potsdam & the beer garden

On Saturday we took a bike tour out to Potsdam - the capital of the Brandenberg district and the largest UNESCO World Heritage site in Germany.  It's famous for it's park complex with 17 palaces, built between the 1700's and the early 1900's.  Potsdam was originally settled by the Slavs sometime around 900AD, then became the hunting grounds of Frederick William I in the 1600s.  Frederick the Great built many of the elaborate Rococo palaces in the 1700s and made Potsdam the fulltime residence of the Prussian Royals.

this one was the servants quarters...seriously

this one was the servants quarters...seriously

"welcome to my palace"

"welcome to my palace"

the teahouse - with real gold leaf - I thought it looked like a pretty cupcake

the teahouse - with real gold leaf - I thought it looked like a pretty cupcake

looking up at Sanssouci Palace, Frederick the Great's place

looking up at Sanssouci Palace, Frederick the Great's place

the view from the top

the view from the top

Our tour was with Fat Bike Tours, and it was fantastic.  We started with the train ride out to Potsdam - it takes about 50 minutes on the S-Bahn.  They had the bikes there waiting for us.  It was great to be out on the bikes, because we were able to cover a lot of ground and as a result, see a lot.  The tour was about 20 km altogether, but there were lots of breaks - including a lunch break at a fantastic beer garden overlooking the Havel river.

The beer and the food was great at Gasthaus Brauerei.  I had a weissbier with a grilled knacker sausage (pretty much a smokey) and we shared some fries and cabbage salad.  Ordering was slightly challenging...those East German women did not appreciate my attempt to order in German - good thing our tour guide was there to help out.  The food was excellent and it was so nice to sit out in the sun and visit with the other people on the tour.  After lunch we saw a few more palaces, including a visit inside Cecilienhof.

The last palace to be built out at Potsdam was Cecilienhof, built during World War I.  At the end of WWII the palace served as a meeting place for Churchill, Truman and Stalin as they negotiated how Germany would be partitioned - the Potsdam Conference.  The palace had a lot of great information on how the war progressed and how it came to an end.  The museum also did a good job of explaining how the US struggle with the Japanese came about (and ended) which was great, because those details had been a little unclear to me before (history is not my strong suit).

the actual table where negotiations for the division of Germany took place

the actual table where negotiations for the division of Germany took place

The bridge of spies - we were standing in East Germany, looking at West Germany.  They actually used to trade American spies for Soviet spies across this bridge.

The bridge of spies - we were standing in East Germany, looking at West Germany.  They actually used to trade American spies for Soviet spies across this bridge.

We both really enjoyed our day out at Potsdam.  It was nice to see, and I learned a bunch.  Also, biking out in the sunshine was great (offset with some beer and sausages).