Thursday, 17 September 2015

Au revoir Lyon...for now!

So a bit of an earlier start today, as Delphine, the woman who owns the apartment that we have been staying in, is coming at 8am to pick up the key. We are ready with at least 5mins to spare.

Unfortunately, it is pouring with rain so it is a very soggy walk the 10 minutes or so to our local train station. It is not long before we arrive in Gare de Part Dieu, which is the main station. But we are not catching a train just yet, but on the advice of our new friend Anthony, have been told that the food speciality market (Les Halles) is not far away. We put our suitcases in luggage storage for a few hours and head off in search of our final Lyonnaise food experience!

Today is not a day to get your directions mixed up, but alas I did and so it took quite sometime to get us to the market, by which time we were both pretty drenched, despite raincoats and an umbrella!! The market doesn't look much from the outside, and is smallish inside, but is packed with French food specialities. But we start with an expresso coffee to help us shake off the water and frustrations!

Then it is time to wander the cheese, pastry, charcuterie shops amongst many others. A delightful and clever salesman from one of the Fromageries (cheese stalls) entices us to his magnificent array of cheeses and offers us tastings and some education, which we jump at! Finally, we might learn something about all the lovely cheeses we have been eating. First thing is that most of his cheeses use unpasteurised milk and they use the milk of cows, sheep and goats. Many of the cheeses are particular to a specific farm, which seem to have specific stories to them. This one is from a particular type of cow that has to be hand milked, and then when created is put into a cave to age for the requisite time. He also shows us an array of small round goats cheeses but all of different sizes...then proceeds to tell us that they are the same cheese but have been aged differently and so have different amounts of water in them. The fuller ones still have their moisture, but the smaller ones have dried out a lot more. He advises different people like the different ones... this explains the dried out cheese that I ate the other day and which I threw away!! Such ignorance Amanda! We manage, despite a bit of indecision, to order small pieces of 4 different types of cheeses.

We drool over charcuterie, we consider some escargots and purchase some figs stuffed with homemade 'fois gras'. This market was featured on SBS's Food Safari recently and Maeve had some oysters for "when in Rome..." We head to a stall selling fresh oysters and ordered half a dozen oysters.. 3 different types.. they were magnificent. When I tell you they were served with a glass of wine, do not fear, despite it being 9:30am, the glass was a large sherry just a little to wash them down! A few extra oysters and once they are gone and another expresso consumed, it is time to say goodbye to Lyon for now. Head back through the rain to the station and catch the train to our next stop Beaune (near Dijon).

We catch the 12:16 train, which amazingly is on time... with all the rain and wind storms yesterday I was expecting delays. The train conductor inspecting our Eurail pass announces that he visited Australia years ago and he still gets is underwear from there...he thinks they are the best (and tells us in great detail why!).  I don't recognise the brand he is saying so he gets his phone out and shows me the brand 'Aussie Bum'!!! He is camp as a row of tents!

It is less than 2 hours, and we arrive just after 2pm in Beaune (pronounced Bone). Beaune is a key town in the Burgundy district. It was once the key seat of the Dukes of Burgundy and so has many key historical buildings. But of course it is the main town for the Burgundy wine district. Unfortunately it is still raining a bit, but we manage to find our accommodation, which is a lovely apartment with cooking facilities. We buy a baguette and make a start on some of the cheeses we bought for our lunch. Then we take a bit of a walk around the old city, a fully walled medieval city at that! We check out the wine museum and then decide that we will save some money and eat in tonight (although we have to note that the food here is no where near the quality of the food in Lyon).

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