Paris — always something new

If you’ve been to Paris, and maybe even lived here, then you know what I’m about to say,. And if you haven’t been here, you know what I’m about to say by reading these blogs.   Every street in Paris is has shops one after the other tempting you with gorgeous displays of pastry, bread, cheese and chocolates.  It is impossible to meander in and out of these streets and not succumb at least a little bit.   The other day, we walking along St. Dominic to Rue Cler when we came across a pastry shop where the assembly of one of these pastries was being done in full view — in the window.  These were relatively small ‘pop-it-in-your- mouth pastries that looked simply delightful.  We went back and forth in front of the shop and then finally went it.  We ended up buying a big round pastry filled with chocolate bits.  As the sales woman handed us the bag, she said, “It is very good — you won’t be sorry,”    Surreptiously, we broke off bits of the pastry — a cross between a croissant and a brioche –finished it before we reached our bus.  And, again today, we did the same thing with two delectable individual size brioches from a place called, Pastry of your Dreams (or something close to that).  We planned to take them home to have as a snack, but the truth was we were very hungry and so finished them before we were too far down the street. IMG_2398 (1)IMG_2397 (1)

Below on the top shelf you can see the round pastry we bought — sweet and soft with chocolate bits.

IMG_2396 (1)IMG_2399 (1)The entrance of this pastry shop has a huge magnificent chandelier.  It gives quite an elegant feel to the work of baking.

And on Rue de Bac, a street well-known for its elegant shops, there is more to delight the senses.   Here, the pastries and chocolates are presented in such as way that they almost seem like fine jewels — albeit, edible!  IMG_2690IMG_2691

Enough of food — at least for a while. Yesterday we went to Châtillion, a small town on the south-west border of Paris, to see an art show (vernisage) at the Maison des Arts.  We knew about this through a good friend who supports artists helping them to become better know.  It took about an hour to get there by bus.  We went to the last stop on bus #28 to Porte d’Orleans and transferred to bus #388 (using the same tickety).  When we got to the stop we noted that the bus was parked in what looked like the middle of the street — without a driver. It seems he was a bit early so he just parked his bus in the middle of the lane (marked bus) and went off for a rest or a coffee.  We all thought it was hilarious.  He did come running back at one point making it clear that he had his eye on the bus.  IMG_2651 (1)

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We didn’t have time to walk around, but above is a photo of the church that gives you a flavor of this little very French town.  Below is a photo of the artist with one of her iron masks.  She works in metal and is able to make it feel human and warm.  Amazing.



















This installation is called Migration.  In the back you see figures, without faces in what seems to be a desert or barren region, then figures are a boat (really a piece of driftwood), and last, closes up in the photo, are these large figures coming at you – on wood stilts which more as you walk around them.  Powerful !IMG_2664 (1)

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Ready for a little history?  In my first post I mentioned that we were surprised that we did not have to show our passports when we entered France from Iceland.   I mentioned this to a friend who explained why:  In 1985, Belgium, France, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and W. Germany signed an economic agreement forming the European Economic Area, which, in addition to economic agreements abolished borders among the countries.  The accord was signed in Schengen, Luxembourg and is thus called the Schengen Accord.  In 1996, Norway and Iceland  (two non EU countries) joined the accord.   (The EU joined the accord in 1997)  This explains why there was no passport control in Paris for passengers arriving from Iceland despite it not being part of the EU.   (Details are thanks to Wikipedia)

A few days have passed since my last post and we’ve done a lot.   Although we are thinking about the end of this trip, we’ve a couple of things on our agenda and are looking forward to these last few days.    Looking back on my last blog I see that the photos from the St. Germain area don’t really give a feel for the narrow streets and their charm felt as you walk up and down looking at the shops and galleries.   The whole area is lovely, bustling with people going and coming, or just sitting and having a drink or lunch at an outdoor cafe.  We’ve walked these streets many times before, but only today did I notice that two brasseries (restaurants that serve food all day) that dominant the street specialize in shellfish. Tables are set out on the sidewalk, covered with large awnings, so that rain will not interrupt a meal.   Steaming bowls of mussels  (with fries) and platters of oysters were being consumed by patrons clearly enjoying themselves.  Next time, we’ll be sure to try these.

