Saturday, April 23, 2016


We flew in to Glasgow and spent 24 hours there exploring the city.  Then we took the train over to Edinburgh for a couple of days.  Edinburgh is absolutely beautiful!  The city is so much fun to walk and explore, built from hill to his and everything in between, it is so mesmerizing to walk the streets.

We also took a day tour from Scotland to northern England.  It was fun to see the beautiful country side and tour one of Englands Castles and towns.

Thursday, April 21, 2016


We had an amazing time in the Netherlands.  This is the country of my ancestors.  My great Grandparents were from a small village in the south Netherlands, near Rotterdam called Strijen.  We spent most of our time in Amsterdam.  We walked the city and explored by bus and trolley.   We also did a canal boat tour.  The houses along the canal are beautiful! Some lean and tip, and it is a feast for the eyes!  In the Netherlands they are serious bikers!  Each road has a bike lane, and they are well used, like cars.  They travel at fast speeds and I am sure we almost got hit at least a dozen times.  It was hard to remember to look for bikes as well as cars before stepping off the curb.

The kids had a great time meeting up with our friends the Miller family!  We would be traveling with them for the next week.  It was wonderful to be with good friends!  They are living in Germany for a few months while their Dad works on his European accounts for work.  

In Amsterdam we visited the shop where Anne Frank and her family hid.  Luckily we were able to obtain tickets to visit for a late afternoon. If you do not plan ahead (and we had not) tickets can be very hard to get.  It was a special visit, Isabel had recently read the Diary of Anne Frank and she was very interested in visiting.  She reverently took Olivia under her care and explained the history of what occurred in the building and living quarters we visited and why the family had to hide.

We took the train to about an hour west of Amsterdam to Haarlem.  From here we rented bikes and headed out to bike the paths thru the tulip fields.  It was beautiful!  The wind and chill did not stop us from enjoying the beauty.  The family we rented our little place from loaned us extra hats and gloves to keep the wind and chill at bay.

Tulip Field Workers...  I stopped to watch, as I didn't realize these flowers are still hand picked.  English is very common through out the Netherlands, so I attempted to ask the workers some questions, but they just looked at me and spoke in another language to each other.  David had stopped next to me and said-- I think they are laughing at you.  I agreed.  Then we heard a worker from the back call out to one closer to us, and I heard a language I recognized and it was not Dutch.  David instantly responded to the comment, as they were speaking Polish.  The worker had loudly said (in Polish) "She doesn't understand you" and David instantly replied, in Polish, "She doesn't, but I do!"  All their heads instantly popped up and they turned to look at David.  Gone was the laughing at me, and they were of course friendly to someone who spoke their same language.

Biking the Tulips fields and visiting Kukenhoff was beautiful.  However we did not account for the head wind we would have to ride back in, and the kids struggled and we were late.  We tried calling the bike shop to let them know we were running a few minutes late, but they did not answer their phone.  They were closed when we arrived! We called the after hours number on their sign but they did not answer at all!  We ended up storing the bikes at the bike parking in the train station and we returned in the morning to return the bikes.  It was an extra hassle to our day, but in the end it worked out.

The Next day we picked up rental cars to tour more of the Netherlands.  My Grandmother's family is from the Netherlands.  They immigrated in the early 1900s to Utah and I was curious to see the land of my ancestors.  We went to the beach to see the sand dunes. We stopped by the Temple outside of Rotterdam, and we went to the Dyjk's to see the beautiful windmills and learn about the amazing engineering of the dutch in clearing out and controlling water.  From there we stopped in the small town of Strijen, where my Grandmother's family was from.

Sunday, April 17, 2016


We arrived by train for a short weekend visit to Paris!  We had to squeezed everything in!  The Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Arc du Triumph, and the Museum D'Orsay.  And after all that we still had a couple hours left in the day so we fit the Louvre in too.  When it's only an hour or so before closing, there's no lines to get in.  We walked right up to buy tickets and in to the museum.  We rushed around the museum seeing the highlights.  For dinner we made a reservation with a local restaurant that was recommended to us by one of our french dive guides in Mexico.  The local tradition of Raclette.  He told us every time he returns home to France- this is what he wants to eat!  It was absolutely delicious! Yummy cheese melted onto bread and potatoes.  We also tried a couple recommended Fondues as well! After all we were in Paris- you must eat the cheese!

On our last day in Paris we attended church in the morning, then visited with the members in a linger longer lunch.  Then we headed up to Sacre Coeur and enjoyed the beautiful view of the city from up there.  We wandered the streets in that area, it has a very artsy boutique feel.  Then we were off to the train station for an afternoon journey to Amsterdam!  Tomorrow we would meet up with our friends from home-- The Miller Family!