Spontaneous day trip turned into a weekend long trip to Potsdam. Good thing we had on our Oliver Charles sweaters!
After briefly considering a weekend trip to Venice (called off for weather and because of acqua alta) we decided for a nice quiet weekend at home in Berlin.
We needed some rest and relaxation around home. Over the next few weeks we will be heading to California, London, Hamburg, and Paris; it’s going to be hectic!
Why not take a weekend in the comfy confines of our flat? As you’ll see our R&R instincts are pretty much non-existent.
On Saturday morning we opened our eyes to something as rare as a Jewel of The Sierras khullu sweater, a completely blue sky over autumn Berlin.
From the comfort of our bed we hatched a plan to take the 45 minute S-bahn ride to Potsdam for the day.
Within one hour, we had to catch the 11 o’clock train; we were geared up to travel with our go-to wool sweaters and ready to set out.
It was a crisp cool day. I debated adding an extra Patagonia puffy layer but decided against it.
My Oliver Charles crew neck and a thicker coat should be plenty of protection against a sunny fall day in Europe!
This was the first visit to Potsdam for both of us, and boy, was it worth it.
Potsdam sits just to the west of Berlin surrounded by picturesque fields, forests, lakes, and rivers. It is well over 1000 years old and it has that quintessential old Europe feel to it.
Prussian Kings and German Kaiser’s used Potsdam as a retreat and over the centuries built a charming array of palaces, castles, gardens, and meandering streets.
While Berlin apartments and buildings rise five or six stories and have a type of rigid post-modern solidity to them, Potsdam has few buildings over two stories and there is a whimsical feel to most all of them; inviting and playful.
We took the invitation and played to our heart’s content.
It is also vital that I add in another reason to visit directly from my father. I give him lots of points for historical “dad facts” and even more for entertaining iMessage content.
A WARM, BREATHABLE WOOL GO-TO SWEATER
We arrived early in the day and spent an hour or so walking around the streets enjoying the sunshine.
The locals had started to get the town ready for the Christmas season (which the Germans take seriously).
We saw the preparations for two soon-to-be-enchanting Christmas markets and bemoaned their not-quite-ready-yet state.
However, our disappointment was fleeting as we discovered the almost festival-like atmosphere on the main pedestrian-only street.
Live performers and decorated shop fronts imparted the walk around town with the sense of a giddy waltz.
Our khullu sweaters served as expert temperature regulators as they kept us warm in the shadows while breathing under our jackets in the sunshine. Your New Go-To Baselayer
We found a fun French cafe, Creperie La Madeleine, and got some stunning gallettes for a late lunch.
It was peak Europe–sitting on the corner of a cobblestone street, a pair of cellists not far off serenading us, the sun beaming down on this charming village, enjoying my cappuccino and crepe thingy with my favorite companion: my lovely girlfriend Hette.
Did you really think I was going to say my Oliver Charles?? Shame on you… but naturally my OC is/was #2!
After lunch Hette’s sister and boyfriend, having heard of our spur of the moment plan, decided to meet up with us to share in the fun.
We walked for about 15 minutes out of the city center to the sprawling UNESCO world heritage Sanssouci park.
The regal estate built in the 18th century and then added to by each generation sits majestically on a small rise.
A person could spend days exploring the different parts of the park and keep discovering new and interesting corners.
‘Sans souci’ is a French phrase that means “without concern.” We took that to heart and meandered for several hours through the park and the different gardens checking out statues and Rococo architecture.
Eventually, we had to tear ourselves away from the park to attend to important matters in town; getting a glühwein.
We found a cute bar with some tables on the street and sipped our first glühwein’s of the year.
The air was starting to cool down, and now that we were sitting instead of walking about our light wool OC’s became all the more important in transitioning from breathing to keeping us warm with our glühwein.
The legendary spiced wine flows like water in the lead up to Christmas.
Conventional wisdom seems to be that you’ll know you drank enough glühwein during the holiday season if you can’t stand the sight of it come January.
