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Copyright 1998 by Dan Philgreen - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

 

SPAIN, FRANCE, AND GERMANY

March 15, 1997, midnight, Zaragosa, Spain

I'm traveling with Mike Adamson and Matt Anderson shooting stories for Campus Crusade for Christ in Spain, France, and Germany. Matt through a lot of persistence managed to get round trips to Europe for $480 per ticket, but it took a rather circuitous routing. (I've since found that fares like that to Europe aren't that hard to find if you take the time to look.) We came Orlando to Frankfurt, Frankfurt to Cologne, Cologne to Barcelona, rented a car in Barcelona and drove about three hours here to Zaragosa. Our route home won't have quite so many legs. We were supposed to leave at 6:00pm, actually the plane was late leaving Orlando, it was almost 8:00. It's now, our body time, 6:00pm the next night although it's midnight here in Spain. We had a three hour layover in Cologne and we took excellent advantage of that by getting on a bus and riding down near the train station where the cathedral is. Got to see it inside and out, a beautiful structure - one of the few things left standing in the city after World War II. The bombers avoided it, although some bombs, about 50 did hit it, but they tried not to destroy it. It really is something. I've seen most of the great cathedrals of the world and Cologne is right up there with the best.

After seeing that we went to a little restaurant in the train station - a schnitzel place. Had some sandwiches and some wonderful chicken cordonbleau schnitzel. It was fabulous.

Then we flew on from Calogne to Barcelona on a Luftanza flight which was in a Canadair jet, a stretch version of the Canadair Challenger business jet. Interesting small jet. Very good service on such a small plane. We were impressed. However, neither the under seat or overhead baggage compartments would fit even my camera case they were so small. Fortunately the plane was not even half full, so there were plenty of other seats we could put bags under.

So, today Germany was country number 26 for me, and Spain is now country number 27.

The cologne cathedral was basically finished in 1880. That's when they put the finials on the tops of the towers, although officially it's never been finished. There are things that are still left to be done. It was built to honor three "holy" kings from Milan whose relics, which may be some bones or something, are buried in the cathedral.

March 16, 6:20pm

Spent most of the day today shooting John and Kerri O'Neal with their baby daughter, Taylor, who is about a year and a half. Just finished a long interview of them and Rolondo, the director of the Latin America office in Miami who happens to be over here. Shot quite a bit of footage of the O'Neals in a market and a couple of parks. And got a good bit of life in Zaragosa.

Had lunch in a nice cafe and did some shooting there. Had a little snack at the O'Neal's apartment.

All in all this is quite a pleasant city. It's not too hectic and fairly clean. A nice place for a city.

March 12, 12:44am

Had a very late dinner tonight because during the wrap from our shooting over at the university doing interviews, I walked away from the camera thinking I was unplugged, but I was still plugged in and I stretched my power cable really hard. We went to shoot one last interview with a fellow, a short one, and I couldn't get the power to come on in the camera. I shot that interview using my little on-board battery which lasts about 30 minutes. Came back and realizing I had to get that power cable fixed which enables me to use my big external batteries. I thought it would probably be just a broken connection or something like that. It turns out that's what it was, but it was very difficult to find and took me hours to get to the bottom of it. For a while there I thought I was not going to be able to fix it and we were talking about getting hold of the company in the States and ordering another one and having it expressed here. It was nightmare and I though I was skunked. But, we kept working at it and were praying. Esther knew about it because we called her to try to get the information to contact the company - I didn't have that along. Then finally, about 10:45 I got it fixed. It's not quite a pretty as it used to be, but it does work again.

The cable and the little power supply in the middle of it costs about $90. I'm going to have to buy another one to have a backup because I sure don't want to go through that again. (I've since modified it further to make it much more resistant to that kind of damage.)

I'm quite impressed with Spain. It is clean and the pace seems just enough slower to be comfortable, and yet you are in modern city. Yet another place I need to get Esther to. She would like it.

Monday, March 17, 4:25pm

Just finished shooting for the day at the University of Zaragosa. The exchange rate is 140 pesetas to the dollar. The dollar is a little stronger here now. Normally it's been about 125.

