East Germany Podcast Host Shane Whaley’s Amazon Explore review of The infamous Berlin Wall: stories of the Death Strip and a divided city tour. Shane works in the tours and activity industry hosting a podcast for tour operators called Tourpreneur. He is currently reviewing Amazon Explore which is Amazon’s foray into virtual Livestream experiences around the world and he brings you this report of the Berlin Wall Amazon Explore tour.
What is Amazon Explore?
Connect one-on-one with hosts around the world to explore anything from lessons to landmarks. Amazon Explore is not a zoom style slideshow tour. The service is a one to one live stream with two way audio so you can ask your tour guide plenty of questions. Don’t worry, although you can see your guide, they cannot see you!
Shane’s tour was provided by Essence of Berlin and led by former East German citizen Tobias.
Amazon Explore Review
I naturally peppered Tobias with lots of questions about his life growing up in the DDR including school, life in the FDJ, the Stasi as well as the standard of living, and whether he thought the GDR could have survived had they allowed people to travel and disbanded the Stasi. I am not sure if this was part of the normal tour, but that is the beauty of these live stream Amazon Explore experiences, I was able to ask the guide questions that I was interested in. Tobias brought an authentic feel to the tour because of his background as an East German. In the past when I have taken a Berlin Wall tour, they are usually with an Aussie who is backpacking around Europe and making a few quid. They know the main points of the history but Tobias delivered that genuine experience I was looking for.
‘I have visited Berlin more than a dozen times and probably nearer twenty, so I have amassed plenty of knowledge about the Berlin Wall and the Death Strip, yet I was still able to learn new facts from a very engaging and knowledgable Amazon Explore tour guide. Yes at $99 this Berlin virtual experience is not cheap but I feel in these times when we can’t travel it is worth the cash, I also think these Amazon Explore tours will make great gifts for friends and family who have an interest in a city, destination or history.
Amazon Explore is currently in beta testing and at time of recording only available to US residents. I hope Amazon Explore is successful and they are available to everyone soon as the virtual experience is an excellent way to learn history. The tech was smooth and easy to use. Here are three suggestions based on my Amazon Explore review on how they can improve the experience.
- Allow group bookings, ok so we would not get a 1 on 1 with the guide but we know money is tight for many right now. I would love to say make a booking on behalf of Radio GDR – East Germany podcast that we can all watch. So a shared experience with friends and if we all chip in, then much cheaper.
- More ‘off the beaten track’ type of tours. I would love to experience something a little different than the main tourist stuff. Maybe a Karl Mark Allee tour for instance? Or a tour of Marzahn.
- The ability to experience an Amazon Explore via the TV. I know this will likely need an app of some sort.
- The ability to tip the tour guide. I know $99 ain’t cheap but I wanted to tip Tobias as he was so engaging and informative.
Other Berlin/Cold War Amazon Experiences include:
From the Third Reich to the Cold War: a virtual walking tour of Berlin in the twentieth century
Traces of the Cold War
Alternative art of the Berlin Wall: a virtual tour of RAW
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Links and Resources Mentioned on Episode 29 of the East Germany Podcast – Radio GDR.
- Amazon Explore Virtual Experiences
- The infamous Berlin Wall: stories of the Death Strip and a divided city virtual tour.
- Essence of Berlin
- Support the East Germany Podcast on Patreon
Check out the first in the Why We Are Fascinated by East Germany with Steve Minegar.