Monday, July 6, 2009

European Tour 2009 - Day 3

Sunday began typically--getting ready for church. On the plus side, I only had to get myself ready. And, as an added bonus, we were on time--even early. It happened to be their Stake Conference, so we went to their stake center and watched a broadcast from London.

It was raining as we left the church and we headed back to the flat to eat lunch and change our clothes. Our first stop was the Preston Temple. It was beautifully situated. It shares property with the MTC, distribution center and a church. Unfortunately the gates were locked and we were unable to walk the grounds. We still took a few pictures from outside the gates.

From the temple we went to Preston (the temple, although called the Preston temple, isn't actually in the city of Preston). We went to the city center and walked around a bit. We then continued to walk to a beautiful park that is next to the Ribble River. These places are all significant church history sites. As far as Preston goes as a city, it impressed me as the first really dirty place we visited. Everything else had seemed quite pristine up until then. Of course, as soon as we left the central parts of the city for the park, that all changed.

Preston's town square--a place from which the Mormon missionaries would preach and the Preston is also the English town in which the church first took root

Talented Preston citizen trying to make a buck--or a pound

A Japanese Garden within the park

Within the Japanese Garden there is this small monument documenting Preston as the place where the first Latter-Day Saints in Great Britain were baptized

A view from the bridge in the Japanese Garden

A view of the Ribble River where the first Latter-Day Saints in Preston were baptized

The path along the river

Another view of the Ribble River from the bridge

Okay. After we left Preston we drove to what became one of my favorite sites in England and even the whole trip. We went to a town called Downham. I can't really describe Downham and do it justice. Even the pictures are not good enough. It was like stepping back in time. If I could have erased the cars from the village, it would have felt even more authentic. It feels so removed from everything and so still. There is more than one route into the village, but we took a small sheep road in, which, I think, added to the experience. They have a small visitor center there (more like a shed with a few pictures on the wall) where we were able to get a little information. After leaving the visitor center, a man approached Brother and Sister Hafen who were wearing their missionary badges. He was a member of the church who was also visiting. He told us that there was a point in time when nearly every citizen in Downham converted to the LDS church and left England to cross the plains. It is now owned by a Lord Clitheroe who is extremely strict about its current inhabitants. The guidelines which must be followed in order to live there help it retain its authenticity (I am prepared to make any sacrifice necessary so that I can live there). Apparently it is used on occasion as a film location (I swear I recognized it the other night in the most recent episode of Poirot!). Pendle Hill is also nearby.

Sheep grazing in a field enclosed by a beautiful stone wall

I took A LOT of pictures of benches--this one in Downham being one of my favorites

One view of Pendle Hill

Some of the buildings in Downham

St. Leonard's Church--the tower dates to the 15th century but other parts of the church date back even further

A door on the church grounds

Inside St. Leonard's

One of the stained glass windows

The church's organ, which sat above the congregation in an alcove

View from the church

Downham Post Office

Yet another view

A house in Downham

The road and another example of the stone walls


Another house in Downham

We had a great and relaxing day. It was, once again, more than enjoyable to see things that are off the beaten track.

Things we ate today: crumpets; sandwiches; fruit; lamb; Yourshire Pudding; potatoes and peas; red pepper sauce with cream cheese and crackers (this stuff is seriously so good that I wish I could eat it this instant. I have since obtained the recipe and served it to my family on the 4th of July where it was a big hit.).

I learned a lot about church history today. And I think I know where we will retire.


Jessica said...

It sounds amazing. The only thing that makes me anxious about traveling to amazing countries is that I would have to eat. All of the foreign food sounds a little to scary for me. Maybe I'd be willing to suffer through it to live in such a beautiful place.

easleyfamily said...

I love this place :) Never been, but the pix are amazing...if we ever go, we want to go with you as our tour guide! :)

Bridget said...

What a great day of Church History. Please post the yummy recipes that you found.

Linda said...

What a great day! Love the pictures and I want to go there too!

Tina Clark said...

Really - I can still imagine hanging out in the cemetary at that old church! The view was amazing - thoroughly loved it - very saddened to think that perhaps I may never be there again. Hmmm . . . I'm going to go post the for sale sign in front right now!