Thursday, May 24, 2012


The Berlin public transit system includes the nearby town of Potsdam and the palace where Fredrick the Great escaped his cares. He called it the Palace of Sanssouci ("without care").
Climb off the bus, and join Bill and I,
 as we step into another time.
Apparently Fritz decided to build the modest palace in 1774 as a getaway from the Berlin court and from his wife, both of which he hated. Tickets in hand we passed through the trellised arcades,
glimpsed the elegant, formal garden with its fountain and statuary below us,
and began with a visit to the 18th century Bildergalerie or Painting gallery believed to be the first of its kind in Europe.
The original collection was looted in the war but the new collection offers a Caravaggio and some big Rubens. We found the style of display suggested that the paintings were valued most as a display of wealth rather than as works of art.
The lush gold-leaf decoration
 is decidely
 We love how furniture gilded in gold goes so well with marble floors and walls.
Outside, the richly decorated roof,
overlooks the Dutch garden with its lovely leafy pergolas.
Crossing to the formal gardens in front of the main palace building
we passed in front of the stairs fanning up to the Schloss (palace) past terraces lined with vineyards.
We loved the edge of the riverbank in the less formal Marly Garden.
 Ornate heads provided the sound of spilling water
 and the open fields were a rich yellow and white expanse of buttercups and daisies.
A meandering path was occasionally lined with gorgeous rhododendron bushes in bloom.
We scurried back to Frederick's getaway to join our timed-tour.
 It began with a lavish gallery lined with Watteau paintings.
We loved the delicate ceiling frescoes.
 One of our favourite rooms was Frederick's study, apparently one of his favourite haunts.
The outrageous ornament of the following rooms was charming in its extravagance.
The guest bedrooms were almost austere by comparison.
But not so the monarch's own bedroom with its chunky, Rococo excess.
 His bed looked cozy though.
Imagine our surprise to find that one our last sights in the Schloss Sanssouci was a portrait of Frederick by Andy Warhol! But then we decided that if he'd been a member of 20th century high society he probably would have commissioned one. Don't you think?

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