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!


At the castle there was this huge wine vat that could hold over 20,000
liters of wine! They love to drink!

I am a big loser and when we got to Heidelburg I took a 3 ½ hour nap! (For the record, I was sick with stupid allergies! Also, we had been driving for a few hours and I get pure motion sickness. I really needed a nap!) So, while I was napping my family went out to see the castle there and a cathedral with a bell tower. The castle was really cool and was very old. It was started in the 1230’s. Oh, and while Mitch was there taking pictures, a huge Asian tourist group swarmed him! There were about 40 of them in a small space. He says it was pretty funny. We like to call them the Asian persuasion. Then, after we ate that night Mitch and I went out for a walk along the river. It is a college town and all of the students and teens were along the lawn next to the river and it was a party! There were so many people out. We saw everything from sand volleyball, yo-yoing, boozin’ it up, and last but not least some teens smoking a pipe! Gotta love Germany!


The crematoriums
This is where the prisoner had to line up each day.

We went to the Dachau concentration camp today. It was a very humbling experience. From seeing the gas chambers, the bunkers, the crematoriums, and the huge size of the camp itself and more it was fascinating yet completely sad. As we were walking around I felt the same way about Hitler as the same way I feel about Osama Bin Laden. I just couldn’t believe he would do so many horrible things to innocent people. This camp was meant for 6,000 people and when the American soldiers came upon it there were 34,000 people. Insane. Also, for many years after the people were liberated they still lived in the camp. The location was much better but still. Because many of their homes were destroyed and many of them had no family left they had no place to go. Can you believe that? Oh, and at this camp there many medical experiments performed upon the innocent. In one experiment they put many people in rooms with mesquitos that carried malaria. Also, they had an experiment where they basically tortured many of the prisoners by having them drink only salt water for 3 weeks. They all survived but it was intense torture. Last but definitely not least, they had lay-men do surgeries on barely anesthetized prisoners. Awful! It was a crazy place to visit. I just can’t believe it really happened.

Thursday, May 15, 2008


Today, Thursday, we went to Rothenburg which is supposedly the best preserved medieval city in Europe. It is so cool! I will just have to show pictures when we can get faster internet. There is a wall all around the city which we walked on, a moat and the buildings are just picturesque. Oh, and there are so many shops everywhere which sell Lederhosen and all. I loved this city!

We rented a huge van starting in Munich for the rest of our trip. It is the ugliest thing ever! I can't wait to put a picture up. First of all, all cars in Europe are small and so we just look like idiots in our monstrous van. Second, being so big it is so hard to drive in the small streets on cobblestone. Let's just say that are often very tense times on the drive...a.k.a. everyone yelling at each other!

Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau

Hohenscwangau castle
Neuschwanstein castle a.k.a the "Disneyland" castle
So, on Wednesday we went to the castle after which the Disneyland castle was patterned. It is so beautiful! We also went on a tour of another castle, Hohenschwangua which is very close. Hohenschwangau was a castle used by the rulers of Bavaria and the Neuschwanstein castle was built by the son, Ludwig II of Bavaria. He only lived in it for 170 days until his mysterious death where he and his physician were found in a river. The day before his death he was declared mentally ill and could no longer be the ruler of Bavaria. So, at the time that this castle was being built, starting in the late 1800's, everyone thought Ludwig to be crazy. So, he actually was but they could not have predicted that Neuschwanstein was going to be the number 1 tourist attraction in Germany. So, he really wasn't crazy, he was just preparing for Germany's economic future. It was so beautiful and at some angles looked just like the Disneyland castle!

Monday, May 12, 2008


We got to Munich yesterday after a 6 hour train ride from Prague. The train ride was so beautiful! Once again, I promise we will put up pictures. In Munich we went to the city center and it was so fun! It is like the Gateway times 30! There is a glockenspiel (clock) in the center and at certain times of the day when the hour strikes there a figurines at the top of the tower that play out a scene. It is so cute! One great thing about Germany is that everyone rides bikes. So, we rented bikes and went all around Munich. It was so fun! I will have to say that I am reminded again how much I love public transportation in Europe. I love the subways because there are so many and it is just so easy to ride. It is so much better than being stuck in traffic! Speaking of subway, there are so many Subway restaurants in Germany! I was surprised by that. Anyways, we went to a few buildings today where the first meetings were held by Hitler. Once again, history is so much better in person. The only bad thing about Munich is in certain parts there is way too much porn. There are so strip bars everywhere and there is nothing left to the imagination. I really love this city! Tomorrow we are off to the Neuschwanstein castle. Apparently it is the castle the disneyland castle was built after.

So, the third photo is our favorite. Isn't it hilarious? Miss Yummy Yummy!


To really get the feel for this picture of Prague, click to enlarge it...sorry, I will have a huge head. Isn't it amazing?

So, we were in Prague this weekend and it is awesome! holy cow, it is soooo beautiful! we are going to post pics, I promise! so, prague is so awesome but so touristy! Beware! oh, and our first impression wasn't great. we saw a girl get hit by a car and the guy just drove off. then, i was trying to use the atm machine and it just ate my card. so stressful! i still don't have it. Anyways it is just so beatiful because it has such old buildings. I just have to say that learning about history is much better when you are in the country rather than just reading about it. I have learned so much about WWII and the Cold War on this trip. The Czech Republic still has remnants of communism in it. The train station we were at to depart to Munich was in such bad shape. It was amazing to see what communism can do to a country. There were parts that were just so run down. Things are a lot better though now. Oh, and being in Prague was a little harder because trying to understand Czech is very difficult. Oh, and when we were taking a tram through some neighborhoods we saw three missionaries tracting. It was so great to see. It was such a run down area and to see them working so hard was so great. Their moms would be so proud! That is it for now! Next Munich!

Thursday, May 8, 2008


So, sorry there are no pictures yet. We are totally stealing someone's internet with our wireless card but it is not that great of a connection. So, we will post more pictures at an interent cafe or something. Well, we have been in Berlin the last couple of days and it has been great! From, seeing the section of the Berlin wall that is still standing to riding on the metro and also seeing my family run to try and catch the trains it has all been great here! Tomorrow we are off the Prague!
The top one is the standing remains of the Berlin Wall. Very cool to see.
The second is us in front of the Brandenburg Gate.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Our travel bLog!

So, we are going to keep a running log of our travels. Stay tuned for Europe 2008!