Thank goodness my cousin came to stay for a few days. I was so pleased to see her, as I’ve found it tough going with my eye problems.

We’d arranged to leave early the next day for Potsdam, the home of Frederick the Great. We stopped at the Tourist Office and bought online tickets for the palace in the afternoon, essential when we were there for the day. We hopped on a tram and disembarked at the palace 15 minutes later.

Compared to other royal palaces Sanssouci is small, it’s more intimate, rather like a large villa. Frederick wanted somewhere to relax away from the cares of state, and the palace reflects this. Sanssouci in French means without concerns. No, I didn’t know but thank you Google!  What did we do before the internet? The grounds are vast, more like a park. I think we walked about 12 kms that day, visited the Roman Baths and the Chinese House, but it wasn’t  well signposted.

Google maps came to the rescue yet again! This is the one app I couldn’t do without, as I’m hopeless at map reading.

When visiting the palace make sure you pick up the audio guide which gives comprehensive explanations about the various rooms.  As the tours leave every five minutes the rooms don’t feel that crowded. Another example of German efficiency!  My cousin speaks German, and it made life so much easier. No more struggling to understand and speaking a few badly pronounced words.  Anything I didn’t understand was translated for me.

On Sunday, we took a hop on bus tour. We jumped off at the Brandenburg Gate, and visited the Holocaust memorial to the Jews. 2,171 concrete slabs are arranged in a grid pattern. To me, it looked like a cemetery. A small notice in the corner of the memorial, requests that people don’t eat their lunch on or jump across the slabs. Some young people ignored this. Across the road, and poorly signed posted there is a concrete block which is a memorial to the LGBT community who were murdered in the Holocaust. If I hadn’t read about it, I wouldn’t know it existed.

A fan of Bernie Gunther? The hotel Aldon where Bernie worked and often visited is located next to the Brandenburg Gate. If you haven’t read any of Philip Kerr’s wonderful books which are set from 1930 to 1960, you’re missing a brilliant read. How could we resist the amazing coffee and cakes at the Aldon?

This weekend I’m off to Hamburg!

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