Thursday, November 9, 2017

A Colourful Visit to Bad Wilsnack

It takes less than ten minutes to reach Bad Wilsnack, on the way back to Berlin from Wittenberge, with my comfy ODEG ride. The entire trip was covered by a Brandenburg day ticket that costed less than 17 EURO, therefore I decided that it is worth to spend some time around this area and discover a new place.
Bad Wilsnack is welcoming me with one of the most colourful train stations I've ever seen in Germany, besides the surprising train station of Uelzen. The scenes grandly displayed on the walls are sharing various episodes from the local history. At a great extent, the history of Bad Wilsnack is tightly connected with that of Wittenberge. Before Wittenberge was included on the Hamburg train connection, Wilsnack - which became 'bad' only at the beginning of the 20th century - had more population and was far more famous. The electrification and industralization changed dramatically the situation. 
Nowadays, people are visiting this place mostly for the thermal baths, but I decided to make a difference and search for other interesting places instead.
After ten minutes of slow walking from the train station, I am generously rewarded with the view of beautiful timbered houses, with some of the residents welcoming me with a smile and a 'Guten Tag', while they enjoy the sunny Sunday afternoon with their doors and windows largely open to enter one of the few warm days left from the 2017 season.
The doors are equally impressive with so many small colourful details.
Most of the central area is made of those houses, which I am always happy to spot, either in Celle or in the Harz mountains. No one told me anything similar about Bad Wilsnack and I am happy to have discovered another colourful destination so close to Berlin.
After so much walking (count on it also the long walk around Wittenberge, the first part of the day), it is time for a little foodie break, at one of the few places open for business this time of the week: Cafe Quitzow, for an Apfelstrudel adorned with a huge icecream scoop. Maybe it was not the best I had, but at least I had the chance to rest, exchange some words with the locals and get enough sugar energy for the rest of the rest of the trip.
Which involved a lot of door watching as there is nothing like too many beautiful colourful doors.
My last leg of the trip involved a short visit to the famous therme, which after everything I've seen in the town before, was completely unappealing. Which means that one day I will have to come back to check in more carefully because I bet there are some interesting travel and leisure recommendations waiting for me too.

