Potsdam - Day 5

Potsdam Travel Blog

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We had a wonderful day yesterday. It was filled with a bit of excitement and nervousness, but turned out great.

When we got to the Servas house where we had arranged to stay and rang the bell, no one answered. We were not sure what to do, having walked a little over a mile from the train station with our 25lb or so packs on, and not knowing where to go and not having a phone. We waited for a little while until a man pushing a baby carriage walked by, and Jenni used her broken German to ask if he knew Herr Ulbrich (our Servas host). Obviously the German was a little too broken, because Christian switched to English, and said that we could come and wait in his garden until Herr Ulbrich got home.

So we went to Christian's house, and he brought us out water and offered us lunch, then brought his wife and daughter out to meet us and sit in the garden with us. Christian and Barbara both learned English in school and were excited for the opportunity to use it. Their daughter Fredericka didn't speak english (she's 4) but we were able to say a couple of things to her in German. Chrisitan called Herr Ulbrich (Uwe) and arranged for him to come and get us when he got home.

Our Servas host's name is Uwe Ulbrich and he lives in a suburb-like part of Potsdam. He has visited Minnesota a number of times, particularly Duluth, and speaks fantastic English. For dinner last night he made a wonderful spaghetti carbonara, and then we went for a bike ride. We saw a bunch of sites where the Wall was (Potsdam was essentially part of Berlin with a east-west division), and got to hear about how it was like. Uwe lived here when this area was part of East Berlin,  and he told us about his job and life in that time. It is really interesting to hear about the Wall from an East-Berlin perspective. Along the river is a house that President Truman stayed at during the Potsdam Conference. This house is the site from which he signed the directive authorizing the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (a sobering sight).

This whole area is teaming with bicycle riders. It is pretty flat and makes for an easy ride, and has many fantastic sites to see. In addition to the war and Wall memorial type things, there are many castles, historical houses, even different types of pavement that make it so much different than home.  We are really enjoying the peaceful-ness of the area here (compared to Berlin which was bustling around the clock).

Today we are planning on meeting up with Christian and Barbara who also want to show us around. We won't complain about that; we're tickled at having met these strangers who were so nice and eager to help us and get to know us. 

Til next time.

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photo by: arianna88