With all of our research, we didn't have too much time to spend in Barcelona. We had 4 hours in fact. So we hustled into the city by train and started off at the one and only Sagrada Familia. I wasn't too educated or pumped going into it and I thought it was a little expensive, but then when I walked in...I realized why.
It was absolutely different, modern, funky, interesting, compelling, and vibrant. It was a cathedral that did not feel like an innocent bystander of spirituality, but more like an alive, passionate, moving force singing "Hallelujah."
I was actually grateful we got suckered into buy the audio tour guide because it was neat to realize that everything was built for a purpose. The inside columns were meant to look like trees, because Antoni Gaudi believed that nothing could be more beautiful than what God himself created. The doors to the cathedral are covered in leaves. My favorite part was the stain glass. The colors looked like a color wheel from orange to blue and it changed depending on the way the sun would hit it and what sie of the building the window was on. Words can be so ineffective to describe things.
Then, because it was warm and there was a beach...we headed that direction fast. The beach scene was unlike any I have ever been too...that is for sure. There was a gym...a place full of monkey bars and such. All I really know is that it was filled with lots of men in speedo's doing pull ups etc. Then, there were men and women doing sand crawls. Then...the most European thing of all was all of the topless women all around. It was so casually done too, like it wasn't weird and that's what was weird about it. We definetly felt a little overdressed.
The beach was so cold...and SALTY. I've never swam in the Great Salt Lake but I sorta imagine they would be similar. Putting my head under the water was a mistake. SALT EXTRAVAGANZA with my face. But after getting used to the water, we had a blast and it was so easy to float. The salt made for some easy swimming. It was a fun day in Barcelona. And yes...I did listed to the Queen song, "Barcelona" one last time.
Then, we ran to the train to make a quick change to read some more Latin records in Vic. It really was fun to feel like I was understanding the Latin records and gathering information for family lines going back into the 1600's. The archive was a magical place. They gave us our own personal room in the back because of my Professor's condition and our large group. It was an amazing archival experience.
Sariah, Evan, Sonia, me and Marie
Then...the coolest thing that happened from that point...was that Saturday was not only Sariah's birthday but the day we got to come back to France.
Birthday breakfast for the win!
It suprised me how great it was to be able to understand people again. I thought I was bad at French, but it comforted me that I am so much worse at Spanish. I have learned something. It was a refreshing experience.
At 6:00 pm, my Professor's wife, Marie and I went to the church in Bayonne to watch the French Temple Cultural Event or as they said here, the "Spectaculaire!" It was the such an amazing touching event. Even though it was an event with clapping and cheering, the Spirit was overwhelming and I just wanted to ball the entire time!
They started off, reinacting the Le Tour de France, except there were two LDS missionaries riding to try and catch up with the other four bicycles. It was hilarious and everyone was cheering on the missionaries until they eventually got ahead and won the race. Then, they had each stake in France and Belgium do a little presentation about the culture in that area and how it related to the church. It was so special and touching, as the youth danced and showed thier culture heritage. It felt like two worlds, France and the Church were coming together, and I think that's what made it truly monumental. We got to see the kids we met at the beginning of our trip, Adam and Elon in their dance. They ended the program, singing "Glorious" that David Archileta is most famous for singing in French. I was so grateful for all the missionaries that sacrificied, along with the members who have helped grow and strengthen the church in France. It was fun to clap and cheer in the chapel for each performance with all of the members too.
Then, this morning we got to attend the streaming of the Temple Dedication. Elder Anderson, Eyring and Bishop Caussé ran the dedication and gave their talks. My favorite part by far was when they filled in the head stone outside the temple, and they let little kids come up and do it. They won everyone over, including me, with cuteness.
You know you are good friends, when the wierdo dance moves come so naturally!
Lunch outside the cathedral
The beautiful Bayonne
It was our last night together with everyone. We hung out around the city one last time. It was sad to say goodbye. Especially to Sariah, my third roomate and partner in crime. She is going to Italy to conquer some genealogy there, so this was our last picture on the river together!