For more inspiration, check the dedicated Pinterest board

Friday, November 3, 2017

A Visit to Wittenberge

Mid-autumn season in Germany is a perfect moment to book some trips outside the big cities, in places reachable within hours of speed train rides in the middle of landscapes displaying the most beautiful colour shades from vibrant red to gold yellows. Compared to Berlin, some places might even have a much better weather, even they are less than two hours away. 
Wittenberge was a place I've heard about when I visited Perleberg, at the beginning of the spring but my summer trips brought me in many far away places and for a while forgot about it. The name of the place returned into my autumn agenda, and I am happy to be on my way for a Sunday journey.
After a direct ride with the regional ODEG train, we arrived in Wittenberge, a place that largely benefited of the development of the railway network in Germany in the second half of the 19th century, particularly the Hamburg-Wittenberge connection. A tribute to this contribution is the train museum, a couple of steps away from the train station, which since 2012 displays the biggest collection of trains in the entire Brandenburg area. 
On the way to the city center, we walk near various small empty streets displaying a variety of architecture.
When the colours of the buildings are not enough, there are the flowers and the street decorations complimenting it creatively.
Wittenberge has also a rich Art Nouveau reservoir, displayed in the architecture decorations, but also in some of the antiquities shops.
A direct beneficiary of the development of the city was the historical Hotel Germania, which remains a local landmark, welcoming visitors in the city for over a century.
The Theatre situated in Paul-Lincke Platz - Paul Lincke, the creator of Berlin Operette spent some time learning in this city and he even created a piece called 'Grüße aus Wittenberge' - 'Best regards from Wittenberge' - is the main city cultural institution. On Sundays, around this area there is a local market taking place too.
The old and new houses are displaying a variety of shapes and colours, a pleasure for my eyes always hungry to discover something new.
As usually in the small localities, many of the places are connected to different personalities and owners whose names are carved into the old stones.
The old city offers a completely different architecture, which brings Wittenberge closer to Salzwedel and the cities around Hamburg. Half-timbered, one storey houses probably inhabited initially by the emergent middle class which settled around this Elbe town give a lot of work to my camera.
Talking about Elbe, the river connecting by water Wittemberge to  the great trade center of Hamburg and beyond, its promenade is a great place to spend part of the sunny days of autumn. With a view over the green pastures with slow cows having non-stop dinner and dog walkers, it brings a feeling of peace and quietness. The right moment to meditate to time travel experiences, emphasized by the statue created by the artist Christian Uhlig, originary from the Uckermark region. 
Meditation about travel and its perks, including through centuries continues while walking the cobbled streets bordered by colourful houses.
What I love is that often the old houses received new clothes but still remain well inserted into the landscape. The buildings themselves were used for various purposes during centuries, as in the case of the 13th century Steintor - Stone tower - visible in the back of the picture, which was a city entrance point but also a police station, but nowadays is mostly a space for exhibition of local artists.
Although not as widespread as in the case of big cities, the street art can be found here too, even though relatively discretely hidding behind a thick wall of ivy bushes.
Nowadays, what used once to be the pride of the city that caught the industrialization virus in the 19th century, are mostly part of history or are converted into a more modern use. For instance, the elements of the electricity factory that operated into the city are now mostly displayed as historical testimonies of the fast development brought by the industrial revolution in the German lands. 
Nearby, there is a brighter part of the Elbe promenade, probably one of the most beautiful natural part of the city. The good connection to Hamburg made Wittenberge a stop for the Viking Cruises over the world, therefore, the international visitors can also discover this relatively unknown piece of Germany.
Some places with an industrial were completely converted in the last decades. The old oil mill, for instance, owned by Salomon Herz since 1823 is nowadays a hotel with modern art on the exterior walls and some local entertainment local attraction, as a climbing wall.
During the time of the separation, Wittenberge was part of the communist Germany, and displays of the busy working class heroes can be seen on the iron wrought gates of the Osz Prignitz former factory.
Lately, we arrived in the area of what used to be the Singer/Veritas factory for having a look at another famous landmark: the Watchtower, which at the time of the construction - 1928/1929 - was the second largest in Europe, with its 49,40 meter height. Nowadays, you can visit it and walk the stairs until the top, with beautiful views over the Elbe and the surrounding area.
Too much industrial architecure might be overwhelming, therefore on the way back to the city center, I am spoiled with some fine art nouveau door decorations.
The latest stop of this trip is the massive city hall, neighbouring a small cemetery for the Soviet Red Army soldiers, an impressive contrast between the impressive stone construction and the small pinky square stones of the graves. 
With all his colours, histories and achievements, Wittenberge is a town of contrasts too, and as usual, I am grateful for the opportunity of grasping just another fragment of local history.

For more inspiration, check the dedicated Pinterest board

Monday, October 30, 2017

Living in Italy, the Real Deal

Stef Smulders, personal archive
Many expat stories in Europe - including mine - starts with moving for a short while to explore a little bit the area and take a break from a busy business career and ends up with becoming a full part of a local society and language of choice. Stef Smulders and his husband Nico did the same in Italy, and after many adventures, featured in a book fully recommended if you ever consider becoming an expat - and maybe an investor too - in this country, Living in Italy, the Real Deal, he is happily living the (Italian) dream. He was kind enough to answer a couple of questions for my blog about his experiences and his advices to a newby expat. Here are his answers.

How did your Italian story begin? 

We went to live in Italy for six months, me to study at the university of Pavia and my husband Nico for a sabbatical leave. We already secretly dreamt about the possibility to move abroad definitely and start a bed and breakfast, and once we discovered the Oltrepo Pavese wine region just a little south of Pavia we decided to see if we could find a house that matched our purpose. To our surprise we found our current house within two months.

