Berlin & Potsdam
18 July 1998
Potsdam was the site of a large complex of palaces. We weren’t that interested in seeing more palaces, but we did run across an interesting place with a rather unique story behind it. When the King was getting ready to build this palace, there was a windmill there that he thought was in his way, so he went to the miller to buy it. The miller refused to sell it, and the King reminded him that he could just confiscate it. The miller told the king that the courts wouldn’t allow that. The king was so impressed by the miller’s trust in the courts that he left the mill alone. The mill is still there. It is 7 stories high. We went all the way to the top, even though the last 3 flights of stairs were really just ladders. Another interesting windmill story is that just a few years later another miller went to court to keep his mill, but the courts took his away from him. When the king found out about it, he sentenced the judge and all the jury to death for not upholding the law.
19 July 1998
Potsdam is also the site of the “James Bond Bridge” where the east and west used to exchange spies. We were halfway over it when we realized that was what it was.
There seemed to be only one large grocery store in all Potsdam, and it was huge – sort of like 2 Sam’s Clubs put together. There was a nice big one-way street exiting it, but we had a monstrous time finding a way to get to it! The dairy aisle was real interesting; there was plenty of cheese and yogurt. However, the milk section was one shelf about 2 feet long. They had 3.5% fat and 1.5% fat; but the largest boxes were 1 liter, which is a little bit smaller than a quart. There were not enough boxes on that whole shelf to feed my boys for a week.
We were happy to have time to see Potsdam.
20 July 1998
George searched and searched for the comic books he wanted, and found one that was a hardback. He didn’t get it since his others were paperback. Later, we searched a large bookstore near Berlin but still couldn’t find them. So George went to the customer service desk and found out he could special order them. They came the next morning and we picked them up on our way out of town.
That was in Potsdam, formerly in East Germany. We stayed there for 4 days. It is a suburb of Berlin. On Sunday, we drove halfway into Berlin to go to church at a place where George had been on his mission. The building looked pretty much the same on the outside, but had been remodeled some on the inside. There were enough Americans living there that they had a Sunday School class in English, as well as one in German. They also had earphones for English speakers to use during Sacrament Meeting. Two elders sitting up on the front row took turns translating the announcements and all the talks into English. We had decided that we would go on into Berlin after church, while there was little traffic, and look at some of the parks and memorials while there were fewer people around. We saw the memorial to the Berlin Airlift and Col. Halvorson’s airplane. George was in the same ward with him once on his mission. He is the one who always carried a bag of candy in his plane and would pour it out over the city. He is still known as “the candy bomber.” They told us he was back for a visit last year.
The next day we had a real adventure. We started by catching the bus in front of our hotel, and taking it to the train station. From there we rode into Berlin, using buses, trains, and subways to get to all the sites we wanted to see, as well as a fair amount of hoofing it. There is a massive amount of building going on in Berlin, especially in the former east zone. In some areas they have painted a red stripe across streets so they will always remember and be able to show their children what it was like to have a divided city.