Saturday, November 24, 2012

October 19th: Iceland to Paris

I can't say I'm a huge fan of getting up at 3:55am, especially when I'm still slightly jet lagged, but some days it's worth it in the long run. Mark and I grabbed our bags, checked out of our hotel, and hopped on a bus back to Keflavik Airport. It was time to head to Paris!

We had enough time for breakfast at the airport before we left, so we spent the flight napping, reading, and eventually, sightseeing. I think those are the Hebrides Islands. We flew over Ireland, Scotland, and England, but the cloud layer filled in so we didn't get to see too much.

After a while we landed at Paris, eventually realized that we didn't have to clear customs again, grabbed our bags, and hopped on a RoissyBus that would supposedly drop us off somewhere near the hotel. Key word: supposedly. In hindsight, maybe I should have grabbed a map and taken the lead to try to figure out where the hotel was instead of assuming that Mark knew where to go. I'm usually the navigator when we go places; I don't know why I decided to let Mark lead the way when we were both dragging very full rolly luggage bags over dog-poop-ridden cobblestone sidewalks.

Here's how the walk to the hotel should have gone.

This is how the walk to the hotel actually went.

At any rate, we eventually found the hotel (I have no idea how) and checked in. By that point I was jet lagged, sweaty, angry, and ready to hate Paris forever, but after sitting down for a few minutes and grabbing a long, hot shower, I was feeling more like a functional human being and was ready to give the city a second chance. We still had a few hours of daylight left, so we decided to go for a walk to see how far we could get.

Fifteen minutes later, we were standing in front of the Louvre! The museum is HUGE; it fills all of the buildings you see there (which is really just one huge building that goes on forever), and you get in by going through the clear pyramid to the underground entrance.

A few more minutes of walking got us to the Seine. In some spots you could walk along a lower sidewalk that was right by the water. We eventually grabbed some ice cream cones and ate them down here.

I was really glad I got to see this: it's one of the lock bridges! I've seen these on travel shows so it was really cool to see one up close.

The locks are sometimes known as love locks; couples often write their names and the date on them, lock them on the fencing on the bridge, and toss the key in the river. Some of the locks are fancy, some are simple, but it's crazy how many there are; the bridge was completely covered with them.

We still had plenty of time before sunset, so we decided to head over to Notre Dame.We decided to head inside to check it out.

It's set up so that you can walk completely around the inside in a big loop, so you get the chance to see everything. The architecture and the detailing were amazing.

To say it was fantastic feels like a bit of an understatement; these pictures really don't do it justice.

After walking around the inside, we walked around the outside, too. There is another lock bridge on the far side of the cathedral.

This guy was toward the front of Notre Dame; he would give people some bird seed, have them hold their hands up, and the little birds would fly right up and land on their hands to eat. I have no idea how he did this!

After checking out Notre Dame we wandered around a little more. 

The nice thing about our hotel was that to get to most of the stuff we wanted to see, we had to go past the Louvre anyway. It was pretty cool to walk through all the pyramids.

A monument to Moliere; this was on a random corner near the hotel and a handy landmark to know we were going the right way.

We wound up going to a small cafe for dinner where I promptly went deer-in-the-headlights and forgot every single word of French I knew when the waitress spoke to me, and Mark tried to order a rum and coke with mixed results (I think they filled the glass with rum then added just enough coke to turn the drink brown). It was awkward at best, but at least the food was good!

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