As you may have realized by the photos, for the travel to Europe, the portrait had to be disassembled.
By this time we were one week into the trip. We had mastered air-travel with all our baggage and the portrait; however, the journey to Joshua involved the first international train travel – heaving and throwing several boxes, the easel and portrait components on and off of the multiple trains, and running with all the baggage from one train station platform to another, since the journey involved multiple trains. (We are considering submitting audition footage for The Amazing Race.)
Caught sleeping at the train station.....and on the train.
Meeting Joshua was an amazing experience. We were welcomed into the warm-coziness of the Badder home, so relaxing after a week on the road. We were treated hospitably by Joshua, him mom, his dad and his grandmother. We were spoiled with before-dinner chocolate, and Joshua even prepared a delicious appetizer for us, which was followed by a wonderful home-cooked meal. The night included good food, great conversation and a cozy hominess we gratefully relaxed into after a week on the road. For those of you who don’t know it, Joshua and his whole family speak excellent English.
The evening also included a private dot ceremony. Dots were placed for Joshua’s family and Joshua himself… Joshua is the only person to receive two dots in Michael’s heart. The first was placed about a year ago when we heard Joshua was battling leukemia, and the second was placed for him in person in his home, in celebration of his new life in remission. I want to express how important it was to both Michelle and me to share this special evening together.
Joshua and his mum, Vera, admire their dots. David, John (Dad), Joshua, Vera and Grandmother.
Besides conducting the dot ceremony, I got to sit with Joshua in his room and teach him a little bit about how to draw with dots, and then he schooled me on the fine art of Guitar Hero. This night was perfect with no media and no hoopla, just all of us enjoying each other’s company.
I’d like to apologize to anybody who was tortured by my attempt to master Joshua’s vuvzela. Since I’m not a sports fan, I didn’t know what vuvuzelas are supposed to sound like. Joshua very delicately explained they are supposed to sound like a fart. My attempt to make music on the vuvuzela sounded more like a cow dying a painful death.
I met some great friends on my trip!
Thanks to everyone who submitted captions. The winning caption was provided by dot member " 2468244," dot number 245167.
Sandra Robinson, our spokesperson from Germany, was kind enough to be our tour guide in Frankfurt and took us to meet Dieter Wiesner, who shared wonderful memories, stories, photos and other artifacts of his long tenure and friendship with Michael Jackson.
Quick story: Dieter had a bowl of candy and chocolate on his desk. I felt it would be inappropriate to chew during my formal conversation with Mr. Wiesner, so when nobody was looking I snuck a chocolate into my jacket pocket. Karma caught up with me when I found it melted through the wrapper the next day.
I’d like to apologize to the 29th floor window-washers at the hotel for my appearance in the morning when I opened the drapes. Had I known you were there I would have perhaps dressed more appropriately.
Frankfurt – Munich
Our second night in Frankfurt we slept at Sandra Robinson’s house, enjoyed our second home cooked meal of the trip (home-made Indian food – impressive). Sandra’s house is truly a retreat – and she spoiled us with relaxation.
In the morning Sandra took us to the train station and we departed for Bravo magazine offices in Munich. We honored Editor-in-Chief, Alex Gernandt, with a dot in Michael’s heart honoring his consistent positive portrayal over the years. Alex has met with and written about Michael for a long time, and his stories have always been honest and tasteful. As we all know, the media has not been friendly to Michael Jackson, so I felt it was important to honor Alex for being a rebel and taking the heat for doing the right thing while others were trash-talking. I hope we realize how difficult that can be, to be in the media and not follow the crowd. As fans we should all appreciate Alex and the work he’s done at Bravo magazine.
Sandra, Michelle and I were honored to hear Alex’s stories and memories of Michael.
All day in Munich we were graciously shuttled around by Iris, our long time supporter and creator of two of the Wrapped-in-Love blankets. Thanks to Iris for helping us get around Munich! After the meeting at Bravo magazine, we were met by fans at the Hotel Bayerischer Hof, where Michael always stayed when in Munich, and took pictures in front of Michael’s fan-created memorial there.
Legendary memorial outside Hotel Bayerischer Hof
I’d like to apologize to Sandra and Michelle, because since my morning shower lasted a tiny bit too long, our leisurely trip to the train station turned into a mad sprint and near miss. My compliments to Sandra for her quick driving abilities both in the car and with the luggage-trolley at the train station. I’m sure the local travelers we mowed down have recovered by now.
Next stop: Belgium!
To read the rest of the tour highlights, please click one of the below links.
Part 1: Rome, Austria and Amsterdam
Part 3: Belgium
Part 4: Amsterdam & Israel
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