We started our busy week early on Monday morning. We drove to Valencia to tour the Lladró factory. I have wanted to go their for years, so I was very excited when we pulled up to the entrance of the complex and saw the Lladró sign. They have a huge complex. There is even an olympic-size pool in the center of the complex. We were not allowed to take photos inside. This porcelain company was started by three brothers, with the last name of Lladró, in 1953. This is the only factory they have, and they ship their pieces all over the world. They have a training school and people begin at the age of 14. Many of the people who work there are related to the Lladrós, and everyone who works there is from Valencia, or the surrounding area. It was fascinating to watch the the process of making these beautiful pieces. I particularly enjoyed watching them make the beautiful, tiny flowers. I was happy to go to the seconds shop and buy a piece that I have loved for years. It is a girl who is pushing a flower cart. I love this piece and appreciate the flowers even more after watching the process of making them.
We walked around Valencia for a little while and saw some very unusual architecture. Then I spent several hours going over my notes for the workshop that we were going to teach the next day.
We did take an evening walk along the beach.
I was a little disappointed that our walk along the beach was this far from the water. I have never seen a beach that was this deep. My non-beach, non-sand husband had no interest in walking on the sand, so that we could get close to the water!
But we did enjoy a grilled ear of corn that was yummy with salt, oil, and lemon juice on it.
Tuesday morning, we headed to Almansa to see the very interesting castle. It was built in the 12th century by the Moors. It was at a crossroads between Christian and Muslim kingdoms. In the 13th century it was taken over by the Christians.
The architecture is very interesting because it is actually built out of the mountain. The lower parts of the wall are the mountain and then stones were added.
The leaning wall was originally an outside wall that was actually part of the mountain.
There was also, at one time, a second tower and we met a team of excavators who are working in this area. They were telling us how thrilling it is to find bits of china and bones, animal bones.
There were some very interesting architectural features.
The King's window seat
But this spiral staircase was by far my favorite. I liked looking at it, far better than climbing up and down it, especially going down, since there is no handrail.
The grounds around it were beautiful, as well as the views.
We headed to Albacete, where the young adult conference was being held. What an amazing experience we had! It started out a little rough because the air conditioning was not working in the room where we were supposed to hold our workshop. At the last minute, they moved us down to the corner of the main lobby of the convention center. It was a bit dark, and we were right next to the air conditioning unit, so it was a little hard to hear, but we were able to still have a good experience. We taught twice and had about 40 people both times. Of course, we loved having the young adults from the Islands in our class. I taught about temporal education and Elder Larsen taught about spiritual education. Everyone was very attentive and the participated well. We had very good feedback afterwards, so I would call it a success. I was also pleased that I was able to teach. Looking back to when we were on the Island, I have made progress with my Spanish.
Elder Larsen made a Cryptoquote that we used as part of our object lesson to start our class. Everyone worked hard trying to solve the quote.
These great young adults from the Island were on the winning team.
I felt good about my part, and Elder Larsen did a great job as usual.
Here we are with Enzo and Ruth from Vecindario.
We visited some more during dinner.
And then everyone got ready for the Hawaiian Dance.
Salim was baptized at the first of the year and Yamilka was baptized in June.
The Larsens, Ruth, David Legna, Yamilka, Salim, and Kimberly
The next morning, we had breakfast with our kids, and then headed back to the office, where we worked two very long days, trying to get our work done for the week. Thursday night, we enjoyed a very late dinner with the Packs. We called it our late night, date night. They are such great people and are so fun to be with. We feel privileged to serve with them.
Friday morning, we drove back to Albacete to pick up Yamilka. That evening we were in the temple with the young adults from the Islands, doing baptisms for the dead. Click here to learn more about this beautiful ordinance. It is always a peaceful, spiritual experience to be in the temple, but it was especially wonderful to be with our young adults. For many of them, it was their first opportunity to be in the temple.
While we were taking pictures, we ran into Hermana Caballero, now she is just Saray Caballero. She finished her mission just one transfer after we got to the Islands. It seems like she was with us for longer than that. She is an amazing young woman. She just started teaching at the Mission Training Center. Those missionaries are lucky to have her as their teacher. Her parents were also there. It was nice to get to meet them. We really are grateful for the opportunity to get to see so many of these people that we love so much.
Saturday morning we drove to Segovia with Yamilka. She is from Cuba and she has never been to the mainland of Spain. She seemed to love Segovia as much as we do. The location of this castle is just beautiful. This fortification is first mentioned in 1120, but was probably no more than a wooden fort. It was at one time used by the Romans and the Arabs. The existing castle was later constructed and was home to many of the kings and queens of Spain, including Queen Isabella. We love the old city and the location of the castle.
It looks like Yamilka may have found her knight in shining armor.
A castle isn't complete without a dungeon,
and a courtyard and a moat.
I was able to add to my photo collection of beautiful ceilings.
I loved the stained glass.
The wall murals are beautiful.
There is very pretty tile work on some of the walls.
And the views are spectacular.
I just love this majestic building!
Besides being known for the beautiful castle, Segovia, is also known for its Roman aqueduct, that was built in the 1st century AD. It is made of unmortared, brick-like granite blocks. It was still providing water to Segovia during the 19th century. What a massive, beautiful structure!
Next we went El Escorial, which they began building in 1563. It is a huge building complex that has a church, monastery, palace, college, and library. They do not allow any picture taking inside the buildings, so I only have a few pictures of the outside. It is a spectacular place.
Then we stopped for a bocadillo (sandwich) where we had a pretty view of the rooftops of El Escorial. The weather was cooler than normal for August and we really enjoyed our day.
Sunday morning, we went to church. We had to say goodbye to Hermana Bingham,
and Hermana Staker, because they are being transferred to other areas.We have enjoyed serving with them and we will be sad to see them go.
Then we took Yamilka to the airport our special week had come to an end.