Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Touring through Copenhagen, Denmark and the flowers!

We left Belgium and are now headed to Copenhagen, Denmark.  It is late
April so we are hoping to see the tulips in bloom.  As we drove along the
frontage road to access the freeway, we saw a unique sight along the roadside.
If you have garbage, see if you can make a basket!  What a clever way to
encourage disposing of you trash responsibly.

Another fun sight along the freeway was this tanker truck.  As you may or may not know,
Grandma's  name before she became a Roberts was Schenk.  Our ancestors came from
the German part of Switzerland and before that Germany.  Most Americans with the name
Schenk do not spell it SCHENK so anytime I see the correct spelling I have to assume
it is a relative.

We are in the middle of the large city of Copenhagen and there are bicycles everywhere.  They
pretty much have the right of way.  We are at a stop light waiting for all of them to pass.

Now for the tulips, daffodils, crocus, and any other spring flower that you can think of.  It
is absolutely breath-taking to see these large fields of flowers blooming.

And of course, a windmill surrounded by tulips.  How Danish can you get.

What would it be like to wake up in the morning and see this huge field of Daffodils right
outside your window.

We then went to a gigantic garden (probably 15 times bigger than Thanksgiving Point.)  It was
very cold so we brought blankets with us because we didn't have anything very warm to wear.
We walked and walked and everywhere were fantastic displays of flowers.

Pink Tulips

Yellow Tulips

Every color imaginable.

They had ponds, bridges, swans, and the flowers were artistically designed.

Yes, definitely a "thumbs up" day for both of us.

More Orange Tulips.

Such a beautiful Mallard who really thought he owned that small pond of water.

Here's Grandma just goofing around.   

So then Grandpa out needed a turn.

As we left the Gardens we drove to an area that still has original, working windmills. 

Okay, so this is really a postcard, but I thought it was so beautiful I cheated.
What a wonderful week we had in Belgium and Denmark to finish our mission.
Tomorrow we head to the airport to see if we can get ALL of our luggage on the
plane.  That will be another story I'm sure.

Touring Belgium (Bruges, Mechelen, Brussels)

Entering the historic city of Bruges.  It dates back to the 15th century.  We are crossing a
draw brigade that is raised continually throughout the day for boats to cross.

A very Old European feel to the city.  The bicycle is a very common mode of transportation.
The stores are not restored--just very old.

We are in a huge city plaza that is full of different shops and eating places.  It's much like a
summer celebration but it is a daily occurrence here.

We went on a river boat ride to see all of the old historic buildings.  I thought this beautiful
swan was so picturesque.

A sample of the old buildings.  People still live in them and real estate is very expensive here.

This old, beautiful building is in the middle of the plaza in a town called Mechelen.  We were
on a quest to find Great Grandpa Khulmann's grave site.  He lived in this area and was the
first Branch President for the church in Brussels.

Mechelen looks similar to all of the towns in this area.  It is very old with many, many
bicycles and a few cars.

Here we are driving through the countryside trying to find the old cemetery.  It's supposed to
be just around the corner.  We couldn't find his grave but the following picture is a sample of
what the cemetery looks like.  After so many years, unless there is a family to pay for the
grave site, the graves are emptied and used again by others.  We searched some records they
had but to no avail.  Unfortunately, the records office we needed was closed.

We found some interesting information, however.  Grandpa Kasper Kuhlmann worked in a factory
and was killed in a chemical explosion.  The factory we found in this area is a sugar factory.
And we know from growing up in Nyssa, Oregon, that if the sugar accumulates it can cause
an explosion in the silos.  We are surmising that perhaps that is what happened to him.

This is what is left of the old sugar factory.  It is no longer used for processing sugar beets.

City Mechelen

We returned to Brussels and spent a fun time touring this beautiful city.
The huge buildings are so intricate and amazing.  A picture does not do
them justice.  And the sights go on block after block.

It's amazing that these buildings survived WWII.  There were opera singers in the open court
yard singing for coins.  