What do you recommend to someone considering becoming an expat in Italy?

Learn the language before leaving! Do not live in the same house that you are renovating. Prepare yourself by reading books and articles about buying a house in Italy to avoid disaster.
A fragment of Italian dream, photo Stef Smulders


What is the most hilarious experience you had?

There are lot of these (thats the fun of moving abroad) that I relate in my book Living in Italy: the Real Deal. I do not want to spoil the fun for those who want to read it, but one of the funniest experiences is how I made a reservation at a restaurant nearby that turned out to be of a member of the choir Nico was a member of as well, which we did not know. As a matter of fact the owner was sitting next to Nico when I made the reservation, her not knowing that it was for Nico and me. LOL.

What is the most important lesson as an expat abroad in Europe?

For US citizens I would not know, as I am a European myself. I guess there are more cultural differences to cope with as the US and Europe differ a lot as well. The lesson would be to realize and accept that people are different and there is no absolute right or wrong in this respect. 

What are your best travel recommendations in your area?

Pavia, Milan, the Mediterranean, but the landscape and the people themselves, not to forget the food and wine! 

Where do you see yourself living in five years from now?

Probably retired, in a nice home at one of the lakes.

Monday, October 23, 2017

The Hidden Jewels of Berlin Architecture: Moabit Criminal Court

Either you are a visitor or a local, the chance of visiting Moabit more than once every couple of years is very limited if ever. As in the case of many places in the city, you can easily live in your 'hood - aka Kiez, in German - without bothering too much what the other part of the city is doing. However, curious bloggers minds like me, went there quite often, and this was long before I also worked there for a short while. The good news is that this part of the city is developing fast too, many interesting cultural and foodie offers.
This time, I am back in the area with a special mission: having a look at the 100-year old Kriminalgericht - Criminal Court - a building you can hardly miss, at the end of the multi-cultural Turmstrasse, at no. 91. After the German Chancellor's Office and the Bundesbank, this venerable institution has its own open house day, and I cannot miss such a rare opportunity.                                       
The first impression my first architectural encounter with this building was unforgettable. As I will find out later, the end-19th century Baroque is typical for the court constructions, either in Berlin or in other part of the country, such as Naumburg. The criminal court was inaugurated in 1906, after four years of intensive work, following the plans of the architects Carl Vöhl and Rudolf Mönnich. 
The massive stone decorations are entincing for the eyes, but are also sending a clear message of power and strength.
Although the elaborated facade is elaborated enough to foil the curiosity of the architecture lover, nothing prepared me for the impressive main hall. With a high of 29 meters it covers a perimeter of 40x27 meters, enough space to easily host the Brandenburg Gate, with some extra space too. 
The hall, with its cathedral-like structure creates an overwhelming impression, particularly if you visit the place searching for justice. Obviously, not only the words to have their own power, but also architecture and symbols, as messengers of clear social and political messages. 
On the top of each side arch, there are six massive representation of moral, social values or human inclinations such as: religion, justice, contentiousness (or spirit of dispute, Streitsucht), lie, peace-loving and truth.
The eyes are browsing every single architecture detail - nothing is accidental - going back to the beautiful ensemble, rightfully labelled as Europe's most beautiful criminal court.
As a counter to the open space requiring community and social interaction, although it is easily to get lost and reclaim your anonymity in this vaste space, there are some secretive side stairs where you can get lost into your own thoughts and secrets, eventually before an important decision or testimony.
Every level offers a different perspective over the hall and reveals more interesting details. Initially, the court, which went through massive reconstructions in the last decades, the last ones after the reunification of Germany, had 21 courtrooms, extended nowadays to as many as 60.
Besides sharing some common social values, this massive architecture has another aim, to intimidate, and the special choice of materials and inner disposition of elements do have a special social function, besides creating a beautiful presence. Such a style is called in German: 'Einschüchterungarchitektur'  - Intimidation Architecture.
For the accidental visitor though, the beautiful details are far from intimidating, but an interesting testimony of the spirit of times. Such a massive construction is discretely illuminated, with natural light coming from the upper windows being complimented by small sources of lightning - compared to the massive scale of the building.  
Those worrisome statues witnessed famous trials in Germany, the raise and fall of politicians, sport people or just simple citizens of the republic. Here was, for instance, put on trial in 1922, the 'beast from Schlesischen Tor', Karl Großmann, guilty for the murder of at least 20 women. One year before, the writer Arthur Schnitzler successfully pledged his case for an accusation of 'indecent' content for one of his plays. On a similar note, the famous graphic artist of Berlin life, George Grosz, was here to defend himself against the accusations of profanity.
The list of famous trials continues with the famous case against the 6 'tunnergangsters' from 1995, that entered the Commerzbank branch of Zehlendorf through a tunnel under the building and after a hostage taking operations disappeared with bags full of millions of then DM. Or the trials of former DDR leaders Erich Honeker and intelligence chief Erich Mielke or the last president of the DDR, Egon Krenz, for killing their own people. Another interesting case was that of the former sport champions of the communist Germany, accused of regularly taking drugs for enhancing their performances.
Often, some of the processes were featured in German thriller novels, many of them based in the district of Moabit.
But all those famous characters are just simple citizens looking to prove their innocence, with thoughts of remords and hope for a right decision, while waiting to pledge their case or say their testimony.
Most of the historical settings were preserved, but modern security systems were also put into place. Behind the brown wooden doors, there are modern computers and registrations devices typical for the 21st century.
The open house event offered various opportunities for being familiar with the justice system and finding support in cases of harassment, domestic violence or bullying. 
Particularly useful was the part dedicated to children, aimed at introducing the little ones into the secrets of the German justice system. A very practical introduction, that can be unforgettable and easier to remember than a theoretical class.

