In aerospace engineering, and therefore in some science fiction, a gravitational slingshot is when you, the spacecraft, use the gravity well of a much larger celestial body to alter your own trajectory and speed.
Rosie and I realized that certain stars had aligned, and there were 2 conferences I had been asked to speak at back to back in Europe, that we could use to slingshot us from the USA to Asia.
So that’s what happened. One the way we stopped in London to see family and friends [who are basically family]. We had high tea at the Lanesborough, stayed with Dave, and Neil, and Polly, and Mum and Dad, and Natalya, and generally couch-surfed around the city, on eddies of people we love more than gravity.
A quick visit to Hampton Court Palace, with my Dad as a guide, to show Rosie and her sister Marion and her Mum [mom] what history looks like.
And just like that it was over, and our trip was beginning. Again. Every stop is a new beginning.
We landed in Hamburg and immediately felt welcome.
The 25 Hour Hotel was beautifully designed
and the Art Director’s Club Kongress was groovy, large and run like clockwork, as positive discrimination would expect from the Teutonic.
We were doubly welcomed by Pink Socks.
In an act of extreme hubris, we entered an art contest. At the biggest conference for Art Directors in Europe. Guess which one are ours.
I spoke one day, too much, too fast, of course, and the next day, Rosie and I collaborated on talk about collaboration. It was great.
And then we had to shoot, because our slingshot was a binary star, one to Germany, and then the next day a talk in Croatia.
We arrived at the Hotel Lone, 3 hours drive from Zagreb in Rovinj at midnight. I spoke the next morning. The hotel and conference were beautiful.
The billboard up top of this post was a nice surprise. The hotel was another one, an amazing design hotel.
Oh and I was on Croatian TV, kind of.
And, after a day, our first ever, in the spa to recover, we were off to the waterfalls of Plitvice, a place Rosie has been jonesing to go for at least five years, a place I promised to take her, having discussed it, on our very first date.
A nice chap called Josep drove us and escorted is round. Someone we met called Bran, at the conference, said that it was the most beautiful place in Europe. I’m not comfortable with mosts, or bests, too exclusionary, but, well, see for yourself.
And then we turned on a satellite, building momentum, coasting into Dubrovnik. Walked the walls of the Old City, as you do. Rosie caught some inclement weather on the way in and it looks justified and ancient, as she says, it’s fantastical, fantasy, a game of thrones set in stones.
We walked the walls, and my newly shorn chin bum was exposed to sunlight for the first time in half a decade.
Tomorrow we explore some more like Dora, and then catch the last curve of the binary system slingshot and emerge in Asia.