Sunday, February 25, 2007

Bed Bath & Beyond

Yeah, we have visitors! Rachelle and Ira arrived early Friday morning and boy have we had loads of fun. Because our car doesn't have very much leg room, Ira sat in the front passenger side--which gave him a front row seat to the crazy UK driving! Hoping to get them over jetlag as quickly as possible they decided they wanted to keep moving the whole day.

Allyson took them into downtown London Friday to see all the major sites. They started out at Buckingham Palace to see the Queen (and of course, the guards changing...shifts, not clothes ;) ).
The palace grounds are also starting to bloom. Can you believe it? Blooms in Feburary!
They then headed off to see Big Ben, Westmister Abbey, and Parliament Square. I was able to join them in the afternoon at the open air market where we all enjoyed some authentic fish and chips! (Chelle even liked them!) After that we swung by St. Paul's Cathedral and then on to the Tower Bridge where we finished our afternoon of touring.
Ira & I enjoyed messing around with the hands-on demos in the engine room of Tower Bridge.
By this point, Rachelle & Ira were beyond themselves with exhaustion. They finally fell asleep on the train ride back to Staines. (This is the "bed" part of Bath & Beyond--nighty-night!)
Saturday was another great day together! We headed out to Stonehenge which was much better than we thought it would be. We had a lot of fun goofing off there and listening to the audio tours they had there - or the abbreviated version of the audio tour that Jared summarized for those of us with a shorter attention span.
Stonehenge really raised a lot of questions: "What were these stones used for?" "How long have they been here?" "How did they get here?"
Jared & Ira pondered on these questions far too long!

After that we headed on to the town of Bath. We were surprised how large the town was. We swung by the river Avon and snapped a picture there and then we headed off to catch a glimpse of the Roman Baths.
Aren't the scarf and hats that Rachelle made for us so cute! Thanks, Chelle!

We didn't quite make it to the baths before we decided to stop and see a street performer. He was great and so much fun to watch! We're starting to wonder what it is about the way that Jared looks. This is because he got pulled out of the crowd to help out again. (That's twice in one week.) Check out the video I took of him helping out the performer with one of his acts!

After the show and snatching a bite to eat at a local pub we finally stopped by the Roman Baths. Unfortunately, without paying for the full fledged tour, you could only get a little view of the Baths. I guess you get what you pay for, right?
We thought about swinging by one of the little Cotswold towns on our way home, but decided not to for the sake of time. It's a good thing too, because we still got home pretty late.

We've really enjoyed having Rachelle and Ira around! Now they are in Paris for a couple of days and then down to Italy for a day or two before we go down to join them!

Stay tuned . . .

Deutschland Ist Wunderbar!

In the words of Chris Farley, for those of you who don't "spreken sie deutsch", "Deutschland Ist Wunderbar" is German for..."Deutschland is Wunderbar!" :)

Sorry that we are a little late on our blog for the last two weekends! So, here's our quick attempt to catch up!

Two weekends ago (Feb. 17th) we took the chance to go and see Germany. This was a first time for me and I thought it was GREAT! Jared got a call the day before to let him know that he would be working in Hamburg the following week. So, we hurriedly put together flights, hotels, and things to see--all in less than 24 hours.

We flew to Berlin Saturday morning and spent Saturday and Sunday there. We had a great time and saw a lot of neat sites. We loved seeing Brandenburg Gate. While we were there we watched some street performers and Jared got called out of the crowd to assist in the show!
He did a great job! I loved watching him perform! ;)

Later we walked to the Tower of Victory. AKA: Angel Moroni's wife -- At least that's what the missionaries in Berlin called it when Jared did splits with them back in the day! We hiked up to the top and both made guesses on how many stairs we would end up climbing. Jared guessed 847 and I guessed 543. We were both miserably off - we only had to climb 282 stairs. Luckily, it lead to a nice view and some really cool tiled walls on the tower.
Probably one of my favorite parts was Check Point Charlie. They had a whole wall of pictures and snippets of history that were easy to read through and easy to understand. It was nice to have a reminder of the history of the area since it's been so long since learning about it in history class.
We also enjoyed walking through town, eating bratwurst (if you can believe it or not) and doner kebabs, seeing part of the Berlin wall, and going to a German speaking ward (although I think we only understand a sentance or two of the entire meeting). We didn't really enjoy the freezing cold temperatures or the "sparkling mineral wasser" though. :)

Sunday night we took the train and headed up to Hamburg where Jared would be working for the week. I enjoyed going out for a couple of hours each day to see some of the sites. One of my favorites was the Hamburg city hall. It was a beautiful building! Jared worked really hard and very long hours this week so he didn't really see much more than the train station and hotel. (Too Bad.)
We flew back to London on Thursday and were glad to return to a more regular routine.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Night at the OPERA!

We've been hoping to go to the theatre sometime while here in London, but up until now we hadn't made it to a show.

Lucky we were in London last weekend, so while we were in London for the day we decided to take the plunge and swing by a ticket office to purchase tickets to Her Majestys Theatre.
Well, Thursday night has come and gone now, and can I say boy were we excited by the time it arrived. Actually we've been excited about it all week long!

