Friday, November 11, 2011

Switzerland!

 Here we are sitting in front of the Swiss Temple.  We could actually see the Swiss Temple out of our window at the hotel!

 Paul wanted to get a picture of our hotel room.  We stayed at the Etap Hotel which are very reasonable, clean, but super de duper small.  What you see is pretty much the entire room.  There is a double bed on the bottom with a bunk on top.  There was one small window lined up perfectly to see the temple even though it was a few miles away.  There is no closet but if you look closely you can see part of a hanger up by the 4th rung of the ladder.  They provided about 3 hangers and you could hang your stuff on the side of the bed.  Right next to the ladder is a tiny little shower and next to that is a tiny little toilet.  It was standing room only in the shower and the bathroom.  Neither of the doors to these two things locked.  We didn't spend much time in the room but it really wasn't bad.
 This is downtown Bern.  We found a cool violin shop.  Apparently this guy custom makes violins.
 Giuliana and I standing by the big clock in center of Bern.  I believe this is a 15th century clock tower but it was also a prison and a guard tower.
 Can you guess what was sold in this shop?  Yup, glasses.
 This is the walkplatz in Bern.  On each side is covered shopping and it's the longest covered shopping promanade in Europe.  We bought some yummy Berliners, and even Giuliana found something she wanted for Christmas.
 We decided to take a trip to Trummelbach falls but unfortunately they were closed.  We found this cool waterfall instead.
 Here we are in Grindewald.  We hiked up this hiking trail from the village and we kept going farther and farther up the mountain and we kept seeing hotels randomly spread all over the mountain side.  This of course is for all the skiers that will start descending on the mountain in 2 weeks.  It was such a beautiful day, I hope they end up getting some snow because it was like a spring day that day.
We could hear the cow bells as we were hiking.  They were off in the distance but it was so quiet that it was not hard to hear them.  We finally spotted some cows in the distance grazing.  This cow we saw on the way out of town.  I think wearing a bell that big would be irritating but I suppose the cows are used to it.  They clang at the slightest movement the cow makes.

