Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Elegant Elbe: Potsdam (5/30/2018)

Wednesday, May 30, 2018 (continued)
We arrived in Potsdam, and the motor coaches parked near Sts Peter & Paul Cathedral. We were given an hour to have lunch on our own. Nothing was immediately apparent in the area, but around a corner we found an Italian restaurant and grabbed outdoor seats. Later others trying to lunch at the same restaurant, found the service too slow, with one waiter for indoors and out and not expecting a tour bus load of people!
Oops, there goes another ... Trabant! (KSS)
Sts Peter & Paul Church (1867-1870,
by August Stüler and Wilhelm Salzenberg)
We were able to finish lunch and take the long way back to the motor coaches. We were in the Dutch Quarter/Holländisches Viertel of Potsdam. When Friedrich Wilhelm I imported craftsmen from the Netherlands, he had 130 houses built (1733-1740, designed by Jan Bouman) to make them feel at home.
A Combino by Siemens tram and the Nauener Gate/Tor (1755)
Mittelstrasse in the Dutch Quarter (KSS)
House of architect Jan Bouman
Soviet Memorial Cemetery (1945) with a
monument/Памятник советским воинам  
The motor coaches then took us to Sanssouci Park, filled with palaces and other buildings, many gardens, and works of art.
Historic windmill (1787-1791, destroyed by
a Russian bazooka, rebuilt 1991)
Bronze map of Sanssouci Park (KSS)
Sanssouci (from the French for "without a care") Palace (1745-1747, by
Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff) was built for Friedrich II
aka Frederick the Great/Friedrich der Große as his summer palace,
meant to be a private retreat and not a version of Versailles (KSS)
In front of the palace are vineyard terraces down to the
Great Fountain/Große Fontäne (1748) (KSS)
Friedrich II wanted a fountain with a tall jet of water, something his engineers were unable to accomplish. It was not until 1843, with the assistance of a steam-powered pump, that they were able to produce a water jet of 18 m/59'.
Golden Sun gazebo (KSS)
The Golden Sun with a cherb face
Colonnade of 88 columns that are paired;
why have a single when you can afford pairs?
The colonnade frames the artificial ruins that
hide the water reservoir required for the water needs
of the park, especially the fountains (KSS)
We were taken for a tour inside the Sanssouci Palace (no photos allowed). Decorated as a place in which to have fun, but also featuring the chair in which Friedrich III was found after he died, in his study-bedroom. There was the oval Marble Hall/Marmorsaal and the guest bedrooms with Chinese and Italian themes. Finally the Voltaire Room, its walls covered with painted wood carvings of vines and branches full with birds, fruits, and flowers. Voltaire lived here from 1750-1753 and engaged in learned discussions with Friedrich III.
Tomb of Friedrich III under the statue, with the grave marker on the left,
and grave markers for his 11 Italian greyhounds lined up on the right side
Friedrich III's express wish was that he be buried with his dogs in the vault he had built next to the Sanssouci Palace. However, his successor, his nephew, had him buried in the garrison church in Postdam, near Friedrich Wilhelm I, Friedrich III's tyrannical father. During World War II, the coffins of Friedrich III and his father were taken for safekeeping, ending up in potassium mines. After the war the Americans placed the coffins in a church in Marburg, where they stayed until 1952. The coffins were then moved to Burg Hohenzollern, the ancestral seat of the family. It was not until Reunification that the coffin of Friedrich III was interred where he wished, a 205-year delay. However, against his wishes, this time he was buried with great pomp and ceremony.
Potatoes? Friedrich III introduced potatoes to Germany
Our very exuberant local guide, Peter, was able to convey the life story
of Friedrich III, with wide-ranging arm movement and by changing
voices for conversations between Friedrich III and his father,
so that no one was the least bored
We returned to the motor coaches for the last leg into Berlin.
The colonnade approach to the Glienicker Bridge/Brücke (1907) aka
the Bridge of Spies, on the Potsdam side
Because the Glienicker Bridge crosses the Havel River that was
the border between West Berlin and East Germany, at a point
controlled by the Soviets, it was often the place for
the exchange of captured spies during the Cold War
You can see the difference in paint color at the border line
The radio tower/Funkturm (1924-1926),
now functions as a relay cell tower
The radio tower was meant to also be a tourist attraction, having been built with an observation deck and restaurant. Although the tower stands on porcelain insulators, people would still have been at risk for massive shocks. The tower was then grounded through the elevator shaft. Broadcasting was discontinued in 1973, but the restaurant and observation deck are still in business.
