Thursday's Child: Destination Potsdam

Thursday, September 25, 2014
Destination: Potsdam, Germany

When we visited: August 2014

Why to go:

Potsdam is probably best known for hosting the Potsdam Conference, where Harry Truman, Winston Churchill, Clement Attlee, and Joseph Stalin met to determine the fate of Germany following its defeat in the Second World War. However, Potsdam’s earlier fame, and the reason we visited, was because of Sanssouci Palace and Park, the summer home of Frederick the Great.

What to see:

Frederick the Great was King of Prussia from 1740 to 1786. Like many Europeans at the time, he admired everything about France. He spoke French better than German, he often hosted French guests (including one of his favourites, the philosopher Voltaire), and he modeled his summer home, Sanssouci (French for “without care”) after Versailles.

He planted the vineyard first, then began planning the park. Sanssouci eventually became home to flower gardens, fruit trees, greenhouses and long stretches of grass connected by a 1 1/2 mile-long path. It also displays a number of sculptures and fountains, although the fountains were never functional during Frederick’s lifetime. 

It was a beautiful day when we visited, and we walked the full length of the avenue, from the obelisk at the eastern entrance to the New Palace at the west, and back. We enjoyed watching the now-functional fountains and the immaculately maintained grounds.

Frederick loved Potsdam and his garden so much that he chose to build a palace in the area of the park with the best sightlines. A terrace leads from the central Lustgarten (translated as Pleasure Garden) to Sanssouci Palace, whose elevated position commands a lovely view of the entire park. Built in rococo style, the palace was very small by royal standards, a mere ten rooms. An artist at heart, Frederick loved to entertain friends like Voltaire and other great thinkers, and they spent many evenings debating philosophy, art and literature well into the night.

For some reason, I only took photos of the ceilings inside the palace. Hence, I present the ceilings of Sanssouci:
The Picture Gallery
The Voltaire room
The Music room
 The town of Potsdam was itself worth a visit:

Berlin is famous for the Brandenburg Gate, but Potsdam has a Brandenburg Gate (Brandenburger Tor) of its own. Potsdam’s gate was designed by a different architect on each side, and is entrance to the pedestrian-only Brandenburgerstrasse. The Church of St. Peter and Paul lies a few blocks away, at the other end of the street.

Where to eat:

After a very warm afternoon in the park, we could tell the weather was about to change. Concerned by the dark clouds, we chose a restaurant that was a short walk from our hotel. The food at Adriatic was great, but our most memorable moment had nothing to do with the food. 

We decided to eat outside under a sturdy awning, and when the inevitable rain came down, we remained outside, while all the other diners went in. It was kind of romantic, listening to the sound of rain pelting on the awning above our heads while we stayed dry. Romantic, that was, until we heard a whirring sound and saw the awning beginning to retract. Panicked, we began gathering our things to make a run inside – until we looked through the window and saw the bartender, doubled over in laughter, with a remote control in his hand. Having had his joke, he returned the awning to its original location and we enjoyed the rest of our meal in dry clothes.


Jemi Fraser said...

Wow! What an incredible set of photos! Incredible! And I think that bartender knows how to entertain himself :)

chow and chatter said...

stunning love your travels

Angie's Recipes said...

Haven't been to Potsdam yet...those photos are very beautiful, Beth.
Happy Friday!

Choc Chip Uru @ Go Bake Yourself said...

I do love Potsdam! Can't wait to visit one day, I studied it for an assignment once :D

Choc Chip Uru

Barbara said...

Lovely photos, Beth. I always like to be an armchair traveler with you. That yellow (which I always think of as a British yellow) is gorgeous. You don't often see it on a building outside.

Jessica Lawson said...

Wonderful photos! I learn so much from this blog :)

Monica said...

Love learning about a place I've never been to. Great pictures and thanks for sharing!

Valerie Gamine said...

I needed these brilliant, happy photos today (I'm trying to ward off fall!).
Love the ceiling photos - it's easy to see why you kept looking up. :D

Gloria Baker said...

These look beautiful!!! Always yours pics are amazing Beth:)

Pam said...

Your photos are great. I love Germany so thanks for the memories and thanks for sharing. Beautiful architecture and flowers!

Liz That Skinny Chick Can Bake said...

What a stinker! But that did make for a great memory. Bill is hankering to get to Germany...I think that will be our next European destination :) Thanks for the tour of Potsdam!

Lisa Ho said...

Gorgeous photos Beth :D
thank you for sharing

Marcela said...

this was such a great trip! I'm learning a lot thanks to your blog! Thank you Beth!

Anonymous said...

It was fun taking a little mini vacation right here in your blog, thanks for the overview. Great shots.

Catherine said...

Dear Beth, These photos are beautiful. It looks like a beautiful trip. Blessings, Catherine

Inger @ Art of Natural Living said...

Lovely! You really did have a busy summer!

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