Let the Rain (Iceland, France, and Bastille Day)

Well, less than a week in Europe so far and I’m having a great time! My journey started off in La Ronge, when I left on Sunday after our family reunion. I arrived in Saskatoon around 6:30, unpacked, went for dinner with Ben and met up with Katie, then started repacking at around 9, tried to go to sleep at 1:30, could hardly sleep and woke up at 6:30 to go to the airport! I had to walk on the tarmac to my plane for the first time in Saskatoon, and as soon as the plane started its motor, it began rocking back and forth. And for the first time ever, I thought I wasn’t going to survive. I mean, we all know I like planes as much as I like pilots! 😉 but this one didn’t feel so great… When we got in the air, I swear the motor quit and I was just waiting for us to fall. At least that flight was only to Edmonton. I got to Edmonton as soon as they started boarding my flight to Toronto. On this flight, I watched The Hunger Games! (which was very suiting since I read the book the day before). When I got to Toronto, I finally got to eat! No, the plane didn’t serve ANY snacks, so I was starving since all I had was a muffin before I left Saskatoon. I had an amazing Indian tikka masala meal, with rice and chutney at the Beaches Boardwalk Café. Then I waited for my four-hour layover to finish so I could hop on the plane and make myself go to sleep. Like that would happen… 
Hallgrímskirkja Church
Five hours later, we were finally in Iceland (Reykjavik) at 6:30 in the morning (12:30am our time). We had to go through a second round of security when we got there, before we could be mixed with the EU passengers, it was weird. Then I waited for my luggage. And waited… And waited… And waited… And of course, nothing came. So they informed me that the next flight from Toronto wasn’t coming until Thursday, meaning they’d have to send my luggage to me in Paris once it got there. But they kindly gave me an overnight pack, consisting of a toothbrush and toothpaste, shaving cream and a razor, cleansing milk and moisturizer, a brush, deodorant, and an XXL white t-shirt. I then caught the Flybus to my hostel: Reykjavik Backpackers, which didn’t have check-in til 2pm. So since I had just over five hours to kill, I spent the majority of the day walking, taking pictures, and going into absolutely every store downtown. And Iceland  sure is gorgeous! I was always shocked by how beautiful something was and then I’d turn the corner and I was shocked all over again! The Hallgrímskirkja Church was absolutely breathtaking!! I noticed that the majority of the population is blonde; I’ve never seen so many blonde people in my life! So I actually fit in, even though I kind of missed being the minority in La Ronge… 😛 When I checked in at the hostel they asked, “Do you have a sleeping bag?” And I said, “No, they lost my luggage so I have nothing,” (not that I had a sleeping bag in the first place…), so they gave me free linens and towels, wahooo! Then I continued to walk around, shop, then went back to the hostel to shower. I can live without shampoo and soap, but the hardest part was not having flip flops to wear on the shower floor, yuck! Anyway, I managed to stay up until 8 and then passed out in my top bunk. When I woke up at 11pm, it was still light out, and when I woke up at 2am, it was the same thing. 24-hour sun days are kind of cool!



Gullfoss Falls

I woke up the next morning at 6:30 to get ready for my big tour that I signed up for, the Golden Circle Tour. They took us to a bunch of lookout points, to Þingvellir National Park, and then to the Gullfoss waterfalls, which were so cool!! I got drenched just walking to them, but it was sure worth it! There, I had some traditional Icelandic lamb soup, which wasn’t too bad, although I don’t think I’ve ever eaten lamb before. Then we went to the geysers of Geysir, which shoots out water because of pressure underneath the ground. The first time it happened, I jumped cause it was so unexpected. After that, we visited the Skalholt church, and then went back to Reykjavik at around 6pm. Afterwards, I just sat by the pond until my bus came at 9:30 to take me back to the airport. I later realized that I got sunburned just from sitting outside from 7-9pm, wasn’t expecting that!!

My flight to Paris was at 1am on Thursday and was only 3 hours long. I wasn’t able to sleep at all so I was quite tired by the time I got to Paris. Nothing a grand crème and a pain au chocolat couldn’t cure! I got settled into my apartment, which is in the Montmartre area, right by the Sacré Cœur. It was so good to be back in Paris, seeing the familiar metro stops, smelling the familiar smells, I was smiling from ear to ear while walking down the sidewalk. The only thing that’s changed is my ability to tell the difference between Parisians and Americans. Three years ago, an American would stand out like a sore thumb but now, someone that I think is American is actually French. Either the French got more American or vice versa because there were three ways that you could tell the difference before (not counting the extreme obnoxiousness that came from the Americans): 1) Denim. Denim used to be a no-no in Paris, but now EVERYONE wears it! 2) Converse sneakers. They used to be a French thing, now they’re an everyone thing. And 3) Hair gel. If there was a guy who wore more hair products than you, you’d know that he’s French. Now, no guys wear hair gel, which I can’t complain about. Anyway, once I got to my apartment, my first task was to get groceries, shampoo, etc. The grocery  store was awesome, seeing all the foods that I’ve totally forgotten about. I tried to remember everything Anne had taught me in the kitchen and grabbed some things to make some simple meals. After the grocery store, I made my way to H&M to get my much needed clothes. I don’t remember actually going to sleep that night but I know it was sometime between 10 and 12. I didn’t wake up the next day until 2:30pm! That day, I stayed in my apartment because I had to wait for my suitcase delivery.

Saturday was Bastille Day, the biggest day of the year!! I woke up early to make it to the Champs-Élysées for the morning parade. It was just a whole bunch of military marches and vehicles, not floats or anything like we have in Canada. I then headed to the Eiffel tower (finally!) to enjoy my lunch in the park. After that, I went to a free piano concert, cause I’m cool like that and would choose a free piano concert over a free actual concert any day. I then thought about how I haven’t touched a piano since the last time I left France, and I figured maybe I should pick it up again. Afterwards, I went to the Eiffel Tower and waited an hour and 15 minutes for the bathroom (!!) before finding a spot in the overcrowded park to wait for the fireworks to start. This year’s fireworks were disco themed, playing classics from the 70s and 80s, such as “It’s raining men,” “YMCA,” and “Funky town.” By far, the best fireworks I’ve ever seen!! Getting home was an adventure in itself, as all of Paris (and more) was trying to do the same thing. The next day, I went to church (yay!), which moved locations since the last time I was there. Afterwards, I went to the Pere-Lachaise cemetery to see Chopin’s grave, and then I went to the Sacré-Coeur to hang out for a bit before heading home.

About two weeks before my trip, up until I got to Iceland, I kept doubting myself. “My life is perfectly fine here; I’m with the people I love, what kind of crazy person decides to go halfway around the world alone?” But as soon as I made it to Iceland, I knew I had made the right decision. Now I’m just wondering what stopped everyone else from going with me… It’s so worth it! Hope everything’s going well back at home, thanks for reading!

2 thoughts on “Let the Rain (Iceland, France, and Bastille Day)

  1. Wow Janelle, what a crazy adventure you already seem to be having! I wish so badly I could be there with you! I hope you have fun and I hope you eventually get your luggage back! Can't wait to read more! 🙂 miss you LYLAS!!


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