Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Alhambra, part 2

The Court of Machuca and Nasrid Palace

Onward and upward in the Alhambra!  This is the outside view of the Nasrid Palace I showed last time, taken from the wall of the Alcazaba.

One more picture inside the Nasrid Palace

The Alcazaba is one of the oldest parts of the Alhambra, and housed their military (you can see the remains of the walls of their quarters to the right). This is the Plaza de Armas, and in the back, the Torre del Homenaje. We were able to climb up onto most of the towers, which gave some pretty cool views (I think this was taken from the Torre de la Vela, or Watchtower).

Through one of the arrow loops (that let you shoot arrows from behind the walls without putting yourself in too much danger of being shot).

Granada from the walls of the Alcazaba

The lovely ladies I was lucky enough to explore with.
Me, Hermanas Coombs, Wilson, and Wiscomb. Great ladies!

The Palace of the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles the V. It is a Renaissance building built to reflect on what a magnificent, important person he was, but was never finished (the roof was finally put on in the late 20th century).

Inside the Palacio de Carlos V (Palace of
Charles V).

Elder Wilson and Elder Coombs headed for the Generalife (Hermana Coombs and Hermana Wilson behind).

Fountains of the Generalife

The Water Stairway which brought water from the Royal Water Chanel for irrigation.

Goodbye Alhambra!  It was a true pleasure.

Monday, November 17, 2014

It's The People Two!

Of coarse I have to include my friends from the MTC. Some I am still in contact with :)  There are the Maynards in front of me, the Bradshaws beside them, the Martins, behind them, and beside me is my companion SisterTilley. Great people!

Also very awesome are the young missionaries that I've gotten to know. Here we are at a baptism that was performed in the beautiful outdoors.

All the Fuengirola missionaries got together Conference Sunday to watch Saturday afternoon's session (because of the time difference) and as a prank all the younger missionaries wore their pajamas over their regular "Sunday" dress. We all had a GREAT time! But no swimming :)

On the "Bullet Train" to Zone conference. I'm glad I went - we had been in a smaller, but fairly far away zone to beef them up a bit, but soon after was switched to the near, but now very large, Malaga Zone.

And at Zone Conference :)

And last, but very far from the least, I'm dedicating the rest of this post to my friends the Castillos, who had their exit interview today and will be leaving tomorrow (although I'll get to see them one last time at the temple in Madrid on Saturday, which I'm very excited about!)

The first two pictures are from our visit with the rest of the office staff to the Jerez Andalusian Horse Riding Academy, where Hermana Castillo and I learned of our shared love of beautiful horses, among many other things.

The weight of the world!  At the Malaga car museum.

Outside the Teatro Cervantes, where they took me to see Los Miserables in Spanish. It was wonderful!

And finally, in Seville at the Alcazar with Hermana Castillo's mom and sisters. They are pretty awesome too!

What can I say about the Castillos? They are some of the best, most genuine, most generous people I know and I will miss them immensely. Goodbye for now, and enjoy those grand babies!  See you on the flip side :)

Sunday, November 16, 2014

It's The People!

L to R The Wiscombs, Deeres, Guffys, me, Hemana Chantrill,
the Castillos, and the Wilsons.
Today I'm going to take a break from the Alhambra and share a bit about what makes a mission so special. As the title says, it's the people!  The above picture was taken at our Senior Conference not long after I got here in Spain, and I've grown to love them all.

Hermanas Castillo, Wilson, Deere,
Annie, and Nielson :)
The Wiscombs and me at the Alhambra.

Going on the large picture, first up is the  Wiscombs, who I get to see fairly often as they come in for Zone conferences. I also got to go through the Alhambra with them (more on that next week). They work as leadership support .

Hermana Deere (in the black blouse) and two of the
 Deere kids, Justin and Annie, with Hermana
 Wilson outside the Malaga car museum.
Next are our awesome Mission President and Sister Deere. I am fortunate that I get to meet with them every week in our office staff meeting, and also get to work fairly often especially with Hermana Deere. She is one awesome lady!  
President Deere doing what he does best -
 helping missionaries (in this case the brand new
 type) feel welcome and teaching them what
 they need to know and do to be successes.

Next are the Guffys. They work with the members in the military over at the naval base in Rota. I haven't seen them too much, but they'll  be coming in next week :)  

Then on the other side of me is my companion Hermana Chantrill. She and I have a great time together. She is working on an absolutely amazing quilt wall hanging for the next people in line, the Castillos, based on some tile work at the Alhambra (the one with me crouched down beside it acting as a sizing reference).