The inner court - which was not open to the public - is also an interesting, at least for the sake of architecture, with the symbols of the German state - the eagle - carved into the fassade, lace-like, creating another impressive visual footprint.
With all his terrible secrets, the Moabit Criminal Court was an interesting journey through law decisions and monumental architecture. It was a part of the Berlin history unfolded in the front of me and I am happy I was able to be part of this unique experience.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

The Ultimate List of Top Things to See in Potsdam

With its charming Rococo castles, beautiful parks, stylish architecture and cultural treasures, Potsdam is the perfect destination for anyone looking to spend some time outside of Berlin. Since moving to Germany, I tried to go there at least every month, either for visiting some old places or for new discoveries or just for a walk on the old cobblestone streets ended with a meal at one of the diverse restaurants. And this place never disappoints me, as almost every time there is something new to discover and be charmed by.
After intensive research and even more trips in the last months, I am happy to bring you the ultimate list of top things to see in Potsdam

A ride to Potsdam takes less than one hour, from the Friedrichstrasse train station in the center of Berlin. You need a ABC ticket, which is available for the transportation within Potsdam too. 

Babelsberg

My first stop is in the borrough of Babelsberg, a less known and less touristic part of the town, but with some interesting hidden treasures for the genuine traveler.

Babelsberg Film Studios
If you are a film lover and especially if you are visiting as a family with children, I recommend visiting the Babelsberg Film Studios, where classical German movies as Metropolis and the Blue Angel were made, and where the little ones will have unforgettable adventures experiencing the 3D and 4D movie theaters. The studios are open from April to October and you need more than 3 hours to fully discover every corner of it. Those celebrating Halloween, are offered this weekend a special Horror night adventure!

Babelsberg Castle

The neo-Gothic castle of Babelsberg, planned by my favorite German architect, Schinkel, is a oasis of English style in the midst of Prussian discipline. 


