I am very thankful for my mother and sister and for the time that they spent with us. I love my family and I am so thankful for the love that we share together.
Monday was our last day of sightseeing. Most attractions are closed on Monday, but not the Almudena Cathedral and the Royal Palace. Unfortunately, we didn't realize that we would not be able to tour the palace because it was October 12th, Hispanic Day. Hispanic Day is a national holiday in Spain, where they celebrate Columbus discovering America. There was a big celebration at the palace and there were many Spaniards outside of the palace hoping to get a glimpse of the king and queen.
So this was all we got to see of the Royal Palace.
The Almudena Cathedral was started in 1892, but the construction was abandoned during the Spanish Civil War. The construction began again in 1950 and was finished in 1993. It has an unusual interior with some very unusual contemporary styles.
I'm not sure if I will be adding these to my collection of beautiful ceilings!
There is a real mix of traditional and contemporary styles.
Our next stop was Retiro Park, where we enjoyed a beautiful fall day.
We enjoyed going into the Crystal Palace. It is made mostly of glass on an iron framework. It was built 1887, for plant exhibitions from the Philippines. Supposedly it was built so that it could be transported, but has always remained in Retiro Park.
It has an unusual exhibit of hanging mammoth bones and a crucifix.
I couldn't find any information explaining this exhibit.
As beautiful as all the park was, we definitely found our favorite spot in the rose gardens. My mother has grown some beautiful roses in her time, and she really enjoyed seeing these! As you can tell from all the photos, we loved the roses. I will restrain myself and only share a few of them many photos that we took.
What a very patient husband I have who would sit for so long while we adored the roses!
My sister got these silly pictures of me trying to get a got shot of the water fountain through the trees. Maybe too many photos for one day!
Mom wanted to take us out for dinner. There is one problem. Most of the restaurants are closed from 4 to 8 p.m. or after. We finally got an ice cream cone to tie us over, and then ate at Forster's Hollywood at 8:00. Much later than we would like for dinner, but the food was very good. They have the avocado eggrolls that are almost as good as The Cheesecake Factory. Yummy!
We took them to the airport on Tuesday morning, and started a very busy week of trying to catch up on all of the work that piled up while we were playing.
You can tell that the weather has changed because we had an onslaught of sweaters in the office. Poor Elder Barlow was the odd man out.
And, Elder Koeven won the good elder award. In our office meeting, I brought up the need for keeping our office tidy, especially in the kitchen area. Something had spilled in the refrigerator and no one had cleaned it up for several days. Elder Koeven graciously volunteered to clean it up, even though it wasn't his mess. I wish I would have taken a picture of the finished product. It was spotless. His mother taught him well.
I made scoctheroos for our district meeting and they always bring a smile!
I had my mom bring Halloween candy for our office candy jar. It was going fast, so I decided to take a picture before it was all gone.
Even though we are having some cool nights, I saw this beautiful weed flower on our walk. I can pretend that winter in not around the corner.
We had a choir practice on Friday night. It looked like I had color coordinated with Hermana Figueredo and Hermana West.
And so happy to have these two cuties support the choir!
Knowing we would be busy on Sunday, I decided to feed the hermanas on Saturday. We had clam chowder, homemade bread sticks, and flourless chocolate cake. It was very good.
And I always enjoy visiting with these hermanas.
Sunday morning, we finally had our stake conference. I was very nervous about directing the choir. I love singing in a choir, but not directing it. But everything actually went very well. I wish I had a picture of the choir. They sang so well and I think everyone felt really good about our performance. I was also very excited to see Hermana Osorio, Irenis' mother. Her family moved to Madrid back in the Spring. I couldn't believe how much Gabriela has grown. She even let me hold her for a minute.
And there was another surprise as well. Jonathon and Sherry Hulmes were visiting from Houston. I must admit, when I first walked in and saw them in the congregation, I was not happy to see them. They are two of the most musically talented people that I know. All I could think was that they needed to be doing the music, not me. But, it was very fun to visit with them afterwards. They both served their missions in Spain in the early 1970s. She was the 100th missionary to enter into Spain. After they married, he went to medical school, and came to Houston to do his residency when I was in high school. They lived in our ward and have been close friends to my parents for all these years. She sang and he played for my dad's funeral. They are such good people. They have had a home in the Madrid area, Alcalá, for some years.
And I was so pleased with Hermana Harper's violin performance for "I Need Thee Every Hour."
The Packs were doing interviews with the missionaries after the meetings. Hermana Pack had made raisin oatmeal cookies, which my husband calls maggot cookies because he hates cooked raisins. She gave me my own bag of cookies and labeled them appropriately! She is too funny!
We were happy to come home and crash for a few hours until it was time to pick up Gabby and Jonathon. They flew in from Las Palmas to get her passport paper work taken care of.
A busy week, but it was good to be back to work again.