Monday, July 9, 2012

Fit for a King

Just an hour away from Berlin lies a city where art is in statue form, not graffiti and the biggest controversy was a windmill (okay, I'm downplaying the city's history just a bit, but more on that later.) Welcome to Potsdam, a pastoral retreat from Berlin for over 300 years.
Both Anneke and Caroline wanted to show me their version of Potsdam, so I went twice. Each trip was emblematic of the friendship I have with each girl. Anneke and I had a royally good time frolicking throughout nature and historically sight seeing Fredrick the Great's many palaces. Meanwhile, Caroline and I did what we do best, cafe crawled.
Janet Jackson moment?
Welcome to my humble abode.
Anneke and I had an argument over semantics about the difference between a castle versus a palace. I claimed that a castle was a defensive fortress, whereas a palace was a place for monarchs to demonstrate their affluence and power, conspicuous consumption at its finest. Sure enough, Fredrick the Great built The New Palace after The Seven Years War to glorify Prussia. It was only used to impress other monarchs and foreign dignitaries, who were probably overwhelmed by the baroque architecture into agreeing into whatever Fred wanted.

 This is the entrance to the Sanssouci Gardens, or Fred's version of Epcot in my opinion. There are Roman Baths, a Chinese Pagoda, and bucolic fields that make you believe you're in rural Germany, so why bother leaving?

Anneke at home in nature.

Is she wondering where she left her dress?


 Sanssouci was Fred's summer palace for a laid back time away from the ostentation of the Berlin court. Yes, this palace isn't conspicuous at all. A rival of Versailles, sans souci translates to "without concerns" in French, although I'm sure Fred's royal gardeners would beg to differ. A weekend up north at the cabin hardly compares.

 This windmill may look quaint, but it caused quite the controversy at the time it was built (note: this isn't the original windmill, which burned down in the 1940s and had to be reconstructed.) According to my tour guides, Fred's architect mislead him into believing the windmill would be quiet. Fred was so perturbed by the noise that he tried to sue his architect for lying to him. He didn't win. It's hard to be King of Prussia sometimes.
 If only I could "travel by map" like in "The Muppets" because the actual park took over an hour to walk through.

The Dutch Quarter of Potsdam.

Caroline and I cafe crawled throughout many country's cuisines: Austrian cakes, Mexican hot chocolates, and eventually French crepes (not pictured because sometimes I do actually eat my food, not just photograph it.)
Two of my favorite words in the German language.

And you thought frappucinos were decadent.

As Caroline said, why go to Vienna when you can get their delicious cakes in Germany? 

Hot chocolate art.
Potsdam, formerly part of East Germany, didn't always look so adorable. The city gained international fame when it was used for the post-WWII Potsdam Conference, but became isolated during the Cold War. The Berlin Wall cut the city off from West Berlin and made getting to East Berlin an ordeal, cloistering Potsdam away. The GDR tried to rid the city of signs of Prussian militarism and successfully demolished what Potsdam is famous for in the process. After the fall of the Wall, a period of re-establishment occurred: Potsdam became the capital of Brandenburg again and its famous landmarks were restored.
This is my last post about Berlin. I raise a toast of cocoa to my generous hostesses, Anneke and Caroline, for making sure I was well-fed in baked goods, properly cultured at local festivals and museums, and able to navigate the Berlin public transportation system and German language. My futon is always open back in the Midwest, where I can introduce you to the culinary delicacy that is the cheese curd.


  1. LOVE: The "Janet Jackson moment", hehe. Potsdam sounds and looks amazing! I actually really love the pic you have here of the cafe tables lined up, really cool! ALSO: How is it that you are always posting about all the food you eat and you look so damn awesome?! Especially that last pic! Are you turning into a Gilmore Girl? :P

    Also, yes! You need to find a way to meet Tom. I wish everyone were that nice, it isn't fair.

  2. Hey Tess, all exams done and I finally had the time to read your post in my detail. Love the picture of the durch quarter, great contrast. Also Anneke seems to look particularly well in you pics. She should pay you. Hope the Midwest is treating you well!? If not, there is also a spot at my cafe table!