Sunday, February 22, 2015

Bobcat Leg - Sous Vide

The bobcat stew meat I had several years ago was some of the best wild game I've eaten. It was very mild, had a nice texture and it took on the flavor that was added to it. So when I called Anshu Pathak of Exotic Meat Market recently and he mentioned that he had bobcat hind leg available, I had to try it. 
Bobcat (from Wikipedia)
Bobcat hind leg
Bobcat hind leg
Bobcat hind leg
I really liked adding cherry balsamic vinegar to the beaver stew meat I had recently and wanted to do something similar. We have some mandarin orange balsamic vinegar from the Stockyards Oil Company we purchased in Fort Worth which has a dark, sweet, citrusy flavor and is marvelous in salads.  I decided to cook the bobcat based on mandarin orange as the base flavor.

I did an internet search for flavors that pair well with mandarin orange in cooking and determined to use fennel and anise seed, which have a slight licorice flavor. Further, in the January 2015 issue of Bonappetit, they had a roasted citrus and avocado salad with baked orange and Meyer lemon slices. The baking caramelizes the sugars in the citrus and adds depth to it. Based on that article, Judy tried baking naval orange and Meyer lemon slices and we found that they massacred the baking sheet and made it very difficult to clean. So I decided to do the same thing, but cook naval orange slices in a frying pan instead of the oven. 
Naval orange slices in oil in a frying pan.
I obtained a naval orange and some mandarin oranges from trees in our backyard (one of the benefits of living in California in February) and cut the naval orange into thin slices and coated the slices with canola oil and a little salt and pepper. The orange slices were added to a hot frying pan with a little canola oil and the orange slices caramelized much faster and better than the ones we'd tried in the oven. They looked really great. I set them aside with some sprigs from the fennel to add to the sous vide packet later. 
Caramelized naval orange slices with fennel springs.
The bobcat leg was coated in canola oil, Himalayan pink sea salt and ground pepper and then placed in the same pan that had cooked the orange slices. It was browned on all sides, including the ends, then set on a plate to cool down before putting it in the sous vide bag. After it had cooled, butter was rubbed over the bobcat leg and it was then placed in the sous vide bag along with slices of the caramelized orange slices, fennel sprigs,  anise seed and a nice dose of mandarin orange balsamic vinegar. 
Browning bobcat leg.

Browned bobcat leg coated with butter.
The sous vide bag was vacuum sealed and placed in the sous vide cooker at a temperature of 60 degrees Centigrade for eight and a half hours. 
Vacuum packed bobcat leg with orange slices, fennel sprigs and mandarin orange balsamic vinegar in the sous vide cooker.
As the time neared to pull the bobcat leg out of the sous vide, a whole yellow onion was diced, along with a whole fennel, and fried on a low heat in some canola oil until it was cooked through. Then mandarin orange slices from four or five mandarin oranges were added to the mix in the frying pan just long enough for them to get hot and mix in the the fennel and onion. 
Fennel, onion and mandarin orange slice mixture.
I noticed that the vacuum pack did not look as tight as normal and discovered when I pulled it out of the bath that a bobcat bone had punched a hole in the bag. However, it did not adversely impact the taste of the meat. 
Bobcat leg out of the sous vide bag.
The bobcat leg cut easily into nice big slices of beautiful meat with just a tinge of pinkness. It was very soft and mild, had the texture of roast beef, and took on just a slight licorice and sweet flavor. The bobcat was served with the fennel/onion, mandarin orange mix. I loved the pop in the mouth of the warm sweet mandarin orange slices as it combined with the meat and fennel for a complex mixture of taste and textures. 
Lots of meat which cut into nice slices.
Bowl of cut bobcat meat.
Bobcat meat with fennel, onion and mandarin orange slice mixture.
Bobcat is wonderful. 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

1971 to 1972: European Vacation

My previous post was of a 12 state car trip I took with my father and grandparents in sixth grade to pick up my brother Mike from his mission in Kentucky. This post is of an even more grand European vacation three years later when I was in ninth grade. I went with my parents and sister Wendy to pick up my brother Layne from his mission in Switzerland and France. This was written about 20 years ago as part of my personal history. 

            "I had the opportunity to go to Europe with Mom, Dad and Wendy to pick up Layne from his mission. The trip is one of my fondest memories from growing up. I was required to keep a journal of that trip for an English class I was taking at Bryant Jr. High School. I provide my journal entries as follows. I have also obtained Layne’s mission journals and insert excerpts from his journal where it adds interesting information. Unless the entry is otherwise identified, the entry is from my journal.

December 20, 1971 (Monday):

            Today I awoke at six o’clock in the morning. As I lay in bed the recollection of what I would be doing today suddenly swept over me. I was going to Europe! Jumping out of bed I checked to see that everything was ready and packed. My mother, father, and sister Wendy, and I had been planning this trip for over a year. My brother, Layne, went on a mission to the Swiss-French Mission for two years. A year later my Uncle and his family were called to head the mission in Zurich, Switzerland. When these things occurred we decided it would be a good time to see Europe. At the time we were leaving Salt Lake my brother would be released from his mission, and we would pick him up in Geneva.

            David, my brother who is attending Stanford University, was home for Christmas vacation. He offered to take us to the airport. So we piled into the car and took off. When we reached the airport we said our good-byes and went down to the waiting room. Departure time finally came and we walked up the large staircase into the airplane. Inside it was much smaller than I had imagined a plane would be. We were led to our seats adjacent to the wing. The plane slowly taxied out to the runway which we would take off from, but it was a long wait of forty five minutes because a fogbank moved in. When the fogbank moved on the engines roared and we quickly picked up speed, then lifted off ground. After a while I began to wonder where we were, and if we were out of Utah yet. In a few minutes my questions were answered. The pilot came on the intercom: “We are now over Nebraska. Our route from here will be over Chicago, Michigan and the Great Lakes, then over Pennsylvania to Kennedy International in New York.” I dozed off for a while. Suddenly I was awakened by a bouncing. The seatbelt sign flashed on and the pilot reported that we were in an air pocket. Later the pilot came on again and said the New York area was fogged in and we might have to go to another airport, but after a few minutes more we were given the O.K. signal to land at Kennedy, so down we went through the clouds. For about ten or fifteen minutes we couldn’t see anything out our window. Then some lights appeared and we touched down on the runway, the brakes screeching us to a slow stop. The doors opened and we went through a small connecting tunnel into the airport.