Tonight we went with friends to a seafood restaurant called La Criée on Blvd du Montparnasse.   It isn’t haute cusine but it was good at reasonable prices.  We ordered mussels — and as it turned out we all ordered mussels and frites.  When we finished, our friends, who are French,  called the waitress over and to our surprise ordered another round of the same thing!  I learned something tonight — the meaning of  à volonté which was on the menu, next to the mussels.  It means ‘all you can eat.’   (and as in buffet à volonté)

And, yes,  the little placard on our table announced that from Nov. 2 -26,  you could have oysters for 24 euros (about $28), à volonté !

Back to the narrow streets of St. Germain —well — not exactly.  First to the Institut Du Monde Arabe where we went to see an exhibit (a kind of retrospective) entitled Eastern Christians: 2000 thousand years of history.  And indeed, the exhibit did cover 2000 years. We were quite impressed, especially with the Armenian parts of the exhibit.  The Armenian Genocide was discussed in some detail, with full blame being put on the Turks as the Ottoman Empire began to crumble.  There was also a discussion of  Christian populations under siege in Arab majority countries with the comment that this is a great loss to these countries. ( We might add of Jewish and other religious minorities as well) The openness of recognizing this as a problem was a surprise to us.


The Institut has an architecture reminiscent of Arab-Moslem design — each panel is a window (one is open) that has apertures which open and close based on the amount of sunlight received.   From the top floor there is a great view of Paris.  It is also where there is an excellent Middle Eastern restaurant — Noura,  owned and run by Lebanese Armenians. )  The day we were there was a bitter cold, rainy day with a wind that precluded opening the door to the outside decks to take in the view.

The exhibits were extensive and detailed covering the history of Christians all of the Middle Eastern countries we know thus giving a history of the Assyrians and other less  well-know Christian ethnic groups.  Below are two very early Syrian frescoes (4th c.), courtesy of Yale University: Christ healing the paralytic and Christ walking on water.




Armenian illuminated manuscripts included in the exhibit, dating from 1312. IMG_2515Above, a fascinating photo of Armenian refugee women in Beirut 1925, selling their laces.  And, below, a photo of Armenian refugees arriving in Aleppo in 1920 (below).

IMG_2516Fortunately the weather improved a bit and we decided to walk along the Seine until we found a bus stop.  As it turned out, we didn’t find a bus stop and so just kept walking.

IMG_2527IMG_2532 (1)I love to take photos of the back of Notre Dame.  Today I caught a model in orange being photographed with the same view.IMG_2536  A short distance beyond and we reached the fountain of Saint- Michel.  The fountains have been turned off for the winter otherwise it would have been impossible to get a photo with no strangers in it.    This area is called the Latin Quarter and is usually very busy with not only tourists but students from the Sorbonne which is closeby.  IMG_2537Usually packed with people, the day was too cold for even Parisians to sit outdoors.  I took this though to show that places which offer cocktails usually announce it loud and clear.  You’ll note that happy hour is from 4:30 to 7:30 — given in 24 hour units.   I still can’t get used to the 24 hour clock, which is used for all appointments and official functions, including theater and concert times.  If I think 19 hours I have no idea what it means, while 7 pm is quite clear.      Now back to the narrow streets of Paris. IMG_2534 (1)This one is a bit honky-tonk, with a lot of fast food eateries for crepes, pizza, and other ethnic foods.  We were getting hungry so stopped in for a slice of pizza which wasn’t all that bad — or maybe it was that we were quite hungry.   From there we continued walking until we came to the oldest street in Paris, and probably the most narrow one of all, rue Saint- Jacques.  IMG_2542Right about now the battery on my camera gave out and we headed home.

