Wasp Stings and the Palaces of Potsdam.
by Heidi Obermeyer
Guys, I got stung by a wasp 2 days ago and it has defined my life ever since. Okay, maybe it wasn’t just the wasp sting. I think I’m getting sick in addition to having a swollen and itchy wasp sting on my ankle, and that is no bueno since I’ve got a wonderful weekend planned with my friends! So while I’m chugging Emergen-C and lazing about, I figured it would be a good time to talk about Potsdam. And talk about Potsdam we will!
Potsdam is actually a pretty big German city- it’s got about 160,000 residents and is the capital of the Federal State of Brandenburg (Berlin is one of 3 city-states in Germany, so although it’s surrounded by Brandenburg, it’s not the capital). What I visited wasn’t really Potsdam proper- the actual city seemed quite nice when the bus went through- but the massive park where the palaces of Prussia are located.
Let me make one thing clear in this post: if you love royal residences, you should have one goal in life: to go to Potsdam and geek out HARD over the massive park of castles left behind by the Prussian empire.
Let’s back up a little bit, shall we?
When I left for Berlin, Andrew (my Berlin-expert friend) said that the ONE THING that I had to do in Berlin was go to Potsdam. I added it to my Berlin list and pretty much let it sit there until almost the end of my time in Berlin, when I finally decided that everything would be green and glorious (versus the wintery tundra of January when I first arrived in the city) to merit the hour-long journey out to Potsdam. Turns out, Potsdam is one of the best things I visited while living in Berlin!
There’s lots of palaces out there, let’s be real. Neuschwanstein ain’t half bad. Versailles is impressive enough. But I have never been somewhere where I was struck by the general MASSIVENESS of the grounds the way I was in Potsdam. Every corner you turned had some ornate, gorgeous, historic building to feast your eyes upon. The best part in my opinion? Apart from Sansoucci, the place was just about empty. In late July! That’s nearly unheard of for cool touristy things in Europe. One of the best parts of visiting palaces is that (as I’ve mentioned before after my visit to Versailles last year) people in general are lazy. All it takes to escape the crowds is walking any distance of minor significance away from the main bus stop.
I enjoyed all the walking we did around the park (it was probably over 5 km for the day, so be sure to bring your walking shoes!) which included quite a bit of time of being kind of lost- I didn’t really look up how to get to Sansoucci or any of the palaces before I left the house, so instead of taking the bus directly from the main station in Potsdam we walked from a different train station. If I were to do things over, I’d rent or bring bikes on the S-bahn and then bike around the park to visit all the different castles. One of the coolest parts of German cities are the huge parks, so taking advantage of the beautiful landscaping is really enjoyable! Plus you could bring a picnic! I’m ready to go back already.
Another thing to note- Sansoucci is so popular that you get specific entry times when you buy your ticket. The day’s tours weren’t full when we arrived, but booking even one day in advance would have saved us the 2 hour wait we had between booking our tickets and our entry time. We ended up visiting the neighboring gallery and walking around a bit during that time, so it wasn’t too big of a problem, but reservations would have streamlined things quite nicely. If you’re heading to Berlin soon, I hope you add Potsdam to your itinerary- you won’t be disappointed! Have a wonderful Friday everyone!