Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Fred Tour 2012, Part 1: Friedrick the Great

This year marks the 300th birthday of a giant among Prussians: Fredrick the Great (Friedrich der Gro├če if you’re German).  He battled the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, studied with Voltaire, married out of duty (though refused to consummate anything out of a misguided idea that sex made one weak and leaned to the same-same side anyway), and only spoke German with his servants and French with his court.  He was a very interesting dude for sure, though I have a feeling we would not have been friends.

When the in-laws were here we took a nice tour down to the Sanssouci Park near Potsdam.  We did the fun tour inside the Neue Palais.  (Side note: he even named things in FRENCH because he hated his own language that much!!)  They have a special exhibition of the palace for the anniversary, and we got nifty little handsets with headphones that told us (even in English) about all the cool cool things that we could see inside.   Unfortunately, there was no photography, but here are a few shots from the outside. 

We did take the girls inside briefly, but since you had to stay on a purple path so as not to touch the somewhat delicate floors, and our girls are currently 4 and not quite 2…well, any parents out there can probably appreciate how much fun that wasn’t!  

Andy and his father took the girls outside and my MIL and I finished the tour of the AMAZING inside of the palace.  My 2 favorite parts had to be:
1. The section of the palace whose rooms had been done up as scenes from a play ol' Freddy had written where an artist had constructed period clothing out of PAPER.  It really was BRILLIANT.
2. This amazing grotto-esque room that must have been about 50 ft x 30 ft and was covered in these ornate inlaid shell designs.  We kept trying to figure out if they were real shells and if they were, how in the world they found soo many perfectly shaped ones and brought them all the way to Berlin!  It really was fascinating how ridiculous the posh of the past were while everyone around them was working their arses off, starving, fighting their wars, and dying of mostly preventable communicable diseases.  I digress...

The grounds were quite extensive and we would definitely like to go back.  This is a shot of just one of the gardens:   

Annika enjoyed posing like all the statues on the pedestals. 

All in all it was a lovely historical day that we capped off with some yummy Italian food and a short train ride back to our part of Berlin.  Here is Mayzie capping off her day with yet another Apfelschorle: 

    Mama capped the day off with a glass of wine.  


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