Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Europe 2017 with the Louds

Two weeks ago, my mom invited me on an amazing trip to visit my sister and her fam in London for a 11 day vacation (turned into 12 days bc of returning delays)! It was a trip of a lifetime with hundreds of pic (no exaggeration.) So I understand if you just scroll through the pics :) so yeah let's get started!

First, off, a HUGE thanks to Chase for holding down my job and the kids (while accomplishing/putting his job and schooling on the back burner) and getting everything done! He turned to his mom three or four times, but otherwise was a solo act. Thank you, too, Julie!! And i'm super super proud of Chase for being a superhero for twelve days while I let my hair down! 

It was a really growing, great trip. I was able to have a great time with my family, grow as a wife, grow as a mom, and feel rejuvenated with all that has been stressing and weighing me down the last couple months. With Garrett's death, my life has had serious blues and this trip helped me feel more healing and feel like my happy self more than ever. I've been back four days and it seems to be continuing! This Europe 2017 trip was truly perfect (minus the travels home with delays and 36 hours of airplanes and sitting in terminals!)
So on to the pics. 
My mom and I met up in Newark! We traveled to London from there, and let the pic taking begin.

On day one, we went to an amazing old English estate, Audley End. 
It had gardens, estate walk-through, servant quarters, and stables to learn about. We felt as if we walked back in time to Downton Abbey.

The niece and nephew had school off this week! They love Audley End, and have visited many times but still wanted to go back. I loved traveling and learning with them. They are serious smarties!

Then that evening we went to eat at Toby Carvery. It was a Thanksgiving type feast, good priced, and greater company!

The next day we traveled the 2.5 hour drive to Stonehenge. 
I learned tons about the 5,000 year old henge and felt my heart race as we walked the mile journey through the rolling green hills after the museum. I love that feeling when you see an iconic landmark you've always read about or seen in the movies. It's so cool for me to finally be there. I never feel like these places are overrated and I love seeing them. Stonehenge was one of those places. 

It was secluded with greenery, rolling hills, crows, and sheep everywhere. Truly picturesque.

The sheep with the kiddos.

We then had the 2.5 hour drive home. My sister (who is pregnant and a true trooper- bc at this stage in my pregnancy, I am often debilitated and in a toilet bowl) had a migraine by the late afternoon and I drove home. On the LEFT side of the road. On the RIGHT side of the car. For 2.5 hours in the heavy traffic and roundabouts going the wrong way to my American mind. It was intense!! But super fun to try the new/wrong way. 

And the next day we took a weekend trip just us three girls to SPAIN! 
My mom found a great hotel near Sol (the Times Square of Madrid). 
It was an awesome location, VERY loud at night, and our little home away from home.

The view from our balcony!

That first day we toured Retiro Park (the Central Park of Madrid. And my fav place there! It was full of lakes, statues, performers, playgrounds, benches, shops, food, history, and tranquility!)

Puerta d'Alcala
It faces the entry to downtown Madrid.

The San Anton Market

The next day was Sunday. 
Chase and I watch a lot of travel shows (some are specifically food travel shows.) I tried the famous Spanish Jamon Iberico. It tasted fine and like ham, but I couldn't get over the texture and how it was raw and cut right off the leg right in front of you.

We then headed off to 9 AM sacrament meeting. I love going to sacrament in a different language, singing the hymns, and feeling the same spirit of God in another part of the world!

After church, we visited the Sunday flea market in Madrid, El Rastro.
It was the best flea market I've ever been too. I may have bought three rings and Chase always tells me to stop buying rings as my souvenirs, haha, I only have ten fingers. 

We then found the best Mexicana restaurant and we were tempted to go back there every day after. I loved it and the price and the find!

After the flea market, we headed to the LDS Madrid temple. The Spirit, conversations, and beauty was the best. This Sunday was my fav full day of the whole trip. The whole day was just perfect!

Then we found a whole clan of missionaries leaving the mission home. They invited us to come hear them sing! I videoed them so that their moms and girlfriends back home could find them on instagram with #spainmadridmission and I personally heard from 6 families that said thank you for sharing their missionary with them live! I would have loved instagram when Chase was a missionary! But I also cherish our snail mail and cassette tapes! Old school! Hearing the missionaries was a sweet moment. The music and message was beautiful! Thank you, missionaries.

