Walking Lyon

(Cathedral Saint-Jean-Baptiste)

We walked Lyon yesterday and clocked up 11 kilometers. It’d be nice to think we are very fit now, but no, we both fell asleep when we got back to Ruby. I was even too tired to write. Probably the smart way to get fit is to start small but repeat. Every day. Yes, that’s probably it.

(Well that’s very familiar)

Anyways, Lyon is big, much bigger than Dijon. We’ve never been before and we didn’t have any idea what to go see. Denis was interested in the food as Lyon is called the belly of France, in a good way. There’s an area called Vieux Lyon, old Lyon, that seemed to be a good place to start.

(Less familiar, a bouchon restaurant, traditional Lyon)

After a stressful (for me) drive through the city on Friday afternoon we arrived at the International Camping campsite. We picked it because it had good public transport links to the city. If I had known we had to drive through Lyon to get to the good transport links I might have suggested giving Lyon a miss. I’m glad I didn’t though, it was worth the temporary increase in stress.

(Thats the front of the train – there’s no driver on the metro…)

Saturday morning at 8.30am, we headed for the bus (just outside the gates) to the metro station and into Vieux Lyon. Half an hour later we were walking out on to the streets of Vieux Lyon not knowing which direction to turn. Left seemed as good a choice as any. Very soon I was experiencing déjà vu. What does this remind me of? Over there was a cathedral, down that alley the river, there’s an Irish pub and another one here and oh, there’s another one… Probably just homesickness but this was looking a lot like Temple Bar on the morning after a few stag parties. I couldn’t shake the feeling we were in the wrong place. We kept going regardless, maybe Christchurch would be just around the corner.

(Footbridge crossing the river Saône – it was a little wobbly)

Everything was better when we crossed the river, well one of the rivers. Lyon is built across two rivers that meet in the city, the Rhône and the Saône. We crossed the Saône and wandered for a while until we found ourselves in a beautiful square, Place de Terreaux. Well, it would be a beautiful square again, at the moment it is in the middle of a facelift.

(Place de Terreaux getting its facelift. Also can you see the graffiti? On the chimneys? Artists without fear)

Then somehow we were led into the garden of the Musée Des Beaux-Arts de Lyon. Possibly because of my earlier wobble of stress, this garden had the most powerful effect on my mood and just standing in it, I felt completely at peace with the world again.

(Here’s my peaceful garden at the Musée Des Beaux-Arts de Lyon)

Then it seemed like the right thing to do, was to go and visit the museum and we did. It’s a lovely space, the layout and art works are very attractive. We spent two hours wandering and looking and pointing and taking pictures and although we were ready to leave after the two hours we didn’t feel exhausted.

(I rarely love sculptures but I loved so many here. These two are my favourites. The first one is called The Mountain, by Aristide Maillol and the second is called The Mad Virgin by Rik Wouters – is it strange that I find her inspiring? She looks so happy!)

I think our lack of exhaustion could be down to the building itself and its high ceilings and the fact that we just wandered. So often I get the audio guide to make sure I don’t miss anything. I listen to the guide tell me a lot of information while at the same time I’m taking in a lot of visual inputs. It does take a toll on your energy. Whatever the reason, the Musée Des Beaux-Arts de Lyon was a beautiful experience.

(I also loved this one, it’s supposed to be Mary when the angel says she’s pregnant. She seems to be saying, Will ya get away outta that!)

We had a lovely lunch and afternoon hot chocolate to give us energy and then we made our way back to the campsite. We will have to return to Lyon, we’ll do a walking tour some day, that worked very well in Porto. Whatever happens I’m definitely coming back to that Museum.

From now on I only want to be referred to as The Mad Virgin, The Mad Virgin.

(There’s Lyon)