            The Kennedy airport is very large, so it was up to us to find out where our next plane was to leave. The airport was divided into sections with almost any airline you could think of. We were in the United Airlines terminal and had to get to the Icelandic Airlines terminal. which was quite a ways away. We grabbed our luggage and boarded a bus that makes rounds of the airport, stopping at each section to let people off. When we reached the Icelandic section we went inside and weighed our luggage and had our passports checked. We left Salt Lake at 10:30 and had reached New York about 4:00 because of a three hour time change. Our Icelandic flight was for 8:30 but the plane was late. We sat seven hours in the airport, reading books, watching the customs, and looking in the bookstore. We finally left at 11:30 at night. Each seat was full. There was a crying baby on the row across from us and Dad sat by a man with a cigar. The stewardesses made each announcement in three languages: English, French and German. The stewardesses didn’t feed us until 1:30 a.m. so everyone was tired and cranky. But after the drinks were served everyone  began laughing. It was difficult to get to sleep.

December 21, 1971 (Tuesday):

            I was awakened about 9:00 by my Mother. We were just getting ready to land at Keflavik Airport in Reykjavik, Iceland. This was the day with the least amount of sunshine in Iceland, only four hours of sunlight today. As we hit the runway I was quite scared because there was snow on the runway and the pilots were hitting the brakes real hard. When we finally stopped we were given forty-five minutes to go inside the airport and look around. As I stepped out of the plane a large wind almost knocked me over. When we got inside the airport building there was a shop full of souvenirs: reindeer rugs, wool sweaters, mink pelts, and leather coats. We barely had time to stretch our legs when it was announced it was time to leave. As we soared over the Island I watched the terrain below. It was engulfed in snow, a rippling ocean of white. The sea invaded the shoreline, capturing large chunks of ice, giving the effect of an unfinished jigsaw puzzle.

            It wasn't long before we arrived in Luxembourge. We went inside to the customs and had our passports checked. It was a two-building airport serving only two airlines, Lux Air and Icelandic. We had been scheduled to arrive at 1:00 and catch a train at 3:30, but it was 3:20 by the time we left the airport. Luckily we found a fast cab driver who zipped us into town. We had our Eurail passes validated and climbed on the train just as the doors shut. We rode until about six when we reached Basil, Switzerland. There we traded trains and went to Geneva, Switzerland. The trains in Europe run by a cable attached to a wire above the track. They go over one hundred miles per hour and are very roomy and comfortable. As we stepped off the train in Geneva at about 8:30, Layne ran up and greeted us. We did all the usual “How’ve ya been” and “Glad to see ya” and then he led us to a small hotel just a couple of blocks from the train station. We were glad to get settled and change the clothes we had been wearing from Monday morning until that Tuesday night. Layne, Wendy and I slept in the same room.

December 22, 1971 (Wednesday):

We awoke at 10:00 this morning [in Geneva], thankful for a good night’s rest. I had a sponge bath and we went to Nigros for breakfast. Layne got a Swiss yogurt while I got a lobster and large bottle of orange. We checked our luggage at the train station and headed down to a watch shop. The Swiss are known for their watches, so we purchased seven of them. Mine was about $40.00 and Dad got one for over $100.00 which is supposed to be the best Swiss watch made. Then we took the train through the outskirts of town to the Mission Home where Layne said a last good-bye to his companions. President Didier drove us back to the train station where we picked up our luggage for our trip to Lausanne, Switzerland. There we ate a delicious pizza for lunch. I had my usual Coke. In Europe the water is bad, so everyone drinks wine. The native soda pop is awful, so I always ordered Coke.

We were planning on taking a train past the Matterhorn, but we missed it, so we went on to Bern, Switzerland. So far, Layne has been doing all the talking in French, but we are now getting into the German speaking part of Switzerland.

We found a nice hotel in Bern, Hotel Stadthof, and it turned out to be the best one we had. They had large, fluffy, down-filled fedder deckes for the beds and a small chocolate bar was placed on each pillow. We went out to look in the store windows before going to bed. All the Christmas lights in Europe are white. Colored ones are considered “kiche” (cheap).

December 23, 1971 (Thursday):


            It was a nice day today. We went out to Zollikofen right by Bern and saw the temple. It was really nice and there is a cool forest right in back of it. We couldn’t do much but we saw it. We met a man that just adored the Cannon family. He was in the Information Center and he couldn’t have said better things about the family. After Bern, we came directly to Zurich where we are now at the Mission Home. The kids have really grown in the family of Uncle Ted’s. I could hardly recognize them, especially Tenny. But Zurich should be a nice place.


            We had a breakfast of hot chocolate, cheese and bread. We left our luggage near the check out counter and went out and looked at more shops. We saw large fox skins for $20.00 and a large clock which had elves that ran around at the hour. Mom and Wendy bought dolls that, with shipping, cost $25.00 and $15.00. Dad then bought about seven Swiss army knives for about 16.5 Franks. We also took a street bus out to the Mormon Temple and back. We ate at a restaurant in the “bahnhof” and I had chicken, French fries, salad and Coke. The restaurant was so full, we had to sit in the halls on our luggage to eat. Then we took a train to Zurich, Switzerland, where we were met by my Uncle Ted. He drove us to the Mission Home where we met our cousins and talked about home. In the evening we took a street bus to Bahnhof Strasse, a street covered with a roof of white lights. Then we went home to a welcomed sleep.

