Outside Berlin, Berlin
If you like to get out of Berlin take one of the S Bahn trains and go to Potsdam. Its an hour drive. Potsdam has one of the most beautiful parks I`ve been. Its just nice to walk around there. Nice little bars, restaurants, lakes around Potsdam and very laid back. If you go up north there are all the Berlin lakes and its great in the summer. If people are interested this area is Brandenburg and they`ve got good tourist informations.
Berlin is a huge city, 3.5 million odd people I believe within its boundaries, but just outside the borders you will still find numerous small villages in certain areas. Many of the young people of these towns must-needs have moved into the city to work, or simply did not like the quieter lifestyle of the countryside and came into the big city. Smaller towns are losing ground, many houses stand empty or abandoned partially fallen down. Some even from damage of WWII or before. Many of these properties can be bought for little money to be renovated.
My friend Andreas has such a house. Its owner simply was tired of it and moved into the city. The former owner left all of his possessions, even family photos and children's toys, grandfather clocks and books, simply left them and asked that they be cared for. This is rather an unusual case, but these "off the beaten path" areas can still be interesting. Sitting in someone's front parlour having tea or a beer. We had simply been walking down the street and invited in by an old woman who just wanted to talk, reminiscence about the past, people now gone, children, family. A little sad, but still rich in character. Outside the borders of the city of Berlin, you can find many such places.
Prague ? Off the beaten path in Berlin ? yes, why not ! It's a train ride away & Prague is so unlike Berlin with rich cultures & history, in some ways connecting to Berlin. The war etc.
I think it's about 6 hours between them by train. If you are in Berlin maybe more than 1 week, please, please do go to Prague. you will thank me later.
It's a beautiful city in another country of course. Amazing sceneries in the north of Czech Republic as well. If you decide not to reach Prague, get off in the north of Czech Republic.
If I was not running all the times in my travel in that year 2002, I would love to stop in the north of Czech Republic.
It's the Federal State which surrounds Berlin and the one I live in *g*, offers a variety of sights which are easily accessible for a day trip. Easily to say for me when I already live here, but it's really close ;-)
The State of Brandenburg covers an area of 29,056km² (11,218 miles²) and stretches between the rivers Elbe and Oder. There are 3000 rivers and lakes in this area - with Havel and the Spree as the main rivers.
With 500 hectares of parks and 150 palaces constructed between 1730 and 1916, the complex of palaces and parks of Potsdam are worth a visit. Voltaire stayed at Sanssouci Palace, which was built under Frederick II between 1745 and 1757.
Königs Wusterhausen is located southeast of Berlin in the state of Brandenburg. The surrounding countryside including forests and lakes has been popular among Berliners since the early 20th century.
If you have some time, you could visit the Königs Wusterhausen Palace which was originally a medieval castle. It was the favourite haunt of Frederick William I, who used it as a hunting lodge and held his famous Tabakskollegium or 'tobacco round' here.
Königs Wusterhausen is an important transport junction. The A10 and A13 motorways pass close by and the town is also crossed by the B179 linking Berlin to the area. Berlin's Schönefeld airport is only 15km away.
Sanssouci was the summer palace of Frederik I, and I think was known more for its grounds and the famous terraces of grape vines and rows of bedded plants. Of course it was winter and I was freezing my butt off but I could still imagine how wonderful it would look in the warmer months.
1 April - 31 October. 1 November - 31 March. Closed on Mondays
Seelowe hoeher or Seelow Heights..about 30 miles due East of Berlin on Hwy 1 (a very scenic drive). This is a small town almost on the Polish border that saw a great deal of fighting in WWII. The Germans made their final stand against the Russians reportedly to buy time for the civilians of Berlin to escape..There was extremely fierce fighting and many of the emplacements and positions are still in place..The best restaurant in town is the Schwarzer Adler (Black Eagle ?) and that also does double duty as a hotel. There is a small museum on the way to the polish border (hwy1) that is magnificent in its historical presentation of the battle..they have a regurlarly scheduled video show and if you ask the curator he will provide it in English. Also a lighted map table portraying the troop movements etc...THIS IS WORTHY OF A TRIP !
