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Objetsmart Travel - Natural Hats

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Park Sanssouci, Potsdam, Germany, January 2010

There's something about palaces that make me stop and gawk. While I love grand cathedrals and marvel at the wonders of the world, I've always been fascinated by the lavish in the mundane, the Hollywood production value of the home. Ancient bathrooms and marble-laden ballrooms with perfect vistas of parks? Bring it on! Indeed it is fascinating to wonder how many bad political decisions have been made from such places of residences and how one building's architecture can provide enlightenment or influence madness. Mainly, I constantly wonder how it took so long to get indoor plumbing...

So it makes sense that whenever I have a chance to visit a big house, from Hearst Castle to Versailles, I'm all for an afternoon of wander.

When Erin and I decided to go to Berlin for New Year's, I knew she wanted to visit art galleries. And I knew I wanted to visit Sanssouci, the German answer to Versailles. So on a freezing weekday, we took the express train out to Potsdam and found ourselves trekking through the cold and snow to the castle for a tour. There were but a handful of us. I was relieved actually - the problem with my interest in castles is that it is common - and hence, usually loaded with annoying tourists. But the cold kept most away and I was delighted to have the park as our domain.

As we approached the gift shop to buy our tickets, I noticed that all the ornate statues outside were styled. They were literally wearing their winter costume. Someone had obviously spent some time making sure that the snow didn't cover their faces. Or was there a treatment on them so that the snow didn't stick? I wondered - and I still do - perhaps someone else can answer the question. But I quite liked that even in the harshest of conditions, the statues outside Sanssouci remained in character and with accessories. They were objetsmarts! That is they were - until they would melt - thus rendering them back to their native form - until the next season...

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