But before any of that began, there was breakfast. Yummmmmmm! You'll never believe me but I actually lost 10 pounds on our vacation. And I attribute it directly to our Danish breakfasts. I had no idea that eating so much food that early in the morning could be so very, very healthy for you.
And the Kong Arthur knew how to put on a spread. We had a busy day ahead of us and a goal of leaving the hotel at 9AM sharp. So that meant many of us were hitting the breakfast table at 7:30AM. When we entered the sunny atrium, we always had a waiter or waitress greet us and ask our room number. I figured they just wanted to make sure we were actual guests at the hotel (you know, they could figure out if 10 people said they were from room 220 that somebody was lying and they would find the perpetrators and kick them out). In fact, that was the only reasonable explanation because we knew that breakfast was free with our stay. Dad had arranged all of our hotels and having breakfast included was an important budget-saving part of our plan.
The food was delicious and filling that morning and I was actually starting to enjoy eating cucumbers and tomatoes on my open-faced sandwich each morning. Plus, I was drinking in our location. I believe now that if I could eat on a table spread with white linen every morning that I might actually turn into someone respectable.
Despite the beautiful atmosphere though, we did hurry ourselves through breakfast. I was bunking with Mom and Dad and Cassie and I knew that meant that Mom and Dad would be clearing out of the room by 8:30AM if they really wanted everyone in the car by 9AM. And I was right!
We got to the front desk and the rest of the group started trickling in to the lobby, turning in keys and settling the bills for each room. But the price of the rooms seemed a bit excessive to everyone and Dad started reviewing the itemized list of charges. He discovered that hotel had tacked on a charge for each person for breakfast each day. And that breakfast was expensive. $50 a person a day. And while I have waxed poetic about their breakfasts here, I certainly was unprepared to spend that much money for a morning meal. We all were going to have to eat this unplanned-for expense (pun intended).
That is until we got Dad--the Most Fiscally Responsible Adult Alive, Bar None--on the job. He had guaranteed us a free breakfast and he was positive he had verified that with the hotel months before. But they weren't just going to take his word for it. So, what did our mighty leader do? He produced hard evidence.
Out of his black bag, he pulled the hotel confirmations and emails for every hotel on our trip. Meticulously organized, no less. He quickly located the Kong Arthur section of these papers and pulled out an email sent months before from one of the desk managers at the Kong Arthur verifying that our group of 16 would be staying for two nights and that BREAKFAST WAS INCLUDED. Free of charge.
The manager's face fell when he realized that the hotel had just eaten a $1600 charge. Oh, baby.
You gotta love Dad. Totally in his element. And totally making our day. He saved our bacon and we got it for free that day!
After our rescue from these unexpected charges, we were popping each other on the back and grinning wide. What a way to start the day. We made it out of the hotel a smidgen past 9:00AM and loaded up the vans.
Our first destination of the day: The Copenhagen Denmark Temple.
We entered the address of the temple in our trusty navigation system and headed off. The drive was only about fifteen minutes, but when we reached the location that the navigation system led us to there was no temple in sight and the neighborhood didn't look right to Dad.
We were lost.
We pulled the vans over on the street and The Ones Who Read Maps (Dad, Ric, Rus, Adam) put their heads together and consulted.
That didn't get us anywhere.
So, here we sat in the middle of our second pickle of the day already. What would we do?
While the rest of us fretted and snoozed and applied lipstick, Spencer pondered. And thought deep and good thoughts. And in the midst of his deep thinking (and with his razor-sharp eyesight) he glanced out the window of the van and what did he see? Two missionaries walking straight towards us.
We were saved. For the second time in less than an hour. The missionaries were very kind and very, very helpful. They gave us minute and detailed instructions for how to reach the temple. They just pointed around the corner.
For yes, we were not more than half a block away.
What made this temple so interesting to all of us was the fact that when Dad was in Denmark as a missionary in the late 60s, this building had been the chapel. Thirty years later the Church converted it in to the first temple in the land of Denmark.
