Once a year Sanssouci opens its gates at night, and, surrounded by musicians, actors, and period costumed extras, visitors can explore the beautifully light palaces and glowing gardens.
I saw it as a nice excuse to dress up in a new frock (although it turned out that I was the only one not wearing jeans and practical shoes- I still have some assimilating to go).
Andy saw it as an excuse to show off his wonderful new moustache:
It was a lovely setting. We arrived just after 7pm, and wandered through the paths, occasionally passing a random flautist or violinist, or stumbling upon a gathering watching some sort of German period drama:
This fellow was very ‘Let them eat cake’ (French and Saunders comedy on the french revolution- if you haven’t seen it you very much should. Slightly lowbrow, but excessively hilarious).
Of course, you probably shouldn’t go if you’re not into ancient palaces silhouetted against swirling skies, or catching the last drops of sunlight.
In addition to the Artists and their art, the gardens were littered with the little ‘christmas market-y’ food tents that I love.
At the start I was a little disappointed there wasn’t anything ‘posher’- I’m thinking wine and cheese and delicate little canapes- the sort of thing befitting a royal palace.
Being the nerdy planties that we are, we spent quite a bit of time in the botanic gardens…
… and were very happy to find an Aussie section, with eucalypts, bottle brushes, banksias…
(not that Andy’s face is really portraying the happiness)
And bougainvillea. Although this might actually be from Brazil. But as our second home in Perth- The Swamp Shack – is absolutely covered in the stuff, it always reminds me of Australia.
Did I mention there were people in costumes?
I’m seriously contemplating buying one of those wigs. I see it as more of an ‘investment’ than an actual purchase.
As the light dropped, the park became more and more beautiful.
We stopped outside the picture gallery to watch the end of a play, that involved women disguised as men in pantaloons, a lot of prancing (to live music), and repeated mention of the word ‘ghost’. My guess had something to do with the main man being ‘unfaithful’ and the women springing him. Andy interpreted it as a ‘Christmas Carol-esque’ thing with ‘ghosts of girlfriends past. Which shows you how terrible our German still is.
But you know, all great art is open to interpretation from the masses.
Do you like my jacket?
It feels period appropriate, but I’m sure one or two of you will be able to tell me that it’s actually from the wrong period.
My natural crazy-cat-lady genes allowed me to find this little fellow, who was intent on watching (and occasionally pouncing on and eating) the larger of the bugs attracted to the lights.
And then we moved on to the ‘Chinese Tea House’. I think I’ve featured this before, although in the ‘cold light of day’, and mentioned that, with the exception of the memorial plaque to Fredrick the Great that’s always completely covered in potatoes, it’s probably my favourite thing about the park.
It’s amazingly over the top, and decorated in a ‘I can’t believe it isn’t Asian way’, with statues clearly designed by that same guy who did the lions at Trafalgar square or those fellows who made all the old tapestries.
You know the ones, where the lions look a lot more like dogs, and it’s immediately evident that the artist has never seen anything more closely related to a lion than a house cat?
The tea house takes a similar approach to the Orient.
But doesn’t it look lovely all lit up?
Moving on we encountered one of the many ‘talking trees’ of the path- who would explain in an appropriately pompous voice, what they are, where they come from, and why they’re so unique- medicinal properties and the like.
I’m sorry to say that I can’t remember this fine young fellow’s name, but I’m going to assume it was Oscar.
Does this look familiar to any of the Plant biologists?
Think C3-C4 plants….
It’s Cleome spinosa!
We finished our massive loop of the gardens at the New Palace, arriving just before the fireworks began.
Which was spectacular. The fireworks were all perfectly timed with the classical music that boomed out over the crowds.
It was like watching Fantasia in real life.