Friday, October 24, 2008

Germany and Prague

Well, here I am again. We had a wonderful time in Europe! We took Grandma Bets and Grandma D. They were great travelers and a lot of fun to have on the trip. Besides Mark and me, we were with Britt and Bry, Adam, and Meg. Everyone brought a special kind of  fun to the trip. Britt spent months organizing, making reservations, and studying what to do. We had a pre-trip family night to go over the itinerary, and what to pack. (I should have listened better)We traveled by Plane, Bus, Train, and on Foot. We went to Berlin first! There we hopped on a City Tour after checking in to Hotel Berlin Berlin (in a great location!), we saw some great sights on that tour. It was a hop on hop off type thing so we spent a lot of the day in some neat places. We were able to see where the wall had been and parts still up. We drove between East and West Berlin, it was really interesting. Our first hop off was at Checkpoint Charlie. I loved that, especially the museum. It shows many events and several escape methods that happened at the wall. It was interesting to see the lengths people will go to get their freedom. Also how thin people were, it was crazy some of the places they fit. (like a suitcase, and not the size of ours) 
We also got off at the Brandenburger Tor and Pariser Platz, it is probably the most famous sight in Germany and is a gathering place for many important events. Around the corner is the new Memorial "Memorial to the Killed Jews of Europe". It was truely amazing, as well as emotional to see the field of grey steles symbolizing the murdered Jews. 

We drove down the Unter den Linden and later walked through it. It is a beautiful street lined with trees and many important historic buildings. We drove by Potsdamer Platz and later spent a little time there. We were staying at Hotel Berlin Berlin which was in the heart of a great district called Kurfurstendamm, there was a cool looking burned and bombed out church, and a great shopping area. The KaDaWe store was the scene of our first meal there. Mark and Dolores were smart and got some great German food there. Well there is a lot more and I will blog it later. 

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Terrific Traveling Times

Carlos, Silvia, and Mark at their home in Pachuca
Well, more traveling has taken place since my last blog with Britt. Mark and I went to San Diego and stayed at Torrey Pines Lodge on the Golf Course. It was a blast. (Funny side note: this trip was paid for by Lehman Brothers, our host had to leave because the announcement of their failure came while we were in San Diego.) Mark and I were able to take many long walks together through Torrey Pines Park and we drove around a lot. We went to old town where we found out that our favorite restaurant is under renovation, but were we still able to share some great Mexican food. The Lodge is incredible and we loved being there. The Grand Californian in Disneyland is patterned after the Lodge so Mark was especially in Heaven. Anyway, it was a fun and fabulous get-away for us. Mark serves on the Board of Utah Housing Authority which is the reason for the trip!
Alma and Me after our Sunday Drive
Then we were off to Mexico to check on our students at Bene and a few of their families. We had fun with Adam and we were able to travel to Pachuca where he served for about 7 months. We met some families there that were special to him. We also visited with Carlos and Silvia Zepeda. Carlos was the Director at Benemerito when we first began the scholarship program.
Our Families in Xalitzintla
Step with his new Package from Us

We enjoyed time with Alma and Martin Diaz. Martin is our driver. They have been helpful getting us around and to our locations. We feel we have many friends in Mexico. We were also able to drop a package to the Mission Office for Step. From the picture he sent, it looks like he really enjoyed it.