Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Salt Lake City : Day 1

When my husband Bill booked tickets for us to meet in Salt Lake City, I thought "What's to see in Salt Lake City besides the Mormon Temple." Well, we got to see the temple all right. Lots of it. From our room at the Marriott Hotel in Temple Square, which overlooked a construction zone, we had a perfect view of the Temple complex. But there's a lot more to see than temples in Utah.

I was starving when we arrived, so we walked toward the restaurant we'd spotted on the way in -- the one with the artsy awnings that had actually gone out of business. So much for dining in restaurants with awnings. Onward. The Red Rock Brewing Company -- with its old factory warehouse style interior: brick walls, open ceilings, wide plank floors, looked inviting. Besides, it was packed which usually means good food. We managed to find a table toward the back where the decibel level was fairly manageable. Fortified with a great house brew honey light beer and a wondrous marinated onion, tomato and mozzarella cheese on ciabatta bread sandwich we were ready to take on the city.

On our way back to the hotel, we stopped at the Visitor Information Bureau in the convention center to ask about the drive to Mirror Lake -- supposed to be one of the most scenic in the US. "Oh," said the man behind the desk, laughing, "that road won't be plowed until June. Do you know how much snow we've had here?" I gathered it must have been a lot.

"So, what road do we take," I asked. He pulled out a map and traced a route east along 80, then south on 189 taking 15 northwest back to the city. He also told us that Antelope Island was the place from which to view the great Salt Lake itself.

Because we were well into the afternoon by then, we decided to take the Light Rail tram up the mountain to the University of Utah, thinking to walk the historic district up there not realizing that it was several miles from the last trolley stop. So much for those plans. We'd retraced our steps back up Sunnyside, saw the trolley, but had no idea how to catch it. Noting a woman hustling along with a backpack strapped tightly to her shoulders, we asked. "Follow me," she said, and disappeared across a parking lot, then across a street, then around some buildings and down under a tunnel where we finally emerged at a far distant trolley stop from the one we'd disembarked from.

We got back in time to take the last tour of the Mormon Temple Complex. Two young well-dressed young women, one from Hawaii and one from Kenya, gave testimony after testimony from Congregation Hall through the North Building (where several floors of amazing paintings and scenarios with wax figures representing various stories from the Book of Mormon) to the blue room with the massive statue of Jesus.

Somewhere toward the end of the tour I realized that I'd lost my leather gloves and head scarf and tore off in search of it, finding them in the Congregation Hall where I must have laid them during one of the testimonies.

Enough for day one. Day two will include our journey into ski resort territory and a serendipitous visit to Sundance along the way.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune named Beryl as a "Best of 2006 Minnesota Authors." Her book The Scent of God was a “Notable” Book Sense selection for April 2006.