The expansive gardens were designed by the eccentric Prince Pücklen-Müskau, whose other important works in Germany I had the chance to admire to Bad Muskau and Branitz

Babelsberg City Hall

As in the case of Berlin, this part of Prussia was also a safe haven for some people persecuted for their religion in Europe. In the 18th century, 228 inhabitants from Bohemia relocated here, making up a quarter of the inhabitants of Babelsberg. Alt Nowawes - the Old Village, in Czech - is the name of a street in their memory, near the typical building of the city hall, in the middle of a stylish area with plenty of small boutique selling products designed by local artists. If you want to check for some small restaurants and guest houses, have a look at the Grossbeerenstraße nearby. 

Potsdam

Once you are finally in Potsdam, you will discover that making the right choice of activities is very difficult. The good news is that there is something to do - and a little bit more - for everyone.
Let's discover together...

Biosphere Potsdam

Fancy meeting some huge moving and roaring dinosaurs in the middle of the tropical forest? Biosphere Potsdam offers a journey through geological ages and climates, including a collection of colourful butterflies, that reminded me of my trip to the paradise island of Mainau, in the South of Germany.

Adventure Park

Less than 30 minutes of walking from the train station, there is an adventure park where regardless your age you can push yourself to the limit of your fears and strengths. 

Falkenhof


If you still have some energy left, a visit at the Falkenhof, especially if you are there during the weekend when regular shows are held, is a must. You can not only watch an unique show, but also can learn interesting information about falcons. The shows are in German language. 

Telegraphberg and Einstein Tower

On your way back to Potsdam Central station, you can take the way of the Telegraphberg - Telegraph mountain - an important standpoint in the new telegraph network built in Germany at the end of the 19th century. You will probably end up soon in the Wissenschaft Park - Science Park - a collection of various science instititutes, which make Potsdam a famous destination for researchers from all over the world too. 
For the accidental visitor, and the architecture lover too, an important place to visit is the Einstein Tower. The curious construction was designed in the first half of the 20th century by the famous German architects Erwin Finlay Freundlich and Erich Mendelsohn, and was aimed to prove that Einstein's theory of relativity was wrong. The physics experiments failed, but the building remains an important witness of the architecture of the time. 

Potsdam Film Museum

The recently renovated building of the Film Museum offers interesting histories about the history of the German film industry, displayed in a very creative and exhaustive way. One of the top recommendations for any film lover visiting Potsdam.

Pumpenwerke - Steam engine
At the first sight, you might think you are in the front of the mosque, but appearances are misleading. Built in 1841 at a bay at River Havel, the highest building in the area at the time - an achievement easily overcome nowadays by the classical communist sky scrapers - it was designed to pump the water from the river all the way up to Sanssouci castle, from the heights of which can be easily spotted. You can visit the interior as well, but it doesn't compete with the colourful and details-focused architecture of the outdoors. 

The building of the Ministry of Justice and the Science Museum

On the way back to the Central Station, you can have a look to admire the interesting architecture of the current Ministry of Justice, an example of balance of volumes and structures. Nearby, the Science Museum is also a temptation for the museum lovers. 

A walk around Havel

As any single part of Germany, especially what used once to belong to the Eastern, communist part, Potsdam went through tremendous changes in the last years. A proof in this respect is the new esplanada bordering the Havel, which was turned in the last 5 years in an elegant, Italian looking corner, buzzing of the voices of people enjoying the sunny summer day. From here you can take a boat tour which will lead you in less than two hours around the most beautiful corners and historical layers of Potsdam. Before or after, you can offer yourself some special treats at El Puerto restaurant with a beautiful view over the Havel.

The remains of the Neptun Fountain, Lustgarten


A couple of minutes of walking away from the Havel, there are the remains of what used once to be the glorious Neptun fountain in the then Lustgarden. 


Built in the first half of the 18th century, it was destroyed during the war and partially reconstructed with a new vision after 2001.

Alt Markt

For an overview of the historical layers covering Potsdam, Alt Markt is a good beginning. With the remains of a former communist building on the left side and an elegant architecture on the right, with the newest museum in Potsdam, Museum Barberini, and some high-end art galleries, this square offers the best journey through centuries, up until the glorious present. 

