We had a whole day , and a lot of walking in Potsdam. Together with the boys we climbed aboard the S-Bahn for the 30 minute ride to Potsdam which lay just outside West Berlin after the construction of the Berlin Wall. The walling off of West Berlin isolated Potsdam from West Berlin. The Glienicke Bridge across the Havel connected the city to West Berlin and was the scene of some Cold War exchanges of spies.The first prisoner exchange took place on 10 February 1962. The Americans released Rudolf Abel, convicted for spying for the Soviet Union in 1957, in exchange for Gary Powers, the pilot of a U-2 spy plane shot down in 1960.

From Potsdam Hauptbahnhof it was a long hike to the Sanssouci Palace.

Sanssouci was the summer palace of Frederick the Great, King of Prussia. The palace was built to fulfil King Frederick's need for a private residence where he could relax away from the pomp and ceremony of the Berlin court. The palace's name emphasises this; with its French name symbolising that the palace was a place for relaxation rather than a seat of power. Sanssouci is little more than a large, single-story villa. Containing just ten principal rooms, it was built on the brow of a terraced hill at the centre of the park.

During the 19th century, the palace became a residence of Frederick William IV. He employed the architect Ludwig Persius to restore and enlarge the palace. The town of Potsdam, with its palaces, was a favourite place of residence for the German imperial family until the fall of the Hohenzollern dynasty in 1918.

After World War II, the palace became a tourist attraction in East Germany. Following German reunification in 1990, Frederick's body was returned to the palace and buried in a new tomb overlooking the gardens he had created. Sanssouci and its extensive gardens became a World Heritage Site in 1990. In 1995, the Prussian Palaces and Gardens Foundation Berlin-Brandenburg was established to care for Sanssouci and the other former imperial palaces in and around Berlin. These palaces are now visited by more than two million people a year.

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Inside the building is a Warhol painting of the original painting of Frederick the Great, which Warhol painted in 1986

There was then an even longer hike to get to Cecielienhof, the site of the 1945 Potsdam Conference


The Potsdam Conference was held at Cecilienhof, the home of Crown Prince Wilhelm in Potsdam, Germany, from 17 July to 2 August 1945.

The participants were the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States, represented respectively by General Secretary of the Communist Party Joseph Stalin, Prime Ministers Winston Churchill and Clement Attlee, and President Harry S. Truman. Stalin, Churchill, and Truman gathered to decide how to administer Germany, which had agreed to unconditional surrender nine weeks earlier on 8 May (Victory in Europe Day).The goals of the conference also included the establishment of postwar order, peace treaty issues, and countering the effects of the war.

Stalin was the only one to have held power through this period. President Roosevelt had died on 12 April 1945, and Vice President Harry Truman assumed the presidency. A general election had been held in the UK on 5 July; but with results delayed to allow the votes of armed forces personnel to be counted. The outcome became known during the conference when Labour leader Clement Attlee became the new Prime Minister.

The conference sorted out a number of important matters, including the borders of post war Europe, the trial of Nazi war criminals, and the running of post war Germany

In 1961, a part of the Neuer Garten was destroyed to build the southwest section of the Berlin Wall which ran along the shore of Jungfernsee.Today, parts of Cecilienhof are still used as a museum and as a hotel. In 1990 it became part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site called Palaces and Parks of Potsdam and Berlin. The private rooms were opened to the public in 1995 after comprehensive restoration work

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After visiting the Cecilienhof, we had a late lunch of a cheeseplate and beer in a charming micro brewery on the lake

Then it was a bus, rather then a walk (we were beginning to feel the walking by now) back to the city centre. The late afternoon sun gave a really nice light to the recently restored buildings in the area.

Berlin Holiday