Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Berlin, part II

After three and a half rather intense days of talks (most very interesting, a few not so interesting) we had a social event that consisted of a castle tour. Now, the castle tour advertised that we would see I believe 11 castles on our tour, so I deemed that worth the 30 euro price tag. Unfortunately, 10 of the 11 castles were viewed at high speed from the back of the bus, like this:

I was fortunately seated in the back of the bus, so when the tour guide pointed out the sights in Potsdam I had time to look toward them without giving myself whiplash. Even so, I'm not sure I'll ever spring for another bus tour. Pictured below is the front of a building I took a shot of while we were stopped at a light.

During our driving tour of the city we saw many buildings in a state of moderate to more severe disrepair (none pictured, again, due to the speed of our travel). According to the guide, when East Germany (which included Potsdam) was under the rule of communists, there were rules about how many employees craftsmen could have that basically prevented people from maintaining buildings. A lot of work is being done to renovate the old, stately buildings, but there are still probably as many run-down as well-kept buildings in the city.

When we arrived at San souci we were greeted by a man in 18th century garb playing the flute:

Again, we couldn't take pictures inside, so all I have are a few pictures of statuary and the gardens outside.

Apparently Friederich was so beloved Germans still leave potatoes for him:

Friederich loved fresh fruits, including melons, pineapple, grapes, and figs, and insisted on having them year-round. Today that's not so much an issue because we just truck things from wherever they're in season, but a couple of hundred years ago that wasn't a possibility. Instead, Friederich built the Orangerie (which isn't all that unusual), and also built these semi-greenhouses (which are more unusual):

Fig trees and grapes could be kept warm in these little glassed-in alcoves, which allowed Friederich to have the fresh fruits he loved well into winter. Adam West noted after the tour that we really do eat like kings today.

It started to rain, so we walked to the bakery via this arbor.

European bread just looks so good!


  1. I've been to San Souci -- I went in the winter time. The gardens were still lovely, but dormant. We didn't get a chance to tour inside, just the grounds.