The lighthouse at Formentor, Mallorca

The background shows sidewalk tiles - "rajoles" - that pave the sidewalks throughout Barcelona. They were designed by architect Puig i Cadafalch for the entryway of a home. Since 1915, they have been used by the city to pave sidewalks, and have become emblematic of the city. One of the city's most famous chocolatiers, Enric Rovira, produces chocolate bars in the shape and design of these tiles.

Friday, August 27, 2010

August Zone Conferences Continued: the northern circuit

Having completed zone conference in Barcelona, Hospitalet, Valencia and Palma, the following week we traveled up north for the Vitoria Zone Conference. Since this part of the mission is still new to us, we decided to spend an extra day and see some the areas we had not yet visited, so we drove up on Monday with the Ayudantes (we are grateful to Elder Raban who is able to help with the driving - hopefully Elder Southwick's international driving permit will arrive shortly!).

Lunch at a rest stop somewhere in Aragón

We left a little after noon (we had staff meeting in the morning) and it is about an 8 hour drive to Vitoria. by the time we checked in at the hotel and parked the car, the day was pretty much over. Vitoria is a beautiful city, filled with parks and wide boulevards, and is immaculately clean.

Looking from the hotel room across one of the many parks of Vitoria - the cathedral in the background

 The Vitoria Zone posing outside the chapel

Elders Raban and Southwick showing off their Ayundate skills - taking a foto with everyone's cameras! 

The Vitoria Sisters: Hnas. Camarero and Ruz (Bilbao), Hna. Hinckley, Hnas. Church and Culverwell (Pamplona)

After the zone conference in Vitoria we drove up to Bilbao where the Ayudantes spent a day working with the zone leaders. We drove over to Santander and visited Elders Hardcastle and Johnson, had a wonderful lunch with them, then returned to Bilbao for the night.

Delivering a new case of Books of Mormon to Elders Harcastle and Johnson in Santander

I got a brief morning run in while in Bilbao - it is a beautiful city and seeing the famous Guggenheim Museum in the flesh (or in the titanium) was amazing!

Taken with my cell phone during my morning run in Bilbao!

We took the long way home on Thursday. Being so close to Guernica, we felt like we needed to see this famous site (and teach the Ayudantes a little bit about Spanish history and culture), we we took a little detour up into the coastal mountains.

Guernica in 1937 and in 2010 (with the Ayudantes)

Picasso's famous painting of Guernica, now housed at the Reina Sofia in Madrid

From Guernica we drove to San Sebastian to visit Elders Cepeda and Pynes. Unfortunately, we could find no parking in the neighborhood, so made a quick visit while we left the car double-parked and neglected to take a camera with us... San Sebastian is considered by some to be the most beautiful city in Europe. It certainly is built around one of the most scenic bays.

San Sebastian

From San Sebastian we headed down to Pamplona where we visited with Hnas. Church and Culverwell. This is a great city with a great ward and two great Hermanas!

 Weekly planning with Hnas. Church and Culverwell in Pamplona

It was a long drive home - 12 hours - but we were able to see several of our missionaries and the cities and areas where they work. Northern Spain is beautiful! Green mountains running along the Atlantic coast, beatiful cities, and wonderful members and missionaries! The zone conference was wonderful, the missionaries are experiencing miracles, people are getting baptized! We are so glad to have this as part of the Spain Barcelona Mission!


  1. Glad to have it as part of our Mission, once again!!

  2. Great post! I love it when you include some culture, history, and magnificent photos. Many thanks.