December 24, 1971 (Friday):


We went on a car ride with Uncle Ted to Interlaken by way of Luzern. In Luzern we saw a big lion that was carved into a rock cliff that was a monument to the Swiss army, but it was a neat place. Also, they had some old wooden bridges that had pictures painted in the beams in the eaves of the roof and they depicted stories of the plague and the conquest of Luzern, but that was neat too. Then we took the trip I will never forget in my life. We went to Interlaken which is a city built between two lakes and is surrounded by the Alps.

We left from Grindelwald in the basin and took a cog-wheel train up to Kleine Scheidegg and changed trains and took another cog-wheel train up to Jungfrau joch. [A post card with seven different pictures is inserted in the journal, one is a depiction of the mountains.] The dotted line is a tunnel inside the Eigerwand or the mountain at the place there is a (1) observatory and restaurant hotel, etc. and the great view of the whole Alps; (2) is the peak of Moench which is the closest to this place; (3) is the Jungfrau seen from a different direction the place is on the opposite side 1333 ft high; (4) is a cave they carved into the glacier on top of the Joch they have carvings inside and it’s pretty neat . It’s called the Ice Palace; (5) I guess they had dogs to pull sleighs but we didn’t see them; (6) is the station for the cog-wheel train on top. It has a pretty steep grade to climb and it’s fun.

But we took a trip up to the ridge of some of the highest mountains in Switzerland called the Jungfraujoch. It is between the peaks and is in a set of three peaks really. The Jungfrau, the Moench and the Eiger. On the north face of the Eiger is one of the most difficult climbs for climbers in the world and the hardest in Europe. Bill Tingey talked about that before and I was really interested in it. Here is the route or routes they have taken [a post card is inserted in the journal with three different routes drawn in over a picture of the north face]. The north wall of the Eiger: (1) The normal route, the 1st assent 21-24 July1938; (2) John Harlin climb 23 Feb – 25 March 1966; (3) Japanese team 15 July – 15 August 1969. These names are the first for the route, but every year a great number of people are killed trying to climb that face.
            We took a train from the basin of the mountain up to the tops and it went right through the face of the Eiger and you can see how it went on the postcard. But it was really interesting. On top we just had a breathtaking view of a glacier and range of mountains on one side and more mountains on the other we could see Interlaken down in the distance and we could see everywhere. It was a magnificent view. I read a plaque they had put up on the observatory talking about the work of God and how great it was. I thought it was very appropriate.

            We came back to Zurich and we just were sitting with the family and enjoying the presence of everybody and that was very fulfilling. Just to sit and have everybody doing whatever he wanted, but we were together.


            I woke up at 6:00 a.m. We loaded into my Uncle’s V.W. Van about 7:00 a.m. and headed for the Alps. We stopped in Luzern to look at a large bridge with paintings, then drove on to Interlocken. Along the way, remnants of tank traps could be seen, old reminders of World War II. When we arrived at the lodge, just above Interlocken, we took a cable train up to the foot of the Jungfraujoch mountain. Then we changed trains and went on another through the mountain tunnel to the top of Jungfrau. Once there we toured an ice cave carved in a glacier and took an elevator to the observatory on the peak of the Jungfau. From there you could see into Austria and other countries. On our side was Grundelwald and the south face of the Eiger. The Eiger, with its sheer north face, is one of the most difficult and dangerous mountains in the world to climb. Every year about seventy mountain climbers are killed trying to reach the top. It wasn’t climbed until 1938. From the observatory we gazed out over the tops of the Alps that looked like white caps jutting out of a never-ending sea. The sheerness of the peaks and the immensity of the mountains was beyond description. We took the train back down to the lodge at the foot of the Jungfrau and had a meal with steak, French fries, Coke, and a red and green cabbage salad. We then followed the same route back to Zurich, arriving about 8:00 p.m.. (On TV’s “Wide World of Sports” last week, January 29, 1972, they showed the world Alpine skiing championships in Switzerland. It was held at Grundewald and Kleine Scheidegg. This is the area where we were.)

December 25, 1971 (Saturday):


            Today started off by a small program en familia. It was really very interesting. We read the Christmas story in German and English and we sang and had a small talent show. Mom and Dad sang the Hawaiian Wedding Song and that was cool to hear again. I always like that and an Elder Nelson read How The Grinch Stole Christmas and it was really very appropriate I thought. 

            We went and saw a lady tonight that lives across the street from the Mission Home and she lives in just a beautiful house that is just like a storybook. She had a Christmas tree with candles on it instead of lights and candles all over. It had beautiful woodwork everywhere and it was a cool place, but also I enjoyed her and her spirit. She was really a nice lady. I spoke a bit of French with her and she had a hard time remembering it, but she spoke well.

            Tonight we all listened to an old tape of the family when we were younger and the kids as they performed and the tape of Grandfather’s birthday in 1963 and it was really cool to hear. 


            Church bells reverberated in rhythmic patterns throughout the Christmas holiday. In many ways Christmas was much the same as at home. Many of the same foods and customs we enjoy in America were provided. Zurich is a rich city with over 7% of the population millionaires. Also, Switzerland is a very rich country.

December 26, 1971 (Sunday):


            I really went crazy and got bored to death today during the meetings in church. I sat through 3 of them and it was all I could do to keep awake.


            This morning, I felt sick, so I slept all day while my parents and brother, and sister, went to church.