Belgium is the birthplace for French Fries (I stand corrected.  They are NOT French Fries
they are POTATO Fries from Belgium!)  The fries cost $4.00 and you had to pay extra
for ketchup.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Leaving Cape Town

Elder and Sister Henderson were the Mission Couple in the office.  They are from Hooper, Utah
and were a great help to us.   

President and Sister Wood of the Cape Town Mission.  Wonderful, intelligent, caring
couple.  They were a great inspiration to us.  They were from Alaska.

A desire of Elder Robert's from day-one.  He had to at least get behind the wheel of
a local taxi.  They drove crazy and were definitely one of the great obstacles on
the road in Africa.  The vans were packed to the hilt and it was not uncommon to
hear of a terrible accident where there were many fatalities.

The night before we left had one of the most spectacular sunsets of all.  We went for one last
walk on the beach and the views were amazing.

A long, long drive to Johannesburg.  Africa is a HUGE place.

We have arrived in the country of Lesotho.  It is located in the middle of South Africa and is
an independent country.  It used to be the headquarters for the Zulu Tribal Leaders.  They were
the Africans that would run for miles barefoot.  They were ferocious warriors and dominated
for many, many years.

Just a sampling of small town life in Lesotho.

Horse and wagon is a very common mode of transportation in Lesotho.
We made it to Johannesburg.  These are two of our very favorite sisters that
we worked with in the Area Office.  Lee Herbert and Thoba Karl Halla.

We just stopped by to say a fond farewell.

One last shot of Johannesburg.  The streets are all cleaned daily by women using brooms and
dust pans.  If they modernize to a street sweeper, then imagine the large amount of jobs that
would be lost.  That is African thinking.  Maybe they are more right than we are.  But I wonder
who in America would have enough humility to accept a job as a street sweeper?
Halleluja!  A finished example of many hours of hard work.  Elder Roberts estimates that
there should be over 200 signs pointing the way to the LDS Church across South Africa
when the project is completed.  The greatest example of "Persistence Overcomes Resistance!"

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Exploring with the Elder and Sister Harris

Ann and Morgan Harris called from Kenya and wondered if we were
up for a little fun for the week-end.  They were coming to town and could
use a guide, etc.  So we started with a trip to The Cape of Good Hope.
This time we actually climbed the mountain to see the lighthouse at the top!
What a view.  It was a 360 degree sight and there was not a cloud in the sky.

Can't you just hear Grandpa as he yelled, "Su-u-u-s-an.  I'm up here!"  What a ham.

There were 12 to 15 ostriches along the road as we traveled to the Cape.
Of course we stopped to see the penguins again.  It was very cold and windy so this was a quick
stop this time.

Next on our tour was a stop at Table Mountain.  We had decided to forego this adventure, mainly
because Grandma does not like tram rides, but the peer pressure was fierce so up we went.  It was
really quite a sight from the top.  Even better than the sight from the lighthouse.

Can you get a feel?  Down below is all of Cape Town and beyond.

These are the NEW 7 Wonders of the World.  Seven more places for 
dad to put on his famous bucket list.  That list is endless and 
growing everyday.

A beautiful picture of Table Mountain from the ship.  We are now traveling to Robin Island.  That
is the infamous place were Nelson Mandela and many others were imprisoned for years because
of Apartheid.  They were all released in 1993.

The prison.

Nelson Mandela's cell for 27 years.

Our guide was actually a prisoner for many years while Mandela was there.  Sister Harris asked,
"Isn't it rather hard to return to the island and be a guide?"  His answer, "Not when you need a job."

The ride home (about 25 minutes) was awful.  Some were throwing up with sea-sickness.  We think
the crew all had dates and were in a hurry to get home.  We flew across the waves, crashing down
with such force you felt your insides were going to crash out onto the floor of the boat. 

We returned home to a beautiful sunset tonight.

We will miss the ocean when we leave this paradise.

The next morning was Sunday and we enjoyed the view from our balcony as we witnessed a
church leader baptizing some of his flock out in the ocean.