Today was actually not that brilliant, spitting rain, nevertheless, I decided to go to Potsdam to see Einstein's Tower. It s often cited as one of the few landmarks of expressionist architecture and is an astrophysical observatory in the Albert Einstein Science Park in Potsdam, designed by architect Erich Mendelsohn It was built for astronomer Erwin Finlay Freundlich to support experiments and observations to validate Albert Einstein 's relativity theory.
What I hadn't realised before I set off was how far I had to walk. At the train station where there is no tourist bureau of course, with the help of some young kids and a passing man, possibly a railway employee, I was faced in the right direction and told, ‘must walk, keep going to left. In fact there was that arterial road desolation in front of the station, with the town some distance away and the Wild Park woods far away in the opposite direction. Walking for an hour up hill, I thought, ‘surely it will be marked'. Wrong. Finally, stopping a lone cyclist, I asked, ‘Einstein's Tower bitte?' He said I had to go back then turn right then left. A completely unmarked track had me doubtful but I saw a man and a dog coming towards me and asked, ‘Einstein's Tower bitte?' Evidently it was the right direction and I had to just keep going. All I could see was trees. No tower. Until I saw a gate, locked, and wire fencing stretching into the distance. Those people I asked told me what I had asked for, directions to the tower. I hadn't asked is it open to visit, to see? Following the wire fencing for quite awhile I still couldn't see anything but trees. So it was in there somewhere. The guidebooks don't even mention it so I can't grumble that they didn't say that it was closed.
Looking it up on the Internet later, one can see its' distinctive penile extension form that must have been one of Foster's inspirations for his ‘Gherkin' in London. Its' a guy thing, but amazing. Wish I could have seen it.
Ditto with the Bildergalerie at Sans Souci, which is the oldest surviving royal gallery in Germany. A large number of paintings were taken by Russia in 1946, some have been returned, but perhaps not enough, as the guidebooks don't mention it. I won't know because again, it wasn't open. Sans Souci was not open on the Holiday, its statuary all boxed up and hidden from view. I had walked back through the woods, then past empty derelict buildings along the canal into the town centre. Even if one had thought ahead and brought a picnic lunch, the windy, spitting rain wasn't conducive to any such dallying. It was an enormous amount of walking. In the town central area, the Dutch Husimand area with its' fine-looking long street of Dutch style houses was built to attract Dutch settlers, who didn't come because Holland at that time was very wealthy and Potsdam poor. Now it is a a historical novelty, rather twee. I had come at the wrong time. I trudged back to the railway station along its bleak approach.
My tip is: Don't bother to go to Potsdam. (Or if you do, don't go on a holiday, and not on weekends).