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Paris —

Paris continues….

The weather changed and winter arrived today: rainy, cold and windy,  Nonetheless we got out and walked a couple of miles.

But before I tell you about today (which I will probably do tomorrow), let’s go back two days for a trip to the St. Germain area  where there are narrow streets and lots of shops, especially art galleries.  To get there we are


back on the #70 flying between the rows of parked cars, cyclists and pedestrians.  I did want to show you something though — all of the seats in Paris buses are upholstered and very comfortable.  See the one there — it is folded up to make room for baby carriages and strollers.  You can see the street ahead — it is only a little wider than the bus.

Now for Rue de Seine, some shops and art.

Fish — La Boissonnerie is one of our favorite stopping in places  — maybe lunch or dinner.  It isn’t formal, run by an Australian and his wife (who might be French or American — I’ve forgotten).  Anyway, it is a place tourists go to, as well as expats.  The bar is popular and the food is very good.  Sometimes, if we have to wait (usually in the street) for a table, the waitress will give us a basket of bread which is baked across the street.  One can buy it to take home as well.  (we haven’t done that in the last year or two, so I’m not sure if I’m spreading false propaganda)


The mosaic façade is well-known and as you can see frequented by bikers. (I’m joking!). The name is a play on words — Fish – Boissonnerie (Boisson — is a drink of any kind), thus a drinking place — drink like a fish.  (Fish and pasta are big on the menu)  The owners run a wine bar across the street, Freddie’s — get the idea? Well — the food at Boissonnerie is really good — reservations recommended!


Popelini is right next door.  I’ve never been in here and I have to wonder how they make a living out of this store.  What you see in the next photo are the only things they sell here.  It isn’t that unusual for a shop to be highly specialized like this.  If really good, they can develop a following.   Next time we go by we’ll have to IMG_2383 buy a few to try.















This painting was in a window without any identifying  information — no name, and no artist.  We thought it was fun and could think of a lot of things to call it.


The covering over the head above has some similarity to the sculpted piece below. This fellow came in white as well.  I was trying to think of where one would put him?? You can see how wild some of the other art in this gallery was.  The tiger below was part of this exhibition. (sorry about the reflections in the glass)IMG_2379IMG_2377

We thought this bike — a work of art — was worthy of a photo.  Note the little seat in the front.  I doubt it can be ridden.  Pretty intricate weaving.


These mask-like metal pieces are decorating the window of a women’s clothing shop. We thought these pieces each stood as an art object quite on its own.  You can see that the green on has a second face protruding out on a kind-of nose.  Each was different and we were quite taken by them (especially George).

IMG_2389IMG_2391From Rue de Seine we made our way slowly home  but not without first trying to buy some ice cream from Grom — what some think (and they are probably right) is the best ice cream store in Paris.  It is — of course — Italian!  We’ve stopped here before and recently had been reminded about it  as guests brought some for dessert to our home.  We thought we’d get some to take home. No way!  There was a man in front of us who clearly was going to monopolize the one and only sales person’s time for the next half hour , so we left . We’ve no patience1

IMG_2390This display of vegetables on the next corner looked just like a piece of art.  Had to take a photo of it.



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Paris — cool and rainy

The gorgeous weather seems to have left us for now and we’ve a couple of cool, rainy days that just want to make you stay indoors and do nothing.  George is in his atelier (studio or workshopin our chambre de bonne (room for the maidon the 7th floor.  We were lucky in that on the top floor of our building we have the room (6′ x 9′) which was intended for ‘your maid.’  Not all apartments have a chambre de bonne as many owners sold them off separately.  We are among the lucky ones.  Some people fix these up and rent them out to students or young people coming to Paris for work.  We didn’t want the hassle of trying to do anything like; our chambre de bonne is George’s man cave!

