Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Church in Toulon France

     We had researched where to attend church and printed out the directions, planning to take a taxi.  We learned at the tourist information center that we could take city bus #1 or we could catch a taxi at Liberty plaza.  As we headed to Liberty plaza several blocks away, feeling a taxi was more reliable, we saw a bus #1.  With some reservation, fearing we might be late for church, we got on the bus.  I studied the map and anxiously watched the time as we made each stop.  We got off at the Pivotte stop wondering which way to go.  Looking ahead we found our street, Av Admiral Krantz, walked three blocks, found the next street Av des Ils d’Or, turned left and saw the church building 15 minutes before Sacrament meeting. 
     We were greeted by a brother who asked how I knew French.  I indicated that I had served a mission in Tahiti, French Polynesia.  He became very excited, greeted me with “Ia ora na” and said they had a missionary serving there from French Polynesia, and a couple who had served there for ten years.  Well, it was marvelous to talk with them.  After the wonderful sacrament meeting on the family, family home evening, family history, and temple work, I talked with these amazing people. 
The French couple were in Tahiti from 1967-1977.  She taught at the Church elementary school (where I had taught 30 minute religion classes to the kindergarten children) and he helped with the building program.  They have 4 children; all born in Tahiti; with Tahitian middle names.
The elder is from Huahine where I served for one year.  There are wards in Fare and Haapu where there were branches.
     An Elder who speaks English, French and German translated for Dave and Ilene
     As we returned to take the bus, we saw a little shop and bought lunch and a chocolate éclair.  The shop closed just as we finished eating in the deserted park across the street.  Glad we bought when we did.  Stores were closed everywhere.  It was a blessing to see that on Sunday and a blessing that we got food when we did. 
     Because the buses ran less frequently and all stores were closed, we took a city bus to the end of its route, took pictures of the bay and returned on the city bus to the wharf.  We had hoped to take the cable car, but realized that the Sunday bus schedule didn’t allow that.  Good we learned that before we boarded the cable car.
     We had beautiful weather and it was a Sunday to remember.

What a delight to meet the French couple and their daughter.  They served in Tahiti from 1967-1977.  Their daughter was born in Tahiti.  We knew the same leaders.  They have a lovely church facility set in a three story building.  The ward has one entire floor.  I loved hearing the French language.

Barcelona Spain and Gaudi sights

Barcelona Summary
Thursday evening we walked to the Rambla Marketplace and found some fresh fruit and turnover type meat pie.  Then we found some crème stuffed desserts.  Mmm good. 
Friday the hotel served a delicious, big breakfast with choices of fruit, cereal, eggs, bacon, sausage, juices, nuts, dates, rolls, croissants, and more.  It was a great way to start Friday and Saturday for our touring of Barcelona.  We bought the T-10 metro ticket for 9.6 euros on Friday which Kurt and I shared.  We took bus #24 to Parc Guille.  It was a pleasant day, with delightful places to walk and look.  A string group was playing in an area that had amazing acoustics.  We saw the houses and the salamander from a distance but saw the famous ergonomic bench and the view of the city from the best places.  We had to watch the time to get to the Sagrada Familia for our 1:00 entrance and English tour.  We left earlier than we wanted to because of the timing.  The bus driver and passengers helped us know where to get off the bus.  We saw a little market and bought bagettes, fruit, and drinks.  I tried mango orange in a 16 oz bottle.  It was delicious and I drank almost all, sharing a bit with Kurt.  Fortunately we had purchased Sagrada Familia tickets in advance online.  That saved us a huge line.  We had a fascinating and informative English tour.  The guide was knowledgeable and very thoughtful.  He made sure we could see and hear with our earphones and sound control. 
In the evening we took the metro and then a tram car to Montjuic and saw a beautiful water/fountain display.  We could have taken an escalator down to the bottom but didn’t see it until later.  We were feeling rather tired from all the walking.
Kurt was feeling leg pain by the end of the day so he decided to stay at the hotel Saturday morning and rest.  That was wise.  It was all the rest he needed so he could walk the many miles in Florence, Rome, Pompeii, Athens and Ephesus. 
Saturday, Dave, Ilene, and I boarded bus #24 and traveled to the Gaudi house Casa Mila (La Pedrera).  We decided to wait in line for tickets and purchase the most comprehensive audio tour.  Great decision.  They allowed photos and it was fascinating.  It was full but the crowd was not pressing.  I particularly enjoyed the whimsy of the rooftop.  The light in all the rooms was appealing to me.
I was fascinated by vespas everywhere.  The T-10 metro pass is a great way to travel and was easy to figure out.  The Gaudi designed park was unique and relaxing. The Gaudi home was an outstanding tour.  It was a great thing to do and see.
We were glad for all we saw and did in Barcelona

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Above are Ilene and Dave in front of Casa Mila by Gaudi.  It was full of unique and whimsical designs.  We were glad we paid for the audio tour to tell us about all the things.  We spent 30 minutes on the roof and then almost 2 hours inside.  Below is the rooftop with chimneys of mosaics and magical designs.  In the distance is the Sagrada Familia, the one of a kind cathedral in Barcelona Spain.
Inside Sagrada Familia Cathedral in Barcelona Spain.  Designed by Gaudi.  He liked light and nature so the columns were like trees instead of traditional gothic columns.
  Unique Bench by Gaudi at Parc Guell Barcelona
   Kurt, Dave and Ilene on unique bench designed by Gaudi at Barcelona Parc Guell