Berlin agency takes teddy bears to see the sights

15th August 2006, Comments 0 comments

15 August 2006, HAMBURG - Have you always wanted to visit Berlin but were too busy or too broke to go there yourself? Then send your teddy bear to the German capital, where a pair of enterprising "bearologists" will take your teddy in hand to see all the famous sights - and will send your teddy back to you in a parcel full of souvenirs and snapshots. Teddy Tours Berlin is a toy-sized travel agency run by Karsten Morschett and Thomas Vetsch. Their small office looks like a toy shop itself, except that the t

15 August 2006

HAMBURG - Have you always wanted to visit Berlin but were too busy or too broke to go there yourself?

Then send your teddy bear to the German capital, where a pair of enterprising "bearologists" will take your teddy in hand to see all the famous sights - and will send your teddy back to you in a parcel full of souvenirs and snapshots.

Teddy Tours Berlin is a toy-sized travel agency run by Karsten Morschett and Thomas Vetsch.

Their small office looks like a toy shop itself, except that the teddies on shelves and tables are clearly not new toys. These are treasured teddies, some of them half a century or more old. Many are nearly bald, their fur having been cuddled away in the arms of children.

Eyes may be loose and ears missing, but these teddies all have one thing in common: Their owners sent them on a sightseeing journey to Berlin and expect to have them back safe and sound with photographic proof that they have seen all there is to see.

"We got the idea from the globetrotting ceramic garden gnome from the French movie 'Amelie' that was in all the art cinemas a couple of years ago," explains Morschett.

In the award-winning film by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, a doting daughter abducts her widower father's favourite garden gnome and hands it over to a flight attendant friend who sends back snapshots of the gnome in China, New York, and other places around the world - all in a bid to cheer up the lonely old man.

"We thought that was a charming idea and we knew there would be lots of people who send their favourite toys on a similar excursion," says Morschett.

Teddy Tours offers a variety of services ranging from 25 dollars to about 150 dollars for the "deluxe teddy tour." People just send their teddies to the company along with payment details and the rest is done by the teddy tour experts.

Already, Teddy Tours has received bears from throughout Germany and other European countries.

Sites include the Brandenburg Gate, the Berlin Olympic Stadium, the glittering Kurfuerstendamm shopping district, the Reichstag parliament building, and remnants of the Berlin Wall.

At each site, the visiting teddy is photographed in a snappy pose.

"They aren't photo-montages either," Morschett stresses. "We actually take the teddies to these places and pose them as stylishly as possible, just as their owners would want us to do."

Vetsch says teddies are the ideal tourists, never complaining about the food, never getting drunk or rowdy, never making ridiculous demands or asking silly questions.

"Not only are they cute and cuddly, but they are really pleasant to be around," Vetsch says. "Who can be in a bad mood when you've got a teddy bear under each arm?"

Morschett and Vetsch say they both admire teddies as "a kind of soft art form" and that they take pains to ensure that their travelogue photos are stylish and not simply vacation snapshots.

"Each teddy bear becomes unique in the hands of a child," Morschett says. "They all come off the assembly line looking alike. But in the hands of children they become as unique as any human being. Each and every one has its own personality, its own life story to tell."

And for some lucky teddies, that story includes a trip to Berlin.

For more information: check www.teddy-tour-berlin.de, www.my-teddy-on-tour.de

DPA

Subject: German news

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