Saturday, 12 September 2015

First day in Lyon (Fri 11th)

Alarm has gone off and it is time to get up as Jackie has to go to work... wait...what!!! Jackie has arranged to meet with a stoma nurse here in Lyon to share experiences. So it is back on the fantastic Metro system to get out to the Eduaord Herriot Hospital (out in the suburbs).

We arrive with plenty of time to spare and discover that the hospital is large sprawling bunch of buildings built between 1913 - 1933. Jackie's go-between in Paris has set up the meeting and sent us to the wrong building, but a few phone calls and we are now tracking to the other side of the hospital area. I make sure Jackie is in the right place and head off to wander around for an hour or so. An hour and half later we meet back up again at the hospital cafe and Jackie is all enthusiastic about meeting the 2 stoma nurses (and an administrator who helped translate). Sounds like things are done similarly in both countries. This hospital is so sprawling and has so many different buildings that one of the nurses uses an old fashioned kids scooter to get around!! I think Jackie should try that at the Epworth.

Back on the metro and into the largest city square where the tourist bureau is. We pick up a few brochures, stop for a quick lunch and then head off on an afternoon of sight seeing. 

Our first destination is Vieux Lyon (the old city), which is a UNESCO heritage site due to the number of medieval and renaissance buildings that remain in tact! We spend several hours doing a guided walk from my Michelin guidebook which takes us both through the main tourist area (very busy) and down back streets (no one around!). The architecture is varied and so interesting. After sometime we realise that you push on some of the large wooden doors and they open up into courtyards of what was once town houses but are now renovated apartment is good to have a bit of a sticky-beak.

After last night's big meal and knowing there is going to be another one tonight we decide that instead of catching the funicular to the top of Fourviere Hill at the back of the old city we will walk up the many stairs! It takes a while and a lot of effort...but I am feeling a little less guilty about some of the calories consumed recently! At the top, is the massive Notre Dame Basilica. Built in 1870 after the Franco-Prussian war in thanks for not being invaded.. it really is a shrine to Catholic excess, with a very ornate facade and an interior covered in mosaics, paintings, gold leaf etc..

Outside the basilica are fabulous views over much of Lyon. It is a great opportunity to get a perspective on things, including showing where the old and new parts of the cities meet and where the two rivers, the Saone and the Rhone meet.

Our next stop is the site of the Roman ruins. This was a major Roman city from 1BC to 4AD, there are two amphitheatres and the remains of many buildings (darn clever those Romans!). 

From here, the feet are starting to ache and we are getting weary, but we must reserve our energy as we are going 'out' tonight. So we wander down the hill and jump back on the metro and head back to our apartment for a quick rest and a shower before heading back into town. 

At 8pm, we meet with Anthony and family who we met on our Borneo trip 4 years ago and who recommended coming to Lyon. They are such a wonderful family. They drove into the city from where they live in a village just outside Lyon (normally a 20min drive, but due to traffic and hours drive tonight!). We are taken, via the interesting route (they want us to see as much of Lyon as possible) to a traditional Lyon Bouchon...local restaurant that specialises in local cooking techniques and local foods. It is a wonderful evening of food and company, but best of all is we are with French speakers so they can get the proprietors to let us taste all sorts of things!

We finish about 11:30pm and they walk us back to the Metro station where we have to wait a whole 5 mins for our train and are back home in about 20mins! 

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