Wolfgang was waiting for me at the Berlin-Spandau station – wearing his Olympia Harbor Days T-shirt! In a replay of my initial arrival in Berlin we headed for a beer at the Spinner-Brücke. The weather continues to be fantastic, and sitting outside, talking, was so pleasant it was hard to leave. But we did. I checked in and left my bags at the hotel and we headed for Potsdam.
First stop, Cecilienhof, site of the Potsdam conference in which Britain, the US and Russia determined the fate of Post-War Germany. Wolfgang has heard it all before, so he found a non-smoke free bench, where he parked himself while I toured the building. The free audio guide and displays in German, English and Russian explained that politically limiting Germany- which prior to 1939 included areas along the Baltic coast including Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia – was high on the list. Here I learned that it was this conference that determined that the Poles would be moved from the east and the Germans moved from the area east of the Oder River. I was trying to move through the castle behind a very large Spanish tour group being lectured to by a woman who spoke very clear Spanish. Since I found I could understand her I switched off my headset and listened to her. Between exhibits she asked me (in German) if I understood Spanish. I managed a ‘Poko, mas que aleman’, went about half way around with them.
When I emerged from the tour, Wolfgang and I did a walk around the garden around the outside of the building and then paused for the all important tea/coffee/cigarette break at another comfortable outdoor café.
Then it was onto Sans Souci, castle/summerhouse of Frederick the Great of Prussia, under whom many rights were granted to the common man. Across the street from the castle is a windmill. Wolfgang told the story that F the G was bothered by the noise of the windmill and wanted the miller to tear it down. Under the recently granted rights the miller sued, citing the fact that he was there first, and won. And the windmill still stands.
It was getting on in the afternoon so tours were out, and we rambled through the terraced gardens, past the fantastical ‘Chinese’ teahouse, gardeners quarters, roman baths, Charlottenhof Palace and over to the new palace.
Then hurried back to the car to go get Doris, as I had asked that the two of them go to dinner with me. They chose a small Sicilian restaurant, not much larger than Trinacria. Again it was lovely sitting outside, and fortunately Doris had brought a couple of light shawls because there were a few pesky mosquitoes.
We were once again offered a cordial after dinner. Doris and her daughter Stefi both have a life long history of horseback riding, and Doris told me a bit about the programs she is involved with for disabled people and horses. She gave me a booklet on their section of Berlin that includes the web address of her riding organization. Because of the photos she had taken of herself in Wolfgang’s Harbors days T-shirt I left a medium T-shirt for her and the little book on Washington that I had finally located in the side pocket of my backpack.
Next morning at my hotel I was packed and ready to go at 7:45. When I arrived at their house for breakfast Doris and Wolfgang were both wearing their Olympia shirts and we had the neighbor take a photo of us with ‘nicht sprengen, Linda’, them in their Oly shirts and me carrying my Berlin Bag.
Breakfast was again delicious, and there were fresh figs, just for me, as well as eggs tucked into their little egg cozy. Haven’t quite developed a taste for Holland-style herring, but liked the other spreads on the yummy dark brown breads.
Web-check-in, ticket-printing, one last beer and conversation at the airport and here I am, already on the descent into Helsinki.
Followup photo from Wolfgang: