As usual, when I want to feel I am on vacation, without going too far away from Berlin, Potsdam is the first, second and third choice. Still not sure where we will spend the next 2 weeks, I need a break from worries and my little escape is only 45 minutes away from home. This time, I want to see a part of the city that I never visited: Babelsberg. As the famous film studios are closed till the beginning of the next year, we simply walk the streets, taking the advantage of another pleasant day in December. We walk for a couple of minutes on Grossbeerenstrasse, a mixture of old social houses, shops, guest houses and small restaurants.
Potsdam has still many historical secrets for me. This red brick building used to be an important administrative building in an area built by refugees from Bohemia, who run away from religious persecutions in the second half of the 18th century. The administrative section managed from this building, a classical German town hall, took care of around 1,100 inhabitants, out of them 228 were from the Czech lands. The Alt Nowawes (the old village, in Czech) street in Potsdam keeps the memory of the Czech colonists.
As yesterday was one of those lucky Sundays when shops were open, I took a look at this small boutique situated on Rudolf Breitscheid street, close to the tram station. They have a lot of cute feminine and elegant clothes, and some small beautiful soaps too. The ambiance of the French music called me to stay, but we needed to walk away. Not before noticing a small plate with food for dogs just near the entrance, an incentive for real fashionistas to bring their little pets while shopping intensively.
The tram brought us to the center, passing by the ‘entertainment quarter’ – Schiffbauergasse – where cultural events are usually taking place with its spectacular theatres halls and alternative exhibition places. I promise myself that the next time I will stop there. This time though, I am returning to the Dutch quarter. The 134 picturesque houses appeared in Potsdam between 1734-1742 and were built by the Dutch architect Johann Boumann. The houses are hosting now a lot of small fashion shops, antiques, and many restaurants.
We have some serious Dutch fans in the group and thus we went to have a glass of water, cup of coffee or some late desserts at a typical Dutch local, Poffertjes en Pannekoeken. They have Dutch clogs hanging on the ceiling and pictures from the Netherlands on the walls and a lot of good crepes. As I am a disaster when it comes to making the right foodie choice, I went for an Apple strudel, which was nicely adorned but probably more than 24 hours old. I was offered as a compensation a little piece of crepe that convinced me that they have good things too here.
After a rich dessert, I needed movement and it was unanimously agreed that a little trip to Sans Souci is a good solution. We needed first to go through the massive groups of people enjoying their mulled wine and other seasonal street attractions. The glorious castle and its former exuberant alleys look a bit sad and grey this time of the year. Without the green trees, even the gold of the monuments lost its glittering. Plus, many of the statues are hidden in big white boxes as they go through the yearly process of maintenance.
It is getting dark and we say ‘good bye’ to the castle and go to the train station. I will be back on spring or maybe, if the snow will come one day and will be within decent limits, I would be curious to see the castle covered by white. It suits better than this ambiguous dry winter clothes.
See you soon, Potsdam!