December 27, 1971 (Monday):


            Right now we are in Florence, Italy. We were also in Milan today and took a ride through the Alps from Zurich. The mountains were beautiful. In Milan, we only wanted to stop for a couple of hours so somehow we got hooked up with a taxi driver who would take us around the city for 13,000 lire. I started to figure it out and thinking quickly that 5,000 was a dollar, and said $3, and Dad said alright lets go, and so we were off. But in thinking, I said, no 500 is a dollar and quickly I figured it would be 26 dollars and told Dad, but he was off and nothing could change his course. He didn’t even listen. So since we had a driver that spoke only Italian and broken English – real broken – and understood as well as he spoke, we discussed the money in the car and he [Dad] still didn’t seem too worried. We went to see the cathedral in Milan and it is just fantastic. I have never seen so many spires and arches and statues and ornaments. The doors were all sculpted too. It was really cool. We went up on the roof too. The air in Milan is terrible – they have the worst pollution problem I’ve ever seen. It hurt to breath and you couldn’t see very far. After the cathedral, we tried to see the Last Supper of Da Vinci and the Scalla Opera House, but it is Monday and they’re closed. We went to see some big castle too [Sforza Castle], but it was an art museum and the inside was closed too.

            On the way to Florence we had a really crowded train and I stood at the end and watched the baggage. It was freezing and I was there for 4 hours. I was sure glad to leave. I was with two Italians and they were helpful friendly people. I was impressed. I think the Italians are an open people and I like to see it. We got here in Florence and a man walks up to Dad and says – “information” and Dad said “yes” and he said “follow me.” So Dad did. We went to find a hotel with them. Mom wanted a pension and so they lined us up with one and drove us there and we went up and Mom said “no, I don’t want to stay here,” so we had to back out gracefully. So there we were, we didn’t know where we were, in the middle of Florence, and no place to stay. So we went looking and after awhile, and a big run around, we got settled down. 


            This morning I still felt under the weather, but we had to leave for Florence, Italy. My Uncle and Aunt drove us to the station where we boarded the train. This train wasn’t quite as good as the Swiss train. That’s because Switzerland is a richer country than Italy. The train passed through the Alps, so we had beautiful scenery for a long way. Once into Italy, we found ourselves among rolling hills with unusual top-heavy trees scattered sparsely over them. We reached the end of the line for this train in Milano, Italy. There we took a cab to a large cathedral and walked along the walkway on top of it among its spires. In front, people were throwing grain to thousands of pigeons. We also saw La Scalla Opera House (it’s supposed to be famous, I guess, but I wasn’t too impressed). We went to the building in which “The Last Supper” by Leonardo Da Vinci is located, but it was closed. In Europe, the shops close for lunch at about 1:00 or 2:00 till about 4:00. Also, everything is closed on Mondays. We then went to the station and caught a train for Florence. When we arrived we were shown to a hotel by a man at the station. It was very dirty and unkempt so we walked down the street a little further and found another hotel.

December 28, 1971 (Tuesday):


            We are still in Florence and we will be until Wednesday noon…We did a lot of walking and shopping today and it was real interesting. We looked for coats and jewelry all day. Firenze is an old city with real class and you can see a lot of craftsmen all over. They have leather and jewelry stores by the ton. So far the only thing or point of interest we saw was the Ponte Vecchio which was rebuilt in 1375 and it has stores all along it, built on the sides. They used to have butchers on it, but now it’s all jewelers. I’ve never seen so much in my whole life. We went to eat at a place called Ringo and they had a really cool setup. They made good salads and sandwiches and the atmosphere was great. We couldn’t keep Mom walking for more than a block at a time if we were lucky, with out her stopping and looking in a store.


            This morning we went shopping. Florence is famous for its leather goods and cameos. Along the Arno River which flows through Florence are several bridges. On the Ponte Vecchio, small shops line the sides of the bridge. We spent a long time just waiting for my Mom, who was going crazy looking in all the shops. For lunch we went to a small place called Ringo’s. The salad was really good. That evening we went to the street market and walked through the bustling crowd looking at the wares. Silk ties were only $3.00, and there were good leather buys. Today we went shopping; tomorrow we will visit museums.

December 29, 1971 (Wednesday):


            We did our touring today instead of the shopping we did yesterday and we got our bellyful of art for awhile, I think. We went first to the Uffizi Gallery which is supposed to be one of the richest in the world and we went through it. It had some of Da Vinci and a couple of Rembrandts and Rubens, etc. Over all, I just didn’t care for a lot of it. I don’t think I appreciate it, but there were some there that I really liked a lot and they were worth seeing. I think I like darker pictures and it needs to have something special about it. I like Rembrandt. In the place by the gallery they have a ton of statues all over and some real famous ones. They have one of Perseus with Medusa’s head that I really like – I like it as much almost as any I’ve seen. We then went to the Pieta by Michelangelo, his last work that was unfinished, and it was kind of a big letdown. That’s all I’ve heard about and I wasn’t that impressed. But after it, we went to see David, by him [Michelangelo], and that was by far the most impressive work of art I’ve ever seen in my life. You can just see every piece of the body in its perfect form. The detail is fantastic and it is perfectly proportioned. He looks proud and you just fall in love with his kind face. It changes with every angle or point of view and it is just fantastic. I was really glad we saw it. That is the highlight of Florence for me. Tomorrow we will be saying good-bye to Florence and move on to Rome and new adventures.


            This morning we walked through some of the very small streets of Florence to the Uffizzi Gallery. In front is the Palacio de Signeria where many sculptures by great artists are displayed. Inside many famous paintings are displayed. Works by Da Vinci, Rembrandt, Michelangelo and Rafael cover the walls. After spending a couple of hours in the Uffizzi we walked through some more small streets to the Academy of Arts. Inside is the very famous statue of David towering over the main hall. Many people just sat in the corners of the room gaping in awe at the figure. The Cathedral de Duomo was the last thing on our list for the day. It was built in the 1200’s. Inside the ceilings are plated in gold, and in a far off secluded corner, lay “La Pieta,” Michelangelo’s last work. Tomorrow we go to Rome.