This is a little town outside Potsdam (You can get there by S-Bahn from Berlin). It's situated on an island, there are many apple trees, old houses, cobblestone streets, Fish restaurants and a gorgeous scenery there! Go there for a day to see something else than cars, houses and traffic jams.
You can see pics of our rowing trips in my travelogue!
Bauhaus, in Dessau, a 100 km from out of Berlin. Bauhaus is the famous art style and school from
1919-1930. The art was very shocking with it's very simple and rational designs in it's furniture,
textile, architecture. It's designs are still called modern at present time. When visiting Bauhaus you
should always keep in mind that the designs were made in the years 1920-1930. Compare the tables,
chairs, spoons, architecture with the style you know like at your grandmothers house... You will
certainly feel that these were really shocking for some people. Bauhaus dissapeared in Dessau with the
due to the upcoming Nazi success. The school closed in 1933, many intellectuals fled to the United
States of America (Bauhaus is very known in Chicago, see the flats, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe)
The extermination camp of Sachsen-Hausen may not be a very cheery destination, but it's an important site historically. It was first used by the Nazis for political prisoners and later by the Soviets for German POWs. It's a very grim and emotional reminder of the harm done to the German people by both the Nazis and the Soviets.
There's a wonderful lake surrounded by forest at a place called Leignitz. So beautiful on a hot summers day to walk through the cool forest then lie in the sun or play ball then jump in the lake to cool off!
Dutch houses in PotsdamIn 1732, after the Prusian king Friedrich Wilhelm I had visited The Netherlands, he insisted on having Dutch building-contractors to built a quarter in a swampy area of Potsdam. Not only because he had such a faith in their building insights, also because the king thought that some Dutch immigrants were needed in Potsdam. He expected that they would have a favourable influence on the economy. Where else would these colonists rather live than in pure Dutch brick houses with a clock facade, tiffany windows and red brown panels?Only 24 families settled and most of them returned to the Netherlands rather quickly. Despite that fact the 134 houses still stand, although many are empty and rotting away. In 1990 was started with raising funds to restore the quarter.Dutch builders had built before in East Germany. After 1750 they builded palaces for two daughters of the Dutch municipal Frederik Hendrik of Orange and Amalia Solms. Both daughters had married with German princes, something more Dutch royalty would do in the years after.Louise Henriette of Orange and her prince moved into the palace Oranienburg and her sister Henriette Catharina and her spouse lived in Oranienbaum, a palace in a village that had the same name, between Dessau and Wittenberg.Oranienbaum still seems to be perfect and is a pure typical Dutch building, and has a strong resemblance with the palace Noordeinde in The Hague.Oranienburg, somewhat north of Berlin, has been successively since 1700 a cotton factory, a plant for acid, a school, SS-barracks, a Russian barracks and finally the shelter for border police. All that off course is no good for a palace.
If you want to stretch your recent history experience a few years beyond the Cold War, hop on S1 and head for Oranienburg. What you'll find there is a concentration camp of Sachsenhausen - not as well-known as Auschwitz or Dachau, but equally moving. Well worth a few hours.
Of course I couldn't resist taking a picture of this enchanting Chinese Teahouse. Overall, good easy-going day in Potsdam. Certainly Potsdam is not a priority when visiting Berlin but it's a side excursion if you have time and want to a break from the city. To get to Potsdam, take the S7 train (the S-Bahn) from Berlin's Bahnhof Zoo. It's only half an hour away.
Go to POTSDAM (west of Berlin) and see how Frederick II spoiled himself. This 600 acre park holds royal residence, pavilions, fountains, etc. This palace is Schloß Sanssouci. Tours of this place are only in German.
Potsdam is an ideal daytrip from Berlin, easily accessable by train you can see the beautiful Sansoucci palace, Cecilinhof castle (where the allies divided up the defeated Germany in 1945).