8:40pm

We went back to the hotel and took some naps. We drove the van and are now walking around the old Roman part of Zaragosa. Saw inside the big basilica. Walked across the Roman bridge and took some pictures with the basilica in the background. Watched some crewers sculling down the river. Saw a nautical theme restaurant by the river and thought that might be a nice place to eat. Turns out they don't even open until 11:00pm. This is a very nocturnal society here.

We were told that down south where it's much hotter they are even more nocturnal because it's so hot in the daytime.

It's probably 70 degrees, dry, beautiful weather today.

Sounds like an army of drummers playing across the river, which if you are listening to this tape you can hear right now in the background. When we were a few blocks further away I thought it was a train going by. It's a drum and bugle corps practicing in the park across the river.

Well, we found out today that you're not supposed to turn right on a red here, however it's perfectly acceptable to drive straight on through an intersection on a red.

Now we're walking along the ruins of the ancient Roman wall.

Tuesday, March 18, 1:40pm,Luhftansa flight 4713 Barcelona-Franfurt

We're now flying over the French Alps, supposedly you can see a bit of Switzerland somewhere along here but there's no way to tell where in these snow-capped mountains under us right now. About a half hour ago the French coast slipped under the right wing outside my window.

This morning we got up early, had breakfast and then Matt dropped us off at the Cathedral where we shot some footage outside and also a little bit inside. Shot the old Roman bridge. The light was gorgeous at about 7:30am. The Bar Bridge over the river in the foreground with the cathedral filling the upper left frame would be a frameable picture, I think, if it wasn't on video.

We drove from Zaragosa to Barcelona to catch this flight. Enroute Mike and I watched all the five hours of footage we have shot so far on the new little 5" TV set I bought for this trip. Plugged it into the cigarette lighter and ran the camera off one of the big batteries. That worked splendidly.

March 18, 7:00pm, Huebengin, Germany

After about an hour and a half drive on autobahn A-2 we arrived here, where the conference is going on for the international leaders of Campus Crusade ministries at a family retreat/conference center. Over 200 people are here and there wasn't room for us, so we're staying down at a little guest house in the village down the road about a half mile.

This conference is called "International Level-1 University Resourcing" in the Crusade parlance of campus size.

Wed., March 19, 9:15am

This morning it's raining. Very cloudy skies. Looks like we won't be able to do anything outside, which is too bad because the village down the hill below us is very picturesque with the low mountains or rolling hills surrounding us. So, we're having to set lights and make do with some none-too-attractive interior backgrounds.

At breakfast most of these campus director people are busy talking with each other. I did meet David, whose last name I can't recall, who I met in England a few months back - a year or so ago. He's the director there. I met him briefly in front of Buckingham Palace. Another fellow who had his wife and two young daughters along was eating with Matt Anderson. The girls are 4 and 1. The 4-year old is quite precocious and talkative. I asked her what she was doing and I said I was taking pictures of people with a video camera. She said, "Are you going to take my picture?" I said, "Well, you'll have to talk to that man over there," and pointed to Mike and said, "he's the boss, he decides who gets their picture taken. I have to do what he tells me." And she said, "Oh, but you need to obey Jesus and he doesn't know Jesus." That was pretty funny. She was also telling me a story someone told her about when Jesus died. I said, "Well, then what happened after Jesus died?" Her face got all bright and she said, "He got alive again!" and she started jumping up and down. It was so cute.

Well, they were expecting about 80 at this conference, but being in Germany it seemed to have quite a bit more appeal than the other possible venues. They have over 200. There were some good reasons for having this in western Europe because one of the strategies they are working on is having campuses around the world partner with campuses in western Europe, so the directors were touring various campuses in different countries that they thought they might want to partner with or adopt and so most of these folks spent three or four days before they got here visiting campuses in different parts of Europe.

Last night was pretty miserable. We were extremely tired. The fatigue really hit me on the plane on the way up here. I feel asleep on the plane like I was drugged. We didn't get much to eat all day and when we got here the dinner was pretty meager, so we were really tired and hungry. Then we had to wait to shoot some interviews out in the entrance of the meeting hall and it was not heated. Matt and I were freezing. We were pretty miserable puppies. When the meeting was finally over we set up to shoot and then Mike decided that everybody (the intended interviewees) was too tired to shoot so we bagged it. It took some effort not to be really irritated about that. We could have been sleeping for a few extra hours. We did get to sleep for 6 or 7 hours eventually and the world is a much better place to be this morning.

