As part of our Christmas Along the Elbe tour with Viking this past December, we found ourselves at the stunning “summer” palace of Frederic the Great located in Potsdam, Germany — Sanssouci. Saying it’s a lovely place or a stunning summer palace (which was really used year-round) is an understatement, for sure.
Built during the years of 1745 to 1747 as a private getaway for Frederick II (a King in Prussia from 1740-1772 and later King of Prussia from 1772 – 1786), the one-level Rococo structure became a respite from the stress of ruling, a place named for the French phrase sans souci — no worries.
Today, this “home away” for ruler Frederick the Great, a major military power in his time, is similar to a French maison de plaisance or house of pleasure. And for those of us fortunate enough to walk the grounds in Sanssouci Park in Potsdam, Germany, and view the exterior, it is the picture of elegance, style, and enduring beauty.
From ornate columns, statues of people turning into nature, and a central domed room, the home seems balanced, strong, and stately.
This summer home is palatial even in its simplicity with its grand hillside view, gilded touches, elegant European style, and curved constructions from colonnades to domes. (That’s why we’re linking this post to this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #191: Curves.)
But it was our guide’s question at the end of the tour that caused us to pause and consider the longed-for visits to Sanssouci by Prussia’s leader.
She shared this sound alike with us: the term sans souci (meaning without worry) is pronounced similarly to cent souci (a hundred worries). And she asked us which we thought would have been on the leader’s mind as he retreated to this comfortable, yet elegant home — no worries or hundreds?
We have no idea what goes through a world leader’s mind, but we suspect the answer to this question is blurred: A retreat without worries is perhaps less common than one with many concerns no matter how elegant and relaxing the surroundings are.
We’d love to know what you think as well.
So, visit Sanssouci if you are near Potsdam, Germany, for a glimpse at a summer place to remember. And for more entries bearing curvy photos, be sure to check out this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge by Ann Christine.
Until then, here’s to travel — sans souci, of course!
Rusha & Bert