Friday, May 1, 2015

May 1, 2015

Since last writing Grant, Diane, and Joyce have made their visit to Spain and we all had a wonderful time seeing the sights here in Galicia and Madrid. They arrived Friday morning around 11:40 at the Porto, Portugal airport without their checked in luggage. Grant's and Joyce's luggage was in Madrid and hadn't made it on to the plane because of a short layover but Diane's never left NYC. We did all that could be done at the airport to make sure the luggage made it to the hotel in Vigo and then left to have an afternoon of sightseeing in Portugal and with the further goal of keeping the travelers awake so they could adjust to the time change more quickly. We hit Valenca, Portugal where we saw the old walled city and had lunch at an Italian restaurant. Then we went to A Guarda and walked among the Celtlc ruins of Santa Tecla and then climbed the steps to the top of the hill for an amazing view. We went through Baiona, Spain, a lovely beach town and on into Vigo where we dropped the tired travelers at the hotel Palacio De Vigo. 

We got a later than planned start Saturday because it's hard missing a complete night of sleep. But after finding a delicious bakery restaurant for breakfast and a stop to buy a charger for a mobile we were on our way to Santiago. We had a great day of driving, seeing the cathedral, the resort town of  LaToja. We weren't very adventurous as far as eating and ate at the mall in Santiago at Foster's Hollywood. Grant and Joyce's suitcases made it to the hotel early Sat. morning but Diane's didn't arrive until early Sunday. Everyone attended church Sunday morning then we had lunch at our house after that we saw some sights around Vigo before we flew to Madrid in the evening. 

We checked in to the Senator hotel on Gran Via and hit Puerta Del Sol and Plaza Mayor. We started Monday morning with churros and chocolate at San Gines, a famous spot for this traditional Spanish fare. We went to see the temple, my old residencia, walked to Retiro Park and the Prado museum then took a taxi to Hard Rock Cafe for a late lunch. We tried to go to the national palace but it was closed so we shopped and walked around the downtown area and found a great gelato place for an end of the day treat.

Tuesday we took the hop on hop off bus tour of New Madrid. We saw so much of the modern areas of Madrid and many other sights along the way. Wednesday was the Old Madrid hop on hop off tour and again we enjoyed the marvelous sights of the magnificent city. We spent a couple of hours at the Prado museum and saw a temporary exhibit of Goya paintings and also some Picasso's. We did some browsing of the permanent collections and enjoyed our time there. We ate at a random Spanish restaurant we found as we walked towards Puerta del Sol. We did some shopping and had churros and chocolate again to end a great day. 

Thursday we visited Toledo via the high speed train and saw the Alcazar, gorgeous Cathedral, and enjoyed shopping and walking the quaint streets of this old city. Friday we took the Ave to Segovia where we visited a medieval castle where Queen Isabella and King Ferdinand were crowned to unite Aragon and Castile, thus Spain began, visited another cathedral, and were amazed at the sight of  the ancient Roman aqueduct. What an engineering marvel was achieved back in a time when there was no access to more than human and animal labor.

Saturday morning the three returning to the USA were up early to leave for the airport. It was hard to believe our trip of a lifetime had come to an end. We certainly saw a lot of wonderful places but more enjoyable was spending time with each other and feeling the joy of strengthening family ties. I am so grateful for my siblings and the wonderful people they are. I feel so blessed that we were all able to share time together in Spain. We sure wish everyone had been able to come.

We flew home to Vigo around 3 and hit the ground running. Larry had to prepare a talk for Sacrament meeting the next day and we had a Sunday School lesson to prepare. It was good to get back in the swing of missionary work. I have been playing the piano for Sacrament meeting lately (not knowing ahead of time) so I came prepared Sunday morning with a list of songs instead of having to rush to pick out songs minutes before the meeting begins. I have prepared songs for the next month just in case. I sure wish my piano skills were better but I do take every opportunity to practice.

We met with our YSA Tuesday evening and had a despedida (good bye party) for Anghy, who is going to Canada for several months to work. We ordered Domino's pizza, wrote notes to be opened by Anghy on her flight and just enjoyed a fun night all together. Tairi had made a cute hanging arrangement of YSA activity photos for Anghy and I gave her a plane survival kit. We are going to miss her so much. There is a young woman that is YSA age investigating the church and she has been at our last 4 activities so as we loose some of our group we hopefully can gain a few more. We actually had 3 nonmembers at our activity Tuesday!

Wednesday we had our district meeting ,which our zone leaders visited because of intercambios. It was good to have those two great elders with us. We talked about tools we have to help us accomplish missionary work more effectively such as the the Spirit, prayer, members, pass along cards, PMG, Agendas, mobile phones and so many more. How blessed we are as missionaries to have so many sources of help and support that can be accessed to bless the lives of others as we try to do the Lord's work. We just found out our mission will be getting iPads for all missionaries within the week. The entire mission will be gathering in Madrid next Thursday to receive the devices and be trained how to use them. What a wonderful tool the iPads will be. It looks like we will be making another trip to Madrid. 

We miss all of you so much and are looking forward to a happy reunion in less than two months. We can't wait to meet our new grand babies and continue spoiling all of them. Love to you all.

Mom and Dad.

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