We left Strasbourg before the sun was up - walking to the train station to catch an early train. Our plan was to get to Paris early so that we would have a day there before heading home. We came into Gare de l'est train station and chose a hotel within walking distance so that we could drop off our luggage and see the city. That part worked like a charm. We caught the Metro to a station near Notre Dame. It was such a beautiful day and there were lots of people out and about. We walked down the River toward the Eiffel Tower. That part was probably a mistake. The walk was long, there was lots of construction along the river, and it got rather warm. But, I guess it was good, too, because we were out in the open air and seeing the city.
We eventually branched off into the neighborhood and found the Mus'ee d'Orsay. I wanted to show Toby the paintings as well as the building - an old train station. The lines getting into the museum were extremely long. Toby was not willing to wait and I had been there before - so we moved on. As we got closer to the Eiffel Tower, we found a street with lots of outdoor restaurants. We picked one and had lunch and beer. Paris was packed with people. There was some sort of runner's race going on and the day was so perfect. I think everyone in France had the same idea to get out and enjoy the city. The area around the Eiffel Tower was bustling and the lines going up in the tower were ridiculous. Once again, Toby was not willing to wait.
We made our way to the Metro and then to Montmartre. We made the mistake of taking the stairs out of the Metro there - OMG! It was the one time in all our walking that I thought I might not make it up and out all the stairs. Then we started toward the church and those stairs. As we got closer to La Basilique du Sacr'e Coeur, it was apparent that something was going on - it was wall to wall people. There were tents lined up down the streets and around the church - a wine tasting festival. Toby was horrified by the numbers of people packed into one area. After choosing to skip the de Orsay and the Eiffel Tower, I insisted upon climbing the stairs to the church. And so we did. I was sweaty and red-faced, but we did it. The view was beautiful overlooking Paris. It was difficult to find a spot to stand and look out over the city - people were packed. And so we made our way down the stairs and to a sidewalk café and a beer - our go-to way of resting up. We did a bit of shopping in Montmartre for gifts to take home, but we were done-in with all the walking and people. My brain was fried as well as my legs and feet worn to nubs. We made our way back to the hotel where we took showers and ibuprofen. We did not get out that night, but rested up for our trip home.
The next morning we ate breakfast and caught a bus to the airport - all of which was an adventure. We got to the airport in plenty of time, but not without some trepidation. While waiting in line to go through security, Toby managed to break both the zippers on my backpack. For the rest of the trip I had to hold it together with my hands. I know this is a small thing, but when I was packing for this trip, I had debated about which backpack to use. I chose poorly. We had a ridiculous time waiting and boarding the WOW airlines to Iceland. Yep, we went through Iceland. The plane was much like Spirit Airlines - bare bones - cheap! The hop to Iceland was not so bad, but the long flight to DFW was uncomfortable.
The Iceland airport was like a huge mall with lots of stores and places to eat - and it was expensive! The money you save on the cheap airlines went to buy food at the airport. The seating areas were not comfortable and the power-outlets were not working well. We had several hours to wait and then the 9 hour flight home. Fortunately the plane was not so full and we had an extra seat on our row - giving us a bit more room. Unfortunately, there was a family of small kids sitting behind us - enough said. The lesson we learned was that we are too old for cheap flights like Spirit and WOW. I'd rather pay a little more and get food and drinks and comfort. We did find a water fountain at the airport where we filled up water bottles for the last leg home. The airlines did not even offer free water. Pillows and blankets were certainly out of the question. Movies and music and power outlets - no way! Next time, we will leave those airlines to the youngsters.
Going through customs is always a hassle - even more so when their system was down at DFW. We got to our car in the rain and cold, but it was good to be almost home. It was really good to turn into our driveway three hours later and fall into bed.