So this is it. We started out the trail from the very beginning. After a little random dabbling we decided to go hike the 17 stages of the 66 Lakes trail, in the way it was organized.
The first trail starts in Potsdam, a touristy city about an hour outside of Berlin, which we aren’t strangers to, so to go back for the start of the trail at the Brandenburger Tor in Potsdam, wasn’t completely welcome. But in the interest of trying to follow each step of the trail, we began where many others probably do as well. At the landmark, we expected a sign or something, but there really isn’t any indication that the trail starts there or Luisenplatz.
From the Brandenburger Tor, the trail walks up Schopenhauer Strasse to the entrance of the Lustgarten and than past the front, and by the Schloß Sanssouci.
It wasn’t until we were heading out of the Palace Gardens that we finally saw the first 66 Lakes Trail marker.
We soon discovered these markers are everywhere, painted, or as stickers. Typically you can expect to see one every 50-100 meters. Though other times it feels like you’ve gone a couple kilometers without seeing them. After those long questionable stretches, it’s comforting and a bit of relief to see another and know you are still following the trail.
The first trail was unusual in that it makes use of the gardens and palaces in Potsdam, so you end up doing some funny zig-zagging, perhaps the intent was to do some showing off in this well decorated section of the trail.
The last real Palace and Garden section of the first trail leaves you with a impressive view of the Schloss Cecilienhof.
Also just called “Cecilienhof” the palace is a very different style from the others, also the last palace to be built during the rule of the Hohenzollern family that ruled Prussia until 1918. It’s famous for being the location of the Potsdam Conference in 1945 where the US, UK, and USSR decided how to divide up Berlin following the end of World War II. It’s also one of the many UNESCO World Heritage sites in Potsdam.
Just a stones throw form Cecilienhof is the Meierei Brauerei which was actually closed when we walked past it, but we’ve been before and is worth a visit on it’s own if you find the time. I think I would have wanted to stop for a beer, it’s a good thing they were closed, perhaps we would have gotten tired and given up.
Things actually ended in a strange way for us. The trail appeared to finish in the Schlosspark Marquardt, at the Schloss Marquardt, but the gate to the mansion was locked shut, and it was pretty clear we weren’t supposed to be back there. So we walked around through someone’s backyard to leave the property. Aside from that it was a nice place to wrap up the hike. But Marquardt is small so don’t expect much, and the train ride back to Berlin requires a regional train to Potsdam, then another from Potsdam Hauptbonhof, back to Berlin, so give yourself 90 minutes from the end of the trail to your destination in Berlin (if that’s where you’ll be going).
That was pretty much it. We’ve done 3 more trails since this one, so my thoughts and writing here come with more hindsight. Hope you enjoyed. Next post should be about trail number 4!