December 30, 1971 (Thursday):


            Rome is a nice city with lots of nice buildings and lots of Italians. It seems the same to me, I guess. I’ve seen too many buildings and the Italians are no longer a novelty to me. They are starting to go wild with the fire works though, for New Years and Teddy (Elder Barnes who we saw tonight) said that it’s not safe to go outside tomorrow night around midnight and I believe it. The Italians are very outgoing and interesting people. I got a look at the Colosseum and its bigger and better than Arles. That’s certain, but we’ll take a closer look later.


            We gathered our bags and walked the few blocks to the station. We said good-bye to Florence and boarded our train for Rome. We sat by an Italian who spoke English, German, Spanish, and of course Italian. He told us the different things that made English hard to learn and made me appreciate our language more. Our map of Rome led us to believe our hotel was about two blocks from the train station. We then decided to attempt to walk to the hotel from the station and discovered that the distance was much greater than we had thought and ended up walking over one mile to get there. Once we got settled in our three-bed room (all squished together) we went to a restaurant which caters to Americans and had some delicious rice and chicken. Upon our return to the hotel, I took a shower. The bathroom was so small that one could sit on the toilet and take a shower.

December 31, 1971 (Friday):


            Todays activities – We went to Vatican City today and went through the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Cathedral and also St. Peter in Chains Cathedral which is by the Coliseum and I will talk of the things we saw along with a lot of my views on the Catholic Church and things I’ve seen and heard and learned about it. The whole place in the Vatican is just immense and rich and it has art all over. The Sistine Chapel was really impressive and quite a bit different from what I pictured it as being. It is smallish and just a square room with not much in it. Next though, we went into the Cathedral and there we saw the largeness and richness of the Church. Everything is gold there and very big. Inside I started explaining some Catholic doctrine to Wendy and then my mind got started on the things I’ve learned and was shocked by. As tradition goes, St. Peters is built on the remains of Peter. His tomb is there in the center of the church underground. It has it’s own special chapel underground as all of the other popes do – they are all buried under there. But there is an entrance and a big monument over it. I couldn’t believe it. But they have two slots for donations in the wall in front of the shrine. And all through the Vatican they have souvenir shops to buy things. But that wasn’t anything. We went to the St. Peter in Chains place and that is where the statue of Moses is. (The Pieta is in St. Peters – it’s nice) and I was just totally shocked. In the front of the church they have a souvenir shop and as you enter there is a priest taking collections that aren’t necessary to pay, but it seems like it as you go in. Then you go in to the side and there was the statue all lit up; if you put 100 lire in a slot you get the statue all lit up and you can take pictures of it then. And right in back of the statue there is a door to the side and a souvenir shop is right in back of it. I couldn’t believe it. But the biggest thing was the center altar. They have in a little box displayed nicely encased in gold and glass with lights on it; the chains that Peter was “traditionally” chained in. They pray to them, I guess, I don’t know. That brings on another thing. The ton of statues that you see all over on the roof of the  Vatican. We saw something really interesting. There is a painting of a broken statue on the floor and a cross with Christ on it in the place of the statue. We guess it is to symbolize the change from paganism and idolatry to Catholicism and “non idolatry” and then you see the popes they worship and the saints. (In one painting there is a light going from the cross held by a man to the pope who is blessing some men. It was interesting.) And then to see chains and they also had the decayed bodies that were covered with clothes and the faces were covered but they are at the altars and the people worship them. Also in SLC a guide through the place told us that in certain churches they have a sliver of the cross of Christ that is registered in Rome and it is from his cross. If they brought them all together it would make the whole cross. In Lourdes you can buy little images of the vision of Bernadette of Mary and for a price you can have the priest bless it and then it will be good for your prayers at home. Also the bit of buying pardons and the bit of the saints doing so much good that it has been saved up for the ones that don’t do much so they can get into heaven and the bit a saying prayers of going up stairs on knees or barefoot in paradise, etc. for less days or years in purgatory. And the immaculate conception of Mary (official in 1954) and her “assumption” (ascension) made official in 1950. I could go on so long this is just a small list, but if you can’t see the Catholic Church is wrong you aren’t looking at all for the truth, but you are kidding yourself.

            I had my first root beer tonight in a restaurant and we went to a baptismal service that was really cool. Saw a lot of faces that were familiar and I really enjoyed the service. It was an experience that was edifying. And I was glad we could do it.


            My cousin Ted [Barnes], who is on his mission in Rome, came over today to show us around. We discovered that in Rome people were being allowed to ride the bus free for a period for a week in an attempt to cut down on automobile traffic. We got on the bus for Vatican City, and the bus got terribly crowded. We were pushed against the walls, but they just kept crowding people in like sardines [I recall the terrible smell of sweaty bodies, particularly because my nose was about arm-pit level of most of the adults]. I thought we’d never get there, but when we did, the whole bus emptied out. (Vatican City is a separate country. It has about 1,000 people consisting mainly of Catholic priests and the Pope.) We entered the walled city and walked through corridor after corridor which contained works of art and finally came to the Sistine Chapel where Michelangelo painted the ceiling lying on his back. We returned to the point of entry through more halls containing art work, some of which were plated in gold. Then we went to Saint Peter’s Cathedral, a large domed building. Inside, all of the ceilings were plated in gold, and we saw preserved Popes who were in glass covered tombs, dressed in their red and white robes, and their faces plated in gold. We followed a staircase down into the tombs of the dead Popes. The tomb of Pope John was covered with many colored flowers. After viewing the Vatican, my cousin left us to do some work, and we had to go through that mass of dangling bodies on the bus again.

