Sunday, June 29, 2008

EuroCup semi-finals. Spain. vs. Russia

So, I now understand why Real Salt Lake needs a stadium in Utah. Soccer is awesome! I hope that it gets big in the U.S. like it is here in Europe. Every four years the EuroCup is held and this year Spain is doing very well. We went and watched the semi-finals game at Plaza de Colon in downtown Madrid last Thursday night. It was so fun! There were 30,000 people there! It was Spain vs. Russia. Spain won! 3-0. They are now on to the finals against Germany. It was so fun at the plaza. Though, it was a bit nasty with 30,000 sweaty bodies from the 90 degree heat all crammed together. They had a couple of huge, big-screen TV's for everyone to watch. It was insane! They sure love their futbol here. We had a
blast and decided that next time we come to Europe
we are going to go see a Eurocup game.

The picture at the very top does not even do the size of the crowd justice. This picture was taken at around midnight. That kid across the way was like four! They love futbol! Oh, and when it gets even slightly hot here this is what happens as seen in the picture above. Honestly, what is that outfit?

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A little piece of Mexico while in Spain

I was watching the news and saw that there was a festival going on at Plaza Mayor in Madrid and decided we had to go after I saw them cooking Tacos Al Pastor. Those tacos are amazing and are my favorite food from the mission. They are yummy spicy pork with sweet chunks of pineapple and as much hot sauce as you can handle. Megann really liked them and we both decided that Mexican food is way better than any of the food here in Spain. We also ate flautas or what we know as taquitos in the Walmart. All the food was fantastic! At the Metro stop at the famous Puerta del Sol there was a Mariachi band playing 'Mexico Lindo.' The best part was the Megann and I both let out our Mexican yells after they were done, "Ay, ay....arriba, arriba," and people were laughing at us. Wait a minute, a Mexican festival can't possibly be complete without a shrine to the Virgin Guadalupe as well as an Evangelical church preaching to us about being saved while a guy wears a devil costume and pretends to bind another guy in bonds of sin.


So, at one of the subway stops in downtown Madrid there is a huge wall with lights going down it, instantly I thought to myself this looks like the Matrix without all the 1's and 0's. The best part was as we were taking these pictures several tourists passed by laughing because they knew exactly what we were doing.


Close by the Metro stop from above there are these really cool leaning office buildings referred to the "Puerta de Europa" or Europe's Door. They are both at a 15 degree angles and are 26 stories tall.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

If I get lung cancer later in life blame the people in Madrid!

Ok, something else about Madrid. Way too many people smoke here. I mean hard-core. I hate being in restaurants for a while because people just don't care. Oh, and if you are at an enclosed bus stop people just smoke like crazy and they don't care if you can breathe or not.

So, today there was a guy that was so desperate for a smoke. We were waiting for a train to come and this guy jumps onto the tracks and picks up a cigarette because it had a little bit left on it. Come one! So, word to the wise. Don't smoke! It is so disgusting and it makes people crazy...including me!

Thursday, June 12, 2008


There are some really beautiful things to see in Madrid and then there are some things that just make you wonder. Let's start with one of the beautiful things. First, we have the Palacio Real or "Royal Palace." Second is a trend that needs to stay in Spain. In case you couldn't tell that is a boy on the right and he is wearing white Keds. Maybe he got them from an old box in my mom's closet. He has on skinny jeans, a tucked- in shirt, and tops it off with braided leather belt. Third is the besame mucho, "kiss me a lot," lady; she was singing at one of the stops on the metro karaoke style. Fourth, is Megann eating the wonderful chocolate and churros; they are amazing! Fifth is me in front of the Temple of Debod, it is an Egyptian temple sent to Spain as a gift. Sixth is Megann's ANTM pose! Amanda that one is for you! Oh, Amanda your photo shoot will have to wait a couple more weeks.

Monday, June 2, 2008


After Paris we flew to Valencia, Spain. It is on the southern coast. First we must tell about our experience in the airport. The low-cost airlines in Europe have a strict weight requirement. Only 15kg for checked baggage and 10kg for carry-ons. If you go over they charge 15 euro/kilo. So, when we first weighed our luggage we were WAY over. I mean we would have had to pay 150 euros which is over $200 US dollars. So, we decided to cheat the system. We threw out some things we didn’t need and decided to wear our clothes to reduce the weight. Mitch had on 2 pairs of pants, 3 shirts, and 2 jackets. He had to throw out a lot of stuff too. I had to wear 12 shirts, 2 pants, and two jackets. I was seriously so chunky! When I had to take off my jackets to go through security I am sure they were very confused by my clothing choices. Well, we got through with ease and the flight was actually really great. We only paid 50 euro total to fly a distance similar to flying from Salt Lake to San Diego. If you can meet the weight requirement it is a great way to fly!

