Week 4 – A good end to a interesting week.

18th to 24th June 2017


We were going to visit Hanover today but decided it was too hot so went to the Museum at Bergen-Belson instead and spent 4.5 hours inside a heated building and only 45 minutes walking the grounds.

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2500 buried here, just one of many mass graves.

The museum was a frank and open history of that period, about which I don’t feel qualified to write so will provide you HERE with a link to one of the many web sites that cover this topic and let you do your own researches.


We were going to visit Hanover today but again decided it was too hot so stayed on site to do washing, housework and other exciting things.

We have found on our travels that the more affluent the people the more processed and narrow their food seems to become. We love Germany but find getting a decent chunk of meat is virtually impossible but there are chill cabinets filled to the brim with minced this and minced that, bread crumbed bits of unidentifiable animal, lumps that have been marinaded in bright flourescent coloured marinades. Simple plain pieces of meat don’t seem to figure anywhere every thing must be processed it seems as much as possible. A prime example is fish, since we have been here we have’t seen any fish on the bone it is all filleted, and pre-prepared in some way. I bought some roll-mop herrings the other day and on the shelf next to them were jars of small herring or sardines that had been coated in some sort of batter and fried after which they had been pickled – weird or what?


Still as hot today, too hot to visit Hanover so what to do? Move!

We have moved eastwards to Camping An Der Havel near the small town of Ketzin which is near the bigger town of Potsdam which in turn is near the city of Berlin. Just like driving in UK the 300+ km drive was bedevilled with road works. When we started the navigator said the journey would take till 2:43pm, after the endless road works contraflows etc we finally arrived at 2:45pm. Now ask us if we miss driving in UK where just one contraflow can cause endless delays. We went through three and around five places where the motorway went from three lanes to one.

We arrived just a few minutes before the office reopened after lunch and were met by a very enthusiastic lady who spoke almost as much English as we speak German – not one word – but we still managed to book in, find out all about the site and where the local shops were and that when the other receptionist was on duty we could ask questions as he spoke English.


We went to Potsdam today. You may, like me, be wondering why the name sounds so familiar. The Potsdam Conference (July 17-August 2, 1945) was the last of the World War II meetings held by the “Big Three” heads of state. Featuring American President Harry S. Truman, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill (and his successor, Clement Attlee) and Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin. The talks established a Council of Foreign Ministers and a central Allied Control Council for administration of Germany. The leaders arrived at various agreements on the German economy, punishment for war criminals, land boundaries and reparations. Although talks primarily centred on postwar Europe, the Big Three also issued a declaration demanding “unconditional surrender” from Japan.

The purpose of our visit to Potsdam was to have a look at Park Sanssouci which occupies 700 acres, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is said to be one of the beautiful palace complexes in Europe.

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Detail of the decorative link between two utility buildings

The first building erected on the site was Schloss Sanssouci built as the summer palace of Alexander the Great in 1747 on the site of an orchard. We visited three of the palaces in the park, firstly the Neus Palais Von Sanssouci (New Palace at Sanssouci) a huge palace built for Frederick the Great between1763 and 1769 and featuring luxurious ceremonial halls, magnificent galleries and richly designed private suites, all a testament to Frederician Rococo styling. Our second palace was Schloss Sanssouci, the palace most closely linked with the personality of Frederick the Great. The palace was completed in 1747, its design heavily based on the king’s own ideas. Our third and last palace of the day was the Schloss Nene Kammern (New Chambers Palace), originally built in 1747 as an orangery Frederick the Great had them converted into a splendidly decorated guest palace. Like all the buildings in the park the New Chambers suffered when the Russian Troops celebrated the end of the war by damage to and looting from all. All porcelain in the palaces has been renewed with pieces contemporary to them and much of the furniture has been either bought back when offered for sale or modern reproductions made.

It seemed an expensive day out, tickets to the palaces (one ticket for all) and a photography permit cost €41 – quite a lot by any standard, but we were entertained for around six hours and had exhaustion not overtaken me (Sue never seems to tire) the visit may very well have been even longer as there is so much to see.

The staff in every palace must be working on bonus for every telling off they gave, every transgression however slight received comment, if you strayed off the carpet on to the original flooring they would descend from all sides – you didn’t have to walk on it or stand on it for a reaction just allow the smallest portion of your shoe to touch the original floor. I got a firm talking to for using flash “ . . . delicate fabric wallpaper must not be exposed to light . . . “ I was told. “I was not using flash” was my reply “look!!” Showing the camera set-up screen “flash is turned off and has been all day” Perhaps no-one had argued before but a group of them went into a huddle and to give them their due one came to me a little later and apologised agreeing saying the flash came from another visitors camera.


The weather forecast for today was not good so we stayed close to the van, just as well as in the early afternoon the heavens opened dropping an absolute deluge of rain while accompanied by incredible lightening and deafening thunder. We almost had to turn the telly off the rain was so loud and powerful. During the night we were woken several times by what sounded like a WW2 air raid siren. We discovered later that the Fire Service sounds the Alarm each time they get a call out. Well if they are awake they figure everyone else should be cos’ there ain’t no sleeping through it even for me.


Despite feeling frazzled after such a poor interrupted nights sleep we wanted to continue with our plan to visit Berlin today. We had been informed that the best way to visit was drive to Wustermark and catch a train from there to Berlin Hauptbahnhof. If you want to know what one billion Euros buys go have a look at Berlin Hauptbahnhof (Berlin Central Station) it is the stuff of dreams, or nightmares depending on your viewpoint. The trains come in on at least three different levels with tracks going north south east and west and the platforms are at least twice the length of what we would consider a normal length in order to accommodate German ICE trains. Also included are more shops and fast food outlets than you could shake a stock at.

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Berlin Hauptbahnhof.

© S W Ghost 2017