Monday, September 10, 2018

Bridging the Gap Between East and West: An Excursion to Potsdam and the Bridge of Spies

See Part One here and Part Two here.

Last year I went with Tim to see the only movie that I saw in a theater that year, ‘Bridge of Spies,’ with Tom Hanks. It depicts a time during the Cold War after the Berlin Wall was built and the exchange of Russian spies for U2 pilot Gary Powers and other dissidents from the east.

Now, we’re in Berlin and Tim has put the Bridge of Spies (or Gleineke Brucke) on his list of things he wants to see while we’re here. We’ve got a day of Cold War and Nazi sites touring scheduled but this is about 20 miles away in Potsdam, not in central Berlin.

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First, we take a walk through the neighborhood to find some breakfast. It's a quiet Sunday morning until we look across the street through to the other end of a small park.

I have to rub my eyes and make sure I'm seeing what I'm seeing. I'm not the only one, several people are wondering and fuming over it...there are four, large Nazi red swaztika flags flying on a building (see pic above).

Finally, an elderly lady walking her dog let's us know that it's just a movie set for location shooting today. Still a bit disturbing.

About two blocks south of our hotel, we have a nice Turkish breakfast at a waffle place (which is a lunch and dinner item here, so no waffles today), then another block south to the S-Bahn where we take the 30 minute ride to the Postdam Hauptbanhof.

From here, a tram outside (buy your tickets in the train station first if you don’t have the proper coinage) takes us to the end of the line, about a block from the Gleineke Brucke.  Far from having the place to ourselves, the streets are crawling with people, but not tourists.

We hear loud engines and see millions of dollars of pristine, classic cars parked haphazardly along the curbs and sidewalks.  Soon, we see a street course laid out in a raceway and old Ferraris, Porches, Mercedes, and more and roaring down the course along the normally quiet streets of Potsdam.

After exiting the tram, we’ve found ourselves in the middle of the Les 24 Tours du Pont. This is basically a car show, or maybe a concours would be more precise, where dozens of great looking classic cars are displayed to us unwashed masses.

It's nice and we wade through it to get to our planned destination, the bridge just beyond the announcer's booth. 

Once on the bridge, it's pretty easy to navigate across and to stop just a moment in the middle over the metal plaque embedded into the sideway, marking the former frontier between Communist and Capitalist Europe.

We cross over at the other end to come back over on the other side, views of San Souci palace and pristine wooden boats on the lake before we find our tram back to the Haupbahnhof.

There, at an attached mall, we get a little ice cream to cool off from the heat before catching the train back to Berlin.

We take another train that puts us on Budapestestrasse, by the zoo, where we stop to take a look at the Kaiser Wilhelm Kurche.

This church was bombed in World War II and was left as a ruin as a memorial to the war.

A new, rather unappealing church was built next door as a replacement.

At least it's plain on the outside. Inside, is another story as the church is filled with spectacular blue light from the thousands of little stained glass windows.

It's beautiful and mesmerizing.

On this hot day, outside I find a fountain to splash in and flick a few drops at Tim to cool off before we head back to the hotel for the night.

Copyright 2016 - Darryl Musick
All Rights Reserved

Photos by Letty Musick
Copyright 2016 - All Rights Reserved

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