Potsdam is just 20 minutes by rail from our headquarters in Mexikoplatz. This is an attractive city with a fascinating past. It was the summer home of Prussian royalty until the 1950s, although the empire disintegrated at the end of World War I. More recently, it was home to thousands of Russian troops, who did not fully withdraw until 1994. The KGB also had its German headquarters in the suburb of Berlin, near the Glienicker Bridge which used to mark the border between east and west, and over which spies were exchanged during the Cold War.
This is Schloss Cecilienhof, the last of the Prussian palaces. Built in the style of an English country house, it is now a hotel.
This is the Orangerie which is associated with the enormous Sanssouci Palace in the vicinity. Sadly, the building is falling apart, with the towers held up by timber struts bolted together.
Potsdam has a pleasant shopping street, with a punnet of strawberries for just 1 Euro. Bananas are about 1.99 Euro/kg everywhere.
Up to a point, the travel guides are right: these former fishing towns 20km north of Amsterdam are touristy. But they are also charming places to visit; each with a distinct character, and a full range of sticky pastries. We travelled to Marken by ferry from Volandam, but it can also be reached by a causeway road built in the 1960s.
Gentle and patient reader, full services have been restored. If you listen carefully, you may hear the bell from the No.25 tram on Weteringschans, two floors below.
River Duchess docked in Amsterdam yesterday morning, and we disembarked (or debarked as Holland America insist on saying) this morning. Yesterday we visited the Rejksmuseum to see the Rembrandts (mainly) and took a canal cruise, all as part of the ship's excursion package.
Today we visited the Van Gogh museum on our own (no pictures).
This is the interior of parts of the ship.
River Duchess is approaching its dock near the central railway station yesterday morning.