Day Ride to Potsdam 77 Km (Fri 9-Jun-17)
Weather: 15⁰C min – 28⁰C max, bright sunshine
On days like today I have to pinch myself to make sure I am not dreaming. The 77 Km ride from Berlin to Potsdam and back under a crystal blue sky was as good as it gets. Getting out of Berlin was no problem at all, streaming along among all the commuters (dressed in their work attire) on the red-brick coloured lane reserved for cyclists on all the footpaths. I felt rather conspicuous in my colourful cycle jacket and padded cycling shorts.
My first stop was at the 10 Km mark when I came to the famous Olympic Stadium built in 1936 for what became known as the 1936 Nazi Olympics because the Nazis used the games to promote Germany as a stronger, unified country. Since renovations in 2004 the stadium has become a UEFA category four stadium and one of the world’s most prestigious venues for sporting and entertainment events.
For the next 10 Km I steamed along through a sun-dappled forest on a road so smooth that it was very popular with what appeared to be professional road cyclists, possibly training for the Tour de France next month. Now I felt quite at home wearing cycling attire and riding a bicycle with drop handlebars!
Emerging from the forest into the bright sunshine again at Wannsee, I followed a lakeside path until at the 36 Km point I reached the picturesque Neuer Garten Park where I found the incredible Schloss Cecilienhof famous as the venue for the Potsdam Conference in July 1945 (the month before I was born). This place really captured my imagination so I paid the admittance fee as well as an additional charge for the privilege of taking photos. This is the place where Churchill, Truman, and Stalin met and discussed how to partition Germany, with the round table being the actual one they sat around (the flags indicate the positions where each of them sat). Amazingly Churchill did not finish the conference, departing suddenly when he was beaten at the election by the Labor leader Clement Attlee.
From there my route wound around past some of Potsdam’s most amazing buildings, including:
Museum Alexandrowka (the Russian Quarters)
Sanssouci Palace (once the summer home of Frederick the Great, former King of Prussia)
Am Neuen Palais
Marble Palace and New Garden
Am Neuen Markt
I have seen so many schlosses (castles) today I am all schlossed out tonight, so I am off to bed now ready for another big day of sight-seeing in Berlin tomorrow. It is hard work being a tourist, but somebody has to do it!