit there.

We’re heading to Berlin this week on “Going Places.” KNKX travel expert Matthew Brumley visits with Shlomit Lasky. She’s a journalist and tour guide who was born in Israel. They met at a bar to talk about her experience in Germany, which is steeped in a very particular history and culture.  

Interview Highlights

On Israelis in Berlin: “When I came here nearly eight years ago I could walk around talking on my mobile phone in Hebrew. Now I really have to be careful because there’s Hebrew everywhere. A lot of Israelis are moving to Berlin. They find it a really interesting city – a lot of creative people, a lot of people who are academics, left-wing people who are more interested in living in an environment like in Berlin.”

On the city’s Jewish history: “I live my daily life and what happened in the Holocaust happened 70 years ago, but it’s there. And it’s everywhere. I guide tours, so there are lots of memorials. I talk about Jewish history, so you have to know how to put it aside and live life, and not hold to it all the time. But you also can’t forget it. It’s part of the city and it’s part of the narrative.”

On the story of the city: “I think the most important thing about Berlin is not the museums and not the churches, but the city itself. Learn about the history of the city. It’s not a beautiful city like London or Paris or Rome. It’s not beautiful in the classical sense. And if you don’t know the story, then you won’t get it.”


"Going Places" is 88.5's weekly exploration of travel. Our travel expert, Matthew Brumley, is co-founder of Earthbound Expeditions on Bainbridge Island, which provides small group travel to clients including KNKX. Never miss an episode again. Subscribe to Going Places with iTunesGoogle Play or Stitcher.

Ed Ronco is a former KNKX producer and reporter and hosted All Things Considered for seven years.