Luckily, we were nowhere near that threshold. I expect I’ll have a chance to wax lyrical about glühwein in a Christmas market inspired jubilee post at a later date. Sigh, glühwein…
It was also around this time that Hette and I made our second spontaneous decision of the day.
It started with a simple question: “What if we stay in Potsdam for the night?”
One one hand, that’s a silly thought because we live just down the s-bahn…
But on on the other hand, we were going to spend the whole weekend in Venice…
This is way less intense and expensive than that, right?
Oh, look, this hotel has a sauna and a breakfast buffet. I mean if you think of what we would spend on a regular breakfast and a sauna it basically is paying for itself. It’s so romantic!
Fine, let’s do it…
Wait, are we really going to do this?
Yes, book it!
A GO-TO SWEATER FOR WEEKEND ADVENTURE
And just like that, one afternoon in Potsdam stretched into a night and a morning.
Thank god we packed our versatile Oliver Charles sweaters.
Packing a go-to sweater that we could wear day-after-day no matter where we dined or adventured was undoubtedly a part of the calculus for staying the night. The world’s best wool made our spontaneity a simple choice.
We had plans to see our friend’s baby the next day, and there is no way most of my other clothes would be up for the challenge of a two day overnight city exploration excursion.
Wearing an Oliver Charles sweater two days in a row is an no brainer.
Oliver Charle’s khullu yarn is remarkably odor resistant, and though we picked up some bathroom essentials at DM (German CVS), we didn’t even get deodorant.
We just put faith in out antimicrobial wool sweaters, and we weren’t let down in the least. I’ve never owned a piece of clothing so easy to wear.Ideal For Repeat Wear
Later that night, we had a nice dinner with our companions at a trendy vitanemanes place, Herr Dang, for some curries and sushi and then sent them back to Berlin.
We stopped by a bar for some cucumber inspired craft cocktails, expending just about the last of our energy for the night.
The Downtown, Urban Bar could have been transported directly from a corner in San Francisco.
The drinks were fresh and just the right kind of night cap before some time in the sauna.
We got to the hotel and took our sweaters off… although at this point I was tempted to actually bring them in the sauna!
Come morning we donned our sweaters once again and went down feeling fresh for breakfast.
We got more than our money’s worth and set off for the S-bahn feeling, if anything, overfull.
We took the train straight to our friends in Zehlendorf, a Berlin neighborhood, to see our friend’s 6-week-old newborn Mija.
Mija is an absolute treasure of a baby and Goda and Bent, who were integral members of our Mexico trip, are just the best parents and friends.
I had a chance to apologize to Mija for bouncing her around a little bit on some dirt roads in Baja, and we all got to relive the “first kick” that those bumps precipitated; amazing to see Mija here and smiling up at us.
By the time we had met Mija for a few hours in Goda and Bent’s flat, the morning was turning to afternoon.
We decided to go get the stroller and take a long walk through the woods near their flat.
Hette and I are obviously very trustworthy because we were both allowed to push Mija in the stroller despite our impostor syndrome!
We rounded the night out with a final meal with Goda, Bent, Mija, and Goda’s friends who were in town.
As we dragged ourselves to the train station for one final ride back home after 36 hours away we were well and truly spent.
Our sweaters had been through an absolute ordeal, and they were in much better shape than both Hette and I by the time we got home.
While we practically fell into bed immediately, I’m pretty sure our sweaters were keen for a night out in Berlin and another day trip.
These sweaters just won’t quit!
A LITTLE THING IN LIFE THAT BRINGS ME JOY
It was a long few days filled with beauty, wonder, and camaraderie.
It was a reminder of how many adventures are just right there, waiting in our backyards.
Sometimes it’s hard to find an excuse to do something a little silly like be a tourist in the city where/near you live.
These kinds of things are what life is about, though. The pull of the quiet weekend at home is perennial, but by the time all this is over we won’t be worried about the quiet weekends.
We’ll be thinking about that sunny cobblestone crepe corner, posing as a statue at Sanssouci, wearing a sweater longer than you thought possible, and trying to meditate in the sauna.
These are the moments that life is made of.