I have the great fortune of staying with James and Sybille Bland and their extraordinarily adorable son, Ben.
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.
DAY THREE & FOUR
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.
There was no chance of sleeping-in thanks to the Ben Bland Alarm Clock (batteries not required).
Off to Paris through the Chunnel (does anyone call it that anymore?)
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.
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!
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!)
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.
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!)
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)
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)!
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.
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.
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?