|Another installment written mainly by Kirianne...
Lyon is the second biggest city in France. When our train arrived in Lyon it was around 2:00pm but by the time we got to the Youth Hostel it was almost 5:00pm. The buses weren't running into the old city on that Saturday afternoon, due to some unexplained "manifestation" (demonstration?)... We had to take the subway and then a funicular (fun!), and then walk downhill a bit. "Vieux Lyon" is built up a steep slope on the bank of the River Saône. It was too steep to walk up with all of our big bags. Even walking downhill, we found we were overdressed and arrived hot and sweating. The view from the veranda of the YH was just amazing, supposedly the best view in all of Lyon, and we believe it! It was a clear day and we could see the mountains (the French Alps) in the far distance.
Our room was shared with only one other young women, and had a french door opening onto the terrace! We bought some drinks, took some sunset photos, did some computer work on the free WiFi at the Youth Hostel and then went out to find "Le Petit Glouton" restaurant that had been recommended to us by the young man at the front desk. The restaurant was very good, and very full, mostly with English speaking people, who, Tasha and Kirianne guessed, all came from the Youth Hostel which also had recommended to them that particular restaurant. We went back to the Youth Hostel after a walk along the River Saône, which was also flooded (like the River Doubs in Besancon). We found that the ear plugs we are carrying with us were a must - it being Saturday night, there where lots of late homecomers, and doors slamming closed until the early hours of the morning. And then starting again just a few hours later when the early risers began leaving!
The next day our roommate was leaving and we were taking a train for a day trip to Annecy in the mountains, leaving from the same train station at around the same time, so we went together. We learned that the girl was a ballet dancer and is doing auditions with all the big ballet conservatories and opera houses all over Europe.
The train into the French Alps country was nice with great views and when we got to Annecy it was a beautiful almost summer day there. It was market day and so we walked around and got some things to eat for lunch and a few odds and todds. (This means Kirianne bought another bracelet with her spending money.) We then sat in the park along the lakeshore and ate our picnic lunch. The walk along the shore that we took was quite nice and Tasha took some pictures of all the way down the lake. On the train ride back there where some early lambs playing Tag in a field alongside the tracks and it was very cute to watch them jump and chase each other.
Another night of interrupted sleep with our two new roommates....
The next day, rather gray and dampish, we spent doing touristy things in Lyon. We walked up a very short distance above the YH to the site of the ancient Roman city of Lugdunum and the remains of the Odeum and Amphitheatre. The size of the theatre, and the amount of stone was rather impressive. There are remains of columns and both theatres have intact marble mosaic floors. The different coloured marble comes from all around the Mediterranean. The sound from the stage of the bigger amphitheatre could easily travel to all of the 30 000 people that could be accomodated. Totally amazing.
We then walked a little further to the Basilica at the top of the hill, which was one of the best we have seen. Huge wall mosaics, including the story of 'Jeanne D'Arc' and others; the ceiling painted with amazing colours. It was so beautiful. Kirianne, who generally says "not another cathedral!", surprised Tasha by saying she would happily go back to the Basilica de Notre Dame de Fourvière!
We walked down the hill through the steep 'jardin' below the Basilica, and found a place to eat a good midday meal. Tasha sampled one of the local specialties: quenelles, a kind of fishy dumpling, but we passed on the other delicacy: tripe sausage. Then to the Miniature and Film Props Museum which was worth it. The first part displayed different scenes (stage settings) from a movie and explained how movies are filmed, how some parts are done in miniature, how actors are set against backdrops that aren't real, etc. There were several rooms of props and costumes from real movies. The other part of the museum was miniature scenes of random stuff but it was so good. Some were so amazing. There was a whole miniature library, containing hundreds or maybe thousands of miniature books! We loved it!
We got out of there just in time to boot it to the Eglise de St. Jean to see the astronomical clock strike 4 pm. It was kind of funny, with its rooster that sounded like a sick firetruck, and the little figures that clunked around...
Kirianne wanted to ride the tram, so we found our way to one that would take us to a large park... but the tram ride there was short and it would soon be sunset and we would have to walk a long way through the park in the gathering dark, and we were tired, so... we just rode the tram all the way to the end of the line and back again. Fun in Lyon!
We returned to our favourite restaurant for our last dinner. Tomorrow, we take the scenic route to Aix-en-Provence.