Ancient Skeletons and New Temples
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Our Adventures in Europe
W e’ve reached the start of summer, and I know many people are looking forward to taking a much-needed summer vacation. It’s good to get away for a while and spend time with your loved ones. Just this past spring, my wife and I enjoyed an incredible trip to Europe. various ports in Italy, Spain, and France. I might sound a little biased, but my wife is the best person to bring along when you’re visiting that part of Europe. Marie was born in Spain, grew up in France, and served a two-year mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS) in Italy. She speaks Spanish, French, Italian, and English, and she’s so outgoing, she’s ready to talk to everyone we meet. Marie and I went on a cruise that took us to
Despite the crowds, and the occasional skeleton, it was an incredible trip. There’s so much art and history in the cities and the beautiful countryside. In America, we regard anything older than 100 years as ancient; in Europe, if a building is just 1,000 years old, it’s still basically new! That said, the highlight of the trip was visiting the brand-new LDS temple that opened in Rome at the beginning of this year. We had an excursion with several other people from our church. There was a group of 150 of us making this trip, but my wife may have felt the experience the most deeply. During her mission, Marie was a pioneer in Italy for the church. She invested so much of herself into the people and the community. It was a highly emotional experience for her to see a magnificent temple built in a place she invested so much time in.
“Despite the crowds, and the occasional skeleton, it was an incredible trip.”
We have the best time together. I really liked seeing the Sistine Chapel and learning about how Michelangelo painted that famous fresco, though it was pretty crowded. The Colosseum was also full of tourist crowds, which was a bit of a drawback. One place that wasn’t so crowded was the Catacombs of Rome. The underground burial site is like something out of a horror movie: dark with skeletons hanging on the walls. If you’re ever in Rome, I wouldn’t recommend getting tickets to the Catacombs unless you enjoy being creeped out.
This was a really good break. It was a bit exhausting — with
so many things to see, we were always on the move — but sharing the adventures with people who have similar experiences is highly rewarding. Getting away from home and work for a while, whether you’re on a flight to Rome or a road trip to Mount Rushmore, is always good for you. It’s a chance to take a breath, let your shoulders relax, and spend time with the people you love. I hope this summer gives you the opportunity to have a good break with your family and make some new adventures together. –Walter E. “Pete” Moak
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