Inaugurated this spring, Museum Barberini has an important private collection of works by international artists, but also features German painters from the time of the GDR, which makes it an interesting choice. I've been there to visit two of their temporary exhibitions and was impressed not only by the exquisite presentation, but also by the diversity of artists features. This museum promises to become soon a cultural landmark in this part of Germany.


From there on, making the right choice is becoming more and more complicated. Let's make a try though...You can either take the bus, the tram or walk around...

The Dutch Quarter

Covering around 150 buildings in the heart of the city, the Dutch quater is since the first half of the 18th century a piece of the Netherlands in Potsdam.
This area is always buzzing with life, not only during the many events organised on its streets during the weekends. People are living in the cute little houses too, but in most cases, at the ground level, there are antiques and local fashion and arts stores, or restaurants and cafes. You can have there savory or sweet pancakes, among many other delicious treats, my favorite so far being Poltertjes en Pannekoeken.

Nauener Tor
One of the first examples of neo-Gothic English public architecture in continental Europe, Nauener Tor is also famous for its classical cafe houses and restaurants where in the summer you can stay outside and admire the busyness of the city. One of my favorite ones is Jérô, recommended by the French wines and an exquisite cuisine.

Brandenburg Gate
On the way to Luiseplatz, the foodie and shopping temptations abund too. Brandenburg Gate, a stand alone structure since the city walls were destroyed, is another pleasant reward for the traveller. A curious thing about this construction is that its two sides are completely different, as the work of two different architects. 

Jägertor

Potsdam used to have six gates, but Jägertor is the oldest and the most discrete one, situated on a side street far away from the very touristic areas.

Sans Souci Park and Castle

Faithful to my French childhood, I will not compare Sans Souci, the summer palace residence of Friedrick the Grea, King of Prussia, with Versailles. And comparison does not make justice to either the original or the copy. Instead, I prefer to consider this palace, my favorite summer destination for my Potsdam trips, as an interesting work of both gardening and architecture, which really induces a mood of 'carefree', the English translation of 'sans souci'.
You can either walk or bike around, but be sure that you put aside at least two hours to see as much as possible.
At the top of the terraced gardens, best to see during the summer when the vine is green, otherwise you will have a bit of desolate taste when the stairs are missing their green adornements, it is the residence itself. One of my favorite things about it is the beautiful yellow colour, which washed by the frequent rains in this part of the world looks even more vibrant.
The residence is composed by many constructions and a beautiful English garden, which deserves an extensive visit itself.
The alleys of the carefully manicured gardens look like the entrances to a huge labyrinth from where you would not want to escape too early.
Wandering on the alleys of the big palace park can offer many surprises, as for instance the Chinese Pavillion which although it offers a rather naive, typical of those times, representation of Asia, it has some enchanting Rococco elements that are diverting your thoughts from anything serious.
In the Western part of the compound, you can admire the latest work of Baroque architecture in Prussia - covering a big part of what is nowadays known as the administrative area of Brandenburg: Neues Palais.

Alexandrowka, The Russian Colony
The 13 wooden houses built in the first half of the 19th century at the wish of the emperor Friedrich Wilhelm III for Russian artists in Prussia are since 1999 part of the UNESCO World Heritage. Surrounded by small gardens, with wooden balconies adorned by beautiful flowers, this little colony offers also some delicious Russian treats and hosts a museum featuring the history and architecture.

Cecilienhof

For history buffs, the English Tudor-styled cottage looking building of Cecilienhof means more than an interesting architectural transplant on the German soil. Built at the very beginning of the 20th century, it hosted between 17 July and 2nd of August 1945 the Potsdam Conference which clarified the areas of influence of the great powers in Europe after the war.
The war was over and the capitulation of Germany was already signed in the night of 8 to 9th of May 1945, at Karlshorst. The beautiful Potsdam will belong for a couple of decades to the 'Eastern', Soviet-lead forces, but it is amazing how much this city preserved from its original, non-bourgeois structure (after all, the members of the Soviet establishment was easy to lure into the glittering pleasures of well-being, as every single human will also do). Reminders of the once Russian presence is still maintained, for instance the red star made of flowers specifically created for the participation of Stalin himself at the conference. In the front of the entrance, there is the famous bench where Truman, Stalin and Churchill seat together, an image distributed all over the world and used to illustrate the Potsdam Conference, but more often it is taken by busy tourists from all over the world not all aware of the famous previous occupants of the modest piece of outdoor furniture.

