2016 Vacation: Temple Square, Salt Lake City, Utah

I mentioned back before the trip that I hoped to find the birth record of an ancestor while I was in Salt Lake City. I figured it wouldn’t take that long, but it ended up taking about three hours. Alex is very patient. I may have found the record (we do know that the birth date and the first three letters of the surname match what I know about the ancestor), but it’s in Russian and I don’t speak Russian.

Afterwards, we spent a few hours in Temple Square, which seems much larger than I think it actually is. Officially, Temple Square is ten acres, which is three times the size of Main Plaza here in San Antonio. However, just outside what I think is the official Temple Square is a reflecting pool and then there is another probably ten-acre parcel with other buildings on it. At any rate, the other parcel looks to be the same size as Temple Square.

Since we came in from the Family History Library, we, of course, approached through the Temple Street entrance, in between the Assembly Hall and the Tabernacle. There are so many trees in Temple Square now that the impact of the Tabernacle is somehow lost. I was very taken by the Assembly Hall, though, and took lots of pictures.

We walked around the fence around the Temple (not being Mormon, we didn’t have, erm, a prayer of getting beyond that fence) and discovered a reflecting pool and, beyond that, office buildings for the church, the Joseph Smith Memorial building (which used to be the Hotel Utah) and a fountain (see image). Even farther on, you find the two homes of Brigham Young, the Lion House and the earlier Beehive House, both named for sculptures that are part of their architecture. The Lion and Beehive Houses were designed by the same architect who designed the temple itself.

Salt Lake City Temple and Fountain, 2016
The front of the Salt Lake City Temple silhouetted behind the fountain, 2016

The temple points “towards Jerusalem,” which means east. I once looked up the shortest possible distance from my home to Mecca and found that I would have to face northeast (more or less), so I suspected that was true of the temple and Jerusalem, as well. And it is. The temple should, technically, face northeast. But that’s not the actually odd part. No, the odd part, to me, at least, is that the temple is on the eastern edge of the square, so that when you approach the temple from the square itself, you are walking up to the back of the building. I wonder how many non-Mormon businesspeople and tourists staying at the Hotel Utah looked out of their hotel room window and had similar thoughts.

A Tumblr!

After a couple of months of dithering, I started a Tumblr today. I’m not sure what the posting schedule will be, but I’ll be posting pictures that I take on my various trips around and outside of San Antonio there. I’m beginning with a picture that I took from the airplane as we landed in Salt Lake City.

Now to see if I can figure out how to add the Tumblr widget to the home page of this blog . . . .

I’m Back from Vacation

And I only cracked a National Geographic open once.  I’d better get going on that.

It was a great trip, even if I did end up spending quite a lot of it behind the wheel of a car.  I’m not a huge fan of driving, but I figured I could handle a couple of days of long-haul driving. I totally underestimated the size of Yellowstone. You could drop San Antonio in the middle of the park and there’d still be about 19 miles in every direction left over. So, yeah.  I spent a *lot* of time behind the wheel of the car.

I did take nearly 700 pictures, though. Well, since I was driving for quite a lot of the time, Alex took probably one in five as my agent. I’d say, “Ooh! That’s pretty/interesting/whatever! Get a picture of that!” and he’d pick up my phone and snap at least one picture, sometimes several, to get the subject from different angles as we drove.

I’m supposed to have a new post out tomorrow, and since I’m behind on the National Geographic reading, I guess that I’ll probably write about Temple Square in Salt Lake City, since that was our first destination on the trip.  Well, it was our second, but the first was the Family History Library and while I think I may have found an ancestor’s birth records I can’t be sure that I did, so I’ll probably mention it in passing, rather than dedicating a whole post to it.

Or should I talk about playing Pokemon Go? Since I love to see new things and really love walking, I figured that Pokemon Go would be a good thing to try, and so I tried it on this trip. I should have been asleep half an hour ago now, so it doesn’t matter which I will do, I’m certainly not going to get it done now.

Our Big 2016 Vacation is Now Booked

And tomorrow the credit card payment should clear and I can pay it off.

In 2016, Alex and I will be adding five new states to our collection:  Utah, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and Colorado.  Not that we’ll be doing any of them in too much detail. We’ll be traveling to Pando (never pass up the opportunity to visit the world’s most massive single organism (as opposed to the largest, which is a fungus in Oregon)), Salt Lake City, Golden Spike National Historic Site, Yellowstone National Park, and Dinosaur National Monument.

I’ll be getting my city fix in August when Alex and I are planning a four-day trip to Chicago. Hopefully I’ll be able to take some pictures to spruce up my Northern Illinois Destinations posts while there.