To Park Sanssouci

Potsdam Travel Blog

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A quiet Sunday morning in Potsdam
Today Jenny and I decided on a day-trip to Potsdam, a town about 45 minutes south-west of Berlin by train, and I liked it from the moment that we arrived there shortly before 1 o'clock, having had another morning after the night before. The walk from the train station was enlivened by the Havel, an extensive network of rivers, canals and lakes to the West of Berlin, which the road crossed by bridge. A further pleasant walk of about half a mile brought us to the margins of the old town, and although, being Sunday, it was very quiet, I was delighted to see trams running along the main street because I am fascinated by railed transport.
Tempting al fresco dining at La Maison du Chocolat in the Dutch quarter
There was much scope for window-shopping, and we took some time to amble the mile or so up Lindenstrasse to Hunters' Gate (Jagertor), which marks a northern boundary of the old and picturesque part of the town. Then we wandered back and turned left down Gutenbergstrasse, which took us into the heart of the Dutch quarter.

Here there is a profusion of delightful red brick dwellings that were built early in the eighteenth century for Dutch craftsmen who worked on the nearby Park Sanssouci, which was the main object of our expedition. Also nearby are the Church of St Peter and St Paul, and the French church situated in the Bassinplatz. By the time we had circumambulated these and returned to the Dutch quarter it was lunchtime, with al fresco dining at La Maison du Chocolat and the tempting sights, sounds and smells of yummy food assailing our senses.
Tastefully coloured Soviet-era flats as seen from the Orangery in Park Sanssouci
But there were many miles of walking still to go, and temptation is there to be resisted.

Soon we were at the Brandenburger Tor, one of the many entrances to Park Sanssouci, the collective name for a large group of contiguous smaller parks and gardens that forms much of the western part of Potsdam: begun by Frederick the Great, it was added to by his successors over the next century or so. Far more than a day, let alone an afternoon, would be necessary in order to explore it fully, for there are many buildings that can be visited, including palaces, summerhouses, an orangery and a windmill; and many of them have exhibitions. So a guide book and map are absolutely essential if you don't want to get lost, although fortunately Jenny had been there more than once and was able to navigate with a self-confidence that was usually justified.
The windmill

I'll just mention a few of the afternoon's highlights. First, the Orangery, chiefly on account of the wonderful views across the Park; I was particularly taken with distant blocks of Soviet-era flats that had been given washes of delicate pastel colours that looked most attractive in the afternoon sun. Next was the windmill, fully working - it actually produces flour from time to time - and I enjoyed seeing close-to how it all worked. Encircling the mill, and bringing one very close to the great sails, is an outside platform about thirty feet above the ground; and Jenny, who is not one of nature's plumper productions, became very nervous that she might fall through the slats. Then there was the tea-house, on which a fortune was spent in construction and decoration in authentic Chinese style.
A nervous Jenny fears that she will slip through the slats to her doom
And particularly fascinating was a sun-dial in the form of the initials FW (for Friedrich Wilhelm), in which all the apexes, angles, serifs and bodies of the letters acted as gnomons, each with its own engraved scale for telling the time. We counted forty-two of them (I think).

After about four hours and seven miles in the Park we finished up at the Brandenburger Tor entrance from where we had started. The Park is a beautiful place, suffused with melancholy, where it is easy to conjure up the spirit of past glories. I think perhaps we saw it at the best time of year, in autumn, with the leaves beginning to turn and a nip in the air; I hope to return one day.

Then it was back to Berlin, and as we were both extremely hungry we headed for Gasthaus Herz on Marheinecke Platz, a restaurant renowned for its Wiener Schnitzel.
The sundial dedicated to Crown Prince Friedrich Wilhelm of Prussia, with its forty-two gnomons
It was crowded, not with tourists but with locals, which we correctly took to be a good sign. We had to wait to be seated, the service was slow; and if this was a ruse to get us to buy more alcohol while we waited then it certainly succeeded. However, the meal when it arrived was well worth the wait and our schnitzels were accompanied by an exceedingly generous selection of vegetables and it was all absolutely delicious and filling and we both took exactly forty minutes to eat every scrap without any talking and I know that because I timed it and I took a picture of Jenny eating her last forkful as proof of her trencherwoman status and I'm not posting it here out of gallantry and because I want to stay her friend and then I had some apfelstrudel just to prove that I could eat more than her and that was absolutely delicious as well and the bill was very reasonable and then we went home.
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A quiet Sunday morning in Potsdam
A quiet Sunday morning in Potsdam
Tempting al fresco dining at La Ma…
Tempting al fresco dining at La M…
Tastefully coloured Soviet-era fla…
Tastefully coloured Soviet-era fl…
The windmill
The windmill
A nervous Jenny fears that she wil…
A nervous Jenny fears that she wi…
The sundial dedicated to Crown Pri…
The sundial dedicated to Crown Pr…
Potsdam Sights & Attractions review
Park Sanssouci was begun by Frederick the Great and extended by his successors. It contains numerous buildings including palaces, an orangery, a win… read entire review
photo by: arianna88