Friday, May 28, 2010

Another Travelogue

I think I can do this one in one post. Mr. Frisby and I just got back from a trip to Utah and Idaho. Mr. Frisby's sister got married, so that was the reason for the trip. We arrived in Utah on Wednesday night and stayed with my sister in Lehi. The wedding was the following day in Manti. We wanted to do a session before the sealing, so we got up bright and early to get to the temple in time. I took us about an hour and forty minutes to get there. I had never been to Manti, but have heard all about the temple and the pageant, so I was pretty curious about the town. It is definitely a beautiful temple as you can see in the following picture:

I figured that with a temple and the pageant and everything, Manti would be a decent sized town. No thriving metropolis, mind you, but I thought it would at least have some stoplights on its main drag. However, I quickly learned that Manti is tiny. Not one stoplight. Surprising. And yet, after seeing the countryside on the drive there, it's actually not that surprising.

Anyway, the wedding was lovely, the weather was lovely, the bride and groom were lovely. Weddings are great.

Mr. Frisby and I outside the temple after the ceremony

The happy couple

After the wedding ceremony, we went to the luncheon and then it was off to Rexburg to get ready for the reception there the following day. We got to Rexburg Thursday night and Friday was spent making all of the necessary preparations for the reception. The reception was great and I spent much of the time helping with the food and punch and eating chips and dip.

The wedding cake - Ginormous!

Me at the reception

Hilary "helping" with the punch

We left Rexburg on Saturday afternoon to head back to Utah since Mr. Frisby had a flight to catch on Sunday. We met up with some of my family that lives in Utah and spent the night with my sister in Lehi. We went to church on Sunday and got to see my niece play a piano solo in Sacrament Meeting. Then we headed to my brother's for a brief visit with them and then it was off to the airport so Mr. Frisby could catch his flight. I was staying a couple of extra days so I could spend more time with my family. While visiting my family in Utah, we got to meet my sister's little newborn who was just a few weeks old.

Isn't she cute?

I had to include this picture because I took it and I'm really proud of how it turned out.

I also got to meet this little guy. He's my brother's son and, while he is almost a year old, this was our first in person encounter.

Another cutie.

The only downside to the trip was the weather. Wait a second. Didn't I say the weather was lovely at the wedding? I did indeed. The weather was lovely at the wedding. And it was decent at the reception. But, it all went downhill from there. On Saturday, we left a spring snowstorm in Rexburg. Sunday in Utah was fairly sunny, but cold. On Monday, I woke up to this:

I don't care who this El Nino fellow is, but you should never wake up to a blanket of snow on May 24th in Utah (it did set a new record, by the way). Fortunately the snow melted by that afternoon and the weather started to get a little better by the following day. Just in time for me to leave. It was a quick, but fun trip. It was so fun to go to the wedding and to meet the new little niece and nephew. Now we just have time to get settled back into our regular schedule before heading off on yet another adventure next month. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Let's Motor

Since I have been blogging all about Spain, I haven't really been keeping up on what's been going on since then. Actually, not that much has happened. After Spain, I settled down for some much needed R&R (you know the vacation is crazy when you come home and need a vacation). I couldn't relax too much, though, because life goes on and there were things to be done. In particular, we had to get ready to head to Utah for the wedding of Mr. Frisby's sister. But, the Utah post will come later. For now, I will tell all about our road trip up north.

In preparation for the wedding, Mr. Frisby and I needed haircuts so as to look our best for the blessed occasion. This is tricky because my hair is done by a good friend of mine who lives about an hour north of Sacramento. I usually get it cut by her when she comes down for a haircutting weekend. However, our schedules did not coincide and my hair was getting out of control, so I came up with a solution. I was born and raised here in the great state of California and yet, I've never been to Sutter's Mill - the place where gold was discovered, starting the California Gold Rush. This, to me, is shameful (I'm not saying it's shameful for all Californians to not go to Sutter's Mill, but for me, given my great love for California and my love for history, it was a little ridiculous). Mr. Frisby has also never been to Sutter's Mill, though, as a California transplant, he has an excuse. So, I decided to remedy my neglect of my California roots and my out of control hair all in one shot. We decided to take a day trip up to Coloma, California where Sutter's Mill is located. It happens to be up northeast of Sacramento and therefore, in the vicinity of my haircutting friend.

The plan was set and we had a lovely day. It took us about 2.5 hours to get to Coloma, but we took Maggie and she loves a good road trip, so we had a fabulous drive. The weather was beautiful, the sun was shining, and Maggie was hugging corners like nobody's business. Good times. When we got to Coloma, in Marshall Gold Discovery State Park, we parked and walked around checking out the little town, the gold discovery site, the sawmill, and other monuments and cemeteries they had there.

That's me by the sign going into the state park

That's Mr. Frisby with Coloma in the background

This is the replica sawmill that they built (because the original is no longer there) just upriver from the site of the original sawmill where gold was discovered.

That's Mr. Frisby with the replica sawmill in the background

That's me at the monument to James Marshall, the man who discovered gold.

We thought this pioneer cemetery on the edge of town was pretty cool. There was even a grave for one of the members of the Mormon Battalion.

It was pretty fun and we spent a good three hours checking everything out. After we finished in Coloma, we hit the road again. We went to Auburn where we got a quick bite to eat and then it was just over an hour's drive to my friend's house. We got our hairs all taken care of and had a good time visiting with our friends. Then it was about a 3 hour drive home. It was a very busy day with lots of driving, but we had a great time. If you're ever in the vicinity, I highly recommend checking out the Gold Discovery Site. Or getting your hair cut.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Spain, The Bonus Features

So, I feel like our trip to Spain was one of those 2-Disc Deluxe Edition DVDs that you buy. And the part when I got stuck was Disc 2 with all the bonus features. So, on to the bonus features. I'm sort of determined to finish posting about Spain before we head to Utah. I have 5 days of bonus features to cover. And we leave for Utah this afternoon. So, I'm doing all of this in one shot.

As a side note, you may notice the picture quality diminishes in the bonus features. There's a good reason for this. With me being stuck in Spain, we thought it would be a good idea for me to keep Mr. Frisby's laptop with me so I could have internet access and we could video chat and everything. So, we had to swap carry-ons. I kept the laptop bag and he took the camera bag with our DSLR. I took all of the Bonus Features pictures with just my point and shoot camera. Although, in its defense, it has been a great little camera. I love Canon.

Okay, side note aside, we move on. So, Tuesday morning was the big day that we were both supposed to go home, but of course only Mr. Frisby went home. We got up in the morning and he got all ready to go and then we walked to the bus stop where he was supposed to catch the bus to the airport. After saying goodbye and watching the bus pull away, I walked back to the hotel where, all of a sudden feeling very lonely, I cried. After many tears, I pulled it together and got down to business. I called Delta again, but it was no dice on getting out of there before Sunday. So, I packed up my stuff, checked out of the hotel, and made my way to the new hotel. They were nice enough to let me check in early, so then I got settled and the first order of business was to wash some underwear because, as you might imagine, I was fresh out of clean ones. That done, I hung out in the hotel for a bit and then set out to find some dinner. I found a McDonald's and I don't know if I've ever been so excited to see one. Believe it or not, it tasted delicious. After the long day I was exhausted, so I headed back to the hotel for some much needed sleep.

Wednesday was better. I was rested and more comfortable with the situation, so I headed out to see more of Barcelona. I started at Park Guell, a Gaudi designed park that was intended to be a real estate development. It never got that far, but is now just a huge park with definite Gaudi modernista touches. It was not at all what I had expected, but it was really cool. Here are some pics from my visit:

I even got a nice American couple to take a picture of me

After checking out the park, I decided to do another neighborhood walk recommended by my guidebook. This one took me through the L'Eixample, the Art Deco section of Barcelona, and I loved all the old architecture. Pics from the walk:

I came across this little alley street during my walk and decided that it was possibly the cutest street ever. This picture, unfortunately, does not do it justice. I decided right away that if Mr. Frisby and I were to live in Barcelona, it would have to be in one of the super cute houses on this super cute street.

On Thursday, I decided to be adventurous and head out for a day trip. I decided to go to Girona, which is a small town north of Barcelona that came highly recommended. And, I loved it! It was very old, so they had ancient Roman walls around part of the city and they had some ancient Arabian baths which are very well preserved. And, of course, it had that old European town atmosphere which I love.

Houses along the river in Girona

This bridge was designed by the Eiffel brothers. Can you tell?

That's me on the ancient Roman wall

Looking through a window on the ancient Roman wall

The well-preserved ancient Arabian baths

On Friday I did quite a bit of shopping and just poked around the city more. At this point, I was really getting ready to go home because I felt like I had seen what I wanted to see. This was when I filled my own H&M Goody bag. I found out there was a mall within walking distance of my hotel. Said mall had an H&M in it. I felt that I deserved to buy some things to cheer me up because of the sad situation I was in. So, I went. And it was glorious.

On Saturday, I hit a few more little stores that I had wanted to go to and spent most of the Euros I had left since I would be leaving the next day. I ended up going into this little store that may now be my favorite store in the world. If you ever go to Barcelona, let me know and I will tell you where this store is. It won't disappoint. After the morning shopping, I headed to the city park and enjoyed the beautiful sunny weather.

On Saturday night I got all packed up and ready to leave. Sunday, I woke up giddy. I mean, I had a good time for the 5 days I was stuck and I was able to see some really cool stuff. But, let's be honest, I was ready to come home. And I missed Mr. Frisby immensely. So, Sunday morning I got all ready, checked out of the hotel (which is another story in and of itself) and made my way home. It ended up being a great trip and we had a fabulous time in Spain. Of course, if there's anything that will take the travel bug out of you, it's getting stuck in a foreign country for 5 days. When I got home I had no desire to go ANYWHERE. And now we're off to Utah!

Anyway, that's it for Spain. This was a long post - congratulations if you made it all the way through. And, if you haven't had enough, you can check out the rest of our 450 pictures here.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Spain, Part 8 - Montserrat

Please excuse my pause in blogging - I've been busy. But, as you can see, the Spain posts continue. Don't worry, though, I'm almost done and I have a goal to finish blogging about Spain before we head to Utah on Wednesday for the wedding of Mr. Frisby's sister.

So, on to the matter at hand. On Monday, we had plans to take a day trip to Montserrat. Montserrat is a little monastery/community nestled into a mountain top. It's difficult to get to. You take a train from Barcelona to the base of the mountain and from there, you have two options to get up to the monastery. One is to take the cable car up. The other is to take the rack rail up. Oh, you don't know what a rack rail is? Me neither. Since Mr. Frisby and I aren't afraid of heights, we opted to take the cable car up, dangling from a cable hundreds of feet in the air all the way up the mountain. It was awesome!

See the monastery, nestled up there in the mountain?

That little yellow thing is the cable car, coming down to get us

Here I am outside the cable car after getting up the mountain

Mr. Frisby and I outside the cable car drop off

The very top of the mountain

After we got off the cable car, we headed over to check out the monastery. We poked around the monastery for a little bit and then decided to ride the funicular up one of the mountains near the monastery. (To learn more about funiculars, please click here) The view from the top was beautiful and we could see little hermitages scattered around the mountains.

Mr. Frisby in front of the monastery

The monastery church

Me on the funicular. I look scared, but I wasn't. So, I'm not sure what this look was all about.

Mr. Frisby and I at the top of the mountain

Looking out over the mountaintop

Looking down the mountain at the monastery

Looking down the mountain at the funicular coming back up

After checking out the view from the mountain, we headed back down to the monastery. We got some food for lunch at a little market and then we headed back over to the church to hear the monastery boys' choir sing. We listened to the concert for a little while and then decided to head back to Barcelona. So, we took the cable car back down, enjoying the beautiful scenery on the way, and then we caught our train back to the city. Montserrat was beautiful and was an awesome day trip. Definitely one of the highlights of Spain for me.

Me in the cable car

The views from the cable car were incredible

When we got back to our hotel, we decided to check out Barcelona's big food market, La Boqueria. It was pretty amazing. A huge open air market where they sell produce, meat, candy, chocolate, ice cream - everything! After that we just walked along La Rambla, enjoying the crowds, street performers, and vendor stands.

The entrance to the food market

Walking down La Rambla

Street Performers on La Rambla. They were dressed up as Transformers.

That's me in front of one of the pet vendors. Yep, they had little stands in the street where they sold pets. Pigeons, chickens, ferrets, rabbits - all for sale, right on the street.

We had wanted to go to a big park in the city that afternoon, but instead we spent lots of time on the pone with Delta changing my flight, trying to change Mr. Frisby's flight, and seeing what options we might have to get me home as soon as possible. My scheduled flight for the next morning would be cancelled, so the next available flight was for Sunday - five days later. We booked that flight and then found a cheaper hotel for me to stay at in a different part of the city. Then Mr. Frisby tried to change his flight so he could stay with me. They had no open seats, so we decided he should just go home the next morning as scheduled so we both didn't end up stuck. By the time we finished getting all of the plans taken care of, it was too late to go to the park and we were exhausted anyway. So, that was it for our last day in Barcelona together. In spite of the last minute change of plans and me getting stuck, we had a great trip and enjoyed the time we had in Spain.

Stay tuned for the bonus features...