So many young people have told us they would like to visit Australia, because of ´die Natur`, that we thought we could open a backpackers hostel on returning there.
Archiv der Kategorie ‘Robert Gray in Berlin‘
The Prussian “philosopher-king” Frederick II (Frederick the Great) would go to the palace and gardens of Sanssouci, near Potsdam, when he wanted to be alone, with just a hundred servants, so that he could play the flute and converse with Voltaire.
His pavilion-style Rococo palace, yellow as an omelette, was built in 1747, and over the years, under his successors, the gardens grew to cover more than 70 acres and to contain other residences.
These gardens have intricately laid-out gravel walkways, along which can be seen in the distance tall fountains, standing like quills made of eagle´s plumes.
There are tall, loose-leafed hedges and groves of dramatic-looking Germanic trees, far more Romantic than Versailles, with its topiary. There are tunnelled walks made of latticed wood, covered with vines, which curve to show unexpected vistas, or have openings onto bright flower beds.
Surprisingly, for a place in which one was meant to be free of care, many of the sculptures along the avenues, and in the alcoves among the leaves, are of carnal subjects – all the classical rapes and abductions and punishments are depicted, along with the sheperd boys playing pipes and the nymphs mooning over locks of their hair.
At dusk, with the sculptures standing amid the dim foliage the gardens have a haunting effect, as if the past of tall wigs and hooped gowns, walking canes and knee-breeches, of witty assignations, were almost strong enough to revisit us, in the dim light. At yet, those ghosts are detained; they are forever ineffectual. In the calm of evening, the place becomes the setting of a Watteau-like dream. It was our favourite experience in Berlin.
We went by train to Leipzig and visited the Thomaskirche, the single most important house of music there has ever been. I thought, if there were really life after death, then surely Bach would have to have come out from under the sacristy stones and play again on the organ there.