The fact is, Mt. Rushmore is not actually on the way to anywhere. So, since I’ve always wanted to see it, we decided we would just drive there and see it. It was way cooler than I even thought it was going to be! So worth the drive! Did you know there is a Woolly Mammoth Dig Site close to Rushmore? Then, on “the way home” we stayed north and visited Yellowstone National Park. Did you know they have their own Grand Canyon — with two amazing waterfalls? Oh, and “Old Faithful” was cool too. 😉
After a crazy busy summer, Alan and I were able to get away for a few days to Monterey, California. We rented the greatest studio apartment complete with private patio, Jacuzzi, bikes, and passes to the aquarium. It was so great to relax, walk on the beach, sit in the Jacuzzi, take the 17 Mile Drive along Pebble Beach, enjoy the jellyfish exhibit, eat seafood, ride bikes and tour the Point Pino lighthouse. You should try it…you’ll like it!
Lucky us, during spring break, we met our New Hampshire friends in Florida and spent a fun week right on a beautiful beach near St. Petersburg. Our condo was spacious with an ocean view and every day except for one was sunny. We took lots of walks on the beach, sat by the pool, soaked in the hot tub, ate too much and too often, and played a few rounds of Canasta. One of the days we decided to take a day trip into Orlando to check out Universal Studios and the new Harry Potter World. Expensive…but fun! We even tried butter beer 🙂
That’s right, I graduated from BYU 30 years ago! My, how the time flies. I actually hadn’t realized it was 30 years until my friend and roommate Melora from oh so long ago called and said, “Let’s go!” So she and her husband Thomas flew in from NH for Homecoming weekend. We had a good time visiting with Robbie Bosco and Lee Johnson and Jim Hermann. If you don’t remember, it was 30 years ago that BYU was undefeated in football and went on to win the National Championship. Go Cougars!!!
We celebrated with an overnight get-a-way at the Marriott downtown. We enjoyed a scrumptious steak dinner and then got to go see the Broadway play, Wicked. It totally was as good as everyone said it would be! By total coincidence, we ended up sitting next to neighbors and family. So much for getting away “just the two of us!”
Very spontaneously, we decided to drive up to Jackson Hole for the 4th of July weekend with four of my siblings and their families. We all got rooms close to each other and had a great time running the river, watching the parade, enjoying (BBQ program), and watching fireworks! In the picture below, I’m in the corner wearing the brown hat and Alan is in directly in front of me. Our family filled up 2 boats! My dad would be so proud of all of us…he loved river running!
Thanks to Pat & Wally, we got to spend a delightful week at the Marriott Resort in Newport Beach. We invited our good friends, the Lundgrens to go with us and we had a wonderful time, relaxing, sight-seeing, eating good food, attending the temple, playing games, and oh, getting sunburned doing water aerobics. Don’t ever, ever, ever think that you don’t need sunscreen! 😉
After 21 years, we finally got to see our friend Marta Estrany Borrut again! On July 11th, Phillip and I flew to Barcelona where we were greeted at the airport by Marta and her cute family. Alan joined us a week later. We were able to sight see, play at the beach and spend great time getting to know their family. And of course, I got to have a Spanish language immersion experience! I took way too many pictures and of course am probably putting too many in my blog, but hey, it’s my blog right? Here are a few of the highlights from our trip:
The Borruts actually live in Vilafranca, about 40 minutes from Barcelona. Vilafranca is known for their vineyards and the Castellers (human towers: see videos one, two, three). We visited a castle, swam in the Mediterranean, enjoyed paella with some of their friends and attended church with them where Pere is the bishop.
Barcelona…The Sagrada Familia
The Sagrada Familia was our favorite thing to see in Barcelona. Designed by Goudi and started in 1882 with a predicted finish in 2030, it is a spectacular cathedral inside and out. We really enjoyed the headphone tour. Thousands of people tour it everyday, so if you decide to go, save yourself a long wait by buying your tickets online ahead of time. The most amazing thing is that we actually found 2 parking places right on the curb of the cathedral next to the huge line of people. When does that ever happen?
Barcelona…The Olympic Stadium
Do you remember the cool bow and arrow lighting of the torch in the opening ceremonies of the Barcelona 1992 Summer Olympics? The Olympic Stadium is a fun place to visit especially since while we were there, the 2013 International Swim Competition was taking place. It was fun to go home and watch it on TV after sight seeing there!
It was fun to spend a few days in Madrid. Phillip was our excellent tour guide. The first day we walked to the Plaza de España, toured the Palacio Real and walked to La Plaza Mayor. Not as humid as Barcelona, but still hot…I took my fan everywhere with me. Now I know why all the Spanish ladies have fans to flip open…I bought two!
Madrid…The Temple and Plaza de Toros
Saturday morning we took the metro to Spain’s Temple Square and attended a temple session. It’s a small but beautiful temple. It was fun to see the MTC where Phillip served as a missionary four years ago. On our way back into town we stopped and took a tour of Plaza de Toros in Ventas. They were getting ready for a bull fight the next day. It reminded me of “Ferdinand the Bull.”
Sunday evening we decided to take a walk through Retiro Park. It’s basically like Central Park in New York. There were lots of people…fun to see all the families. We enjoyed a picnic dinner and seeing all the statues and fountains. Europeans love their statues and fountains!
Madrid…Museo del Prado
For sure one of the highlights of our trip was touring the Prado museum on our last day. So much beautiful art. I’ve included a few of my favorites. Seems like the artists of the day either painted the birth of Christ or the death of Christ with a few portraits thrown in here and there.
We feel so blessed to have been able to take this trip. How wonderful to be with Marta, Pere, Sara and little Pere. We love them and miss them. What a great experience for all of us.