Despite living in Berlin now for almost two years, I had never been out to Potsdam, a historical city just outside of the capital’s limits in the state of Brandenburg.
A few weeks ago, thanks to my good friend Sebastian, that changed as we took our bikes out on the S-bahn to Potsdam and cycled around, checking out some of the oldest parts of this small city, a former royal palace and then cycling back towards Berlin along the Havel through a forest.
On first impression, Potsdam seemed like a small, relatively typical German town with well kept, cobbled streets, old buildings and a pedestrianised shopping street. There were two things that we discovered about it that set it apart somewhat and made it a bit more special: the Holländische Viertel and Sanssouci Palace.
The Holländische Viertel, or Dutch Quarter, making up roughly four blocks to the north of Potsdam main station was built in the mid 1700s by Dutch architect Jan Bouman in the style of typical Dutch townhouses, though much wider.
We then went to check out Sanssouci Palace, the former residence of Frederick the Great, King of Prussia. Wandering around the beautiful gardens, it was easy to get lost in the fantasy of being royalty oneself!
Sebastian was especially excited to finally visit after having heard this song when he was a teenager, and had a romantic idea of what it would be like to be there. That was nice to share with him.
We then got back on our bikes to head back towards Berlin with the Westlicher Düppler Forst on one side and the river on the other.
We passed the occasional church by the water, saw a castle perched on a hill on the other side, and wondered who actually lived in these opulent mansions by the Havel. Sometimes we had to stop and just take in the view, it was such a gorgeous day.
Once we reached Wannsee, we took the S-bahn back to Berlin, where we realised that after even only just six hours, we were ready to be back in the city. It was a great trip, with beautiful weather and excellent company, but it also reminded me just how much of a city boy I am!