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23 in Paris!

Written on: Friday August 20th, 2010

A journal entry from: Scandinavia

Well, as I write this I am now back at home sitting at my computer reflecting on what has been a wonderful adventure.   

Since I last left off, we had one last day of exploring in Helsinki with Kim and Sven. It took us all a while to get up and going after the night we had just had. Kim took us to a nice little café near the waters edge for breakfast. From there, we went downtown and just explored some stores and markets (heaps of cool stuff and unique designs). We had a nice dinner at a mexican restaurant before heading out to go to the Ice Bar. It's basically a small room in the basement of some club that is more or less a freezer!  Everything inside is ice (The bar, the tables the walls, etc?). They give you a large coat and boots to wear before going in (It was -9 inside), not too bad considering we are from Canada, but given that it was 30 degrees outside, it was quite the shock to the system? That night we all hungout at Kim's for a while, we stayed in and packed our bags, Kim and Sven went out again. The guys had got me some really nice birthday presents (awesome Finnish knife, etc?). It had been amazing to catch up with such good friends and just all around fun times.   

The following morning, we got up at a decent time and made our way to the airport to catch out flight to Paris. We were both really excited to see Paris to see Raphael and not to mention it was my birthday!   

We arrived in Paris around 2 or so local time, it was absolutely miserable outside! After finding our train and taking it downtown and transferring onto another line, we finally made it to Raphael's stop. Like in Finland and Sweden, we could not find a pay phone, so I found a store who would let us use their phone. Raphael came to meet us outside the station and was 100% his normal self (Full of energy and always in a good mood). We had a quick stop at his place before making out way back downtown. It poured the whole day, but this wasn't going to stop us.   

Together we went to the Notre Dame only to visit the outside as there was some sort of event going on outside. We followed this up by a walk down the Champs Elysees (Overrated), before going up the Arc de Triomphe. The Arc which was constructed for Napoleons Grand Army was very impressive. It was really cool to see all the streets coming towards it, and the EIGHT lane roundabout that goes around it!!    

Unannounced to me, Leah had been in contact with Raphael before hand and told him it was my birthday. He had planned a whole day of sightseeing for us, and followed it up by taking us both out for an amazing meal on a boat right next to the Eiffel Tower! This was really cool, and such a nice time. Every hour, the towers lights go crazy for a solid 5min. We would get up from our table and go to the edge of the boat and just watch! It was a really nice night!    

The following day, Raphael went to work, and we explored the city, we went in the Notre Dame and another nearby cathedral. We both found the Cathedrals very impressive, but cannot decide if the Uppsala Cathedral or the Notre Dame was better?. We checked out some side roads and just walked around. That evening we met up with Raphael again and the 3 of us went for a nice boat cruise through Paris on the Sain River (This was part of the meal from the night before, but we didn't make the boat in time). It was real great to see the city by boat, and gave me memories of when I did the same trip back when I was 12. Afterwards, we went up the Eiffel Tower (It only took us about 15min in line), so we were really lucky. When I was younger I had gone up during the day, and this time it was at night, so it was nice to get to do both. It's a very impressive structure and a cool monument to see.   

The next morning we said our goodbyes to Raphael and made our way by train back to the airport. It was now time to end the trip and go back home.   

Now that I have been home for a couple days and looking back on the trip, I would say it couldn't have been any better. There is not one day that we can say to ourselves that we wish we would have done differently, and to me this is a great feeling and it is very satisfying! The whole trip was amazing; beautiful countries, gorgeous sights, great people and cultures? I would highly recommend Scandinavia to others.   

It was equally great to see old friends, some friends that I consider to be my best friends and to have people who can give us some insight and history into the countries and show us not only the tourist spots but also some of the local places. These friendships and contacts around the world have turned out to be such an amazing thing. I never could have thought before studying abroad in Australia that I would have people to see in all these different countries and make such strong friendships. Going on exchange for a year definitely changed who I am, and opened so many great opportunities.   

Add the fact that travelling gives you a better appreciation of the world we live in and how it all goes around day by day, and how fortunate we are to live where we do and have what we have (even when we may think we don't). And it is for these reasons that I believe that traveling is so great. I think it will be really interesting to see how our world changes in the course of our lifespan? :s   

I hope you have enjoyed this blog as much as I have enjoyed writing it. Thanks to all for the comments, and until next time;   

Take care,   

David W.


From Ari on Aug 21st, 2010

u must come again in best country ever. Up north also.

From Joe on Aug 21st, 2010

Welcome back, thanks for sharing your trip., sounded like a great trip...blue label johnny wlaker nice touch.

From Lori & Jerry on Aug 25th, 2010

Awesome pictures and blog. Thanks for sharing with us. Lori & Jerry