Land of the Lyon
We successfully navigated our first overnight bus trip in Europe and arrived in Lyon, the second largest metropolitan area in France and the foodie capital of the country.
What We Did
Day 14 (8/6/16): We arrived in Lyon at 5:00 a.m. After a quick nap, we headed out to lunch before crossing the river to see the Vieux area. After exploring a bit, we took a funicular up the hill to see the Basilica de Notre Dame de Fourviere. The church itself was gorgeous and the surrounding area offered an incredible view of the entire city. We then walked back down to the river and to our apartment to make dinner before heading out to a couple of local bars for the evening, including King Arthur’s and Eden Rock.
Day 15 (8/7/16): Today was a lazy day. We essentially recovered from a lack of sleep the night before, only venturing out to see the ruins of a small Roman amphitheater. Katie and I also made a kick-ass dinner of pan seared chicken with sundried tomatoes and goat cheese (you’re welcome guys….).
Day 16 (8/8/16): Finally feeling rested, we headed out early to see the ruins of two Roman theaters called the Theatres Romains de Fourviere. After exploring the UNESCO World Heritage Site, we returned to our apartment, packed a lunch, grabbed some wine, and headed for the Parc de la Tête d’Or. We wandered through the gardens before finding a shady spot to picnic and play euchre. That evening we headed to dinner out in Vieux and then returned to the apartment to pack up our stuff for the early morning bus ride to Switzerland.
What We Learned
- Lyon is famous for these hidden and tunnel-like passageways between streets called traboules. They can be really fun to try and find them as you explore the Vieux Lyon area. Many are hidden behind doors that look like the entrances to apartments, so you may need a map to find them all.
- Pokémon Go is just as popular in France right now as it is back home. The Parc de la Tête d’Or was absolutely packed with people of all ages playing that game. And maybe it is just me, but I found it extremely odd to stumble upon large pockets of people sitting on the grass in close proximity to each other, not communicating at all. They were all just sitting there with their eyes glued to their phone screens. I mean, you are in the most amazing park in Lyon…..enjoy it
- Monoprix has these frozen vegetable cakes called gallettes that are AMAZING! I would eat them with every meal if I could and they are two euro and take less than ten minutes to make on the stove top. My favorite varieties were the potato, leek and carrot ones and the spinach, broccoli, and pea one.
- Go to a little restaurant called Gourmix if you ever pass through Lyon. It is a place that specializes in mini sandwiches or sliders and it was awesome. Plus at 10 euros for three sandwiches, a salad or chips, and a pop, it cannot be beat for price in France.
- On this stop of the journey, we learned that Adam does not like the local French specialty of veal head. Yes, you read that correctly…. He ordered veal head for dinner. It came out cut into strips in a bowl with carrots and potatoes. But no amount of hearty root vegetable could disguise the bits of skin and gelatinous hunks of fat floating around in the broth. At one point during the meal I looked over at Adam and saw him physically gag while eating a particularly chewy bit. I was literally afraid he was going to vomit on the table. Needless to say, he did not finish his meal.
- On this leg of the journey, we met up with Adam’s friend Tomo, his wife Anne, and their three awesome sons. Per chance they were travelling through Lyon at the same time as us and we were able to find them in Vieux. We took the funicular up the hill with them to the basilica, while Adam and Tomo caught up. They hadn’t seen each other in over 16 years. We took in he sights together and learned from their sons about a super lucky five-leaf clover they had discovered before parting ways at the bottom of the hill. It was a really special day.
- Only super big Harry Potter nerds like me will appreciate this, but while walking through town, we came upon these trees along the river that looked exactly like baby Whomping Willows. I even posted a pic of it below!