Friday, May 14, 2010


There are many holidays in May here, so we are the beneficiaries of the German system. Thursday was a holiday, so Friday is a “bridge day”, also given as a day off. Neither Jeff nor I had class or work, and so began a long four day weekend. Jeff's host at Bam, Pedro, and his wife Chris, offered to take us to Potsdam to tour some of the sites. Potsdam was the heart of the Prussian empire and there are castles galore there. It is currently the capital of Brandenburg, so it has lots going on, even though it is much smaller than Berlin.

We toured the Neues Palais, built by Frederick the II (also known as Frederick the Great) in the 1760's. It is quite a sight; and remember, it's only one of several within a few miles!

The Neu Palais

How's this for a kitchen?! The service buildings for the castle are across the courtyard so as to limit unpleasant sights and sounds, as well as to prevent fire.

I'd love to waltz in this dance hall!

The Groto room is completely covered with shells and decorative minerals.

After a lively day of coffee drinking, sight-seeing, walking, lunching, and conversing with our hosts, we return home by 5:30. Since it was still early, we decided to squeeze in some opera, as we had seen a poster the day before advertizing La Traviata that evening. We had very little info as to time or place, but our landlady did a quick search and found which opera house (Berlin has three!) and directions. We hopped on the train, commuted to downtown, and found the Komische Oper just in time to stand in line and buy tickets minutes before the lights went down. The opera was performed with modern costumes and sets and was sung in German. There were little electronic translation screens on the backs of the seats, and after the intermission we moved to some seats that had working screens and were able to enjoy the performance much more!

The Komische Oper house (we sat directly above the sconce seen
in the top left corner of the photograph, in the second balcony)