Thursday, May 28, 2009

Bus Tours

President Shallenberger was awesome enough to charter a bus for the group (about 20-25 of us). This allowed us to see some really cool places while visiting Spain. Tours are great because they allow us to see some of the best sights in a short period of time. We really appreciate the time and effort that President S. put into planning this for everyone.


No trip to Spain is complete without going to Toledo. It is the mecca for the making of swords, and has one of the most picturesque views of a city. We spent a couple of hours there wandering the narrow streets and taking in the sights. We managed to find the Cathedral, but somehow got lost trying to find the Alcázar (castle). Instead we found a little restaurant, and stuffed our bellies with some authentic Spanish cuisine. On our way back the the meeting spot we finally found the castle, but didn't have time to go inside. :(


This was a pretty cool place to visit. I don't think that I have ever seen a 'real' windmill up close before and this place had a bunch of them. Most of them were closed, but one happened to have a little ice cream/souvenir shop inside. President S. talked the guy into letting us go up into the inside of the windmill.

While in Segovia we went to see the Aqueduct. This amazing structure was thought to be built between the second half of the 1st Century AD and the early years of the 2nd Century. It was used to carry water from the Fuenta Fria River to the castle. They have stopped using it for the transport of water due to pollution, but the sight is wonderful to see. It is amazing that this structure was built without any mortar. Somehow this thing stands just from the precise planting of each stone.
While walking to the Aqueduct we came across this carousel. I have to say it was one of the strangest I have ever seen. I could imagine the crying that would ensue if I tried to put my little Sydney on one of these things!
Alcázar of Segovia
This castle was rumored to be the one that Walt Disney used to model the castle in Disneyworld after. We toured the place from top to bottom. There is something about walking around such an old building. To imagine the things that went on in there was unfathomable. Afterwards the bus drove us down to the grassy front where the boys all had some fun while taking pictures.
They were doing great until Jo tried to get on top! Didn't Bruce get the memo that he was to be there! :)
Segovia Cathedral
There is a beauty about Cathedral's that always has me in awe. The architectural designs are always amazing. I don't know if I was allowed to take pictures while in there, but I did anyway. *no flash* :)

The Royal Palace and Gardens of La Granja de San Ildefanso

I was really fascinated with this place. We couldn't go into the palace itself, but we were able to walk the gardens. It was fun imagining what it would have been like to live in a place like this. We would have had some great parties or should I say 'balls' in the courtyard. The gardens here are known for their fountains. The 1500 acres of property have 26 different fountains throughout. Only a few were functioning while we were there, but about twice a year they 'are set to play'. It would have been nice to see them running instead of the stagnant water. :)

AVILA, The walled city

We made a pit stop in Avila, and stayed the night. The city of Avila is completely encased with a wall. It reminds me of the town's that I would seen in movies with the fortresses to keep people out. We got there pretty late so we weren't able to see a whole lot, but enjoyed walking around the town and looking in shop windows.

Royal Monastery of St. Lawrence of Escorial

Here President S. hooked our 'educational' group, "BYU Students" *wink,wink*, with a private tour. This was probably one of the most interesting because we got so much of a history lesson here. In most of the things that we have went through we would just casually walk through things...but our tour guide told us so much about what went on here. At one point we were able to see the Panteón de los Reyes (Royal Pantheon). It is the room that contains the body of each King since Charles I except 3 who are buried in different parts of Spain. In some ways it was weird knowing we were in a 'tomb' like room with a bunch of dead bodies. But it was one of the most beautiful rooms. The walls, and caskets were all made of marble, and gold! Amazing! There are 3 spots left, and they are 'waiting' for the bodies to be ready for the transfer. (They only transfer them once there is only bones left...the 3 people are already dead, but are placed in a 'rotting' room. Apparently the word in Spanish doesn't sound so gross.)
Again I wish the thank President Shallenberger for putting these trips together. I don't think Shawn and I would have seen half this stuff without it. We had a great time with everyone!

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Carrie and Troy Keiser said...

Wow looks like a great trip! What a fun vacation.

The May family said...

Thanks for sharing all of the beautiful pictures! I especially like the ones of Toledo. I'm so glad you were able to go. My husband often talks about returning to Argentina some day.

Patrice said...

That looks like such an amazing trip. I remember going into the tombs under a Russian cathedral. It kinda gave me the creepies!

Ken_and_Becky said...

Wow, what an AMAZING place! Someday... LOL - That carousel is creepy!

tammy said...

Looks like an amazing time! One day I'm gonna make Luvpilot take me there.

Steve said...

Dear Shawn and Crystal: What a fabulous photo journal and a WONDERFUL memory together. We so much enjoyed be together with you. Thanks for adding to the experience and being such a help. Love you. President and Sister Shallenberger

Shannon said...

This could be a report it's so full of facts. I learned a lot reading this post and I was there with you. Your kids must get good grades when you do their homework for them (smile).

sherry said...

Absolutely breathe taking. The castle really does look like Disney World. As a history major, my favorite part would have been learning everything that went on there. I think I was made to travel the world. But sadly, I have been no where...

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