Right now we are hurrying up and waiting. We're set to shoot in the building where the dining room is, which is several hundred yards from the meeting hall. They are having to get people out of the meetings and walk them over here to shoot. Apparently that's not going to be a very efficient process.

This is my least favorite kind of shooting; talking heads all day. Lot's of lighting and re-lighting. Trying to find 220v outlets that work. Out of the first two we tried, one didn't work and several others didn't. For some reason that seems very typical. Anyway, I'll be glad when this day is over and we move on to Paris.

This little German village is very quaint. Looks very inviting from the outside when you're driving through. The interiors, however, I find to be a bit cold. Not very inviting. Of course, we're in a camp environment here. It's a bit austere and the guest house is pretty basic as well. The most attention seems to have been given to the bar and it's acutraments.

Wed., March 19, 10:55pm, on the ground in Paris

Landed at Orly Airport with The Eiffel Tower visible in the distance on final approach. We shot interviews all day, then jumped in the van at the last minute and ran off to the airport. We were running to the van throwing in gear and I got it all back in the cases as we were driving. We ended up getting to the airport a little early because we made such good time on the road. We went to the Admiral's Lounge that United has there. Matt has a membership. We were sitting there relaxing and reading and all of sudden realized we were supposed to be at the gate. I wasn't paying any attention to the time at all and the other guys got mixed up or something. We ran and they held the plane for us. We barely got on, but everything worked out.

We're out of the airport now, so this is officially my 28th country to visit. It's interesting that between Spain, German, and France they are considered domestic flights so you don't clear customs or passport control, so I don't have any Spain or France stamps in my passport. Sure is easy to get in and out of airports though.

I just learned that France is about the twice the size of Colorado, has 20 times the population. Paris has about 10 million people inside the loop, which is a 35 kilometer circumference, about 7 kilometers across. About 20% of the population of the country lives in metro Paris.

8:25pm

We've arrived at the Hotel Cecil. Took the elevator up. Our room is on the first floor, but the elevator buttons go 0, 2, 3, 4, 5. Then I found out why. The elevator stops between the first and second floor. So you have to go up the elevator and then climb down some stairs to get to the "first" floor.

10:00pm

France is a little more pricey than Spain. The four of us just had a $90 dinner and there were no alcoholic beverages served! Put it this way: desert was $8.00 for ice cream. Good ice cream, but ice cream.

Thursday, March 20, 8:15am

We're at a little restaurant in the Latin quarter.

Voice of Mike: We had a great day shooting men. Line after line after line after line after line in a language we couldn't understand."

A marathon of staying awake. During one break I laid down on a couch and was told I was snoring.

This morning we went to the apartment of two STINT girls. (Campus Crusade's Short Term International projects) Kristin Friedenstein and Angela Mullinix. We interviewed them and some students named Amelile and Shirin. Then we got great shots at the Cite Universitaire. And got great shots clandestinely using the monitor of the Steadicam. Did a little bit of Steadicaming, but mostly got students sharing and taking surveys and sharing the 4-Laws at the gate of the Cite. (An international housing area for students of the various universities. There are dorms built by various countries for their students studying in Paris.)

Then we went over to Bill and Ruthann's and interviewed Farid. It was a very, no, an extremely long interview. All in French. He was siting on the porch and we had rooftops in the background. In the middle of it I fell asleep once. Farid is Algerian but he does have French citizenship since he was born here.

Then we got in the car and drove over to see Notre Dame, but it was right at dusk so it was poor light for shooting and it was closed. We couldn't get up close and couldn't get inside. So we walked through the Latin quarter, a very cool area of restaurants and shops.

This little hole in the wall we're eating at is Tunisian food. (You can find just about any kind of restaurant in the Latin quarter. Bill, the guy who lives there, picked the restaurant. Tunisian isn't what any of us had in mind for a fun dining out experience in Paris, but it was an interesting experience. However, not one I'd particularly care to repeat.)

