I planned to join my sister in Paris for a few days and stop over in Iceland on the way back. This was my very first trip overseas and I just wanted to see what it was like. If you only go once, Paris is the place to go.
Except for the pickpockets, I thought they were very tourist friendly, although it can be hard to find actual French food if you are in a tourist area like Ille de St. Louis. But we had good food at every restaurant and lots of fois gras because it is the French thing to do.
We had a whirlwind tour of Paris–led by my sister who has visited several times before.
- Arrived Sat. afternoon–Dinner at a local cafe–I had orange roughy in a nice sauce and we shared a good bottle of wine.
- Sunday–Early walk to Notre Dame with mass going on and a walk around the chapels. Paris Walks of the Montemarte district with a visit to the Cluny afterwards–unicorn tapestries stole the show.
- Monday– Paris Walks of Ille Cite, and a separate tour of the Concierge, with an afternoon visit to the Orangerie museum to see the Monet water lily paintings etc. and a night dinner boat tour on the Seine past the twinkling Eiffel and the French Statue of Liberty.
- Tuesday–Paris Walks of the Marias district and afterwards a stop at the Victor Hugo museum which was charming, lunch at a cafe of duck confit, then the D’Orsay with its big clock view of Paris and the Impressionists, including Degas ballerinas. Afterwards a dusk visit to the Arc d’Triumph and up the stairs to the top for a stunning view of the city and the Eiffel as it lit up. Fancy dinner at the Orangerie restaurant on Ille St. Louis.
- Wednesday–Early morning tour of Sainte-Chapelle–King Louis IX’s shrine to the crown of thorns relic he bought in a Crusade. Bus ride past the Bastille Monument to the Pere Lachaise cemetary where famous french musicians and scientists are buried along with Jim Morrison. Ran around looking for famous graves, like Lavoisier, Moliere, Chopin, etc. Found Jim Morrison’s shrine too. Similar to the love locks on the Seine bridges, the grave fence has ribbons and hairties looped through it. After a fois gras luncheon for two at Marly’s at the Louvre, we had a late afternoon and evening visit to the Louvre, where there is almost too much art. Saw the famous Winged Venus and the Mona Lisa where my sister’s ipad was picked out of her purse–sometime soon after in that room or the Grand Gallery. Bad last memory.
- Thursday–I ventured out alone to visit Versailles on my last day. It was a bit too gilded for my taste, but it was an experience although I didn’t make it out to Marie Antoinette’s little village farm. It was rainy and lonely without my sister along and I bought a crepe on the street for dinner and went to bed. Next day I was off to Iceland.
In Iceland I landed about 4 p.m. but it took about an hour to stand in line for my car rental. I rented a little manual Hyundai and drove right to Blue Lagoon for a soak. I would have skipped this most popular spa if I had more time and stopped at places on the coast but it was getting dark by the time I got there and it was not too crowded. I had a lovely soak and a Gull Beer and then got back in the car to get to my room for the night. The room was upgraded because there were no other guests–so I spent some time with the owner having a lovely coffee and toast breakfast and talking about what to do that day. We talked about radiant heat and his revamping of the floors with pex but he uses the thermal energy that is delivered from a thermal plant–at 84 degrees–now that I think of it must have meant centigrade–so that is HOT. But the floor was just warm and felt great as radiant heat does.
- I left after 2 hours of talking with 4 icelandic sweaters I bought from the owner of the guesthouse. It turned out they were the least expensive sweaters I saw, much less than others from tourist stops I made.
- I drove through Selfoss to Floudir, because their hidden lagoon sounded like a good soak too but I got there too early and it was really cold anyway.
- I continued to drive up to Gulfoss Falls which were not quite as big as Niagra but scenic and icy. They had a tourist store which was great for getting to the bathroom.
- Turned around and came back through the same pretty countryside with icelandic horses and sheep dotting the hills and puffs of steam from various hot pools along the way. Had a lunch of a warm cheese pot and jam on crackers in Floudir.
- Stopped at a yarn store where they spin their own yarn and use natural dyes. Bought a pair of booties and some yarn for a friend.
- Hot footed it back to the airport to catch my 4:15 flight. Went past Reykjavik on the way back but it seems like any city, kind of dirty and crowded. At the airport I got some postcards, and a small bottle of wine which was legal to buy and bring onto the plane.
Had a nice 8 hour flight back and watched a movie and read my Kindle. What an adventure! I would go back to both places. But maybe not until we get the walls built in the house. Oh well, back to work after another distraction.