Potsdam is one of those places in Germany that a surprising number of people have never even heard of but absolutely have to visit! If you go when the German Christmas markets are on, well then you’re in for quite the treat!
The train from the central station in Berlin to Potsdam takes just over 40 minutes (quick than a commute between certain stations in Central London) and is such an easy journey to make!
Alas, my first trip to Potsdam was kind of a frustrating one – in a very good way! See, we had only decided late in the morning to visit Potsdam and so, by the time we’d pottered around Berlin for a while and gotten round to deciding, it was early afternoon.
Thanks to this, we arrived in Potsdam feeling a bit pushed for time, especially as we realised (when I googled what to see in Potsdam) that Potsdam is so much more beautiful and so much more vast than we’d initially thought – there’s just so much to see here. This was not my frustration, however.
My frustration was that due to this panic, we decided to do a hop-on, hop-off but thing (you’d think I’d have learnt not from the first time in Berlin) – figuring it was faster than trying to walk everywhere. The idea, in theory, was solid – there’s just no way you could walk through and visit all of the sights here in one day.
The problem was that the bus we ended up getting on was only a hop-on bus! No getting off till we got to one of the main sights to see in the city – Sanssouci (the summer palace) before walking to the nearby New Palace (which is the last stop).
With this, we sat on the bus, waiting for the first stop, which never came. And when you looked out of the window at pretty building after pretty building (which you couldn’t even photograph as you were either never close enough to it or you drove past when you got close enough (the one time I regretted having switched to my wide-angle lens), it was a tad frustrating (Lloyd was properly fuming at this – he was perhaps a lot more reticent than I was to hop onto the bus).
At least the frustration was that we wanted to see and do much more in Potsdam – which is a very good thing. 🙂
* Spoiler Alert: Being as stubborn as I am, I refused to let this ruin my day. I decided to make the most of it with a promise to return the next day and slowly take in all the sights in Potsdam – which we did! Thing is – there was something of a spanner in the works the next day which turned out to be a huge blessing in disguise, but I’ll tell you (and show you) all about that in the next post!
By the time we got to Sanssouci, the sun was just starting to set – which basked the Palace in a beautiful warm glow.
We soaked up that warming glow, along with the pretty palace, before eventually making our way over to the New Palace.
The New Palace is every bit as grand as you’d expect – even from the mere walk up to it. We actually ended up arriving here in a roundabout way, which meant we missed the palace gardens but came through the equally grand archway on the opposite side.
When you visit, you’ve got to leave some time – not just to explore the Palace but all the other buildings around it cos they’re just so impressive!
With the setting sun, we hurried raced to the Palace, knowing we wouldn’t have enough time to explore the inside but decided that this would be something we would have to do the next day when we re-visited.
Eventually, we found our tour bus, hopped back on and decided to get dropped off in the centre of Potsdam, instead of at the train station where first caught it.
When we arrived the Christmas Market was in full swing and we wasted no time in getting stuck in some gluhwein (mulled wine) and whatever tasty treats we could find!
Funny thing is, we weren’t even planning on going to the Christmas Market in Potsdam but when you see a good Christmas Market, you just have to pop in. 🙂
As with any good Christmas Market, we essentially spent the evening laughing, eating drinking and souvenir hunting! Re-fuelled, we decided to stick around in Potsdam a tad longer and explore even more on foot – stopping by some of the sights we’d missed earlier.
Eventually, we found ourselves in the Dutch Quarter where we decided to warm up indoors with a coffee (read: more gluhwein) and, for some reason I can think of right now (except maybe, gluttony), I decided to order up a full plate of Dutch pancakes.
Eating delicious pancakes has never been so difficult – lol! I was still so full from my constant grazing at the Christmas markets just minutes before. Rest-assured, I still finished every single pancake. 🙂
Warmed up, we trudged on through Potsdam, slowly making our way in the direction of the train station…
…stopping off at a smaller market (which was less Christmassy and more “Arts and Craftsy”).
We stopped off at St. Nicholas’ Church, with the nearby Museum Barberini (both closed by this point…
…swinging by the Film Museum before evening catching our train back to Berlin, absolutely determined and totally looking forward to properly exploring all the other sights in Potsdam!
Catch you in the next post for ALL of that. 🙂