Sometimes part of what prevents me from being touristic is the very idea of being a tourist. You know the sort; that classic straitjacket-backpacked/waterbottle-holstered/zip-off-lightweight-rainproofed-pant-clad/happy-camper image? It’s not so much the look that concerns me as the association that goes with it. Walking. And by God have I done my far share of touristic walking. That wandering-aimlessly-stunned-bunny, gawking at buildings and confusing the few foreign words I know is generally me. So sometimes upon waking, I look up at my hotel room’s white ceiling fan swimming in slow motion and I just don’t want to be that guy.
See, walking always begins as a means to A, then B, then C. But so often it grows to be the lion’s share of the unprepared tourist’s day. Maps become torn and weathered and each site becomes a mere build-up to the moment you can crash land on your hotel room’s bed. I suppose for that reason, part of Viator’s charm lies in its gift of time economy. It consolidates your time in a city.
So for any of those less athletic days, there’s this Potsdam Half-Day Trip from Berlin. The creature comforts of a fully air conditioned (or heated) luxury bus to sweep you off your feet. Kick back and watch the sites come to you for a change.
You’ll start off at one of two pick up points. The first being Alexander Platz (Berlin’s City Centre) at 9.45am and the second being the corner of Kurfürstendamm/Rankestrasse at 10.30. The latter is a bit harder to get to if you’re staying somewhere central, so if you are, I’d save yourself the hassle and get up 45 minutes earlier. The benefit of this also is an extra half hour of city scenery with an onboard headset audio guide.
This guide continues for the remainder of your 1.5-hour journey to Potsdam. Travel along one of the Germany’s most famous motorways (it used to be a private motor testing/competitive racing track) as you’re schooled in everything from Soviet architecture to a film studio that has played home to the likes Tom Cruise and Jodie Foster.
Soon you’ll wind through a sun dappled forest as the magnificent Sanssouci Palace unfolds before your eyes (along with windmills, stone walls and cobbled streets). The palace itself is 12€ to enter, but the Sanssouci Gardens and the expansive Sanssouci Park are free to wander at your leisure. Exploring the park is a real highlight, as you’ll find many pockets of what is really a forest, unoccupied (apart from the odd red squirrel).
So to come full circle, I apologise, and let me say, when you’re amidst orange groves in what was once a royal vineyard, aimless touristic wandering is to be nothing less than embraced.
- Chester Travis