We ended our trip abroad by flying over the Mediterranean Sea to spend our last week in Malta and then Tunisia. Both countries were new to us, and we loved both.
1. Attending church in Malta
2. A challenging hike on Maltese beaches
3. Learning about Maltese History and Culture
4. Many Tunisian Roman Ruins
5. Google Maps
1. Mdina Experience Museum - Knights of St. John -
Our week in Spain included time in Barcelona, Sant Feliu de Guixols, and Tarragona. Our time in Barcelona, was short, only a few hours waiting for the bus to Sant Feliu, during which time we saw the outside of the Sagrada Familia. Our next two towns were delightful, and definitely places to return to if and when we come back. My Spanish held up in a pretty comfortable way, and this time in Spain, we only rented a car for final portion (when we discovered the train tickets from Tarragona to Madrid were all sold out!).
1. Sant Feliu de Guixols and the Costa Brava
2. A weekend with the Franks
3. Spanish Classes for the masses in Tarragona
4. An European amusement park visit at PortAventura
1. Mosquitos at night
The latter half of the cruise included an entire week crossing the Atlantic Ocean before stopping in Madeira, then Casablanca, then Barcelona, with some more sea says in between.
1. Madeira visit to see the Krause Family -
2. Casablanca Mosque visit -
1. Death of passenger -
2. Continuing lousy internet service -
We boarded the MSC Divina in Miami to embark on a 17-day Cruise across the Atlantic Ocean. Nathan and Rachel found the cruise, and booked it, and Tera and I decided that it would be a great opportunity to travel with them, so we joined it as well. Our ports would be in the Caribbean, Madeira, Casablanca and Barcelona, with lots of days at sea. We were excited to be cruising again, especially given the opportunity to travel with Nathan and Rachel.
1. A last-minute temple trip in Puerto Rico
2. Scuba Diving in St. Maarten
3. Canyoneering in Martinique
4. Church attendance in Barbados
1. Denied hiking in Puerto Rico
2. A crazy car ride in Martenique
3. Lousy internet service
The last half of our Jerusalem trip was spent back in Jerusalem and its environs, including the City of David, and the Dead Sea and Masada
Tera attended a semester at the BYU Jerusalem Center back in 1992. I had always wanted to attend there, but my college experience included a trip to Russia for a study abroad instead, which I enjoyed, but there was always a tinge of wistfulness at having missed out on Israel. For our 20th anniversary, Tera and I took a Bountiful Travel bus trip to Israel, and the following year, we took the family on a trip with the Hendersons back to the Holy Land. Both trips were amazing. And fortunately, Tera reconnected with an old friend, who happens to be the chairperson of the BYU Jerusalem Center Alumni association, and she was made aware of an alumni trip to the center, for past students, and we got invited on the trip! The trip included a typical bus tour itinerary, AND it included staying multiple nights in the Jerusalem center proper. A dream came true!
We took a 10-day trip with the alumni students, with Shon Hopkins leading the tour as the faculty member, and April Giddings our fearless alumni association leader. It was the best trip so far, and I'm sure I'll go back to Israel yet again. It calls to those who have been.
1. A Jerusalem Center Experience
2. Gaining perspective and insight that has stayed with me
1. Food poisoning for the masses
2. Airport transportation delay
Tera and Erik and Jacob and Megan took advantage of new non-stop flights from the Provo airport into Nashville and spent spring break on the Wadi Rum goat farm in Dixon, Tennessee. With Emily and Jonathan. We got see a bit into their life of work and school and farming, and helped with all the farm chores, including milking goats, feeding baby goats, collecting duck eggs, letting the chickens and ducks in and out each morning and evening, with a bit of food to boot. Plus we put up some fence, built some goat shelters. A couple of baby goats were born while we there as well.
We went on our 2nd dive trip with our wonderful friends the Winters. In 2022 we had gone to Turks and Caicos together, and this year, we were headed to Curacao. There is a tremendous amount of beach diving to be had, but we’re old, and we like the ease of boat diving, so we found a dive center close to our Airbnb near Jan Thiel beach. Our standard has become travelling on Wednesday, diving on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and going to church then flying home on Sunday. Our dive days start around 9:00 and end around 1:00. Then we go back to the hotel for a light lunch, and some napping and working. We go out to eat together each evening. Curacao did not disappoint, there was great diving to be had, and we even snuck in a hike one afternoon, and another shore dive on another afternoon from the lagoon of the dive resort, and a dinner with the sister missionaries there on the island.
The winter of 2023 brought an enormous amount of snow to the Wasatch and Uinta Mountains, and we were joyful participants. We did at least 3 hikes with sleds, and Tera went snowshowing with her hiking buddies, and we skied both at Sundance and Powder Mountain (for the first time).
So this isn’t much a travel entry, but definitely worth the words. Just a week after we returned home from our semester abroad, we joyfully celebrated the wedding of Nathan and Rachel Madsen. As with Emily, we were gone for most of the wedding planning, and we just got to be there for the food! Both Nathan and Rachel are pianists, and so a big part of the wedding week was a recital of Nathan and friends in the Assembly Hall and Temple Square, and then another recital at the actual reception. We adore Rachel, we’re glad she’s part of our family!