European travels, part 1: Berlin & Potsdam

Here’s a confession: I am a carbon pig. Thanks to my travels, my carbon foot print this year is probably the size of a small Eastern European country. I am not happy with this, but I just can’t help the fact that a) travelling home to see my parents in Germany would take days by train, and b) flights are just so much cheaper than train fares. Anyway. This year, I have been extra busy with various conferences around Europe, which meant a) a lot of work, but also b) I got to see some amazing places! As my life in Manchester is currently restricted to writing a thesis, I’m going to post an n-part series (for n somewhere in the interval between 3 and 8) of my “European Travels”. Sit back and enjoy.

This year’s first trip took me to Berlin, to see some friends I hadn’t seen in over a year. We all know that Berlin is awesome, and I’ve written a 2-part post about it before, so I’ll just tell you about my trip to Potsdam this time. Potsdam is a small(ish) city just south-west of Berlin, about a 20-30 minute train journey from the main station. It’s a student town, but in German that’s usually a good thing, meaning green, loads of cyclists, culture, and hippie-ish people/places. Suits me. Potsdam is also known for various castles and lakes surrounding the town, including the very famous “Sanssouci” palace, which used to be the summer residence of the King of Prussia. I went to visit the town and Sanssouci on a rainy day, but despite some heavy showers I couldn’t help but spend quite some time in vast gardens surrounding the castle.

The palace itself (accessible via guided tour only) is nice, but… well, I’ve seen a lot of castles, and they all begin to look the same at some point. The gardens (free admission) and various little buildings (such as the “Dragon House” in the photo above) are definitely worth a visit though, and you should save some time to have a wander around the lovely city centre of Potsdam.