Judy Freeman often says that she learns the most interesting things from children's books. I happen to agree and am prone to add this: one is never too old for picture books. Last week, I returned from my first ever Viking River Cruise. My husband and I landed in Amsterdam, spent the day exploring, had a guided tour and walked some more. We got back too late for the daily port talk and formal dinner, but experienced some Dutch pancakes.
Each night, the tour director gathered us in the lounge and went over the activities for the following day, peppering his talk with interesting stories and trivia. The night before we were due to dock in Mannheim, Germany, he told us the story of Bertha Benz's historic ride from Mannheim to her parents house some sixty miles away in the country. Having read and thoroughly enjoyed Bertha Takes a Drive: how the Benz automobile changed the world by Jan Adkins, I kept whispering in my husband ear and finishing Gavin's sentences. However, he said that Karl Benz had trouble getting investors for his new motorcar. Hm, I wonder if condemnation by the pope had anything to do with that?