Monday, October 10, 2011

 We had a great summer and we were happy that we had family members who came to visit us this past summer. This picture we took while Mark and Robin and family came to visit.  We went to visit a city in Germany called Rothenberg and went into a cool cathedral.  I thought this was a great picture of everyone singing in the choir seats.  I'm sure we weren't supposed be in those choir seats but I thought it made for a great picture.
 When Bryan came home from BYU we made him get a job.  He was not exactly thrilled about doing that since he gets some ROTC pay every month after field training.  He worked for about 2 months at the BX in the furniture dept.  He hated the job but it paid for his imac he got right before school started.  Here he is, hard at work listening to someone complain to him on the phone.
Right before Bryan left for field training in Alabama we took a quick trip to Italy to visit his old mission.  We took our first stop in Sardenia and attended church at the nice building they have there.  It was a really small branch but the people were nice even when I couldn't understand what they were saying.
 From there we went to Rome and had to throw in our coins at Trevi Fountain.  It was raining and so I look a little drenched in this picture.
 From Rome we headed south to Naples and then took a day trip to Sorrento.  Giuliana and Spencer had to try out the swimming and the water was beautiful.  Sorrento is a nice little town and are know for their inlaid wood products and I think ceramics.
 We met up with the Adams family in Rome and I think this is St Peter's cathedral, Vatican City.  They were a fun family to be around and of course we went inside to see the Pieta.  The girl next to Giuliana is the girl Spencer took to Prom this year.
 Back to Naples.  Eating Pizza Margarita.  Yum Yum, one of the best things to do while visiting Napoli!
 This is a typical site in Naples.  People gingerly balance their trash until it can go no higher and then it tumles to the ground, and then people start the exercise all over again.
 This is Ercolano.  It's like a mini-pompeii except the art work was preserved magnificently from the ash that covered it up for centuries.  They are still excavating parts of it and there is even original wood.  I thought it was amazing.
 In August we took a trip to the States.  It was a little scary because we were flying Space Available and we weren't sure where we would end up.  We actually ended up in Maine and so drove down to NY to visit Mom and Dad.  One of the activities we did was kayaking on the Mohawk River.  That was a lot of fun and I think we will do that again next time we visit.
 Here's a nice family portrait, except we are missing Paul and Clint.  I suppose Paul is the one taking this picture, and Clint, well, he's having fun in Taiwan.  Bryan just completed field training and met us in NY.  He got new glasses too! I like this picture, although I have a sneaking suspicion that Spencer is standing on his toes.
 From NY we were able to secure buddy passes on Jet Blue, thanks to Bill and Elaina.  We were trying for a flight to Utah, Nevada or Arizona.  The only flight that had extra seats was Nevada so we cashed in on flight 777 to Las Vegas.  We drove to Utah and stayed for a day or two and then went to Colorado to visit with Dan and Laura.  They took us on a bike ride down Vail Pass and it was really enjoyable since it was all downhill.  I guess it wasn't much in the way of exercise but I liked it.
 Sometimes we would stop along the way.  Spencer decided to dunk his head in this river which started a trend.  Pretty soon, everyone felt the need to dunk their head in the river.  I refrained.
 The next day all the girls except for Selina had an ear piercing party.  If you look closely you can see all the little earrings in their ears.  Christina was sad the entire time the girls were getting their ears pierced because Laura told her she wasn't old enough.  Christina cried and cried and just when all hope was lost, Laura changed her mind. Chirstina was all smiles after that.
Not to be left out, Spencer got his ear pierced as well.  Hahahaha!  Just kidding.  He put some magnetic balls on his earlobes but they look real!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Wow, has it really been 4 months since I posted anything.  That is incredible to me since I was so busy from January to March with doing seminary lessons everyday and yet I still seemed to find time to work on my blog.  Now that seminary is over, I seem to be busier than ever and I never quite feel the motivation to post anything new.  I have done quite a bit between March and July but it makes me tired just thinking of where I can find pictures of all the events and cool places I have been.
  I have been reading some books these past couple of months.  One book that I highly reccommend is the book-"Nothing to Envy".  It's a non-fiction book that follows the story of 3 North Koreans and how they were able to get out of North Korea.  It's an interesting read and it made me think that unifying North and South Korea will pretty much be impossible in the long run.  I don't even think South Korea wants to unify because the North Koreans that are able to get out are kind of difficult to work with and a drain on the South Korean society.  I honestly can't understand why there hasn't been a civil uprising in that country-it's like all the people are sheep.
The other book I read was another non-fiction book called "The Glass Castle".  After reading this book I staarted wondering how much of these non-fiction books really tell the truth.  I start thinking that perhaps the author is embellishing stories just to be more shocking to the reader.  Anyway,  The Glass Castle is about this totally dysfunctional Mom and Dad who have 4 kids but can't seem to ever stay in one place as the Dad is constantly unemployed and the mom is just nuts, (in my opinion)  Again, it's an interesting read, but I found many parts of the book hard to believe because if the events are true, those parents should have been arrested for neglect.
Non-fiction is not the only thing I read, I've been reading the Charles Dickens classic, "Little Dorrit" for almost a year now.  I'm more than 1/2 way through and I like it but it's slow going.  Charles Dickens spends a lot of time describing things and so when I finally get to a conversation in the book, I'm excited as I know the story will go forward.  I've always liked Dickens as I think he could really read people and describe them perfectly.  The people Dickens describes are the same types of people you can find today, in this day and age and I find that humorous.

Along with the book reading, our family has taken some pretty good trips.  We took a trip to Luxembourg in April.  Here we are at Patton's grave.  Patton was not originally placed in the front of the cemetery, because the army believes after one dies you are just like everyone else and you don't get a "special" spot to be buried.    So they buried him among the troops.  The problem with that was, everyone wanted to find Patton's grave and so pretty soon the cemetery had a really worn down muddy spot around his grave which ruined the grass and the graves around Patton's.  At a certain point, many American's wanted their loved ones repatriated to the USA and so many of the bodies were sent back home.  That meant they had to move alot of bodies so that the cemetary looked good.  While in this phase Mrs Patton asked if Gen. Patton's could be relocated to the front of the cemetery since Patton loved his troops so much and would want them to know he would lead them no matter what.  The army said "No Way", but that they would give him a spot in one of the aisles so that would help not make such a big mess around the other graves.  Well, Mrs. Patton was disappointed in their decision so she called upon her good friend-Charlotte, Dutchess of Luxembourg.  Charlotte did her magic by basically threatening to move Patton to the National Cathedral instead, so the Army allowed Patton to be moved to the front of the cemetery.  It's a pretty cool story.
The second picture here is a picture of us down in the tunnels below luxembourg.  These are called the Casemates.  There was built for underground defenses in 1644.  The Spanish built them and then I think the French extended the tunnels.  It was fortunate they were built as the people in Luxembourg were able to use them during WWII as bomb shelters.  The tunnels are pretty extensive and we only saw a small part of them.

