Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Madrid, Spain Temple Complex
As we approached the Temple complex, this is the view we first saw. It was a lovely, peaceful feeling to see the Temple in such beautiful surroundings. The red brick building in the background is the MTC and also houses a distribution center and a hostle for Temple workers and patrons. There is also a stake center in the complex.

This picture was taken from the 6th floor of the MTC building where the cafeteria is. It was wonderful to go there every day and feel the spirit of the missionaries and President and Sister Hill, the MTC President. We ate most of our meals with them and enjoyed watching General Conference, two sessions live.
This is one of the statues on the Temple grounds. The flowers and landscaping were just wonderful to see.

There were flowerbeds like this one all over the grounds and tall everygreen trees everywhere. We spent all day Tuesday in the Temple doing work for two of Rick's great, great grandfathers and an ancestor of Marcia Sperry. That made our trip all the more enjoyable.

Sightseeing in Madrid

This archway gate was where our tour started.
We can't remember what all the buildings were, but loved the architecture and the way they are preserved.

This is an apartment building. We decided we could live there and enjoy it quite well!
The courtyard of the Royal Palace. It has been here for centuries and has been added to over the years. The interior is so lavish and ornate, it is hard to imagine the time and labor involved. Most of the the ceilings are painted with murals. The Persian rugs and silk damask draperies and wall coverings are just magnificent. There were rooms for displaying the royal china, silver and crystal. It was fun to see, but not quite our style.
Looking behind us across the other end of the courtyard is the Royal Cathedral. It was being refurbished so we couldn't go in to see it.
There were beautiful, huge fountains everywhere in the city.
The Prado Museum of Modern Art. The other end of the building looks the same. There are statues down both sides.
This gift shop was across the street from the Prado and we loved the manequins on the second floor which is a theater. The shop gives discounts to missionaries and we were able to buy a Lladro nativity set which was on sale.
A display window of the gift shop caught our eye. It looked very real, with life-sized manequins. It was such a fun trip and one we will treasure as a highlight of our mission experience.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Zone Conference, Renick & Red Square

Zone Conference
On Thursday, October 9th, we traveled to Moscow for Zone Conference leaving on the 7:15 am train. We came down on Thursday for all of us to have interviews with the president and then our Zone Conference was on Friday. Anne, of course, did her usual thing and prepared a bag of goodies for each of the missionary companionships and us to eat on the train to help the 4 hours go by faster. We had a very good zone conference. President Cranney and his wife, pictured above, just came back from mission president's conference and had picked up some very good material which they both presented. Sister Cranney prepares some really outstanding meals which we got to have on both Thursday and Friday for lunch.
On Thursday afternoon, we went with the elders in our district to the Moscow Renick. It covers many square miles in the northeast part of Moscow. It consists of thousands of small kiosk-like shops shown above. They are both in the open air like the ones above, as well as in very large buildings. We were looking for a light leather jacket for Anne. We didn't find one she liked. The shop keepers tried very hard to sell us what they had. At the last shop, he started out with a price of 7000 rubles. As we were walking away he came down to 3000, then, 2500 and finally we heard him faintly yell 2000 ($80).

Red Square
From the Renick, we went down to Red Square in the center of Moscow. This was fantastic. On the other side of this building is Red Square. You can see St. Basil's church, on the far side of Red Square, through the left archway.
This building is just a little to the right of the previous picture. It is also on Red Square. The statue represents on of the major Russian Generals who was successful during WWII.
This shot is a little farther to the right. The building on the left is the one in the previous picture. After taking this picture, we went into Sbarro's restaurant, met up with some other elders and fed them all pizza and salad. When we finshed, it was dark outside.
This is a picture of Moscow's eternal flame, commemorating WWII. It is just a little to the right of the picture above. That is Elder Jensen from Price Utah, taking a picture of it also. You may remember on one of our earlier posts that we showed you the Yaroslavl eternal flame. Every city in Russian has one, we hear.
This is taken inside Red Square. This is the back of the red building you saw a few pictures ago. It was fantastic to be on the square at night. I will describe the square as if we are in the center of it and keep turning to the right.
Here is a picture just to the right of the building shown in the previous picture.
This picture is a little more to the right and shows what the missionaries call a high-priced, exclusive mall called "Goom". We didn't go in because there wasn't enough time. We will make it back to it on a future trip. This takes up all of one side of the square.
Here we are standing in front of the Goom Mall.
This is St. Basil's Russian Orthodox church. It is truly a beautiful site to behold. It reminded us of a fairytale castle. It is located at the far end of the square.
This is along the wall to the right of St. Basil's church, opposite Goom Mall. The building beyond the wall is where the government meets. The window with the light on is supposed to be the President's office.
This is a picture of the stand that is always pictured in the videos from Russia showing their leaders standing on the different levels, reviewing the parade of troops and weapons passing by. It was just amazing to be right there on the grounds that we used to see and think that it was somewhere we could never get to because it was behind the Iron Curtin.

From here, we went back to pick up our luggage and then went to the Mission Doctor's apartment. The doctor and his wife just finished their mission and we won't get a replacement for another six weeks, so their apartment was vacant. It used to be the mission home. It was very large with a nice king-size bed. Our apartment could fit into the combination living, dining, TV room. We stayed there two nights and then flew to Madrid for our visa trip.