In the meantime, I’m down here at my computer taking care of some administrative chores and writing another blog.  We’ll head out for a walk soon before going to dinner at a friend’s.

Today,  we took the bus #70 — a favorite because it goes from where we live on the Left Bank to the 4th arrondissement (district) which is on the Right Bank.


We pass the site of the what was the famous and old hospital, Necker-Enfants Malades Hospital. It underwent extensive renovations transforming it into expensive condos.  (impossible to see behind the wall) The original architecture was maintained.  In 1816, the stethescope was invented here by a young,French physician, René Laënnec.  (The Necker Children’s Hospital is now a couple of blocks away — a new and modern facility)

IMG_2340That orange building is La Rhumerie, on St. Germain Blvd.  You could easily pass by it and not notice it, but it is worth noting.  It is one of the most accessible and fun places to go for cocktails and light nibbles. In France, if you have a hankering for a cocktail of some sort you have to find a cocktail bar — in the upscale hotel or some place such as this one.  It is fun and doesn’t break the bank.  Restaurants don’t serve cocktails — except a kir or kir royale.

IMG_2336As the bus passed by I saw a crowd outside this pharmacy.  i have no idea why.  This was very unusual.


The #70 route takes us over the  Pont Neuf, over the Seine to the Right Bank. it turns right along the river, past Chatelet, to the Hotel de Ville.


As you can see in the bus, there is an illuminated sign that announces the stops.  Hotel de Ville is the next and last stop.  (Hotel de Ville means  City Hall.)  Every district has a city hall, but this one is the city hall for all of Paris.  Often, very interesting exhibits are held here which are free.





And below, is a photo of Paris’ Hotel de Ville,  In addition to exhibitions inside, there is often something of interest going on outside in square.  Last winter there was an ice skating rink set up here.

IMG_2347You may wonder why we’ve come here.  Simple — George’s favorite department store, BMV, is just across the street and he comes here at least once every trip.  Most men love this place — it has everything you could possibly want to fix, repair, build — almost anything.  Not only does it have the usual stuff — but unusual stuff too.  I don’t have any photos of the inside (except one) to show you, but take it from me, it is worth the trip.

As you can see, it says Marais, the name by which the 4th arrondissement is known.

IMG_2352IMG_2355We ate lunch in the cafeteria style restaurant on the top floor and then worked our way down.  Not very exciting, but this display caught my eye — Christmas has arrived.  In the appliance area we stopped to look at espresso machines, specifically at the Jura display.  The machines start at 550 euros and go up to over 2000 euros.  We talked to the salesman at length trying to learn why this machine cost so much.  Seems it is a highly computerized meticulously engineered Swiss-German appliance.   George had a sample coffee and we moved on.  On the way to catch the #70  we stopped into gadget shop.  We both had excellent neck and back massages delivered by these funny pillows.   Next — a chocolate at the Belgium chocolate shop, Jeff de Bruges…  IMG_2357Now time to head home.  IMG_2359

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Paris — another day.

Paris – another day…

A beautiful day in Paris – cool, but with a bright sun which is really unusual for November. Aren’t we lucky? Last night we had a terrific time at the Grand Bistro de Breteuil, the rather ornate restaurant in our neighborhood that we’ve been going to for 10 years. It has a fixed menu for 44 euros (less than $50) for three courses, an aperitif and ½ bottle of wine (per person). This is a pretty good deal in Paris since the food is very good and the wine selection is excellent. We ate, drank, and chatted the evening away. It was a perfect end to an interesting day. We visited the Louis Vuitton Foundation – Frank Gehry museum located on the northern edge of the Bois de Boulogne.

Our good friend Caroline had warned us that the current exhibition, MOMA (NY’s Museum of Modern Art) a 200 year history, was not great.  How could such an exhibition as this be uninteresting? Bad? Boring? But – it was. Caroline was right. Most of the art was not exactly the best of MOMA and the story they tried to tell (the history of the museum) was too long and just lost us along the way.  Maybe the history of an institution is not a good subject for an exhibition such as this.

