Yep, definitely behind.
In my last blog, I said I’d be making a post on a recent trip to Europe and the UK. One advantage of having waited so long is that I now have two trips to Europe and the UK that I can tell you about. One was in the fall, and one was a few weeks ago. The first trip was for work, and the second was to visit family.
People sometimes ask if I keep a diary of my trips hither and yon. No, I don’t, but I do take a lot of photos. The photos help remind me of where I’ve been, who I’ve spent time with, and things about the trip that I don’t want to forget. I’ve never regretted taking a photo, but there are a few times I’ve regretted not taking a photo . . .
Like the time – about ten years ago – when Jim and I were in London and wanted to get a shot of us in front of a group of UK telephone booths. We were close to the financial district that particular day. As a middle-aged gentleman came walking down the street, I held up my camera and asked him if he’d please take a photo of us standing in front of a group of phone booths. He seemed happy to help. After he snapped the photo, he said, “So you like these red phone booths, do you?” He proceeded to tell us that his great-great grandfather, Giles Gilbert Scott, was the architect who designed the red phone booths. Out of all the people in London we might have asked to take that photo, it was one of Giles Gilbert Scott’s relatives! Ten minutes later, when we were riding the tube to our next appointment and I was pondering what had just happened, I had one of those “DUH!” moments. Why hadn’t I taken a photo of Giles Gilbert Scott’s great-great grandson in front of those phone booths? And why hadn’t I captured his first name? I’m still kicking myself for that missed opportunity.
Our October trip to the UK and Europe was a business trip. We began in London, making visits to the headquarters of several Book Store Chains in the UK, one of which was Waterstone’s. We always enjoy wandering through Waterstone’s Bookstores, and we’re grateful to be making progress in getting more NLT (New Living Translation) Bibles onto some of their shelves.
After our meetings in London, we headed up to Carlisle (almost to the Scotland border) to visit publishing friends at one of Tyndale’s largest accounts – STL. On our four-hour-or-so drive headed north, we saw the English Countryside,
and we got our first glimpse of the Lake District, where we stopped for dinner. We had – you guessed it – Fish n’ Chips.
After a full schedule of meetings and presentations at STL (Carlisle) the next day, our publishing friends took us out to a wonderful Thai Restaurant.
After finishing our business in the UK, we flew over to Frankfurt, where we had over 60 appointments in 3 days at the Frankfurt Book Fair. It’s always a marathon, and it’s a marathon we love. What a privilege – to meet with publishing friends from all over the world.
After working three days at the Frankfurt Book Fair and going strong from 5 in the morning till 10 at night, it was fun to be quiet and drive north up the Rhine on the way to our next appointment in Witten, near Dusseldorf. At just about every bend in the river, we seemed to spot another castle, vineyard, or interesting structure.
We stopped at a vineyard along the way and bought a bag of what I thought were huge grapes . . . only to find out that I had purchased small plums. Mmmmm-mmmmm. So sweet and juicy. It was a pleasant surprise.
We were in Dusseldorf for only a day and a half, and wish we could have stayed longer. It’s a beautiful city along the river.
We spent Sunday afternoon walking around the old part of the city.
Monday, we enjoyed our meetings with Hans-Werner Durau from SCM, our partner in publishing the NLT Bible in German (known as the NLB there). They first published it a few years ago, and have already sold almost half a million copies.
Just before we left Dusseldorf to fly home, it seemed appropriate to capture a photo of this sign:
Oh my . . . this is getting to be a very long post. Now that I’m into it, I’ll just keep going. Are you ready for the next trip?
Our second trip to Europe was to see family – yeah! Our oldest son, Chad, teaches in Vienna, and back in 2009, he asked us if we would travel there for Christmas in 2010. Although it didn’t work out for us to actually be there over Christmas, we used our frequent flier miles and found flights from Dec 28 until a few days after New Years Day. We were also able to use FF miles to get Jordan over to Vienna from South Korea, where he teaches. Given all the snowstorms that were halting air traffic in Europe around Christmas time, it was a miracle that all of our flights flew at exactly the times they were supposed to, for which we were incredibly grateful. We were sad that Nate and Brit and Jensen couldn’t be with us – they are expecting baby #2 any day, and couldn’t travel. We visited them a couple of weeks ago, and look forward to seeing them again soon when little Bella is born.
We spent our first day and a half in Vienna with Chad, as Jordan’s flight hadn’t yet arrived. We began making visits to some of the famous Vienna cafes – we aimed to do one a day.
Just to clarify, the Santa Claus in the photo was a leftover decoration from Christmas – no person inside those red pants.
That first day in Vienna, we visited the National Library, which has an astounding collection of old books of all shapes and sizes. It looks a little like the amazing library in the movie Beauty and the Beast, except it’s for real.
On the morning of December 30 – the day after Jordan arrived – we rented a car and drove to Salzburg, where we spent one night and half of the next day. On our way to Salzburg, we stopped for a few hours at one of the WWII Concentration camps, Matthausen. It was so sad and sobering. I took no photos of that visit, yet the haunting images remain . . .
We arrived in Salzburg in the evening, and this is what our walk in the city looked like:
We thoroughly enjoyed our dinner that evening at a typical Austrian Restaurant – Eulenspiegel.
Back in Vienna on New Year’s Eve, we continued our visits to some of the well-known cafes.
During our week in Vienna, we spent one afternoon at the aquarium, which used to be an anti-aircraft building at the time of World War II.
We had such a good time being with Chad and Jordan, and were sad that the week passed so quickly.
Our frequent-flier-flight back home routed us through London, which was fine with us! We took advantage of the opportunity to ride the tube into the city and enjoy tea and scones.
We headed back to Heathrow before returning home to Chicago.
There you have it – our most recent escapades. One of the reasons I’ve had time to document our trips is that Jim and I both picked up some kind of hacky bronchial cold somewhere in our travels, which forced us to slow down a bit. Cold winter days aren’t such a bad time to be inside with lots of hot tea and a few good books. Last week, I read The Brotherhood, a new Tyndale novel by Jerry Jenkins, set in Chicago – a story about a Chicago cop/detective. It was a fantastic read. I think it has great potential to sell internationally, too. After all, gangs and gangsters are part of what the Windy City is known for, right?
Another book I read this past week was Tim Pawlenty’s book, Courage to Stand. Pawlenty is the former Governor of Minnesota, and I hope that he runs for President of the United States in the next election. He’s smart, principled, funny, wise, courageous, and persevering. If you can get your hands on a copy of the book, I highly recommend it.
Well, friends, that’s all for now. Hope your new year is off to a good start.