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Archive for May 2nd, 2011

Potsdam. Less than an hour by suburban train from Berlin. If you want a comparison, you could say this is the German Versailles, full of stately houses, parks and palaces. In nice weather, it is a perfect day out, if you want to really get into all the historical buildings, you should spend a week there.

We had hoped to be able to rent bikes just as in Berlin, but they did not have enough available when we arrived. The agents for vari0us bus tours were fairly aggressive, but we decided on the one that was most polite.

It is a fairly large place, so a bus ride with stops at the most important places is a good investement. If you are in a group, you can negotiate the price as well. If you are on a budget, you can use the local bus network with the day ticket you bought in Berlin.

I will not elaborate on the history of Potsdam, but it has seen its fair share of history from Prussian kings and German Emperors through WW2 and its aftermath and even a cold war period when the nicest part of town was walled off to make an exclusive area for Stasi and the Russians.

About halfway throug the bus ride, there is a stop near Cecilienhof Castle, the place where Truman, Stalin and Churchill met in August 1945. We decided that this was a fine place to have a break, with nice views of parkland and lakes on a beautiful spring day.

I did not push for getting off at this point. But I had done my homework, so I knew what was waiting down by the lake.

The Gasthausbrauerei Meierei im Neuen Garten was already busy. Their beer garden is right on the edge of the Jungfernesee lake, you can hardly imagine a more prime spot. During high summer, this must be filled to the brim. There is a self service part and another where you get table service. We opted for the first one, and I lined up in front of the kiosk where they were dispensing beer and food.

Freshly baked pretzels, too.

Three beers on tap. The Helles is a regular, with a fine flavour of cereals. A sublte bitterness. A refreshing beer, that you could keep on drinking through the afternoon.

The Rotbier was malty, sweet and sour with a fruity flavour. Redcurrants and apples, vith a long lingering aftertaste.

The Osterbier, the Easter beer, however, was not up to the satndard of the other two. Murky orange flavour, loads of sweet malt. Full of sugar, hardly any bitterness, felt like it was mixed with lemonade. Probably aimed at the Radler market – the Germans have an affinity for a beer/lemonade mix.

I could have stayed for a long time. There is even a boat service back to the city center. But that must be for another time.

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