Scott and Mary Peterson are the other Crusade couple here.

Friday, March 21, 10:52am

Walking along the street here I glanced up and realized I'm about 50 yards from the base of the Eiffel Tower. What an eyeful I got! I had no idea where I was. (And it was pretty foggy and misty.)

Last night after dinner we had a little tour. Saw a bunch of the sights; the Arche de Triumph, Eiffel Tower, The Louvre, and Napoleon's Tomb, Notre Dame, all the biggies. Drove up the Champs-Elises. Shot a little bit of a fountain that was all lit up with big HMI lights. They were shooting a car commercial.

There is an interesting perspective of the Eiffel Tower from down below. I don't recall ever seeing a photo from this angle. I shot some video.

Friday, March 21, 3:00pm

Shot Scott and Mary up by the Tower, although it wasn't in the shot. It was behind the camera. That took most of the morning. Then came over to the Cite and shot some inside the central building - a music group was playing in the lobby. Got students walking around and building exteriors. We got kicked out by security, then went down to another gate and got some more stuff in another area. Right now we're sitting in a little cafe across the street eating lunch.

We had a nice little lunch. Little brochettes, bread, a few Cokes. Nothing really special, no desert, and it was $80 for four people! Mike only had soup. Well, he also had a salad. But a soup and a salad actually cost more than our lunch that had meat and fries. The first meal we've had with French fries, which like French toast is not known here as being French at all. They thought it was something that came from Belgium.

It's been grey skies, but now the sun is finally out. So we're going to try to go get some scenics of the big sights.

March 22, 8:30am

I'm in a retreat center in the Forest of Fountainblu, not far the famous castle and it's art school. We're shooting a weekend retreat of the students who are active in the Campus Crusade group centered at the Cite.

Angela's guitar is a Tanglewood Aquila. A very deep, dark, greenish finish - gorgeous guitar made in Korea. She got it for only $350. It was a one in a million instrument at that price. Really beautful, great playability, wonderful tone, loud volume. It had it all. She was told by the guy at the shop where she bought it that it was a special guitar and I quite agreed. By far the best $350 guitar I've ever laid hands on. In fact, the only thing I've played any nicer cost well over $1,000. It played and sounded more like a Taylor than anything I've played out of Korea.

Saturday, March 22, 4:45pm

We're off. We're in the van belonging to Mark and Vanessa Anthony and their four kids, which you can hear on this tape. (I had met Mark while he was working with Crawford Lawrits in Atlanta when I was there shooting some stuff for Crawford. He mentioned at that time that he was thinking of going to Paris. And here I run into him.) We are trying to make a plane at Charles DeGaule Airport. We shot all day long, wall to wall shooting meetings, singing, speaking, Bible study, interviews. Did another long interview with Sharin who is from a very closed country. (I was asked to not even name it in my journal, the security situation is so precarious. Let's just say that you could easily be dragged out into the street there and killed for being an American, let alone for being a Christian.) She became a believer and made a special trip home to share with her parents, a very dangerous thing to do. Her parents came to Christ.

We did a number of interviews outside and inside. Even with all that shooting, I still found a few minutes to play that guitar of Angela's.

It's a beautiful day - 70's, sunny. Only problem is that we're terribly rushed here. We're trying to catch the plane to Berlin tonight. We got some great, really powerful interviews. Farid, the fellow from Algeria, may well become the first staff guy in that country.

8:00pm, Hyatt Hotel at the DeGaule Airport

Missed the flight. Matt didn't go to the retreat center with us. He met his brother who came up from Nice, where he lives. Anyway, Matt was supposed to meet us at the airport and he already had our flight for tomorrow arranged and rooms at the Hyatt who's lobby I am now standing in looking at a beautiful fountain and bamboo garden. Looking forward to dinner and bed.

Sunday, March 23, aboard Lufthansa flight 4465, Paris to Frankfurt

We're on our way to Berlin this morning. The Hyatt at DeGaule is very new-tech architecture. The decorations are very hip, very European, very French. We had a fantastic meal in the restaurant there. It was about $200 for three of us. But, what a meal. Some of the best food and drink I can ever remember consuming. The overall dining experience was just awesome.