But the bigger problem is that the Louis Vuitton Foundation is not a museum like the D’Orsay or the Pompidou or the MFA (Boston).   It is an art gallery in a structure that is so overpowering that the art must be extraordinary to compete.

That’s not to say we were sorry we went. We took a new route – bus 92 – which took us directly to Place Charles de Gaulle, at the Arc de Triomphe. From there we hopped on the little electric shuttle the Louis Vuitton Foundation has for getting people back and forth to the museum.   It was a fun and perfect. And of course, we were not sorry to go because we saw this fantastic structure again. Google it to see it from a far.

Arc de Triumph 


Always imposing, but really beautiful today in the bright sun, the Arc de Triomphe. The price for the shuttle is 2 euros round trip.  My iphone connection  was bad and I couldn’t get my ticket up to show the driver.   He waved us on anyway (I guess we look honest)

Gehry’s structure looks like a schooner with huge ballooning sails. Go to their web site to see better photos. Gehry big view

Gehry with Louis VuittonjpgGehry ousideThere was some wonderful art to see such as this Klimt and the Jasper Johns painting, Map.    KlimtJasper Johns map USEYE- MOMA. jpgI did like this eye — without lashes — entitled  The False Mirror by Magritte, a surrealist painter from Belgium.  Below, George is checking out part of the the structure which is visible at various point throughout the museum.

George looking at Gehry structure

Electric bus shuttleThe electric shuttle bus from Le Place Charles de Gaulle to the museum.  It holds only about 12 people and is so cute!

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I delayed posting this blog because we were so saddened by the horrific shooting in Texas.  How are we going to cope with these events — and surely there are more to come. Gun control? Mental health treatment? All of the above — we are a nation that needs to start confronting this issue with solutions.  I hope the conversation will start now.    

Paris in November and the weather is wonderful!

What is it about Paris that draws us here over and over again?  Aside from all of the obvious things that anyone loves about Paris, according to George, it is the total change of scenery and that we slip into a different culture with a different way of living.    Our phone isn’t ringing incessantly with solicitation requests and robocalls, and we don’t have to deal with the daily barrage of junk mail.    We do have a list of things we have to think about and do — I won’t go through them. (Hint: eat, drink and be merry!).

We arrived at Paris’ Orly Airport on Monday morning around noon. What a shock coming from vanilla Iceland to the mélange of humanity at Orly. The flight had only taken a little over 3 hrs, but it seemed as though we’d travelled halfway around the globe or maybe even to another planet.   Exiting Orly was easy.   There was no passport control for our flight (Iceland is not part of the E.U – so I’m confused), our luggage came right out, there was no line for taxis (plenty of them here in Paris) and shortly we were on our way to our apartment. (With the competition from Uber, Paris taxis now have a set price for travel to and from the airports. From Orly it is 35 euros regardless of how much time might be spent sitting in traffic.)

We always have a warm feeling as we load ourselves and our luggage into our little elevator, get out on our floor, put the key in the front door and voilà: home away from home. Since we don’t live here all the time, and are not fluent in French, having good neighbors is critical and on that score we are lucky. Our upstairs neighbors had let our former guardienne (formerly called concierge – the woman who usually lives in on the ground floor, keeps the building neat and tidy, sorts the mail and knows everything that is going on with the occupants) know we were coming.  She cleans our apartment and again did a super job.

We shopped for basics at Monoprix and now, with bags unpacked, the computer set up, and tooth brushes plugged in, we were ready to —- well – ready to go to sleep! Sleep we did until dinner upstairs at 7 with our neighbors.   (Vegetable soup, ravioli, baby squash with the flowers stuffed with ricotta cheese, and homemade applesauce – wine, bread, and cheese. Yum!) Delightful, fun, and welcoming.