The plaza in front of the temple was beautiful. The grounds were serene and quiet and welcoming. We spent several minutes taking loads of pictures and then we sat and enjoyed just being there.
And then people started getting all romantic and thinking about when they were married just because we were at the temple. These two especially.
And wanting their pictures taken together.
Some were more serious than others.
And then the oh-so-important group shot.
And then more couple shots next to the plaque at the front of the temple.
See the name of the Church in Danish there. Who can pronounce it? Who?
This shot was more of the "who is the only child left at home" shot. Really, what is everyone laughing about?
Then the couple-that-sings-together-stays-together.
And I'm not quite sure what to say about this one. He who flits and fleets and fleetly flies?
He certainly had the flitting part down. Much to Jenny's consternation.
And where was the couple picture of little old me and my Prince Charming? Let's just say, I'm still accepting applications for that position. AND IT HAS NOT BEEN FILLED. (Anyone can apply. No white horse needed. All applications given serious consideration. Position needs to be filled immediately.)
After the couple shots were completed, things got a little crazy. Actually, a lot crazy for a day that was supposed to be worshipful and quiet and reverential.
'Cause people started walking like the Egyptians. For no apparent reason at all.
These two blonde and beautiful girls, otherwise known as my sisters, were getting just a little bit funky and dancing to the beat of some drum that nobody else could hear.
That is, we thought no one else could hear.
Until Julie came along. And the spirit of that music seemed to carry her away. Although, she seemed to be hearing more of Superwoman theme--as demonstrated by her excellent flying skills.
And the blonde-and-beautifuls just weren't quite sure what to do with that interruption.
So, they passed off the dance floor to the funkmeister himself, Mr. Russell Clinton, of "the running man" fame.
I digress, I digress. Shhh! Everyone listen.Simmer down. Fold your arms, zip your lips, and sit still.
Let's get back to the business at hand. The temple. It really was a very beautiful spot to be in on our first Sunday in Denmark. The sun was shining, there was just the slightest breeze that day. And we had survived quite a morning so far.
So, some of us took naps. (Have I mentioned yet that this one has narcolepsy? Yes, you will see a few more photos of Matt sleeping his way through the trip.)
We just couldn't seem to get enough of this lovely spot.
And we even got Dad to tell us some stories about his time here. Which was really the reason we kept lingering.
Eventually though, it was time to go. Church services were beginning very soon in the new chapel down the street.
So, we headed down the block.
To the new chapel.
This chapel was on residential street and except for this sign that Mom was standing in front of we would have missed it.
Of course, we had to take pictures.
Once we walked inside the chapel though we realized that the main congregational meeting wasn't starting for two more hours. We had time on our hands. The perfect time to go find the mission home.
So, we packed back into the vans and went searching again for another address.
And this is what we found. The mission home where Dad lived for several months on his mission.
And why did he live here? Well, I had heard my whole life about when he was "in the office" as a missionary. So, I assumed that meant he worked in the office like handling finances, or cars, or something. And that is what I continued to believe as I stood across from this tall, white home.
I've been on a mission. I know that missionaries who spend a significant amount of time working with the president and in the office are usually assistants to the president (read junior executives and peer leaders).
But Dad always referred to it more obliquely as "working in the office."
So, as he stood there telling us more stories about his time in this place as a twenty-year-old kid, it suddenly dawned on me that he had been an assistant to the president while he was here.
It just took me thirty years of hearing those stories for it to finally sink in.
He would certainly rather downplay his role in any walk of life rather than exaggerate it. Even if he brings a crew of 16 of us across an ocean and several countries to tell us his little story of "working in the office."
He's a man who likes to let his actions speak louder than his words.
But modesty or no, he's got eight kids who are happy to call him "Dad." And willing to shout about his goodness in the process.
Day 4 (Part Deux) is coming soon. There's church to attend (with someone who sings extra loud), and a lunch experience that will curl your hair (at least your nose hair) and a record-breaking number of van stall outs. So, keep your eyes peeled for more exciting times to ensue.
Read the rest of the journey: