Fri 1 Apr 2011 - Sun 3 Apr 2011 55 °F
Monica and I at the last minute found a little apartment for 550 Euros a week. This is actually very good for the location and just good period for the accommodations. You are hard up to find an apartment usually for less than 600 Euros in the big cities. We had forgotten what city living is like in most places but this apartment was well furnished and had everything we needed and it was fairly quiet the entire time we were here. There were some different things about this apartment than most I’ve been in before. The first thing we noticed was the gauntlet of doors and alleys you had to go through to get to the apartment but this seems to be quite normal in France. It looks almost like this building was an old factory at one time or another thus the reason for the alleys and such, see pictures below. The people in the apartment along with the apartment owner were very nice and friendly to us and our stay was enjoyable. One thing that is odd is that the first alley is quite dark especially at night but again this seems to very normal life here but if you are looking to rent in the city it may be useful to bring a small flashlight with you. Also to note that often the first alley doubled not only as an alleyway to our apartment but also as a helpful toilette for whatever drunk or simply brave enough individual was ready to go.
The Need for Speed: or just to crawl through several miles!
After traveling through France for almost a couple of weeks now the wonderful pastries, brioches, éclairs, and endless other little delights started to catch up with me and I needed to find somewhere to keep up on my running. I searched the net for somewhere in Lyon that was close as we were in the Bellecouer district. Wonderfully enough I read that two beautiful parks had just been recently connected with a path or better two paths, one for runners and the other for cyclists. Immediately I set out that afternoon to find the Northern park. This path was in the afternoon stuffed with people and the grass areas and seating areas were also stuffed with afternoon loungers and teenagers coming back from school. The place that I set out on the run from was a large amphitheater looking set of stairs that were also packed with people hanging out. Pictures of the Disney movie “Bambi” suddenly came to mind as the coming of spring also brings “twiterpated” creatures out to lounge about and fly around each other in love! Anyway, I expected that the path would free up in the morning and I was right. Something else I was greeted with in the morning was a once clear beautiful cement jungle now cluttered with endless amounts of trash, beer bottles, urine stains and other sorts of terrible mess. There was also a contracted company or government employee staff cleaning the mess up and it just seemed terrible that people would do such activities and that it was so acceptable that the city of Lyon had actually hired an army of people to clean up after those rats. Also, as you run you pass under several bridges being right on the bank of the Rhone River and the first bridge I have aptly name the “whiz and piss bridge.” The reason for the name is the overwhelming and devastating reek of urine that you smelled as you passed through. If you made it out the other side without passing out you were free the rest of the way to the park and back, approximately 7 miles roundtrip.
The Little Patisserie
Monica and I found a little patisserie right around the corner from our apartment and everyday decided to stop by and have a coffee and a small something to eat for snack. It is a Fika in France! Seems most European countries have some kind of afternoon coffee and snack time because at 4pm the line of customers was out the door. Something we noticed right off was that there was this desert that was in the window that was very odd looking and native to the area of Lyon. It is called a “Brioche aux Praline.” I refused to try one at first mainly because it looked like someone cooked a nice little piece of bread and then someone came by and stabbed it to death and blood was coming out all over the thing. Basically it is a croissant like piece of bread covered with a red substance. Well Monica finally just said “I’m getting one” and so we tried it. All the red stuff is praline sweet tasting sugary goodness, some crispy and some gooey. It was excellent and you can’t always judge a book by its cover! This was a very nice bit of routine for us in the midst of all the change and travel that can seem to overwhelm you.
Notre Dame and Gallo-Roman Ruins
Lyon is overlooked by a large hill that boasts Lyon’s historical district. This hill accessible by metro has many of the cities really outstanding historical sites as well as an overlook for the city of Lyon. Apparently the city of Lyon used to be the countries capitol way back when and country was designed like a wheel with spokes with Lyon as the center. This was not accomplished by any King or Queen of renaissance France but in fact as we found was accomplished out by the Gallo-Romans. This was the converted Gaelic people of the area into a Roman colony that had then become the center of the entire country. It was a large excavated and renewed site complete with an amphitheater, huge aqueduct system, museum, and more that you can now see in Lyon. This was really impressive as many findings were discovered and well preserved. This visit to the Roman ruins was only after we had gone to the Notre Dame de fourviere. This was the largest church in the city that sits atop the hill overlooking the highest point. The inside was truly impressive and we had come on the right day as the sun sparkled through the stained glass windows. The inside was huge and the details on the walls, the floors, and everywhere you looked were extremely impressive works of art! This took up the larger part of one day that we had set aside for the sites.
The Street Market
When we first arrived to Lyon we knew we had to find a place where we could purchase food. Monica searched the web and found out that along the river every day there was a farmers market that just set up and so we went out to find it. It was quite easy to find and we had to look no further for what we needed. All the finest selections of fresh fruit, vegetable, meats, dairy, pastries, breads, and more were all right there. As part of our daily routine we walked to the market to pick up all our food for the day!
The remaining time in Lyon we just walked around and led a fairly abnormal life living in another country. Each day we arrived to the apartment at about 4pm and we cooked food, read, and I did school work. Well, that’s it, goodbye Lyon!