Vail man takes slight detour on way to Africa |

Vail man takes slight detour on way to Africa

Luc Pols
Vail, CO Colorado
Special to the Vail Daily/Luc PolsVail travel: Amsterdam has plenty of outdoor sculptures

VAIL, Colorado –Leaving Vail again and this time for a rather long trip.

For the first couple of weeks I will be in Europe – in Holland first and then traveling to Frankfurt, Germany, to attend what’s reputed to be the world’s largest book fair at the Frankfurter Messe.

Over the last 18 months I have been busy – besides moving around the world I have been putting together books about my travels over the last years. I have taken the articles I wrote for the Vail Daily and added more than 100 photographs per book.

I had them printed through the Internet, but that’s quite an expensive proposition. However, at least I have something to show prospective publishers. That’s the reason I am making a “slight” detour through Europe to try to find a publisher who is willing to take on a new author.

I have been told that “everybody” is there, so if there is one place I should be able to find the right publisher – if I am good enough – it should be here. Please keep your fingers crossed. I’ll keep you informed.

After Frankfurt I return to Holland for a couple of days to stash my suitcase with the books and warm clothes, and then it is on to Africa, a continent I have only visited once, a long time ago and then just the northern part.

Winging it, again

I will be flying into Johannesburg, South Africa, and there are important things I want to see. The first is Victoria Falls and the second one, you can guess, is the animals. There are numerous wildlife parks her, including the famous Kruger Park. After that, I have no clue.

I am planning to go to Mozambique, Swaziland, Lesotho, Namibia and, depending on time, maybe I’ll even end up in Kenya. Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is still on the program. Of course, UNESCO World Heritage Sites are still high on my list and I will be visiting as many as possible during my three months in Africa.

It was my original plan to go from Cape Town to Cairo, but there are various obstacles on that route nowadays, such as Somalia. There are countries you can go to, but unfortunately there is no guarantee that you’ll come out – at least alive So, I might just skip those. In other words, it will be a typical Luc trip. A couple of things to see, in the planning so to speak, but for the rest I will be just winging it.

Anxious to meet ‘publisher’

My first stop, after having changed planes in Minneapolis, is Amsterdam. It is a smooth flight and even my suitcase makes it. That’s something new, because the last couple of times flying, I arrived relatively on time, but my suitcase took an additional 24 to 48 hours to meet me.

The weather here is typical for this part of Western Europe this time of the year – chilly with rain. But at least there is no snow. When I left Vail, we’d already had our first snowstorm (some people attribute this to global warming, but that term is used so indiscriminately that I am not willing to give a valid opinion about that). Because of the snow, it wasn’t that difficult to leave.

There was one matter that made leaving a bit easier still. Almost two weeks ago my good friend and travel partner, Peter Franke, unexpectedly died. We had even talked about him joining this latest quest for a while, but it was not to be.

Beyond that Amsterdam is still the same. My friends still like to go out for a beer or have one of the best steaks in Europe (I think they use American beef). We visit some of the museums again, such as the Van Gogh, but the Rijksmuseum is still closed for renovations, at least until 2012. Keep it in mind if you visit.

Of course, I am partaking in some of the Dutch delicacies, but I am a bit anxious to get to Frankfurt to find “my publisher.” So, I’m putting on my blazer (still no socks of course) and take the train to Germany.

Because the hotels around the fair are asking, in my mind at least, ridiculous prices – between $600 and $900 a night (remember the strong Euro) – I have decided to stay half-an-hour outside of the city in a very German sounding hotel, but which it turns out, is owned by Indian people nowadays. The price, $50 per night, is very good and the half-hour train ride doesn’t bother me one bit.

I have been invited to the opening reception, with Angela Merkel, the president of Germany, as the guest of honor, and next week I’ll let you know how it went. See you then.

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