The next day, young friends from the U.S. came for lunch — energetic, smart, and ready to explore. They, too, had just arrived in Paris, but were already doing things we’ve never thought of doing – such as going swimming in the big (very big) pool at Les Halles.

Errands and small chores are always part of keeping house here, too.  Fortunately, we figured out how to turn off the electric heater in our salle de bains (bathroom) so we don’t need an electrician, and George figured out how to clean the filter (very difficult to access)  on one of our faucets – so we don’t need a plumber!

But — we did need a stamp for a letter to be mailed to a Paris address.  We walked over to the postoffice –a big imposing building where the old post office had a make-over couple of years ago only to find that the postoffice was gone – closed – disappeared!  We were shocked.  A  bookstore owner across the street confirmed that it was indeed gone, but that we could get a stamp from the Tabac located just next door in the corner bistro. I know stamps are available in Tabacs but didn’t know there was one tucked inside this bistro that we pass almost everyday.  I should have gotten the hint since there is a big sign that says, “TABAC” outside.  It is easy to forget simple things that can make life so easy. It is even easier to forget the word for stamp in French: le timbre (Also the name of a restaurant we’re unable to get a reservation at!)

More of what we did: went to the Grand Palais to see photographic exhibition of Irving Penn’s work (Vogue photographer for more than 50 years); had dinner at MaÎtre Albert– located in one of my favorite parts of Paris on the left bank behind Notre Dame; attended our building’s party; and, shopped at our street market which gets set up here every Thursday and Saturday.


Sunrise as seen from our plane en route to France from Iceland.


Don’t you love him?  A wine cork left by our neighbors to greet us.  Our sweet fisherman who has had one too many.

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After lunch and some wine, we’re a jovial group


Saturday open market — shop to your heart’s content.


Bread and more bread.


Laden with goodies,  heading home for lunch. Note the Eiffel Tower in the background.

CA in the kitchen

Cooking eggplant — very sweet and delicious. (That’s after I burned a hot plate on the stove the night before.  Don’t ask how– but I did it!  IMG_2211

Some of our neighbors –partying with families, babies and all.

Tabac_how could i miss it

How could I miss this TABAC sign all these years?


Notre Dame –lit up at night.  We walked past on our way to dinner

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Blog from Paris

November 2017

Iceland first

We arrived in Paris on Monday after a two-day stopover in Iceland. Two days was too short. A total of 4 or 5 days would have given us the chance to see more of the country and to experience some of the wonders of this place.  Despite the short time, we definitely came away with feelings about Iceland based on what we saw and experienced.

First, the terrain –in the south where where we toured – is basically lava covered with scattered fields of moss.  In many places it looks like what I think the moon’s surface must look like.  But, the moon is dead while Iceland is alive having been formed by a volcanic eruption under the ocean as the continental plates moved millions of years ago.  Iceland has rivers, waterfalls, lagoons, and “geyzirs”  which are bubbling and spewing up hot water (400 F) .  And, Iceland has people though not a lot.    The population is 330,000 with 220,000 in Reykjavik proper. Not only are there not a lot of people here, the people are all the same – of mostly Nordic and Celtic origin. And for over 1000 years they haven’t mixed with other folk nor have they allowed their language, Icelandic, to be changed much from the original Old Norse. There has been and continues to be a determination to maintain the language as it was (and is) without mixing in words from other languages. Fascinating.! The language is seen as the keeper of the culture. Check out this web site which has a summary of how Icelandiic is preserved.   Fortunately, everyone we met spoke English.  Also of interest is that there is a book in which Icelanders are listed giving their ancestry.  Thus, people can check if they are cousins and how close the relationship is.  (I guess they have done well on avoiding untoward consequences of marriages with relatives because folks looked pretty healthy and hearty overall.)