So, last night after Jared was finished with work, we got all fixed up, jumped on the train, and headed downtown with our tickets to the Opera . . . .

. . . that is The Phantom of the Opera, to be exact!

Jared hadn't seen the show before, so it was really fun to watch him get excited to see something he knew so little about. We loved the show and the cast did a great job! It made for a great Valentines gift to each other and a great night out enjoying the arts!

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Eastern Hemisphere . . . Here we come!!!

Well, we decided that we needed a break from our BIG weekend get-aways . . . so, we decided to just go and visit the "Eastern Hemisphere" for the morning!

...So, we headed out for Greenwich park in London. What a HUGE and beautiful park it was too!
Crossing over the Greenwich meridian line into the eastern hemisphere was a very monumental moment. At least Jared thought so until we realized that we had already crossed over the line (without knowing it) while walking through the park to get into the museum. Oops!!!
We REALLY enjoyed the Royal Observatory museum! It was really cool to learn how they figured out how to work out the "longitude problem." We also enjoyed seeing and learning about the amazing clocks they had there.

Later in the afternoon we went and visited the Natural History museum. Maybe we do come from monkeys after all - Can't you see the resemblance?
We were pretty tired so we only spent an hour or two there before heading next door to the Science museum. It was pretty cool to see how technology has changed and developed as the years have gone by. I especially liked seeing the progression from horse and buggy to the modern day automobile!Their flight exhibit was also really neat to look through!
We enjoyed our day in London again and this time had a much better dinner experience there! By the way, Brian - guess what Jared had for lunch? Bratwurst and saurkraut! Yum!

We also purchased theatre tickets for later in the week, so stayed tuned . . . .

Love you all!

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Traditional English Meal (blood not included)

(FYI. If this blog loads slow or doesn't load all the images, try it with the "www" as in

A few weeks ago, after only two weeks of being in England, we were invited to a ward member's house for dinner. We were excited to get to know this older couple, but we were also kind of nervous because we didn't know what to expect for dinner. Before we left Utah everyone warned us about the English cooking and told us to steer clear of anything with "blood" or "pudding" in the name.

As we drove to this couple's house, we tried to prepare ourselves to be grateful and polite. I made up my mind that I would eat whatever they matter what. For those with a weak stomach, read on at your own risk :) (j/k)

While we waited for dinner to cook, the couple's granddaughter brought out a list of what was on the menu for dinner. Most everything on the list sounded great--baked chicken, roasted potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, roasted parsnips. One thing on the list though made me a little anxious--Yorkshire pudding. There it was...pudding. Immediately, my imagination kicked in. What was this pudding, and where is Yorkshire anyway? Does it have anything to do with strange animal body parts?

Well, anyone who knows what a Yorkshire pudding is knows I shouldn't have been worried at all. A Yorkshire pudding is like roll, but tastes more like the pastry part of an eclair. In all honesty, the meal was DELICIOUS! So good, in fact, we've made the same meal at home twice since. So anyone planning on coming to visit, pack your bags and come hungry!

Biking Brecon Beacons - Try to say that 5 times fast!

So, you're back for more of the Chronicles of Jared & Allyson, eh? This weekend's adventure was thrown together at the last minute, but Allyson did an awesome job!

Jared & I decided last week that we needed something a little more "active" this weekend. We had no idea what we were really getting ourselves into. (But then again, do we ever?)

We drove early Saturday morning about three hours over into South Wales. We had found a National Park there call the Brecon Beacons National Park and had called to reserve bikes for the day on Saturday.

We were really excited to get going, but immediately found that it was really cold (and foggy) when we started in the morning. I actually wondered if my fingers, toes, nose, and ears were going to freeze off - Luckily no body parts were lost in the making of our weekend adventures!

It was so amazing because we just road along small roads and paths through the countryside. There were canals and rivers along a lot of the paths and beautiful flields of sheep and cottages along the way too. Jared even enjoyed our journey even though it was all very "quaint" (especially because a bike was involved)!

Our turn around point was at Talybont Reservoir, but we didn't leave right away. It was so beautiful and the temperature had risen to a piping 50 degrees so we had to stay and relax and enjoy the scenery!

We also really enjoyed seeing all the sheep! I don't really think that they say "baa baa" after all. (At least the Welsh ones don't.) I think it's more like "maa maa." At one point Jared wanted to pet them and we stopped and tried to lure the sheep to come over. You should have heard him! He even tried to call them with the chant from the movie "Babe." (Baa Ram Ewe, Baa Ram, Ewe . . . ) When that didn't work he asked them to "Come Follow Me" but that didn't work either. He was disappointed that he didn't get to touch one, but hopefully he'll get an opportunity another time. (I think I made him feel jealous, because one of the sheep did let me touch him.)

On our way back to Brecon we stopped in another village at the local pub. I ate fish and chips and Jared had sausage and chips. I have never even heard of that option on a menu, but it was really good!

All in all, we were gone biking from about 10:30 - 5:00. (So while most of you were sleeping on the other side of the world we were biking like crazy - You snooze, you lose! J/K)
Anyway, it was a beautiful, more relaxing day than some of the others. The only crazy part was that we still returned home exhausted and with sore backsides!

Love you all!