We took a nap at our hotel. Then we met again later, and took a walk to a neighborhood cathedral. Inside was the famous Moses by Michelangelo, which turned out to be my favorite sculpture. As we walked back to the hotel, fierce sounding fire crackers exploded every once in a while. (Fire crackers the size of golf balls are legal in Italy. You shoot them from a special gun and they explode.) My cousin told us that every New Year people throw their old things out the window. They have seen such things as refrigerators laying in the street, but most common items are bottles. A few minutes later, Layne was hit by a sweater falling from a window above us. My cousin left us at the hotel, and we went to bed.

I was awakened suddenly by the sounds of ear shattering bombs outside. Looking out the window, I saw different colored bomb-like explosions dotting the sky. I glanced at the clock. It was twelve midnight, start of the new year. We watched the explosions and fireworks for several minutes, then went back to bed.

January 1, 1972 (Saturday):


            It is now 11:20 in the New Year and I am hearing and seeing something I’ve never seen or heard before. Outside there are 2 ½ million Romans letting off fireworks. Fire crackers, flares, etc. and it is just like a big war going on outside. It sounds like a herd of galloping horses. It is just fascinating. I didn’t think there could be that many people doing all that, but it is all over the city. It’s wild. The only other time I ever saw anything like this is in the Jamboree in Valley Forge when they were taking pictures of the President and the show at night. And when they lit the candles. It was really interesting to see that many lights. It’s the same thing except it is so spread out.

            We rented a car today to go see the city in and it was a really good thing that we did. It rained a lot and we did a lot of running around that was neat. We got to see Rome and get a feel of it’s traffic. It’s worse than French. I scared the family now and again, but they were very happy with it, for the most part. We got a good taste of Rome though and saw some cool unusual things. We got lost a few times and had a few detours, but that only made it more interesting. We had a good dinner in a restaurant and the man with the guitar and singing came around and serenaded us and I had tripe,  snails and rum cake that I tasted and left. It was a really good place though. I don’t really have much to say though. I guess I don’t really appreciate traveling [In light of later events in his life, I think it is safe to say Layne changed his mind about traveling!].


            We rented a Fiat this morning so that we could tour the city of Rome. We set off for the Spanish Steps. It took us a while to get there, but we finally found it. It didn’t look like much, so we went to the Trevi Fountain. It is famous, not only for its sculpture, but because people throw coins in it. Legend says, if you throw one coin, you’re not going to come back to Rome, two coins, and you may, three coins, and you will surely come back to Rome. Little kids roll up their pants and wade in to collect the coins. I also saw someone with a magnet hooked to a string, hauling in the loot.

            Next to the Coliseum. It was surrounded by a large street about ten lanes wide. Cars go whizzing past, so it makes it difficult to cross. Once you manage to cross you see the vendors. They surround the place, trying to sell replicas of famous sculptures. After you have passed those two obstacles, you get inside. In its day, the Coliseum could hold 55,000 people, watching the lions eat the Christians. The floor had rotted away, disclosing the cages where the Romans kept the lions and Christians. After finally crossing the tricky boulevard again, we took a short walk to the Palladium Persopolous. It was closed because of New Years. We decided to cruise around the city after this failure. As we went along we spotted the Roman wall, a contributing factor to the fall of the empire. When their enemies saw they were afraid, and put up a wall around the city, they attacked.

            We were hungry so we headed for the nearest restaurant. Nobody could speak English, so we tried to figure out what was on the menu. The only word we could make out was pizza. Everyone ordered it but me. I didn’t feel like pizza, so I went eeny-meeny-miny-mo and pointed [to an entry in the meat section]. The waiter brought me four big chunks of liver. It made me sick to look at it. But good, ol Dad, made me eat it. I don’t like to describe how I felt. After three and a half pieces, Mom ate  the last half piece for me.

            I was still feeling my stomach when we visited the Parthenon. Then we went to a large, street carnival that was ruined by a sudden rainstorm. My cousin came over that evening, and we went out do dinner. I was hopeful of getting something decent in my stomach. My cousin suggested, for my pre-meal snack, that I order the same thing he was getting. While we were waiting I found out it was tripe (cow stomach) wrapped in a noodle. I had to force it down, also, which made me sick. Then to top it all off, my brother, who was sitting next to me, ordered snails. He kept showing them to me on purpose. After this display, I still managed to get down two bites of chicken which was pretty good for me under the circumstances. [The waiter then brought around a cart with wonderful looking desserts. We all selected chocolate cake. Because I was the first one to finish, I took the first bite of the cake. My mouth erupted in flame. I took another bite with the same result. I turned to Mom and told her I thought the cake had something wrong with it, maybe some alcohol in it. She took a taste, and another taste or two (Mom likes rum!) and confirmed my suspicion. When the waiter came back, Ted said, “we asked you whether the cake had alcohol in it and you said it did not. But the cake has rum in it.” The waiter shrugged his shoulders and said,  “a leetle beet of alcohol never hurt anybody.”] This day was the most awful day of my trip.

January 2, 1972 (Sunday):


            All we did today was ride on the train from Rome to Marseille. It took us 13 ½ hours to do it. So not much came of anything. I forgot to put these postcards in. It is of Perseus  by Cellini and David by Michelangelo [in Florence]. I think I liked these two better than the others I’ve seen. Tonight we are in Marseille just as a stop off before going to Arles. It sure seems good to be speaking French again and to hear it. Especially the Midi accent. I will definitely love it here.


            The man at the rental station let us keep the car until this morning, so we could get to the train station. Layne and Dad dropped Mom, Wendy and I off at the station and took the car back. They came back to the station in a taxi. We boarded the train for our all day ride. We would travel through Pisa in Italy, Nice, France, Monaco, and then Marseille in France. After we had been on the train awhile, we went to the dining car to eat lunch. It was pretty dull. First they bring a slice of roast beef without salt, cold spinach, and mineral water. Because of the water pollution, as I mentioned earlier, you drink mineral water instead of water. It is carbonated water, which tastes like plain Club Soda. I only managed a gulp or two. We arrived in Marseille tonight at about 11:30. We walked down a large set of stairs from the station, across the street, and into the nearest hotel.

