Pottsdam and arrival in Berlin
Sun 2 Jun 13 - Mon 3 Jun 13 56 °F
Saturday evening we docked. Early Sunday morning we left our luggage
in the hall, ate breakfast and left the boat. We were not
disappointed, there was rain and high winds!
We drove about 1:45 to Pottsdam. We toured the San Souci palace that
was built by Frederick II [der Grosse (the Great)]. The palace was
beautiful, but typical German operation. I was corrected twice for my
behavior [once for using my hand to steady myself against the wall and
once for standing on a grate (to make room for shorter people to get
in front of me)]. I was trying to steady myself while putting on
oversize foot coverings. They looked like size 24 bedroom slippers,
with 'slippers' being the operative word [they slid very easily on the
wooden floors]. We joked that they probably put some wax on the floor
and that we were doing the buffing!
It was a nice palace, but it was unpleasant walking around outside.
There are beautiful gardens, but, amazingly, no one in the group
expressed any interest in walking around!
We drove into the town of Pottsdam, a very picturesque place. we had
lunch and wandered around for a while. Then we visited a Tudor style
building that was the location of the Pottsdam conference. The grounds
were beautiful. In August 1945 Stalin, Churchill and Truman met to
formulate how Germany and Berlin would be divided. During this time
Churchill left and was replaced by the newly elected PM; Truman
ordered the bombing of Japan with nuclear weapons. Historians say this
was the beginning of the Soviet Union.
Pottsdam today is a very trendy place to live, lots of European celebs
are buying here. Average prices [Euros/ sq. meter] are higher in
Pottsdam than in Berlin. Today Pottsdam is effectively an outer suburb
We drove into Berlin and saw some of the sights on the way to the
hotel. The reality is that on this gray rainy day, we were all tired
[plus I am starting to get a cold]. The hotel [Hilton] is very
centrally located and well appointed.
We were so tired that we got the name of a bierhaus a few blocks from
the hotel. The food was nice and the environment was pleasant. We
crashed early had no trouble sleeping!
Today we took a city tour of Berlin; a very interesting city. Without
all the history of Germany and Berlin, it was difficult to follow all
the details. In the last 80 years the city was impacted by the Nazis
and then by the division between the US, Brits, French and Russians;
but there is a lot of history before that period. After WWII, much of
the city was in shambles; the rebuilding has gone on at different
rates in east and west Berlin. You also find rebuilding of historic
building interspersed with some very modern buildings; it creates some
I think we are going to make it another early evening.
BTW, I told you about the spring flower festival on the boat. where
passengers did poems and watercolors. Friday night they announced the
winners - I won the poetry competition! I will transcribe the poem
into an e-mail later.