Jeff and I, along with baby Lyla, and our good friends Joel and Cindy rented an RV, packed it full of food and clothing, and embarked on an absolute unforgettable road trip. Unforgettable in a good way. Aaaaand in a bad way.
Let's start this beast of a blog post off with a picture of me with my eyes closed. The sun was brutal to me on this trip, as evidenced by the picture below (and others below, unfortunately). Probably because my eyes haven't seen the light of day in what seems like months...
Anyways, our first real stop (unless you include tolls and gas stations) was the almost finished Paris, France temple. We had to get out a snap a picture. Tractor and all.
The temple just so happened to be a few minutes away from our first tourist-y destination: Versailles Palace. This place was ENORMOUS. We could've spent all day there if we had the time. Jeff used to live in Versailles as a kid and actually had a summer pass to the place. He remembers complaining about how BORING it was every time they went. And now, here we are, traveling our guts out and paying money to walk around again. This time instead of complaining, Jeff was listening ever so intently to the audioguide as we looked around in every room. It was really awesome.
some serious selfie action.
This was by far my favorite room that we saw: The Hall of Mirrors.
The inside was ornate and spectacular but the gardens won it for me. Art mixed with nature is just the best of both worlds in my opinion. I love traveling with Jeff because we both just walk next to each other and gasp and mumble adjectives over, and over. We are both quite enamored with this world.
^^Jane asked me if that circular pond was a "big huuuuuge trampoline."^^
Lyla is so in her element when we are outside so she was in heaven while we were walking around those gardens. However, here is a more accurate representation of her whereabouts on this trip. That carseat. Which, by the 4th day, had become her arch nemesis and I SO don't blame her.
The main destination of our trip was the LDS temple in Madrid, Spain. Joel and Cindy are trying to go to all the temples in Europe before they leave and this was one of the last ones on their list. It was the first one jeff and I have been to in Europe, though. It was such a beautiful temple! And the temple grounds were making me snap happy.
Going inside felt like coming home. So warm, and peaceful.
I loved this statue and teared up a little as I thought about how grateful I am that families are forever. "Las familias pueden ser eternal"
I was excited to be in a place where there was a spanish language barrier instead of a german language barrier because I actually took spanish in high school. So I could hopefully use it a little bit. NOPE. I go to open my mouth and ---- literally nothing. I was severely unimpressed with myself. My glory days of AP spanish are nothing but strange and distant memories now.
After the temple we found the only restaurant that was open because apparently they don't eat dinner until 10 pm or something. They brought out meat that looked raw but we all tried it because, obviously, we were trying to be culturally adventurous! 2 minutes after that the waiter brought out a mini hot stone to cook the meat on because YES, it was raw and NO, we weren't supposed to eat it.
The next morning we went to church in a small little town somewhere in Spain. (let's not forget the hours, and hours of bumpy RV driving that takes place in-between these pictures of different places.) We took a little stroll around the neighborhood before church started. Jeff humored me on going out adn walking around as much as humanly possible, even though he would've rather been sleeping. A trooper! He mentioned that he felt like an #instagramhusband when I asked him to pose one more time with Lyla. I reminded him that instagram husbands take picture of their wives. So the tables are actually turned and I am now dubbing myself #instagramwife because I am the one behind the camera. ;)
^^ i thought this was crazy. 5 different types of trees RIGHT next to each other^^
I had to snap a picture of his little packet of sunflower seeds sticking out of his back pocket. Further evidence of the absurd amounts of driving that had been taking place. For Jeff, road trips and sunflower seeds go hand in hand. We walked through this amazing park with outdoor ping pong tables, musicians, an enormous fountain, lots of beautiful greenery, and an ambiance that brightens your soul and puts an extra gleeful stride in your step.
CUUUUUUUUTE. Oh, hi sun!
^ I LOVE this man. He is such a fun travel buddy. ^
Doesn't this make you want to get your hands on some floo powder like ASAP and poof yourself over to this very spot?!
Well if it doesn't yet, wait until you hear about the beach a couple blocks away. The weather was so lovely. 70 degrees and sunny. SUNNY! Not quite warm enough to swim, but warm enough to walk along the coast of the mediterranean. This beach had the most beautiful water, and soft sand.
Some vitamin D and beach vibes are good for the soul, no matter how old you are :) Lyla was so happy.
So we stopped at some awesome places. But the last stop on our list didn't quite deliver in the way we had hoped. After Barcelona, we drove to our next stop in Marseilles, France. We woke up in the morning and realized that Jeff's wallet, Joel and Cindy's iPhones, wallets, AND passports were all stolen out of the RV. You may be asking yourself "well why would you leave all that stuff in there in an unlocked vehicle?" And the answer is- it was locked and we were actually IN the RV. Joel had stepped out to go the bathroom for 5 minutes in the middle of the night and we determined that someone mustve come into the RV during that 5 minute window while we were all sleeping and stolen everything right under our noses.
So instead of doing anything fun that morning, we spent 5 hours giving police reports for stolen items that we all knew we would never see again. My credit card was the ONLY thing we could use to pay for anything since everyone else's cards and cash was stolen. However, Jeff's stolen wallet had a credit card that was a duplicate of the one I had. Which meant they had to freeze my card too. Oh you guys, if only I could convey to you the amount of stress and frustration that this whole ordeal caused. Every time we got to a toll road (which, in France is like every 10 minutes I swear- note to anyone reading this----NEVER drive through France in your own car. Unless you want to spend hundreds on tolls), we had to call our american credit card company on my phone (the only phone not stolen) and ask them to take the hold off for a few minutes so we could pay for the toll. Each time it took like 30 minutes to finally do it. BAHH. Long, long, LONG story short is that we ended up finally, finally getting home at 4:30 am when we had originally planned to get home at around 5 pm. Jeff had work a few hours later.
It was hard. And frustrating. I have to say though, those crazy people who came into our RV and stole our stuff did just that. Stole our STUFF. My baby? Perfectly unharmed. Oh I was sure hugging her extra tight that day (and every day since). We all came home safe and unharmed and for that I am so grateful. I'm also so, SO grateful for a husband who had us all laughing our tears of frustration away multiple times that day. Cracking jokes, looking at the bright side, and making us all laugh when all we wanted to do was strangle thin air. What a guy. What a trip. One that will not soon be forgotten! Joel and Cindy have been such amazing examples, and friends, to us and we are SO sad they are moving soon. This was our last hurrah and unfortunately the last hurrah had to end with the loss of passports, phones, money, credit cards, and car keys. BOO on you, thieves of the world.