January 3, 1972 (Monday):


            We had a real pleasant visit with Sr Aillaud and Sr Olivier. It was relaxing and it was just good to see them. They pitched in and gave me a couple of records – one is French Christmas carols and the other is legends and cantos from the Provence. How the Cresch figures go there etc., it is really neat. They were just super nice to me. Sr. Aillaud is going to move somewhere in about a year, but Sr Olivier will probably stay right where she is. [written in journal on January 5, 1972]


            We took a thirty minute train ride to Arles, France. Layne converted some people into the Church there and wanted to see them before we came home. We spent all day talking to Sister Olivier, Sister Ailiud, and her four year old son. Before we left Sister Ailiud showed us the Roman amphitheatre and the Roman coliseum there. The coliseum is still used for bull fights. After this day of spending time with friends, we took our train back to Marseille. It was evening so we got on a sleeping train for Paris, France.

January 4, 1972 (Tuesday):


            Paris …is a city that just left me cold. It was all of the French habits magnified and it just drove me crazy. It was bad weather and so sightseeing was bad. We could only go ½ way up the Eiffel Tower because they were repairing it and we couldn’t walk up as I promised myself I would. In Paris, we had so many people growl at us and just ornery people and they treat you like dirt and I was just real glad to leave. I don’t care about going back much either. But it was good for one thing. It was a good comparison with London. [journal entry on January 5, 2002]


            I pulled my aching body up off the seat about 5:30 this morning.  We arrived in Paris at about 6:00. Dad and Layne headed for the American Express office to get information about a hotel. We waited three hours in the waiting lounge for them to return. Finally they returned, but we were quite bored with the station by then. In Paris, the main transportation is the subway. To get to our hotel we had to keep switching the subways to get there. When we arrived, we were tired of holding our suitcases and glad for a rest. But we were soon exploring the subways again, trying to get to the Eiffel Tower. On the way, Layne and I decided to climb the stairs to the top, but we were disappointed to find the stairs were closed. The third story of the tower was closed also, for repairs. We decided to go to the second story just for the heck of it. Once there we were rather disappointed. The city was foggy and we couldn’t get a very good view of it. After this small adventure we headed for the Arc de Triumph which was just a short way away. I didn’t think it was anything too spectacular. Then we headed back to the hotel. [I believe we visited Versaille, as I recall seeing a painting of George Washington hanging there, which I recognized when I went back 29 years later, even though neither Layne or I mentioned it in our journals.]

            I had been planning to get a ten speed bicycle in Europe.  A Popular Mechanics magazine had a survey on bikes and gave names of the better bikes in the world. None of them were made in the United States, so I thought this would be a good opportunity to get one. There were two I was interested in: Peugeot and Raleigh. The first made in France, and the latter in England. I looked up a Peugeot shop in the directory and had my brother call them up. The price was fair, so I asked if I could go up and get it. It was near the Arc de Triumph, so Dad was upset since we had just been there. I was ready to get the bike, but the manager wouldn’t ship the bike for me. We are leaving early tomorrow so I couldn’t ship it myself. So I decided to look for a Raleigh in England. We were all tired of walking so we were glad to get back to the hotel and sleep.

January 5, 1972 (Wednesday):


            Well, we visited Arles and Paris and we’re in London right now and I couldn’t really write much the last two days because of time and desire, but I have the important points in mind.

            I have been really happy tonight because of the happy and friendly Englishmen. They are friendly in a cheery way and its just great! On the train we were listening to a couple of them talking about tea and how to pour it and how to tell if it’s strong and whether to pour the milk or the tea first. It was just great to hear. I really love my first contact with the city. It catches a bit and I like the happiness it gives me.


            We got up early this morning to see the Louvre Gallery before our train left at 12:00. The Louvre is a very large building with a very good security. You can’t go into the museum portion of the Louvre with any packages or handbags. I guess this is because they don’t want any bombs or anything inside. The main things we looked at were Winged Victory, Venus De Milo, and the Mona Lisa. Our stomachs were empty, so we went into a small restaurant and each of us ordered a Coke and a sundae. After this nourishing breakfast, we took the train to Calais, France. This small town is on the English Channel. At Calais, we boarded a British boat which would take us for an hour ride across the English Channel to Dover. On the way I was reading a book, and got sick to my stomach from the rocking. I was glad when we reached the shore at Dover. There we were ushered on to a British train by the friendly British Customs people. I was impressed at the friendliness of the place.

            It was about an hour’s ride to London on the train. When we got outside the station, the English signs just hit me in the face. I was so used to signs I could not read, that it was just a good feeling. We saw lots of cabs and had no trouble getting one. London doesn’t seem like the second largest city in the world. It doesn’t remind me of anything like New York. When we arrived at our hotel, our rooms were very small and cramped.

January 6, 1972 (Thursday):


            My first movie – I got my real first taste of the “old world” today…The film was “Song of Norway”…The film was beautiful. The country was great and they showed the very beautiful side of Norway and with the music it was even better. It’s music that I’ve just learned to enjoy on my mission and maybe just with E. Hopkins. Then there was the plot to the movie. It’s about a man who is struggling to make a name for himself and Norwegian music and he does it with a girl whom he marries and a friend. At the end he betrays his friend, his wife and another friend and becomes popular and then realizes his mistake and goes back to his wife and probably his other friend. Near the end when he had betrayed everyone I was sure it was going to end and I was just sick, but then he tried to make amends. I left the theater all weird inside. I was trying to decide if I were true to my ideals and examine myself and looking at people who hadn’t lived up to them and I just felt bad inside and wanted to do better. Then I decided that maybe it was just part of my adjustment back to normal life. I still don’t know what it was but I still feel a bit bad and troubled. I don’t think the others were effected as much as I was by it… But that film did affect me. Maybe because I’m not used to seeing films and the impact of it just got to me and the “calloused” “movie-eyes” of the others were just used to it. I don’t know.


