Day 2 - Warnemunde - Potsdam - Sans Souci - Brandenburg Gate

A few miles outside of Berlin is the historic town of Potsdam. We stopped at Schloss Cecilienhof (Cecilienhof Palace). Built in the style of an English manor house in 1916, it was the last palace built by the Hohenzollern family and served the familiy of Crown Prince Wilhelm as a residence until 1945. It was named after his wife, Crown Princess Cecilie.


One of three entrances to the Palace. This would become important in 1945.


Coat of arms above the entrance.


Roof and chimneys.


Detail on the chimneys.


View of the inner courtyard.


Nancy and the courtyard fountain.


The palace became famous in the summer of 1945 when, between July 17th and August 2, US President Harry Truman, Soviet Premier Jossif Stalin, and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill met here for the Potsdam Conference to settle the political aftermath of WWII. The three entrances allowed meetings to begin and end with all delegations diplomatically entering and exiting at the same time, i.e. no country was ahead or behind another.


Chimney detail.


A short distance away, we visited the Sans Souci Palace, the summer residence of Frederick the Great of Prussia. While Sans Souci is in the more intimate Rococo style and is far smaller than its French Baroque counterpart, Versailles, it too is notable for the numerous temples and follies in the park.


Extraordinary detail.


View from the palace toward Potsdam.


In case you get lost there's a handy miniature of the palace layout.


Cast iron garden pavilion with richly gilded sun-ornaments on the grounds of Sans Souci Palace.


Sculpture on the palace grounds, with tomb of Frederick the Great in the background.


The Tomb of Frederick the Great was a subject to which Old Fritz, as he was popularly known, gave a great deal of thought. He wished to be buried in a tomb next to his favourite dogs.


Why do people leave potatoes on the tomb of Frederick the Great? He's largely responsible for introducing the potato crop to the region. During his reign, he made a special point to promote the potato: Rumor has it that he actually stationed guards around the crops to make them appear valuable and therefore more desirable.


A historic windmill near the palace notably received Frederick's ire because it was taller than his own palace, even thought the palace was built after the windmill was already there.


After our tour of Schloss Cecilienhof and Sans Souci we returned to Berlin.


Sights along the way in Berlin.


Scientology Church.


Siegessäule (from Sieg ‘victory’ + Säule ‘column’). The statue of the Godess of Victory to commemorate the victory during the Prussian-Danish war in 1864.


The former Congress Hall, now the House of World Cultures, is one of Berlin’s most interesting buildings. Constructed in 1957, its nickname by locals is "the pregnant oyster". Its symbolic function as a manifesto for freedom of thought and expression is reflected in the architecture. Designed by American architect Hugh Stubbins.


The Soviet War Memorial, built to commemorate the Soviet soldiers who fell in the Battle of Berlin in April–May 1945.


Brandenburg Gate, the only remaining town gate of Berlin, has served as a symbol of both the division of Germany and the country’s reunification. Commissioned by Frederick William II as an entrance to Unter den Linden, which led to the Prussian palace, it was built after the model of the Propylaea in Athens. [In the white building beyond and to the right of the white tent is where I got my "Berlin" Starbucks mug.]


Eastern side.


Atop the gate is the Quadriga, a chariot drawn by four horses abreast, and a symbol of peace (represented by the olive wreath carried by Victory). Seized by Napoleon during his occupation of Berlin in 1806, and taken to Paris, it was returned to Berlin by Field Marshal Gebhard von Blücher in 1814. Victory's olive wreath was subsequently supplemented with an Iron Cross.


Der Rufer (aka The Caller), bronze casting by Gerhard Marcks. Other castings of the Der Rufer have been erected in various places around the world. Marcks never committed himself to a particular interpretation of his sculpture; while Berlin read its message as a call for peace, the sculpture put up in Perth, Australia, was dedicated to victims of torture.


The Reichstag building, constructed to house the Imperial Diet (German: Reichstag), of the German Empire. It was opened in 1894 and housed the Diet until 1933, when it was severely damaged in a fire.


A walkway beneath two government buildings, Marie-Elisabeth-Lüders-Haus and Paul-Löbe-Haus, above River Spree. The politicians use the upper bridge and the general public use the lower.


We pass the Französischer Dom (French Cathedral) on our way back to the train station.


And again the Berliner Dom (Berlin Cathedral).


After the train ride back to Warnemunde dusk is falling. We walk from the train station back to our boat.


After a 13-hour day of touring, we are back in our stateroom, happy to see the towel animal our steward has left for us, and happier still that we get an extra hour of sleep tonight!


See the pics of Day 3 (At Sea). Or return to the Main Menu to see something else.