Several months after our return home, one of our special Italian missionaries traveled to the US for the wedding of another fellow missionary. Francesco DeRuvo is shown here with President and Sister Acerson, and Karen outside the Salt Lake Temple as we gathered for Josh Helding and Amanda Maero's wedding. (Will was taking the picture.) Both Elder Helding and Sister Maero had served in the Rome, Italy mission, along with Elder DeRuvo. In fact, Will was kind of the match-maker for Josh and Amanda. We had come full circle from Utah to Italy to Utah and totally enjoyed the journey.
Canne was our final place to visit. Every morning we enjoyed a french croissant or other yummy pastry, and wandered through the streets looking at the International Film Festival site, along with other interesting shops and stops - always ending up at the beach for a day of sun and relaxation. Toward evening, we would sit on the boardwalk and "people watch" which was a whole new entertainment in itself. We tried out a couple of restaurants and found one that suited us perfectly.
When we first arrived in Canne at our hotel, the man at the desk took one look at Will and commented that the room we had reserved probably needed to be changed to another room just so Will would fit in the bathroom. We laughed, but had to wonder what the first room would have offered, considering the size of the room and bathroom we ended up in. What an adventure! It is all part of European travel.
Will was very impressed with all the high-dollar sports cars lined up along the street. It seemed they had them all.
Four lovely days were spent in Paris. What a treasure trove of things to see. We took our time and enjoyed the Paris Opera House, the Champs Elysees, Arc de Triumph, Montmatre, Louvre Museum, Cathedral of Notre-Dame, and several other interesting places.
Of course, the Eiffel Tower drew us back again and again.
We were only in Madrid for a couple of days. Mainly we wanted to attend the temple there.
We rode the subway to the stop that was supposed to be very near the temple. After ascending out of the subway, the temple was not immediately visible because of the all trees. While trying to decide which direction to go, a total stranger approached us, and said "Tiempo? Tiempo?" And he pointed in a direction. Sure enough, we walked right to the temple.
Venice was a wonder of water canals. We enjoyed seeing the gondolas, as we rode the vaporetto (water bus) down the Grand Canal. The curved Ponte di Rialto (bridge) is a famous landmark, and was completed in 1591.
We toured Basilica di San Marco
and enjoyed "people watching" as we walked through the streets that were on land.
Our accommodations were ever so quaint, with our window opening directly onto the canal.
The bathroom, however, though private, was actually in the hall next to our room.
Of course, you cannot go to Venezia and not buy Murano glass. I purchased a lovely necklace there.
August 13, 2010
When we had completed our mission in Rome, Italy, we were given permission by our mission president to spend 2 weeks touring Venice (which had been out of our mission boundaries), Madrid, Spain to attend the temple, and Paris and the French Riviera in Southern France. We were delighted for this wonderful opportunity.
It was hard to stop at 15. We love Italy! (These are in no particular order) 1. Red poppies 2. Fields of sunflowers 3. Oleander bushes along the roadways 4. Umbrella trees 5. Delicious, many flavored gelato 6. Mediterranean Sea
7. Toll booths and confusing signs 8. Olive trees 9. Grape vines 10. The color purple – like purple bougainvillea 11. People talking with their hands 12. Outdoor markets 13. Marble 14. Apartments 15. Crazy drivers and narrow streets And of course, missionary work
Missionary work is often pronounced SERVICE. Several of us missionaries from our district went out to help “the cat lady” clean her house. That was quite an experience. (Our lady had 20+ cats that she would not allow to go outside her house, and we were cleaning inside her house – ‘nough said!)
We have less photos recently because the ace photographer in our family has been ill.
On 1 July 2010, our new mission president arrived. President and Sister Kelly are super people and we are delighted they are now leading the mission. Here we were greeting them for the first time. Several missionaries from our Zone were at the Villa to sing the “Hymn of Rome” for them to welcome them to the mission. President and Sister Acerson are also in the picture. We love them so much and all they have done for all of us missionaries and for the work of the Lord. What a pleasure to serve most of our mission under their direction. A poignant moment when President Acerson begins to let go and turn these wonderful missionaries over to the care of a new President. The same day our President arrived in Rome, we picked up Terrell and Denise Skinner at the airport. They are good friends from Canada who were just finishing their mission in London, England at the temple. We were just renewing our friendship with them at our apartment, when three former missionaries from the Rome, Italy mission showed up at the apartment. They had come to visit and ended up staying the night before catching their train back to Milano. Francesco DeRuvo (from Italy), Alex Sweat (from Utah), and Arianna Marangoni (from Italy). What a delight to see them again. Terrell and Denise enjoyed the sights and sounds of Rome with us for a week. Denise’s greatest wish however was to swim in the Mediterranean Sea. Denise loved the shopping at the little markets, and also wanted to eat dinner in a sidewalk restaurant in the evening. A good friend from English class, Andrea, invited Will and I to a concert in the countryside outside of Rome. After a drive through a charming tree-lined private estate, we arrived at the Villa Mondragone. The day had been a busy one with our first Rome Zone Conference with our new President. Consequently, we had been at the office working late and had not had an opportunity to return home to get the camera. When we arrived at Villa Mondragone, Andrea and Arianna, his wife, and 18 month-old daughter, Sophia, showed us around the Villa. We were aching to be able to photograph this wonderful place with landscaped courtyards and a fantastic evening view with Rome in the distance. Arianna’s mother was one of the singers at the concert, which was actually the opera: Carmina Burana.” As we sat on the 3rd row from the front, we felt part of the choir, grand pianos, percussion instruments, and soloists. What a grand experience. We felt particularly spoiled to be invited to such a lovely evening with good friends. After all this busy-ness, I just wanted to include a beautiful sunset which we enjoyed coming home from somewhere wonderful!
This past week has been transfer week, so we were anxious to have the sisters over for a last dinner with Sister Stephenson. Angelo, standing next to Will, is a new convert and was receiving a last after-baptism lesson at our apartment after dinner. The “dying dinner” was held at the Mission Villa. This transfer 12 missionaries were returning home after serving an honorable mission. A delicious lasagna dinner was served, complete with salad and tiramisu. Several parents and siblings came to pick up their missionary, so Sister Acerson made dinner for about 35 people. Each transfer, Will makes a "dying DVD" with 20 or so favorite pictures from each missionary that is returning home. It ends up being about a 20 minute slide show of missionary life in Italy. Each missionary receives one of these treasures to take home with them. A highlight of the evening was the singing of the mission hymn. Then we took lots of pictures with those missionaries whom we love so much. What great service they have given to their Savior and to the people of Italy. The missionaries really look up to Elder Sommerfeldt. We thought this silly picture with Elder Stanfield was hilarious. This dying dinner with the missionaries was also the last transfer for President and Sister Acerson to be involved in. What a tremendous duo they have been to lead this mission. A wind-down for us after transfer week was a visit to the beach. Beaches come in two types in Italy: Mostly sandy or mostly rocky. The beach we found on Saturday near Ladispoli had some of both. The sea was sending in good sized waves. We continue to love our experiences in Italy: the missionaries, the people of Italy, the sights and sounds, the delicious food, and this spectacular country. Italy Rome Mission is the best! PS - Did I forget to mention ....... yummy gelato!