Thursday, March 25, 2010


The Dutch neighborhood in Potsdam, the first Western suburb of Berlin. It was part of East Germany, but since reunification has turned into *the* place to live outside Berlin, with large homes, miles of forests and lakes, and many young families. It has a "Dutch neighborhood" because it wanted to attract Dutch immigrants way back when, when the city was a mecca of European immigration. Potsdam was also the home of some Prussian kings (see below), housed part of the Berlin Wall, and is connected to Berlin by the Glienicke Bridge, where the US and Soviet Union traded spies during the Cold War. Additionally (just when you thought this city couldn't get more exciting!), there is a little Russian village within Potsdam, called Alexandrowka, which was built in 1825 for a group of Russian singers. Several houses are still standing, and some are even still owned by the descendants of the original owners. Sorry I didn't get a picture, I was in a moving vehicle, but you can see pictures of it here. It is very cool in person.

Nothing says "Ich liebe dich" like potatoes on your grave. (Disclaimer: This is the "tomb" of Frederick the Great, aka Old Fritz, aka The Potato King [I am not making this up]. It's his "tomb" because he was not actually buried here [though apparently he wanted to be]. He's supposed to be the reason potatoes are so widely eaten in Germany. I'll spare you the details of that scintillating tale.)
I went to see the Berlin Wall in situ, if you will (and I know you will), at a place called the East Side Gallery, where artists have painted a long stretch of the wall with different murals. I would probably put this up there as one of the top three things *not* to be missed in Berlin, even though I just made it out there at the end of my trip. The different murals, by artists all over the world, are so cool.

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