So, Valencia is known for its beaches. Unfortunately, when we first arrived it was rainy so we couldn’t go. We really just did nothing for the first few days. Then, the sun came out yesterday and it was so fun! So warm and the water was great! Though, we accidentally went to a topless beach! Mitch was so flustered and I just laughed. Most women weren’t topless so we just had to go in an area that there weren’t topless women. Also, most of the women were old and had major saggy boobs! So funny! Though, a group of kids from a school came and all of the teenage boys were just checking out the topless girls! It is a pretty city but we recommend only come for 2-3 days and not 6 like us. We have been kind of bored. I pretty much fried at the beach unfortunately because pretty sure I have not been out in the sun in nearly 2 years. Now to Madrid!

1st is the rose bridge, 2nd and 3rd are fallas (pronounced fayas) is the falla museum. They are made of wire frames and covered with paper mache. They make a ton of them for a huge celebration in March and burn all of them except the one favorite at the end of the celebration. The last picture is a cologne ad that is very Zoolanderesque.

The top picture is kind of random but we just had to take it. Why are the display models aliens? I definitely gotta get those clothes.

Pari does not hold the key to my heart

Oh, Paris. We actually hate Paris. I know, I know. Everyone is probably thinking that we are crazy. We have been there 3 times (unfortunately) this being our third time and we are still unimpressed. Though we do have one disclaimer; everyone must go to Paris at least once. But, just go for one day. This is what we suggest. 1- See the Arc de Triomphe along Champs d’Elysse. 2- go to the Notre Dame but just go in on the main floor (don’t climb the stairs to the top because you will get the same view with the Eiffel Tower) 3- Go to the Louvre. It is a must to see the Mona Lisa. But, because the Louvre is so freaking huge just see that and the other Italian paintings on that floor. Trust me. We finally saw everything at the Louvre and it was our third time. 4- Go up to the top of the Eiffel Tower at night. It is sooo beautiful! The tower twinkles and the view of the city is great.

Back to why we hate Paris. Here are the reasons in order.

1- Parisians are AWFUL. Seriously, they are so rude and just mean. Do they not understand that if it weren’t for tourists in their country their country would be in even more of an economic crisis than they are now?

2- It is foul. Seriously, it wreaks of urine. I cannot tell you how many people I have seen just stop walking and start peeing. It is just a dirty city. Last year at one of the train stations a pipe was leaking urine. Sick!

3- I know this is rude to say but there are these really annoying beggars there. They all have a card written in English about how one of their sisters at home is very sick and they need money. The saying is exactly the same on all of their cards. They just go up to you and say you speak English. It just annoys me because it is so dishonest. There are so many of them!

4- Only get a 3-star hotel and up. Let’s just say that last year there were some miscellaneous hairs on our bed. Sick! I almost barfed!

5- Way too overpriced!

With all of that said one still must go. It is quite an experience the first time.

1st is the Notre Dame, 2nd and 3rd are the aftermath of an overfed pigeon (poor Megann!), 4th and 5th are the Louvre, and last is Moulin Rouge

Friday, May 23, 2008

Le Mont Saint Michel

Today we went to an awesome castle in France! It is a huge medieval castle/cathedral on the top of a very tall island of stone. It is so awesome! A must see! I am sorry but the pics will have to wait.....but they are coming soon! Then, we drove to Paris (their roads are so slow!) and we are here for a few days. Tomorrow my Mom gets to celebrate her b-day in Paris!

Saint Quay Portrieux...Mitch's Grandpa's monument

During WWII Mitch's grandpa was a B-17 pilot (they were very high-tech planes that could fly at very high altitudes and they carried bombs) and his mission was to fly from England and bomb the German submarines on the coast of northern France near Brest. Well, unfortunately things went awry and all of the men in his plane had to bail out and parachute down...into German occupied territory. Long story short he ended landing in the city of Saint Quay and his plane crashed near the shore. All of the town saw him coming down and he was rescued by the underground French resistance. He basically escaped death many times. He eventually made it out of France into Spain and then back to England all due to the help of the underground. It all took several months in hiding. So, we went there to meet many of the people that helped him and their families. What an amazing experience! Unfortunately, one of the main rescuers that we were to meet was very ill and we could not meet him. The main rescuer (he was not part of the resistance but a farm boy who first helped Mitch's grandpa when he landed) died a few years ago but Mitch's family is still very close to his kids and grandkids. They showed us around to all of the important sites. There is a monument to Mitch's grandpa and the resistance members (two of which were sent to concentration camps and killed when the resistance networks were found out). The monument is one of the propellers that was still intact and was pulled out of the water. Amazing!