Then prego had to find a bathroom asap. We trespassed in a stake center and found the baños !

One of our many metro rides. My sis was reluctant to travel the Schroedter way through Europe but she survived. And we carried her 10 lbs bag that included a pharmacy, library, and bank all in there. We all made sacrifices for each other. 
And Taylor remind us and Shelby how good we have it this time around. Since we ate like church mice our last Europe trip with mom. JK mom!! You're the best!

Sunday night we found this delicious Japanese restaurant, UDON, and had killer ramen!

The next day was Tour Bus day!! We rode both line 1 and 2 and spent an 80 min and 65 min rides seeing the city and learning about the monuments, plazas, and palaces. We jumped off and hopped on a few times at different places and had a great day. 

And this produced my fav pic of the whole trip- this was the coldest day of our trip and it was super freezing. And Shelby and I are mid-laughing at my mom's desperate attempt to stay warm! I love how not vain and genuine both my mom and sister are- they are the best! 

And a little collage I put together of my mom on tour buses in Rome (hot), Madrid (cold), and London (rainy). Her self-preservation in all its glory!

Madrid flag as big as a Texas flag!

I love the details of this city building that says "Refugees Welcome" if you look close! Warmed my heart!

The Royal Palace of Madrid!

The Catedral de la Almudena that is connected to the Royal Palace

Inside the Cathedral, the details of the door, and the Crypt underneath!

Tried to get this magical view of the city. Kind of washed out!

The Plaza de Mayor and the sand lady in the corner

Our hotel room!! Three twins. Perfection! Where we took breaks for prego, played cards, watched The Crown, and talked all night (aka asleep by 9 most nights and awake throughout the night with ppl partying on the street).
Our lovely bathroom with its overflowing shower and bidet!

The famous Prado Museum! 

Freaking my mom out in Sol on the grates!

Our last pic in Madrid as we headed back to the airport. 
Catedral: San Jerónimo el Real

Airport wait! Ryan Air is killer awesome!

And my fav quote from the trip from my mom: "You know, I should be the boss. But Shelby thinks she's the boss. And Marissa is the one that actually is the boss." #likeaboss

Back in London (Chelmsford) and walking these kiddos to their cute British school the next morning in their cute uniforms and bags with keychains!

On our last day in London we went into the city and got some tourist pics, went to lunch with Josh, and felt the energy of the city!
The London Eye.

Big Ben
(even though my sister trying to get me to call it Elizabeth Tower. I will not. I will be with the bandwagon of the world.)
Big Ben is the nickname for the Great Bell of the clock at the north end of the Palace of Westminster in London[1] and is usually extended to refer to both the clock and the clock tower as well.[2][3] The tower is officially known as Elizabeth Tower.

That bridge from Harry Potter. That's what I call it.

Lunch at the foodtrucks with Dr. Loud!

and that's it for Europe pics!! Now to show the Utah pics while I was gone!

It's great to see that the kids have bonded even more with Chase 
and how awesome he did as a one-man show!

Family prayer when I got home and look at how Sawyer now joins in. They start off kneeling and then end up laying down. Kids!

Reunions are so sweet!!!

Now back to reality! Our facility is open and has city approval and tenants and flowing traffic! My kids, my job, my church calling, my friends, my bros, my in-laws, and this wonderful life. 


Marissa Anderson said...

Love it!! Thanks for documenting our trip. Thanks for taking all the pictures that we didn't enjoy then but love now!!

Marissa Anderson said...

mom- my account is signed onto your phone somehow. let me call you.

Shelby Alisa said...

I LOVE THIS POST!!! So awesome!

Kina Lambert-Anderson said...

Not sure how I'm just now reading this... But, loved it! It looks like it was so much fun. Girl trips are the best! And, I totally agree about Stonehenge. I thought it was mystical and magical when I saw it too. We have to all travel together sometime. It'd be a blast!!!