Here I am along with Spencer and we are in the casemates by a big cannon.  It was pretty damp down there.

Saturday, March 5, 2011


This picture was taken in November.  Notice the water is at a normal level.  In my next post, you can see the same picture and see how high the water is.


These are just grassy fields along the bike path we ride on.  You'll notice in my most recent post the flooding that has taken place.

This is part of the bike path and it seems quite provincial.  


This is what the Glan river usually looks like.
Here I am and it is late January.  For some reason we have had a thaw and everything is flooding.  You can compare them to my blog above.
Here is the glan river and it has spilled over it's banks.  In fact you would never know there were any banks to begin with.
Here Paul and I are riding over this bridge. In my earlier post you can see the exact same picture except we aren't in it and the water is lower.

Here is our bike path.  We really couldn't ride down that way as we would have been up to our waist in water so we rode the way Paul is facing and didn't have any problems.  

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Typical tourist pictures of Prague

 Here I am standing at the entrance to some cathedrals and palaces.  After you walk through the entrance there are several cathedrals  and many many palaces.  The palaces however, kind of just look like pretty buildings.
I'm standing at an overlook and behind me is the city of Prague.
 I was at the end of the St. Charles Bridge when I noticed that they had built these buildings at the edge of the river.  They planned for the river however and it looks a little like something you would see in Venice.
 Here is a nice picture of the center of Prague.  Once again there are a lot of churches and different kinds of building all connected to each other.  The Czechs are really proud of all their beautiful buildings and how unique each one is.
 I thought this was reallly cool.  This is the inside of the music museum  and you can see it's multiple stories but it's the architecture inside that was so coo;.  (They had a Beatles exhibit going on when we went inside.)
 Here is the famous medieval astronomical clock.  It is really cool and located in the Old Town square of Prague.  The clock displays the time, the position on the sun and moon, and has 12 apostles that are displayed every hour.  There is a calander clock on the bottom of the astronomical clock but that was added in the late 1800's.  Oh yea I noticed at around 5:00 every evening they would have trumpeteers at the top of this clock tower come out and blow their trumpets.  That was pretty cool, but unfortunately I did not take a picture of the top of this clock tower.
 This is the Czech High School where Spencer spent quite a bit of time working with other Model UN students.  I couldn't believe what a beautiful high school it was.
 I am standing in a park and behind me is the Charles Bridge.  You can see the black statues on the bridge.  They are slowly replacing these black statues with replica's and putting these black statues in a museum.  I like the black statues better than the new ones they've replaced them with.
 Here is a nice scenic view of downtown Prague.  This is one of my favorite pictuers.
 This is the oldest functioning Jewish synagogue in Prague.  It looks like it's just a facade but it really is a building.
 Typical downtown street in Prague.
I'm backtracking now-this is back at the place where all the palaces were.  This palace had this really cool design all over the whole building.  The design was made by the Italians and it was made by placing wet cememt on the building and then carving in the design before it hardened.  It was really beautiful. I wasn't surprised that the Italians came up with this method as it's similar to how cameos are made, except there is no cement involved but they carve cameos out of shells and can create different colors depending how much they carve into it.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Quirky Prague pictures



This is the John Lennon wall which came about when John Lennon was killed.  The communists ruled at that time and so it was dangerous to voice your beliefs and opinions.  Many people did so anyway at the risk of being arrested. It still stands today and there are lots of remnants of candles nearby.


This picture is located under the statue of St John, keeper of the bridges.  They say if you rub the dog, you'll come back to Prague! Apparently lots of people want to come back to Prague!



Ok, I'm not really sure why there were a bunch of naked baby statue but there were about 3 or 4 of them by the river and boy were they strange!


This was some big antenne that the Czech's purposely made to look like the Eiffel Tower.


These are locks that people put on this fence when they get married.  I'm at the end of the fence but there were hundreds of locks attached to the bars of this fence.

Giuliana wants to know why this guy is guarding an oversized dog house.


The narrow green building is the smallest hotel in Prague.  I think they can accommodate 6 people.

  

This is a giant metronome.  There used to be a huge statue of Stalin  there but after Stalins crimes came to light, the gov't blew it up with dynamite in the middle of the night.  When they were trying to figure out what statue to replace it with, they decided not to put a person up because they thought that in time that person would become corrupt also.  So they decided to construct a metronome and it's pretty cool because it really works.

Anyway, I'll end the quirky pictures now.  I'll soon put up the more famous sites in Prague.