Another thing that is amazing is French food! The daughter made us homemade french food for all the meals! Not only did each meal have about 5 courses but it was all divine and there was so much fresh seafood! Real, homemade French food is amazing!

It was such a special experience and when we left we all cried. The spirit was so strong. I can't wait to go back already! It was truly a tender experience for Mitch. Sadly, Mitch's grandpa died a few years ago so this was great for him to remember his Grandpa.

1st is the tree where my grandpa landed, 2nd, 3rd and 4th are in front on the monument,
5th and 6th are us saying goodbye to Andre and Agnes, and their daughter (Florence), 7th is me standing on the beach overlooking the bay where the plane crashed, 8th is standing in front of the tree that my grandpa and his parachute landed in.


We went to Normandie to visit many of the WWII sites. I am sorry I don't have pictures yet. Anyways, it was amazing! We went to the American cemetary, Omaha Beach, Utah Beach (of course we all got a picture there), pointe du Hoc, St. Mere Eglis (a church where a paratrooper got caught on the top when he parachuted down), and St Marie Du Mont. It was amazing! Luckily, my dad knows EVERYTHING about WWII, especially Normandie, so we had our own tour guide. I really can't explain the feelings one feels. You must visit Normandie! Oh, and to top it off of course it is on the coast so the view of the English Channel is beautiful!

1-B-17 bomber painting on the ceiling in a memorial at the US cemetery, 2-US Cemetery, 3-Utahns on Utah beach, 4-St. Mere Eglis, 5-Omaha beach, 6-Bomb crater

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

More driving...but through four countries!

Today we drove from Germany, through the Netherlands and Belgium and then we ended up in northern France. It was so long but fun to go through four countries. We visited some WWII stuff in the Netherlands (again, my Dad is completely fascinated with WWII). We drove for about 10 hours today! The freeways in the U.S. are a lot faster! Though, we drove through many small towns and it was great to see the French countryside. I have some pics to post but that will have to wait as it is very late here!

Monday, May 19, 2008

We did a lot of driving today but it was worth it

Today we drove to all of the areas my Mom served in and went to the places that she lived. It was really neat to see. As we were driving she talked about her companions, the people she taught and more. It was really great to hear about her life as a missionary. She has told us stories over the years but it all just came to life today as we actually saw her mission. Tomorrow we are off on a 8 hour drive (blah!) to Normandy. We are going to visit some WWII museums and monuments along the way. It should be very interesting. We will be travelling from Germany, then to Belgium and then finally to Normandy in France.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Dusseldorf…a.k.a “Dudo” as the cool people say it

Us in front of the famous Rhine river in Dudo

My Mom served her mission in the Dusseldord, Germany mission 31 years ago. She has not been back until now! This is the real reason we have come to Germany. So, today we went to church at the ward. It was so great for my Mom. She loved it! She also said it was great because after 30 years she could still understand everything they talked about. The rest of us on the other hand, not so much. I know very little. I could only catch the basics. It was great and the members were so awesome to us! The Bishop came and introduced himself to us and so did many other members. They really know how to fellowship. We are terrible in Utah! It was a great time and I know my Mom loved it.

Another interesting fact about Dusseldorf is that most of it was destroyed by WWII. So, it is not the prettiest city. It has a very industrialized look because when they rebuilt the city they just built apartments after apartments. There is no eccentricity like the other cities in Germany.


Ok, I have been to soooooo many cathedrals. Seriously, from going to Europe last year, spending time in Quito last summer, and going to all of the cathedrals since this time I have seen a lot. The Koln Dom is the most spectacular Cathedral ever! If you go to any cathedral in Europe this is the one! It is all built in the Gothic style and it is massive and so tall! We walked inside to take a tour and Mass just happened to be starting. It was fantastic to hear the acoustics of the building as the choir sang. Though, Mitch was taking pictures with the flash and a priest came over and yelled at him! Too bad it was all in German and so we were like….uh, okay. It was funny though. The picture that we are going to post does not really display how massive and tall this place is. AMAZING!

As we were walking through the city by all of the shops there were the FUNNIEST guys ever! Oh my hanna days! One guy was dressed up like a woman: blonde curly hair in pig-tails, short and plaid skirt, a stuffed bra under a tight t-shirt. I mean it was just funny. Then, there were all of these other guys dressed in the same t-shirts. It turns out after talking to this woman/man that it was part of his bachelor party. It is a tradition there. He had to get 10 male words of advice and 10 from females. I can’t even describe how funny it was. The Germans have such fun traditions! All I can say is Americans are stale. Oh, and the first cologne was made here for the stinky royalty who barely bathed! Hence the name for cologne!