Potsdam: History on the Havel
Abstract: On a partly cloudy Monday, I took a trip out to Potsdam. It is a city of beautiful castles, parks and views of the Havel River. Let’s take a look at what I found while biking around the city!
Introduction: If you ever get the chance to visit Germany, a day trip to Potsdam is a must. The city is much smaller in comparison, but on a bike you can see see many lovely sights. The Hohenzollern family, the royal family that ruled in Berlin, built many of their castles there as a place to retire and relax. The flat yet forested scenery is perfect for a bike trip. I decided to take the chance to see many of the places I had been hearing about from Berlin residents. I decided to check out two famous spots for those interested in Germany’s history: Park Sanssouci and the Cicilienhof Palace in the Neuer Garten.
Local Time: 4:30 pm
Time Zone: Central European Time (6 hours later than the Eastern U.S.)
How far did I travel this week? It’s about 37 kilometers (about 23 miles) from my home in Berlin to Potsdam.
How far have I traveled on your journey so far? I only traveled the 74 kilometers from Potsdam and back today, plus my commutes to Birkenwerder and my trip to Prague.
How did I get around this week? I took the subway south from Osloer Straße to the subway stop called Zoo. From there, I took a regional train southwest to Potsdam. The trip only took 35 minutes total, which was great considering how far Potsdam is from my apartment. After arriving in Potsdam, I took my bike around the city.
What was the most interesting place I visited this week? Park Sanssouci was particularly beautiful, but as a hotspot for tourists it was crowded in front of the castle. The name of the park name “without cares” in French. This is because its original use was for the King of Prussia to relax away from the worries of his position. I could see why such a name was chosen. The beautiful fountains and flowers of the garden could make anyone forget their worries.
Due to the high volume of visitors, I thought I would move on with my bike trip after staying at Park Sanssouci for just a bit. After following the convenient bikes paths that line the city streets, I came upon the Neuer Garten (New Garden). Inside was the famed Cicilienhof Palace, which stands out from the other palaces in the area. It is extra special because it was the last Palace to be built, but also because it housed the Potsdam Conference in 1945. This conference took place after WWII, so that the victors (Russia, the United States, and Great Britain) could decide what to do with recently-defeated Germany. It was an historic event that altered Germany for many years to come, and the palace is still remembered today for this event.
Other travel news: Although not located in Potsdam, I was able to head to the Carnival of Cultures on Sunday, which was taking place in Berlin. There is nothing like a parade of music on a hot summer day to get me in the dancing mood!
Weather Tally (enter the # of days for each weather type):
Partly cloudy: 3
What is the air temperature right now? 16º C (61º F).
How was the weather this week? The weather is reluctantly inching toward summer. For every sunny day we have there are also cloudy days, and even the sunny days become partly cloudy at times. I couldn’t stand the heat on Thursday, but on Saturday, I was throwing on my jacket again!
What animals did I see this week? Park Sanssouci and the Neuer Garten were full of waterfowl resting and preening peacefully alongside all the human visitors.
What was the coolest thing I saw in nature this week? Two ducks slept just steps away from me in the Park Sanssouci. I could have ran up and touched them before they even noticed! But I knew better than that, and I suppose the ducks knew I did too!
Other Nature News: As I rode my bike to the Cicilienhof Palace, I noticed that sometimes I was completely alone on the pathways leading through the thick vegetation. It was exhilarating to leave city-life behind, if only for a moment, and pretend I was really out in nature. Of course, around each bend I found groups of people walking in the Neuer Park, yet it was empty enough that I could have found solitude if I wanted it.
What languages are spoken here? German. Tourists typically speak French, Italian or English.
What type of money is used here? The Euro is used in Potsdam. 2 Euros will get you a map of Park Sanssouci, although getting lost in the park is half the fun!
How much does a bottle of water cost? It depends on whether you’re close to the parks or at the train station, but the price can range from 60 cents to 1 Euro.
What was the best meal this week? I just had Shawarma for dinner, which is a bit like a burrito with lamb meat, vegetables, and fried potatoes inside. I believe the small establishment as the Osloer Straße subway station makes the best Shawarma, but I’m a bit biased because I walk by them every day!
What music did I listen to this week? This week I listened to the music coming off of the parade floats at the Carnival of Cultures celebration in Berlin, which included Reggaeton, Electronic and Swing music. At the carnival, people often choose a float they like and dance behind it, so I joined in!
What activity was the most fun this week? The Carnival of Cultures was exciting and it was great to meet up with friends. However, the bike trip through Potsdam made me excited to go see more when I have time! I’m planning a trip now with friends to explore more of Potsdam.
What did I read this week? I have been busy reading books on how to teach and am learning a lot about the art of teaching. When I’m not doing that, I’ve been reading A Clash of Kings, which is a part of a fantasy series from author George R.R. Martin.
What games or sports did I play this week? Unfortunately I’ve been sick this past week up until yesterday and today, so I’ve mostly been relaxing with books and drinking tea to get better! I’ll hopefully be back to my sports routine this week!