Friday, 22 May 2015


There's lots beautiful in Potsdam - this is not an example. Rather, it's an example of that unspeakable era of East German architecture. This is right in the middle of town.

But what we went to Potsdam for was the Sans Souci park! As soon as we arrived in Potsdam we hit the information desk in the train station and bought tickets to the Sans Souci palace - thank goodness, as there were only four left!

Sans Souci is a relatively small palace built in the 18th century, home to Frederick the Great, King of Prussia and famous for the Rococo style throughout.
Sans Souci Marble Hall

Sans Souci Voltaire room
Sans Souci Voltaire Room chandelier
Also in Sans Souci Park is the New Palace, also built by Frederick the Great. It's larger and was used primarily for ceremonial purposes. It is similarly done in Rococo style.
Floor in the New Palace
The Sans Souci Park is enormous - the path between Sans Souci Palace and the New Palace is 2.5 km long. Other fun buildings in the park include the Chinese House.


Between train strikes (we just had the 9th in 10 months) we made a quick weekend trip to Berlin and Potsdam.I hadn't been to Berlin since 1992, and that was just a visit of a few hours, and it is a dramatically different city! We stayed in the former East Berlin near Checkpoint Charlie, but you'd be hard-pressed now to identify where the wall was.In some places these plaques mark the spot.

The Ampelmann is a symbol of Berlin - you see it everywhere, even on the pedestrian crossings.

Berlin has great museums, including the Pergamon Museum on Museum Island. Half of it was closed for renovation, but there was still plenty to see. This is part of the Ishtar gate from Babylon. I always have mixed feelings about treasures taken from other lands, but I will admit to being glad to see some treasures from Syria, like the paneled room, preserved.

Naturally we also saw some of the landmarks of Berlin, including the Brandenburg Gate.

The museum of East Germany was really interesting for Wayne and for me - not so much for Gail. Luckily they had a Trabant simulated driving experience set up, which made it fun. We passed on the Trabant tours of Berlin - you can actually do a driving tour of Berlin in a Trabant. Driving one feels sort of like driving a car in an amusement park. Here are some Trabant jokes.

In Berlin there are multiple Holocaust memorials, each dedicated to a different group of victims. The one to Jewish victims is the largest. On approach it looks like a graveyard, but it is deceptive. As you walk into the site the level of the sidewalks drops until the stones are towering over you, some at angles. It is very disorienting.Under the memorial is a museum. It's not very large, but it is very moving.

 And on a lighter note, I loved this Ritter Sport (a popular chocolate bar) advertisement in the train station.

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Bad Homburg

Bad Homburg isn't likely at the top of anyone's itinerary when visiting Germany, but I happened to have seven hours to kill there and was pleasantly surprised! Finding the best Indian meal I've had in Germany also helped make the day good. The town dates from the middle ages.

In the center of town is a beautiful park with lots of fountains from the town's hot springs. It also has two Thai temples and a Russian chapel.

 And a frog prince.