Weekend Escape to Potsdam

20150726_153055

If you need a break from the grunge and graffiti of Berlin, then the posh and proper city of Potsdam is conveniently located just one hour away, accessible with the S-Bahn.

I was not only lucky to choose a day with great weather to visit, but also had the great chance to do a bike tour given by my friend who lives in Potsdam. Since Potsdam is a huge city where every sight worthy feature is spread throughout, the best way to fully experience what the city has to offer is with a bike tour in my opinion. For us, it lasted us the entire day–from 2pm to around 8pm.

Our tour began with a bunch of newly renovated buildings–fresh and clean.

Schloss Sanssouci

French: Without Wories

Then we made our way to my favorite and Potsdam’s most famous–the Schloss Sanssouci, a series of palaces and pavilions for Prussian kings back then. A mini Versailles decked out in Rococo style and with a its own royal park:

It was a favorite retreat for King Frederick the Great, who I think looks like George Washington. He would leave all his duties of the royal court and come to Sanssouci and worked on his hobbies like making music and painting. Hence why it means “without worries.” The design of this palace was based on Frederick’s own sketches–a very artsy fartsy fellow.

Right outside the palace building lies King Frederick the Great. He pushed for greater productions of potatoes to feed his people. That’s why today potatoes are a part of any German meal. People put potatoes on his grave as a thank you for his potato obsession. From the palace, we explored the vast area and discovered other beautiful architecture.

I feel like Harry Potter. This is the University of Potsdam! You can take classes inside these historical buildings, named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Holländisches Viertel

Translation: Dutch Quarters

We took a break here and stopped at the La Maison du Chocolat, a very posh cafe. Here’s some of the nice cakes they served. Obviously we all loved chocolate.

Then we headed over to the Russian town, where it housed a number of Russian soldiers during the 19th century. This town is named Alexandrowka, after the Tsarina.

20150726_183835Schloss Cecilienhof

An English style manor of the Hohenzollern royal family but it’s more known as the host of the 1945 Potsdam conference. This is where the big three, Truman, Churchill, and Stalin, came together to discuss the the future of Europe after the defeat of Germany. But now this serves just as a restaurant and hotel today.

Time for a Bier!!!

This is a nice local brewery and restaurant in Potsdam with a picturesque outlook of the Havel River. When you’re extremely hungry, as I was after all this bike riding, German food is the best. Sausage, pretzel, fries, and bier. Yes.

Glienicke Bridge

The end of the tour concludes after sunset with this significant bridge. It was the point of exchange for secret spy agents during the Cold War of the two different political systems (capitalism vs. communism). It offers a breathtaking view of the many palaces, Schlosspark Glienicke (castle grounds), Babelsberg Castle and Park as well as Sacrower Heilandskirche (church of the Saviour). Films have been filmed here as well. Recently there was a film that was just finished shooting here. It’s a new movie starring Tom Hanks called Bridge of Spies (what a fitting name). Basically, Tom Hanks’ character is dropped into Germany during the Cold War to negotiate the release of a hostage.

It was a perfect way to end the tour. Nothing more relaxing than an overview of the palaces after sundown after biking your ass off all day…

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s