Reykjavik is known as the cleanest capital in the world and may be the smallest capital as well.   It may explain why the Icelandic people we met were all friendly, warm, outgoing and helpful.  Despite the cold there is a cozy atmosphere here.  Our impression was that Icelanders are a proud, content and happy people.   We did hear a little bit of a complaint that there are 9 political parties in parliament.  Thus it is hard to get anything done. (Some problems are the same everywhere.)

We had a few experiences which give a flavor of the relaxed spirit we encountered.  At the hotel we overslept the second morning and thought we were going to miss our pick up for the tour we were on. I grabbed a bottle of water from the open refrigerated bin in the lobby rushed to the desk to pay for it. The receptionist waved me off and said, “later when you come back.”   Later when we came back she said, “oh – forget it.” Huh? That was a first. It happened again with stamps. I needed stamps for two postcards. The receptionist stamped the cards, but when asked her to put it on the hotel bill she said she couldn’t. I didn’t have any Icelandic money so we were going to charge it. The charge came out more than it should have and so she cancelled it and said, “Oh — Forget it.”… Again – we were really surprised. No one was looking to be tipped, either – at the hotel, or  at restaurants.  (Apparently, a small tip can be left, but is not expected)

We swam in the Blue Lagoon late on the first night we were there. (If you go remember to book the Lagoon at least a week a head of time). On entering the facility, a bracelet was attached to our wrists. It had an electronic device which gave us access to a locker, and allowed us to pay for drinks while swimming in the Lagoon. (Yes, while floating in the warm water, our heads cold, the moon ½ full and the mist rising out of the water, we sipped a cocktail – with 100 other people!.) On the way out, we paid our bill, put the bracelets down on the counter and then couldn’t find them. We had been told if we lost the bracelets we’d have to pay for them. So now what? The gal behind the counter said, “I’ll find them – don’t worry.” And with that let us out the gate. (Fortunately, I found them in our stuff and took them back to the desk.)

The second day we took an 8 hour bus tour the Golden Circle (I won’t go into it, but you can look it up)   Interestingly, in the 2 ½ days we were there we saw only one police car and one policeman;  only one dog being walked in the countryside; no fire engines or stations;  no ambulances; and only 2 taxis.  There are lots of private cars, public buses, and tourist buses.  There is a highly efficient centralized system for getting tourists around.  It was amazing and unbelievable at first.  We quickly learned to trust the system and to follow instructions.  Interestingly, flights arrive and leave Iceland in the wee hours of the morning and so we had to get up at 4 am to make our 7:40 flight to Paris.  It was a bit difficult, but worked out OK.

One other note — we couldn’t find decaffeinated coffee anywhere. Every time I asked if decaffeinated coffee was available I received a look as if it was a really weird request.  If you go, and are a decaf coffee drinker like me, take some instant with you — there is plenty of free hot water!

Upon leaving we thought we wouldn’t want to go back again, but as time passes I am feeling we might want to go back.  Coming in contact with another culture in a country only 5 hours away from the U.S. (and less from Europe) but which is so much more relaxed than ours is enticing.  And, I’d like another swim in the Blue Lagoon, with a massage or two thrown in this time to round out the experience.


The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Iceland — mother church/cathedral in Reykjavik.IMG_2153Inside the cathedral.


Volcano in the distance — taken from the busIMG_2161

Passage through gigantic rock formations leading to waterfalls (which we decided were at a distance too far for us to walk.) We did walk to the bottom of this rail which was a long way down.   (PS that isn’t us in the photo!)

IMG_2182But this is us!  Here at the ‘Geyzir Center’… one of two very hot spots in Iceland.  There is hot water all around however, with swimming pools all over Reykjavik which are used by the locals all year round.  The country is energy self-sufficient given all this hot water power that is bubbling from within this volcano-formed island.

IMG_2186A geyzir up close — this was one of the big ones.  Tourists are warned not to go near them or to be tempted to test the water temperature.  (400 F.)

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