Concrete/Beton-Cadillacs (1987,
by Wolf Vostell) at Rathenauplatz
We arrived at the InterContinental Berlin hotel at about 17:15, and Program Director Michael handed out the room assignments. After stashing our luggage, we met Peter & Beth to check out the area near the hotel.
Orchid vases in the lobby of the
InterContinental Berlin (you can see me
taking the photograph in the mirror above)
Kent and Tamiko with the Marlene Dietrich Bear (Photo by Peter)
Berlin is full of water pipe sculptures, or rather, during construction,
water pipes are temporarily re-routed above ground
because the water table in Berlin is so high
The wall outside of the Aquarium Berlin that
is inside the zoo/Zoologischer Garten Berlin
Ammonite Fountain/Ammonitenbrunnen (1987, by Volker Bartsch)
has ammonite-shaped bronze pieces on the pile of fractured slate
Ammonites are those fossils of spiral-shaped mollusks.
The Elephant Gate (1899) of Zoo Berlin
The Elephant Gate of Zoo Berlin (10/2/1987)
The Clock of Flowing Time/
Die Uhr der Fliessenden Zeit
(1982, by Bernard Gitton)
in the Europa Center
On the Clock of Flowing Time, the medium spheres on the left show the hours, and the smaller ones parallel on the right show minutes (two minutes per sphere). Water in the top basin drives the purple grid pendulum.
Outside the Europa Center, in Breitscheidplatz is the World Fountain/
Weltkugelbrunnen (1983, by Joachim Schmettaus),
nicknamed the "wet meatball"
Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church/
Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gedächtniskirche (1891-1906,
by Franz Schwechten, damaged in 1943 in
an air raid) was left as ruins as a memorial, with a
new church (1959-1963, by Egon Eiermann)
that incorporates the old church tower
Kaiser Wilhelm Memorial Church (10/2/1987)
The sculpture titled Berlin (1987, by
 Brigitte and Martin Matschinsky-Denninghoff)
in front of the Europa Center tower
Sculpture Berlin in front of the
Europa Center (10/2/1987)
Peek & Cloppenburg façade (1992-1995, by Gottfried Böhm),
perhaps inspired by the lines of a skirt, for the retail clothing store
Peek & Cloppenburg façade close-up
"Kah-Day-Vay"/KaDeWe or
Kaufhaus des Westens (1907, by Emil Schaudt,
rebuilt 1950-1956), a department store that added
two floors after Reunification
Diversity at the cosmetics counter
We used the escalators in order to see each floor as we made our way to the much touted 6th floor with over 30 counters of gourmet foods, a sort of luxury grocery store where they will also cook and serve meals and beverages.
6th floor of KaDeWe
There were plenty of choices, but the others decided to check the 7th floor, which has a Winter Garden and restaurant, and several booths of ready-made dishes.
Hmm, more of that gelatin-topped cake
Peter & Beth have been our meal-place decision-makers, so we followed them.
Stumbled over a couple Stolpersteine marking where Jews had lived
and what happened to them
We have seen these stumbling blocks/Stolpersteine even in Prague. The project was initiated by German artist Gunter Demnig in 1992, to memorialize victims of Nazi extermination. At first he made the brass-plated cobbles himself, and installed them throughout Germany. Now a network of volunteers will place the stones that are handmade by sculptor Michael Friedrichs-Friedländer since 2005. There are at least 50,000 Stolpersteine across Europe and in 2017 the first were placed outside Europe, in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The term Stolpersteine is used as a rebuke against a pre-war slur for whenever someone tripped on a cobble, they would say a Jew must be buried there.
This woman managed to ride her bicycle while
wearing high-heeled boots!
A stall at the Asparagus Festival
A water pump station (the guy is posing
for someone else!)
Pretzels and brats, plus an industrial-size
bucket of mustard!
We ended up at Ferri's Ristorante for pizza for dinner. Today's high temperature was 90 degrees F.
Next: Berlin 1a.

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