10:30am, on the ground in Berlin

In the words of John F. Kennedy, "I am a jelly donut!"

The terminal building says "Berlin Tegel" and has Otto Lilienthal on it, the fellow who built the first really controllable gliders from whom the Wright Brothers gained a great deal of information and with whom they exchanged letters.

11:39am

We're in our Avis VW "Sharon" van unlike anything they sell in the states. Looks a lot like a Caravan. Matt says it drives better and has power. Inside it's kind of like a Chevy Lumina van with steep A-pillars. It has four doors like the new Honda has.

1:50, at the hotel

Took us all morning to get here. This hotel is very eastern block. Reminds me a lot of Russian hotels. Quite a contrast to the Hyatt in Paris last night. One of the reasons it seems Russian: no shower curtain. We had a bit of a time getting over here. At the rent-a-car agency and at the gas station where we stopped for directions they said "Oh, you can't get there by car. It's very hard." They really didn't want to tell us how to do it. All they would say is that it's very hard. Matt got a good map and it wasn't really that big of a deal. The Avis map was absolutely worthless.

Driving over here we went under the Brandenberg Gate. There is a lot of construction going on in that district now. (They are rapidly reclaiming the land that had been the no-man's-land and are filling it with buildings.)

Monday, March 24, 9:45am

We're driving through what was East Berlin. Got some more shots of Brandenberg Gate this morning in much better light. The sun is out, the sky is blue. Some vendors were setting up shop and we bought some souvenirs. We each got an amber egg that have bees in them. (They may be plastic, but it's hard to tell.) And I bought an East German police hat. Says "Volkspolizei" on it. Got that and another little soft boat style army hat for 20 marks. The eggs were 18 marks a piece.

Mark and Matt bought gas masks for 15 marks a piece, that's about $7 a piece. (I bought one later for Nathan)

Last night Matt and I went to the Planet Hollywood and got some souvenir mugs and T-shirts along with a bellyful of ribs. The big feature there is the AMC Pacer that was in "Wayne's World" hanging from the ceiling.

Monday, March 24, 1:15pm

We just got done shooting a bunch of students at a prayer meeting they put together in someone's flat. They were praying for students and singing a bit along the way and one gal playing the guitar just made up a song on the spot saying "Lord we pray for the students of this city." It was beautiful. We had them all sing it several times and shot footage which will surely end up as a little music video segment. Petra was the girl who wrote the song.

10:50pm

Watching BBC. There's a travel documentary on about a train that goes from Seville to Cordoba and Granada and a couple of other places. Looks like a fabulous thing to do. You eat one meal on the train. The other two meals a day are in restaurants and everything is included in the price of the trip.

Did some more interviews this afternoon at Humboldt University and before that at the Technic University. Shot students walking around the campus, buildings. Shot the guy here from Brown University in the Boston area who just arrived for a short vision trip. Took the whole gang, 11 of us total, to the TGI Fridays down the road. Matt found a cool book on the Berlin wall. Has a lot of stories and photographs about different things that happened during "the wall" era.

 

Tuesday, March 25, 11:45am

Had a good rest last night and a leisurely breakfast this morning. Packed up and headed out to the "East Side Gallery" which is about a one mile long section of the wall that they are saving along the river. It's covered with murals. Except for this preserved section, the wall is gone. There is construction going on all over the place in the former no-mans-land at a feverish pace. Cranes all over the place. It's becoming difficult to even tell where the wall had been. The days of being able to just go whack off a piece of the wall to take home are gone, although the street vendors have plenty of pieces made into tacky displays that you can buy for a few marks.

There was one section over at the Gallery at one end they had knocked down in the course of one of the construction projects. We walked over near it and there were guys down in a trench using a jack hammer. I saw this as an opportunity for us to get our own pieces of the wall. There was a big chunk of the wall laying there on the ground that they had already broken off, so we grabbed it and broke against the curb into little chunks. Each of us stuffed a few of them in our pockets.

Then we went back over to Brandenberg Gate and bought a few more souvenirs from the vendors on the street. I got a gas mask like the other guys had gotten the other day and a little ring for Stacey and the book like Matt had found called "Along the Wall." I had read all the way through Matt's copy last night. The whole book is photos with captions in four or five languages. Thought that would make the chunks of the wall a bit more meaningful.

