Dave's 2017 European Grand Tour Ready?

Hi folks and thanks for joining me on my 15th sales trip blog. Oh my. I think I might just be starting to get the hang of this.

This year the tour starts in London, proceeds to Paris, then Berlin and finally Hamburg. 21 days of planes, trains, and automobiles, friends, new companies, restaurants, walks in the forest, and, for the first time ever, usually getting to bed before 10:00 pm. Ah, age.

Remember you can click on an image to make it bigger (but not an idea)


Casa Bland

I have the great fortune of staying with James and Sybille Bland and their extraordinarily adorable son, Ben.

I arrived on a Saturday, settled in, and we went out for a nice pizza at the Bland's favorite Italian (kid friendly) local. On the way home we had a visit with a local shop owner who's son showed Ben how to blow things up. Ben has talent!


The next morning James and Ben and I went to church (!!!) so James could show the priest that he was a good Catholic and Ben can be baptized instead of going to Hell and burning for eternity. This was followed by a visit to the farmer's market, the purchase of organic pillows and then dinner at my former host's, the Browns.

Dinner at the Browns

Fergus was showing off some of his business wardrobe and asked me not to share with you all and ruin the surprise for his next meeting. Sorry. But he did allow me to use the "work in progress" rendering of the night's festivities by his court painter. I think it captures the mood nicely. Not sure which character is me, though.


And now to business. Monday and Tuesday were packed with meetings (and cancelations! London is busy - or so they tell me). Niel at Caviar, Ben at Blink, Francis at Knucklehead, Tess for lunch (she was delicious as always), Tom and friends at Bang, Kate and her cheerful team at Skunk, the folks at Academy, lunch with Fergus and Ewen, Lindsay at Sonny, and Richard at Nice Shirt, and a couple of much needed pints with Jeremy from You Are Here at his local. It's all become much more of a social occasion than business. Lucky me.

As you might imagine Brexit is on everyone's minds. I pointed out to Fergus and Ewen that they're Scottish (they're known to forget). If the UK leaves the EU and Scotland leaves the UK they'll be illegal immigrants in London! Same for James and Sybille (he's Irish and she's German). Ben can stay, though (maybe keep the bombing hobby on the down-low, Benjamin. Just in case).

My alarm clock

There was no chance of sleeping-in thanks to the Ben Bland Alarm Clock (batteries not required).

Ben is disappointed that we don't have time for Peppa Pig in the morning.

I was so busy in London I couldn't see everyone. Bother. Sorry Andrew and Stink, Mike at HLA, and many others. You'll just have to come to Canada (pretty please).

On my last night in London Ewen took me to a show at the Soho Theatre. I understood about half of it but that half was very funny!


Off to Paris through the Chunnel (does anyone call it that anymore?)

The BBAC was a little slow this morning and I may have not paid enough attention to the time myself so I missed my train to Paris. Luckily for only €30 you can change for the next train. Nice.


This is the Church of St. Vincent de Paul. Why do you care, you ask? Well, when I was 19 years old and living in Groslay my friend Paul and I (Jacques had to go to Angers for a funeral) took a little trip into Paris for the day. While sitting on these very steps we watched as a man in a powder blue liesure suit and another in black leather carrying a 'package' opened the grate in the sidewalk and descended into the sewers of Paris. Naturally we had to folllow, drop Tarrot cards, avoid falling into the muck, and keep our eyes and ears peeled for the spies/terrorists/oddly-dressed-sanitation-workers. But I digress.


Barb found me a lovely hotel on Rue Lafayette. Very central to most of the production companies and with bowler hat lampshades. However... I managed to come down with a horrible cold/flu (no, it wasn't "that" kind of flu)! I struggled through a couple of meetings on Friday (Romain at Wanda says hello to everyone!) and had a fantastic dinner with Sylvaine Mella that night but then spent the next two days lying in my hotel bed, sweating, sleeping, and coughing. Ah, Paris, City of Netflix.

Dinner with Sylvaine. The "cheese plate".

By Monday I was feeling slightly better so made it to see Greg at Stink, Laurent at Magali, and Yannick at Henri Czar (hope I didn't spread around my flu. Yikes). Everyone in Paris also seems to be busy. Tres bon!

Staggering around on the weekend trying to do a little gift buying. Failed.


Off to Berlin by plane at 5:00 in the morning (cough, cough, wretch).

"Recovering" in Berlin

Manuel Werner welcomed me to his home and exciting neighbourhood. It's so alive in Berlin (at least in the east). After a little nap and a visit with Sarah and their dog, Lio (such a licker) Manu took me to an avante-guarde Turkish restaurant where the traveling chef served up some very tasty dishes. We ended the night at one of those famous Berlin social clubs but took it easy (on my last visit I think I got to bed at 3:00 am. This time only 10:30!)

The filthiest toilet in all of Berlin and the 'social club'

DAY ELEVEN AND TWELVE (probably not but is anyone counting?)