            Mom didn’t like the hotel, so we went to another one about three blocks away. After we were settled, we took a walk through Hyde Park, which was just across the street. It’s the largest park I’ve ever seen. We went to the Mission Home on the other side of the park. My parents know the president and wanted to see him. When we got there my sister met some boys she knew at East High. Then we took a cab into the downtown area and bought a neck brace for Mom. A movie called “Song of Norway” was just across the street, so we went to it. A cab driver gave me the address of a bike shop called Condor Cycles. I went in and found just the bike I wanted – a Raleigh. We have a relative who lives just outside of London. We took the train to their home and had a good meal of lamb and potatoes, etc. While my mother and father talked to them, I played ping-pong with my sister. At about eleven o-clock we finally got out of there and took the train back to our hotel.

January 7, 2002 (Friday):


            We went around London today with an Englishman named Murray who was an English teacher. He took us on a private tour of the city. It was fairly interesting to see. We did a lot of driving, but we saw a few cool things. We went to see the Tower of London and it was cool. We saw the crown jewels and it was fantastic. We saw one diamond in a scepter that was about this big or maybe a bit bigger. It was at least that big. 540 karats [he has a rectangular shape drawn in his journal]. It’s the largest diamond in the world. The Star of India. The Tower of London was built by William the Conqueror. The original part and the rest – the bloody part was added later. Then we saw the rest of the city.

            Tonight we saw a play “How the Other Side Loves,” with Robert Morley and it was funny, crude and well done. Right now I think I’m so right wing that I am a bit too “borne”. I had a hard time overlooking the bad parts of it, the cursing and bad jokes and take in the good parts. I don’t want to wear in too fast though because it’s not a good thing, but I have to soften a bit I think. The whole thing was just foreign to me though. [Layne’s journal has this entry for January 8th]


            We are going to take a tour of London today. Dad called a tour office and a college age boy will give us a long tour of London. Our guide had a small car, so we had to cram ourselves in like sardines. The Tower of London was first on our list. We crossed a small bridge. Inside the castle walls there were many things to see. Wild ravens, with clipped wings, walk around on the grass. An old saying says that when there are no more ravens inside the castle grounds, the walls will fall. There are about eight ravens there now. The crown jewels of the Queen of England are on display. Her scepter has one of the largest diamonds in the world set in it. Also, large plates of silver are displayed. The room is under constant guard by about five guards. They keep you walking, and don’t let you stay in one place too long. They also have rooms full of armor, cannons, spears, guns, etc. After seeing the tower, we took a look at Parliament, Big Ben, and St. Abbey’s cathedral. Inside the cathedral people are buried in tombs under the floor. The tombstones, laid in the floor, tell what famous person has been buried there.

January 8, 1972 (Saturday):

            Today we visited the missionaries and went shopping.

January 9, 1972 (Sunday):


            We had a rather uneventful trip from England to Luxemburg. We went by ferry and train, of course, and got into a rather nice motel in Luxembourg after a 3 block - $2 – taxi ride. [Journal entry on January 10-11, 2002]


            We took a train to Dover where we boarded the ferry boat. After sailing for three and a half hours we reached Oostend, Belgium. From there we took a train to Brussels, Belgium, switched trains, and continued on to Luxembourg City, Luxembourg.

January 10, 1972 (Monday):


            Right now if we take Luxemburg time its Monday, or New York time it’s Tuesday, so I don’t really know which one to put, but at Iceland time, which we just left, it’s just past midnight. I guess I’ll have to fill you in on the happenings of the last few days.

This morning we bought $19 of Swiss chocolate that we will give as gifts and coming home presents. We bought all the Lindor they had. We took a ride around Luxembourg in a cab and it was a cool place. It is built on a mesa type thing that is completely surrounded by streams, rivers, and valleys. There are only 3 bridges to take you to it. It was really foggy though, so we couldn’t see that much. That also caused us a few more difficulties. We couldn’t take off from Luxembourg so they bussed us to Brussels after a “meal” and we left from there about 6 hours late. The stewardesses are really nice and wholesome girls and they are a real pleasure. We stopped in Iceland and they have a discount store that has really nice woolen things that are hand-made. We bought about 4 or 5 sweaters and they are cool and now we are 4 or 5 hours from New York. I feel sorry to leave Europe and all the people and experiences, but I have a lot of challenges coming and a lot of things and experiences I have to pass by so I won’t be bored. I’m reading a book called Papillon right now that is interesting, about a convict and how he escaped and life on Devil’s Island.


            We took a tour of Luxembourg City by cab. We learned some interesting things. For instance, Luxembourg is built on a network of tunnels, and many of the famous generals stayed there, such as Eisenhower, Bradley, etc. Then we went to the airport to take our Icelandic flight to New York. The place was fogged in, so we took a five hour bus trip to Brussels where the plane was waiting for us. We landed in Iceland about two o’clock in the morning, Brussels time, or ten o’clock at night Icelandic time. We bought some wool sweaters before we had to take off again. We should have reached New York about eleven o’clock p.m., but because of the delay, we got into New York at 3:00 a.m. So we just sat in the airport until our flight to Salt Lake City at 8:30 a.m. [I also read the book Papillon on this trip. I believe I may have purchased it in a train station in Europe, or perhaps in the airport in New York.]

January 11, 1972 (Tuesday):

            We flew about five hours to Salt Lake and were greeted by our relatives. I’m dead, and I’m going to bed."