We arrived in Lyon from Bastia late at night and after navigating the transport system - closures on the rail line from the airport to the city every night until the end of the year. The website didn't mention it in our research and planning for the trip, nor were there any signs at the airport. Once on the alternate bus, a woman handed out helpful information on leaflets detailing the line works. Ah well, at least we were on our way once more. It was midnight by the time we checked in.
We awoke to Lyon in all it's glory - sunny, bright and very hot. We ambled around the streets, got some breakfast and coffee and checked out the array of bouchons lining the shady cobble stoned streets. The bouchons are traditional Lyonnaise bistros, serving good wholesome food, initially for the workers - now for everyone.
We sat at our small table next to another couple - Ruth and Eytan Halaban. She was a research professor at Yale (specialising in dermatology and, more specifically, skin cancers) and he was a writer. They were in Lyon for a family wedding. She told us her family's history - they were separated by the Holocaust, some fleeing to Israel, others - less fortunate - remaining in France. They were so interesting to talk to and before long 2 hours had flown by. We ate our lunch, totalling four courses including the obligatory bread with light nibbles - cheese, lentil and onion tapenade, pate, followed by salade Lyonnaise, seafood au gratin (very rich and filling) and creme brûlée (Mark had cheesecake). The standout dish for me was the creme brûlée - delicious.
Ruth left the table momentarily and Eytan told us how proud he was of her and her work. He lamented that we would be leaving in the morning as he would have liked to dine with us one more time. It would have been lovely. We parted ways with an invitation for us to visit them in the USA and a promise to keep in touch by email.
After buying our train tickets for Chamonix the following morning, we retreated from the baking heat and back into our air conditioned room for a well timed snooze. The four courses of rich food had made us feel sleepy.
We headed out again later in the afternoon, this time down to the Rhone River. It's beautiful and clean, famed by the gorgeous city. Swans enhanced the beauty of the river and young blokes bomb dived from the bank to cool off. We wandered back over another bridge and in to one of the bars with tables, chairs and umbrellas dotting the footpath. Everyone was outside, talking, drinking, eating, riding bikes and scooters. There was such an overall holiday feeling. Lyon is a very relaxed and easy going city. People are very friendly. We sat down for drinks - Mark enjoyed a beer while I tried Pastis for the first time. It was an icy cold aniseed flavoured blast which was very refreshing in the heat.
With one full day in gorgeous Lyon - and many things unseen - we retired to prepare for our trip to Chamonix Mont Blanc the next day.