Wednesday I met with Uli and Pierre at Big Fish and Juri at Cobblestone. All such nice people. Juri is still saying his shoot with us in Toronto was his favorite shoot ever (thanks, Heinrich!)

Thursday and Friday I saw Jan from Iconoclast and had a tasty fish pasta (hardly any 'repercussions' at all. When will I learn!?!?), then met with Hakki at It's Us, Fabian and Sabine at Tony Petersen and Carina at Soup (not the kind you eat). Suddenly the bids started coming in fast and furious and from all over Europe. Hoorah.

Berlin wine bar humour

The first few times I came over I'd be doing meetings and then bidding and then meetings and then a late dinner and then bidding until the wee hours. It's so much better to have help from home (thanks Heinrich, Clay, Elena, Mai, and Barb and all of our Vancouver colleagues! I couldn't be having the time of my life without you!)

I think that's US Senator John McCain about to throw a Fanta Cocktail at the Orange One.
Not sure if this is a food advert or a porn-horror movie poster.
Aha! That's where they end up (Vancouver production inside joke)

For my last night in Berlin Sarah and Manu took me to a sushi place nearby called Omino. It was started by a Japanese couple who were stranded in Germany (I'm not sure why that's important). It was some of the best sushi I've ever had. Seriously. As good as Tokyo.

DAY FOURTEEN (just so I can put a new heading, could be Day 18 for all I know)

Train to Hamburg

Manu insisted that I needed to book a 1st class ticket on the train as it was "totally worth it". I thought it only polite to agree. Bye Manu! I could have stayed for months, it was such a great visit. Don't forget you owe me (and the world) a video of Lio and the balloon! Can't believe I don't have a photo at least.

The Riders Room

In Hamburg I've always stayed with one of my best friends, Marc Bierer. Marc thought it very important that I visit his favourite clothing shop nearby where we admired €1,200 leather jackets and such. I haven't left Hamburg as of this writing and they have this great coat made in Bavaria! Give me strength (or cut off my credit card, Barb, before it's too late)!

Typical Hamburg bar with bowling alley and anti-Trump drinking fundraisers. That's Marc's friend Florian showing us how it's done. His dad lives in North Van.

After I contributed to the Mexican fund I immediately saw this! Snowdon was right, the NSA is watching!

I've always looked to Marc for guidance on mens' grooming. The German man is by far the most moisturized in the world, as everyone knows. But "Prickly Heat" in a can? When do you use that?


Working hard!

Saturday Marc and I met up with Nicky Mirbach, one of my dearest friends, and his dog Lilly and we went for a walk on the Elba ending with a drink at Marc's friend's Christian's beachside bar (Marc knows EVERYONE in Hamburg!). After a tasty Hamburg Curry Würst in St. Pauli we said goodbye to Nick for the day and then Ines arrived from Berlin. The three of us went out for a fantastic meal at the restaurant where Ines and Marc first dated. And then I ate the herring by mistake. I'll leave the details out of the blog. I suppose it could have been würst.

The neighbourhood where Marc lives is very "active". Best not to open a store that sells something the locals don't agree with (like clothing). And careful when ordering Lubskraus, they hide the herring under the leaf.
A spectacular Sunday walk by the lake

On Sunday we met up with Nicky again for a real German breakfast at the Funk-Eck and then headed to the countryside for a long walk in the fresh air. Best day ever.

After the walk Ines and Marc got in her Audi A5 Coca-Cola Company Car and headed back to Berlin as Ines had meetings and Marc had smelled enough herring residue. I have his place to myself for a few days. Nicky and I went for a little drive and stopped for a drink by another lake. It was such a perfect day!

Nick showed me his süper-düper new German vacuum cleaner. Now I have to get one. Too big for carry-on?

Time for some laundry. Hmmmm. Do I set it for "Outdoor" or "Business"? Meetings tomorrow, but I need to walk a lot. Oh well, better choose Business. But will it effect my Hems?


Ah, back to work. On Monday I met with Burak at his new job & company, E+P, then had a really nice lunch with Acki and Jan from Tempomedia. Another stressful day.

That's Acki's 2001 (?) Mini. Thanks for the lunch, Alexander and Vera!

They stole my anti-pipeline movement name! Weird idea for a restaurant, too.

Florian and Sandra

There was a little wandering and visiting and I ended the day having a 5 hour dinner with Florian and Sandra at a yummy French place. Sorry to brag. But it's all true! How could it get any better?

Late night walk home. Anyone know what "DHKP-C" stands for ?

Believe it or not that's about it. I'm heading off to lunch with Philipp at Cobblestone, hopefully drop by 539090 and Erste Liebe, then dinner with Sabine Lippert. After that it's some much needed (hah!) R&R to rest up for my flight home on Friday (and maybe buy a present or two). Sorry I didn't have any shocking or unbelieavable tales to tell (maybe I'll add those later as well as all the events and people I forgot).

Thanks for reading. Comments and corrections welcome.


View from Marc's patio

Special bonus image. Shhhhhh. Don't tell Fergus

Laird of all he surveys
Created By
David Bouck

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