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lyon on foot

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It’s Saturday, so I must be in Lyon. I made a minor navigational error as I left Le Perrache station, after catching the TER train from La Verpilliere. I headed south along the Rhône riverside, only to find out that I was cut off from the river by major roads, and the next crossing was further away than it appeared on the map.

So, after crossing the Pont Pasteur, I took a few minutes to chill in the east bank park, in earshot of the Samba band playing in the garden of a pharmaceutical company building nearby. For the rest of the day it was very humid, trying to rain but never quite getting there. It took another twenty minutes walk before Lyon started looking like a city, instead of an industrial suburb.

The first group of Saturday shoppers I saw were at some ad-hoc flea market, where some of the financially-challenged were selling anything they had to hand: socks, lids without pots, toys. Even a possibly-used contact lens cleaning case, an absolute no-no for anyone who values their sight. Sad.

After strolling through the Universite district I crossed the footbridge to the shopping district, stopping for a sandwich at Hotel de Ville, then zig-zagging south to Bellecour. My plan was to buy a 2-hour unlimited Metro ticket by 3PM, to get me back to Perrage by 5PM, but something was happening there that I was more than ready to delay my plans for.

As I arrived at Bellecour, a large dusty square with a statue of Louis XIV, I ran in to a parade of vintage cars, which parked in the square and soon gathered many admirers. About half the cars were French, including early Talbot, Simca, Renault and Peugeot, and several marques I had never heard of before, such as Hotchkiss. Among the foreign cars were Jaguars from Mark II on, Porsches from 220 to 944, Many Chevrolets from 40’s-60’s, Fords from 30’s Models T and A through 60’s Mustangs and Taunus, to 80’s Escort XR3 and RS Cosworth. No Duesenbergs, but that would have been a bit much to expect.

After that I could use a break from the heat, so I got the 2-hour ticket and jumped on the Metro to Vieux Lyons, for the Funicular up to St.Just. It wasn’t that much cooler up there, but I stopped for a bit at the Gallo-Roman Amphitheatre, and took in the Lyon view from the cathedral at Fourviere. I don’t know much about the history of Lyon, but I wonder if there’s a reason why all the roofs, thousands of them, are red?

I’m finishing this entry off at the hotel bar with a big glass of Heineken, an indication of how thirsty I am, but I’ll switch to to the good stuff next, with dinner. I’m outside, out of consideration for the other bar patrons: after a sweaty day like this my deodorant has long since given up the ghost, and I shudder to think what I’ll find when I take my shoes off. I’m going to get slightly toasted, have a long bath, and crash.

I have an early start tomorrow, with the train to Lyon, shuttle to the airport, two flights with a stopover at Schipol Amsterdam, and work on Monday. Let’s see if I can get through the summer months without any more aggravation.

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Written by brian t

June 24, 2006 at 9:39 pm

Posted in travel

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