Then there are the Castillos. What can I say about them?  They are amazing people, and great friends, and why this post is occuring now - they will be ending their mission tomorrow and will be greatly missed.  

Finally on the end are "Los Wilsons", another great couple that came to the Alhambra with us. I have absolutely loved getting to know them! They do great work as leadership support too.

The Coombs came later as the much anticipated new office couple, which allowed the Castillos to actually do what they came out to do, which was Mission Nurse and JAS (YSA) support. They fit right in with our group, and have been a great support to both me and the other office staff, and to the missionaries they help daily. 

On to some other fun pictures taken at the Alhambra in Granada.
Hermanas Wilson, Wiscomb,
and Coombs

Elders Wilson and Coombs
The Coombs and H. Wilson (back)
and Elder Wiscomb and me.
The next group that have become my friends are the members of our little Mijas International (English Speaking) Branch. Unfortunately I don't have many pictures of them as I'm not particularly in the habit of snapping photos in church, but there are a few. And I'll try to get more to add. 

This sister is not quite a year old in the gospel - and I've been teaching her temple prep (and piano) lessons to get her ready to go to the temple this next month. I am so excited for her!  She has a amazing story involving escape from Iran (where she is from) and her seach for a Christian church she could believe in. She found the right place!

This is the branch President and his wife (to the left), and the sister who came back into activity a while back and has made GREAT strides (talking to Hermana Chantrill). We're going to the temple together this Friday, which I am very excited for! 

Well, looks like I'll have to break this blog post into two parts too - way too many pictures!  

Sunday, November 9, 2014

The Alhambra! (Part 1)

I think that the hardest part of doing this blog post was choosing the pictures to include from the over 200 I took the day I was at the Alhambra (so you're getting two posts on it). It's magnificent and HUGE!

And I got to explore this great fortress/palace with some great friends, some of the other senior missionaries in the Spain Malaga Mission (shown above, left to right, me, Hermana and Elder Wiscomb, Hermana and Elder Coombs, and Hermana and Elder Wilson).  The Alhambra is probably the most famous of the fortress/palaces in Southern Spain, and, like the others, has a lot of Moorish (Muslim) influence, as well as Christian influence from when Ferdinand and Isabel conquered the area. As soon as we got there we had to hurry over to the Nasrid Palaces as they  give you a specific time to enter, and if you miss it you're out of luck. First up was the Patio de Machuca (with the tile work I think) and the Court of the Myrtles (pictured to the left).

The Nasrid Palaces were built in the early 1300's by the Moors and includes some incredible tile work on the walls. This pattern was a favorite of my friend, Elder Castillo, and he convinced my companion, Hermana Chantrill, to make a QUILT out of this pattern (about the same size I think). Blow it up and take a good look at it - it is really complex, and is taking a lot of thinking, time, and trial and error, although she is having an absolutely great time doing it!
The plaster work on walls, arches, and ceilings (which were also sometimes wooden, like I think the one to the right is) was also absolutely amazing.

Another look at the Court of the Myrtles (so named for the myrtles which would line the pool). The big mass of water helped keep the palace cool, and also was a symbol of wealth and power as there wasn't much water available, so keeping the pool filled was difficult and expensive.
This is the Lion Fountain in the Court of the Lions. It's pretty impressive. It was near here where Granadans claim that Columbus came to his agreement with Isabel and Ferdinand to finance his trip to the "Indies". Of coarse Seville and Cordoba would beg to differ, claiming that privilege for themselves.

Another part of the Court of the Lions. I thought it was pretty cool the way the roofs layered up.

Lots of arches, pillars, and highly decorative walls and ceilings. Once again I was spending much of my time looking up!

This cool domed ceiling was in the Hall of the Abencerrajes, said to be called that because the sultan invited their chiefs to a banquet in this room, and then massacred everyone.

Yet another ceiling highly decorated with plaster.

I just thought all these arches were cool, and they led to the next picture...

About the only surviving stained glass window was installed above the Sultan's throne to shine its multicolored light down him to make him appear more impressive.

Gardens and fountains were all over the place and quite beautiful. This was in a courtyard.

The Church of Santa Maria de la Alhambra (obviously added after the Catholics took over), was built in the mid 1500's.

Nice detail.

And to finish it off, the early 14th century Partal, with its portical and pool.