Park lane

Trip Start Jan 17, 2006
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48
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Trip End Dec 01, 2006


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Friday, October 27, 2006

I have been meaning to go to Potsdam for some time now, and I wanted to do it before it started getting too cold. I managed to fulfil one of my objectives: I actually got there, however it was unfortunately windy and chilly. Potsdam is a small city/town 25km South-West of Berlin, just outside the city province.

I set off at midday, a little late for tourism, but now is the time to be lazy since my contract finished on Wednesday. The sun was shining and there was no wind, but I put that down to the concrete jungle that surrounds me. When I got to Potsdam after 45 minutes on the train, it was a different story: the clouds had come over and the wind was picking up - I didn't let this deter me, so I set off completely directionless from the main train station which wasn't actually in the centre of town for a change. I jumped on a tram which by luck happened to go to the centre of the city and soon enough I was on Brandenburger strasse. There was nothing particularly interesting about this place except that it had been restored and kept extremely clean. The whole city reminded me of Fremantle actually. The same sort of crowd hung out there too in the cafes and so on.

Around the old city, I picked up some little eats while walking. For those of you who haven't been to Germany, it is totally normal to get a 25cm sausage, a round bun the size of your palm and a lot of mustard. It isn't in proportion and you are expected to manage to eat this standing up - they don't have chairs at places like this, just high tables to make you wish you could sit down. You see if there were no tables at all I would not think of sitting down to eat, but the fact that there is one there makes me want to park myself and enjoy this monster sausage in all its glory. Bastards.

The first interesting thing I came across was the Nauener gate which was the first piece of Neo-Gothic architecture on the European continent I read on the plaque. It linked two sections of the city, one called the Dutch quarter and the other without a name. The gate was not in use of course, but now it housed two cafes in the wide pillars. What was interesting to note was that the café with the chairs in the sun was full and the one in the shade was completely empty: what a difference the sun makes!

The thing in Potsdam I had read about in a book was the Sanssouci park and the Sanssouci palace. This was the reason that most tourists came to Potsdam it seemed because when I got into the park it was full of Asian and American tourists milling around taking photos and laughing and whatever. It was strange to see so many Asians again - it was like being at home! I guess it the economic problem and exchange rates, but I haven't seen too many Asian tourists in Europe. The park from the very beginning was picturesque, the sort of place that you see in movies where the people are strolling along between long lines of symmetrical trees. When I walked around the first bend I came to the main attraction: The Sanssouci palace. It is a lot bigger than I expected, but then again if there is a king or someone important living in there, then it has to be grand. The most impressive part about it were the grounds surrounding it. The palace itself was sort of boring looking and all the same. I walked to the top of the stairs and sat down behind this group of American college students who were there in a big group (about ten of them). They reminded me why I like to travel on my own when I do things like this...The whole ten minutes that I was listening to them, they were just arguing about whether they should stay there in that spot for longer or go. Big groups, especially when mixed with lads and lasses are just no fun - whoever came up with the idea of ten people going out together must have been a retard - how did they expect ten people to want to do exactly the same thing the whole day? This isn't a bloody tour!

Anyway walking around this massive park I ran into many of these palaces and other pretty looking buildings. I am not sure why there are so many stately buildings in such a small diameter, but it was pretty to look at. Something that I found very angering was that someone (probably kids) had come along and smashed all the statues to bits: all the fingers, all the penises, all the objects in the hands of the statues were missing throughout the entire park. It was a shame because some of them were really interesting except for the fact that he or she had half a hand or whatever.

After this, there isn't much I can say about the day; look at the pictures.
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