Marmorpalais, Neuen Garten

From Cecilienhof, you can walk around 30 minutes, in the middle of a wild landscape, until the Marmorpalais, a classical work on the banks of Heiligen See.

The views over the lake are revealing a quiet beauty, where you can rarely see traces of human presence. The massive marmor concurrs with the overwhelming silence of the water, in a soundless symphony.

A bit further, the stone building of the Gothic Library with its spire staircase is another mysterious part of an architecture and life riddle which seems to not look for answer, but just to raise more and more questions.

Everyday street architecture


On the way back from Cecilienhof, you might realise that beauty is everywhere, not only in the places outlined as such in the travel guides. Given the concentration of famous architects which for centuries visited and worked in Potsdam, among them the famous, favorite of mine, Schinkel, no wonder that many private buildings do look like from the pages of the architecture and design magazines. 
This beautiful blue villa, for instance, was actually designed by a student of Schinkel, Ferdinant von Arnin, in 1861, for a private resident of Potsdam.

Belvedere, Pfingstberg

One of the most astonishing views is the Belvedere at Pfingstberg, a small hill covered by forest, in the Northern part of the city. The reflection of the orderly classical architecture into the water leaves you speechless for a long time, because it is the pure beauty made of golden proportions. You can add more amazement and taste to your visit - if it is any place left - with a visit at the gourmet restaurant Am Pfingstberg nearby.

Glienicke Bridge

Also called the 'Bridge of Spies', for its assumed role in exchanging spies between the East and the West during the Cold War, Glienicke Brücke is first and foremost an interesting work of engineering. The original bridge, which connects the nowadays Wannsee area to Potsdam, was built in the 17th century, but a new structure was created after the WWII.
If you are visiting on a Sunday, a couple of minutes of walking from the bridge, you can have a nice breakfast at Garage du Pont, a place where both the lovers of vintage cars and the gourmets are at home.

Glienicke Palace

If you cross the street, you can either visit a small exhibition hall dedicated mostly to GDR artists, or you can enter into the kingdom of the Italian charming Palace Glienicke, another place on the UNESCO heritage list.

Rathaus - city hall

When you have to manage a town with so many beautiful castles and shining mansions, no wonder that you need for the building of the city hall an equally imposing construction, which looks like a special resident in itself as well. 

Hans-Otto-Theatre



Hans-Otto-Theater at Schiffbauergasse can be considered one of the newest outstanding works of architecture in Potsdam. Named after an actor killed during the National-Socialist dictatorship, it opened it doors to the theatre lovers in 2009 and nowadays it plays an important role in the cultural geography of Brandenburg, with a modern and international repertoire and the host of international theatre festivals. Made of five floors each marked by an assymetrical roof, and a capacity of 700 guests, it is an outstanding visual presence that can be noticed as far as the Babelsberg park, situated on the opposite side of the river.

Fluxus Museum
The area around the theatre is often the destination of various cultural happenings, especially during the summer. A special presence in the constellation of galleries and small cultural cafe houses is Museum Fluxus, before the opening of Museum Barberini, the only modern art institution in Potsdam. It uniquely features the works of the German artists belonging to the omonymous avantgarde movement from the 1960s, the only extensive collection of the kind in the country.

Is my journey to Potsdam a full circle? Did I reach that level when nothing in this beautiful town where I secretely wish I will be able to live one day wouldn't surprise me?
I am not fully convinced, but even if this is the naked truth, I know that I have now all the good reasons to keep returning here, because I will always have more than enough reasons to feel fully at home.