On our way to Paris

Sunday, October 14

City of Lyon

We’re leaving Lyon this morning on the TGV – the fast train to Paris. Lyon is a big city but it has some interesting things to see and do. The Basilica is beautiful and the square with the Musée des Beaux-Arts is amazing. But there are so many things that I didn’t have time for. They have a wonderful park, Park de la Tete d’Or, that I didn’t find time to see but Emily went. It has botanical gardens, a huge lake, walking paths and a zoo. The Old Town is a maze of interesting shops and street performers. These are just some of the reasons I would like to visit Lyon again. If you’re thinking of going to Lyon, I’d recommend spending some time on Only Lyon, the online site of things to see and do.

Our train didn’t leave until the afternoon so we slept in. Once we pulled ourselves together, we walked four blocks to pick up something for breakfast. Of course we could barely understand the signs. Emily pointed to a sign describing a sandwich with a list of ingredients including mozzarella cheese and ham. The shopkeeper shook her head, “No.” Then she rattled off a list of cheeses that we didn’t recognize. So Emily ordered a sandwich avec fromage [with cheese]. To keep things easy I nodded when she pointed at me and asked if I wanted what Emily was having. We thought it would have some ham on it, but no.

We ended up with a hard baguette – the French truly know how to make bread! – with a long, thick slice of Brie and butter – just in case the brie didn’t have enough fat in it. Nothing else. I don’t normally care for Brie but this was very different from the Brie I’ve eaten in the States. Not too bad for breakfast. I also ordered a pastry of some kind. The sign said pommeswhich are apples but inside the flaky pastry was applesauce. I took half the

Lyon Train Station

sandwich and the pastry on the train. I’ve never eaten so many pastries and so little ice cream before. But overall, the food and desserts are amazingly good. I’ll give myself a week back home to get back into a routine and then it’s time to lose some (a lot!) of weight.

I don’t eat sandwiches very often at home but when it’s made on a French baguette, it’s really good. if you don’t want to sit down in a restaurant for lunch, and pay a lot of money to do so, your only option is a boulangerie. The only lunch things I’ve seen here are ham and cheese sandwiches, chicken and cheese sandwiches, tuna salad sandwiches, cheese sandwiches and disgusting small pizzas – unless you want pastry in which case you have an almost unlimited choice.

On our walk back to the hotel, we passed a very shiny, black, motorcycle parked on the street with a pair of ladies panties in the corner of the wind shield. Someone had a fun night!

We got packed this morning and took our luggage down to the front desk. When we asked her to call a taxi, and told her we wanted to go to the train station she told us the station was only a few minutes of walking away. We knew that, having walked to the train station several times, but we both had luggage, carry-ons and purses. On top of that, many of the streets and sidewalks were made of cobblestones. We assured her we needed a taxi but when it arrived, the taxi driver gave us look like we were nuts not to walk.

Until next time,

Susan L Stewart

Our last day in Lyon

Saturday, Oct 13

The Basilica Clock

This is our last day in Lyon. You will notice the blue skies in the Lyon photos. That’s pretty much the last blue skies we saw on the trip.

Emily had to go to work for a few hours but now we have the rest of the day to go exploring. Lyon is the second or third largest city in France. Walking is a dream because the streets are flat. This is one of the best cities I’ve visited for public transportation. They have city buses, a trolley, and an underground – called the Metro.

Since we don’t know where we’re going, we are taking taxis. It’s more expensive but safer in the long run, I think. Here’s the thing about the taxis in Lyon: It is not unusual to be picked up in a new

The blue door

Mercedes or other luxury car. I’ve had a few taxi drivers who spoke English and one of them said that taxis are for upper middle class and rich people. They expect to be picked up in a nice car that is spotlessly clean. He said his car cost 150,000 Euros, In dollars, that’s basically a $240,000 dollar car. Maybe I misunderstood him. He spoke excellent English but, really? Can you actually spend $240,000 to buy a Mercedes? Mind you, this car was not gold-plated. The taxi prices reflect the cost of the car. I’m hoping they have “normal” less expensive taxis in Paris. We could go broke just paying for transportation.

As Emily and I walked around Old Town we noticed that there is a cathedral  – or what I would consider to be a cathedral – on almost every corner. Kind of like Dunkin’ Doughnuts in Boston. Did you know that Boston has more Dunkin’

What a great porch!

Doughnuts per capita than any other city in the US? I’m certainly not comparing a French cathedral to a doughnut shop but you get the picture. I guess in Denver it would be a Walgreens.

Finally, I was exhausted from walking around so much. With my fibromyalgia, I have to be careful not to overdo any activity. The problem is that it’s so much fun and interesting to be in France that I don’t want to miss anything. With her work, this is the only day that Emily has to explore Lyon. She wanted to stay out and walk around so I took a taxi to the hotel. I didn’t realize it but it the hotel was only 12 blocks or so from where we were. When

the taxi pulled up to the door of the Kyriad, the fare was 4.20 Euros. I handed

The Fountain Man. I couldn’t stop laughing when I saw this!

him a five and he said, “No, No, No. 6.40 Euros” and then a string of French I couldn’t follow. Finally, he explained it well enough that I could understand – 6.40 Euros is the base pay.

I’m suspicious of taxi drivers. Sometimes they will show up with 4.20 Euros on the meter – before we even leave the hotel. Other times they start out with 6.40 or more. OK, 6.40 is the base pay, but the meter starts ticking as he pulls out onto the street. It appeared to me that the taxi industry in Lyon is not regulated.

Not knowing French is a hinderance, but not impossible to overcome. Emily and I decided the most important phrase to know in France is not “Where is the bathroom?” which you have to know if you’re in Mexico. In France it’s “Parlez-vous anglais?” Do you speak English? and then, if they say “Yes” you let out a sigh of relief, even if they only know a little. They say total immersion is the best way to learn a language and I agree. I took two semesters of Spanish at our junior college but it wasn’t until we moved to Mexico for four months that I really got the hang of it. I was in France for 2-1/2 weeks and came home with a much better understanding of the language and pronunciation than when I left.

Until next time,

Susan L Stewart