In the airport Matt is sitting here having "berliner" - a jelly donut and a cup of coffee. As we waited in line Matt spotted these cool aluminum bottles of Pilot Beer. Very foreign looking package. So, we got one of those. He thought I'd like that. It's pretty neat so I got one to put on the shelf at home.

Tuesday, March 25, 8:45am eastern time, 6 hrs. behind Europe

Aboard Delta flight 93 from Berlin Tegel to New York Kennedy

This flight is aboard a Boeing 767.

We just left Great Britain and are heading out over the Atlantic. Matt is over sitting in his seat sorting through a huge pile of coins he collected as the bag man for this trip. Mike and I asked us to get us some coins from each country so he just gave me a palm full of coins from each of the three countries we visited; Spanish Pasetas, French Franks, and German Marks and Pfennigs. My one third of the pile of coins is a huge pocket load.

According to the map on the video screen we flew right over Amsterdam on the way out. I was deeply engrossed in my book and didn't even look out. I think it was pretty overcast anyway. It's broken up now and I can see the whitecaps on the Atlantic below. I shot the takeoff out the window, but unfortunately Berlin was pretty well enveloped in haze and it did not look good at all.

I'm delighted that we were able to get some last minute shopping done and that we were able to see the remaining part of the wall and get some chunks of it. I should say that I was pleased to be able to do those last minute things. I'm delighted to have gotten to see Notre Dame cathedral in Paris - a long held goal of mine. I had hoped to one day see all five of the big world-class cathedrals. Now I've seen four of them in Rome, London, St. Petersburg Russia, and Paris. The one I've not seen yet, ironically, is the one in New York City: St. Patrick's. St. Peters in Rome, St. Paul's in London, St. Isaac's in St. Petersburg. Also got to see the fabulous cathedrals in Cologne, Berlin, and Zaragosa, Spain is wonderful as well.

I never cease to be amazed at the old world engineering of these huge edifices and also the strange combination of awe and wonder at a structure so fabulously created to the glory of God and yet knowing from some of the information presented at St. Isaac's the cost in human lives of serfs or slaves that went into creating such a building. Before the advent of modern construction equipment; cranes, hydraulics, etc. But, putting that aside, it is an awesome thing to walk into one of the great cathedrals of the world and I feel blessed to have seen so many of them. I'd like to find a photographic coffee table book with pictures of all the great cathedrals of the world. I don't know that there is such a book, but I imagine that there surely must be. If not, there ought to be. If I find myself with time and money on my hands some day (what a dream!) it might be a project I'd like to do myself.

I might note here that this trip took place from March 14 when we departed Orlando and it's now March 25 as we're returning. Only 11 days, but it seemed like a long time probably since we were in so many different places.

3:15pm, pulling up to the gate in New York

I finished Michael Crichton's "Congo" on this flight. Interesting book.

Met a couple named John and Karen Something in the Crown Club. They were on our flight from Berlin. He is a project manager for NASA and they lived in Rome for 12 years. They went to Calvary Chapel, Costa Mesa years ago. Had a nice chat with them waiting for the plane home.

October 10, 1997, at home in St. Cloud, Florida

It's National Day in Taiwan, their independence day. I imagine the big annual parade is going on right now. I'm transcribing journal tapes as I'm waiting for things to load on my editing computer. As I think back on this trip, there is one observation I want to record with regard to expectations. I had always wanted to see Paris. Had always heard it is the most romantic city in the world and all. I went there with very high expectations. While the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, and the Latin Quarter were all fun to see, the city as a whole was a bit disappointing to me. It was kind of like there were the tourist spots that were what you would expect, but the city as a whole was just another big city. This in contrast to other places like Italy where the whole place exudes a romantic feeling. I had no expectations about Spain and it surprised me by being a very pleasant place. So, in the end, I would have to honestly say I probably enjoyed Spain more. But, Europe is a great part of the world to go. If you have the money and time and a serious desire to relax, it's hard to beat. As far as working there, it's nice, but you are always wishing you could just stop and enjoy it for a while.

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Copyright 1998 by Dan Philgreen - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED