Monday, July 21, 2008

El Parque del Buen Retiro

El Parque del Buen Retiro is a famous park in Madrid, Spain. Anyone who was a missionary in the Madrid Missionary Training Center is very familiar with this park. It is where missionaries in training go out to practice their proselyting skills every Saturday. It is one of the scariest experiences for a new missionary that doesn't know the language very well. I know that this park stressed me out on more than one occasion.  
Here is one of the sunsets we watched at this park. Beautiful!

Madrid is very proud of this statue, even though I'm not sure why. This is the only statue in the world that is a monument to the devil. It's is called "Monument to the Fallen Angel." No wonder Tyler was so afraid! :)

For a few euros, you can rent a paddle boat for 45 minutes and paddle around a lake in the middle of the park. As a missionary I saw cute young couples in the lake and vowed to myself that I would someday do the same with my spouse. This picture is the fulfillment of my vow. 

This is a picture of Tyler rowing the boat. 

This is a picture of me being rowed in the boat. 
This is the biggest and coolest monument in the whole par. It's right by the lake. We came here on a Saturday night once and it was quite the party! There were tons of people there with various instruments, the most common instrument being a drum. All of the musicians played impromptu together. It was awesome!
This building is called The Crystal Palace. It was really pretty. 

My favorite part of seeing the Crystal Palace was seeing these black swans. I've never seen black swans before. We were enthralled!  

Our Apartment in Madrid

We didn't have a dryer so this is how we dried our laundry. We had to be careful not to drop any of our clothing while hanging it up. It was kind of a thrill! :)

Poor Tyler had to duck any time he went inside a room in our apartment. The ceiling was high enough for him, but the door ways were not made for tall men. Nothing in Europe was made for tall men. He bumped his head a lot during our trip!

This is the outside of our apartment building. We lived on the 5th floor and didn't have an elevator. We got in pretty good shape walking up and down all of those stairs everyday!

No, the kitchen is not larger than it appears. Having just two people in the kitchen at a time made it crowded. The kitchen also doubles as the laundry room. The washing machine is next to the fridge in this picture. I hope to never have a kitchen this small ever again!!

Here is our bathroom. It does not have two toilets, the other toilet looking thing is a  bidet. Good old Europe and their bidets!!

The living room was actually a good size with a nice big window. The thing to notice in this room is the exterior blinds. They are made of big strips of metal that when they are closed, block out all sunlight. All apartment buildings have blinds like these so that the residents can get a good nap during mediodia.  

But our favorite part of our apartment was definitely the bedroom. It was so small that we had to sleep in bunk beds! Some people ask us if our trip to Madrid was our honey moon because we had only been married a month when we arrived in Madrid. I don't think you can call sleeping on bunk beds much of a honey moon. It wasn't the most romantic, but we loved the experience. Who else can say that they spent the first few months of their marriage on bunk beds?! :) 


Here is the famous metro, or "the tube," as the English call it, sign. 

The view of the Westminster Abbey from the front. 

The Westminster Abbey from the side view. We don't have any pictures from the inside because we missed the visiting hours. After talking to a few people, we devised a plan to see the inside. We found out that they were having a prayer meeting later on that evening, so we went! It was an interesting experience. All we had to do was show up, say what we were supposed to say, kneel when everyone else kneeled, and sing the hymn at the end of the meeting. We loved it! Not everyone gets that experience when they go to London. 

Here we have the famous "Big Ben" along with a guard wearing a cool hat. 

Good ol' Buckingham Palace.

We were in London at the perfect time. All of the tulips in front of the palace were in bloom and gorgeous. The tulips were impressively large! 

Yes, we had the classic experience and we went to see Les Miserables. It was incredible!! 

The remains of a castle from the 1100s

As you can see from the pictures, there wasn't much left of this castle by the time we got here, but it still blew our minds to think about how old it was. We Americans can't comprehend old stuff as well as the Europeans. 
I've never climbed on anything this old before! It was quite the experience, especially trying to get down. That was a little scary. 


This picture is not taken outside of the fence around stonehenge because we got there too late to go inside. We didn't mind too much because we didn't have to pay to get in and we still got to see the rock formation. 

This is what stonehenge looks like from the gate when you zoom in as far as you can with your camera. 


In southern England there is a city named Bath named after the ancient Romans baths there. The Romans basically built a spa around a natural hot spring and we got to visit it. They no longer let you into the hot spring, which was a disappointment, but it was neat to stand where ancient Romans bathed. 

Here is the cathedral in Bath.

This is the view looking down onto the cathedral. We were told that most cathedrals in England were built in the shape of a cross. It's a picture of a picture, hence the bright spot in the top corner.  

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


Here is Tyler standing in front of the Bowood Mansion. Wouldn't we all like to live in a place like this?!

For all of you who know Tyler, the library was his favorite room. He was in heaven!

Above we have the neatly manicured garden....

...and Natalie couldn't resist frolicking across the remarkably well kept lawn.