Travelling solo means adapting to new environment, extreme weather and most importantly staying calm when things go out of control. But you could hardly do so when you are lost in the middle of nowhere right?
It was travelling to Potsdam from Berlin. Potsdam is known for castles and since I have always been partial to one, I decided to visit. It was a spur of the moment decision without any planning whatsoever.
I was all good in the beginning. I purchased an ABC tickets that allows me to travel in all three zones in Germany and boarded the train to Potsdam. It took about an hour to reach the Potsdam and I got down in the last stop. No sooner I got out of the station, it gave no sign of land of castles as it was supposed to. Rather it was like a private land that seemed to exude pseudo ‘Keep off the land’ signs. Walking the entire stretch of high-end hotels, resorts and mansions gave me no relief. I retreated to the railway station thinking probably I should get back to Berlin. Then I saw buses with signs Potsdam Central stationed there. One of the bus drivers gestured to board the bus and I did. It then became clear to me that trains were cancelled and buses were arranged to take passengers to the destined station instead.
After I boarded the bus, I realised I had no idea where to find castles. I had assumed Potsdam to be like any other city centres lined up with castles and cafes. I could not have been more wrong, for it is a sleepy little town with nothing but bare land with the exception of shops here and there. When I searched google to salvage the time I had wasted, I came across Sanssouci, one of the top tourist attractions there. Sanssouci is the former summer palace of Frederick the Great, King of Prussia, in Potsdam near Berlin. It is built in Rococo style architecture.
With the help of google map I figured out the route. But who knew I could still get lost in the middle of nowhere and get stranded in a totally different bus stop. That is when I actually began to panic. As far as I could see the place I got down was not one frequented by tourists. There were few people waiting for a bus. There was a theatre nearby and a film museum that was closed for the day. Despite that I liked this place. It seemed like the calm little town with toy like stores and eateries, mostly closed, and was empty of tourists. Probably that is I found it alluring.
A little further was a government building that had a free entry. And I was the only tourist inside. Since I had another hour to kill before I could catch the next bus, I got in and entertained myself with a bit of history. An hour later, I boarded the bus and this time got down in the right spot, spent an exorbitant 12 Euro on the castle which was just not worth it. The palace has merely 10 rooms and a huge garden, which was quite beautiful and free. So if you are visiting this palace, read up and be sure if you want to go inside before you buy tickets. And there was a lesson learnt.
Though I enjoyed my little detour, not enough planning had cost me time, money and tested my patience hell a lot. So I guess it helps to plan a little.