Thu 5 Dec - Lyon, France

Exactly 1 month left today before we are going home... how fast 11 months go...

Today we headed further south into France to Lyon to stay with friends and check out the Festival of Lights or Fête des lumières as it is called in French.

Di has become a duct tape aficionado, creating new handlebars out of duct tape. Now that both our built in handle bars seem to be forever buried inside the bags, Di created a new one for Hans in Paris before we left.

Note the action... Her hand is moving very rapidly.

Apart from duct tape, the fix included 1 dog lead, 2 soft bike handlebar covers and 1 dog collar. The intention is that the bags follow like Fido!

We used the spare time after having packed the bags and getting ourselves organised to make a few more travel bookings so we now have pretty much the rest of this trip pinned down.

Our friendly host Victor arrived just after 11am and was as flamboyant today as he was a week ago. He wanted to see us, we assume to check out the apartment before we left. All good, thanks and goodbyes and we were soon on our way to Gare de Lyon, one of several Paris train stations.

As we now know, it appears that in many big cities the residents have lost their "manners" and Paris has probably been the worst for this. Pushing and shoving without any comment or apology is common but this lady set a new standard.

Di was waiting at the info counter to talk to the officer inside and just as she opened her mouth an older lady pushed in front of her from the left with some muttering about "maintenant trein" (train now) but no apology to Di.

She was so rude that Hans even noticed from 10 metres away and had to take a photo. The incident even left Di speechless...and you know dear readers that does not happen often!

The TGV train for Lyon left Gare de Lyon in Paris at 1.53pm on the dot and although our seats were backwards from the train's direction, we had a very comfortable and pleasant trip. Plenty of space even for tall people.

Di pumped herself high on various prescription drugs so she was managed her travel sickness potential. It worked, she even managed to drink some tea that we had brought with us in a thermos.

The Lyon Part Dieu station was very busy as we arrived there some time after 4.15pm waiting for Martine to pick us up. There were lots of business travellers and quite a few dubious looking characters as well.

Martine arrived, having temporarily (and illegally) used one of a few parking lots assigned to Lyon's finest in blue which were directly underneath from where we were waiting for her. We were happy to jump in and be on our way.

A quick 10 minutes or so drive later we arrived where Francois and Martine live at Place du Marechal Lyautey.

Last time we were here in 2006, part of the square was being dug up to build a multilevel underground parking station. That work has all been completed now and Francois and Martine have permanent parking, but not a fixed space, down there for 80€ per month, which sounded cheap in Sydney terms (around $120 per month or $30 per week).

Francois was in Paris for the day and did not make it back until 9.30pm as there was a TGV incident with his train (or maybe the one before his) where the train hit a boar. The boar must have been a big guy as they had to clear the tracks afterwards. So we had tea with Martine, chatted, had a glass of wine, chatted and then started on the dinner.

Dinner felt very French to us, and obviously was very different a typical Australian meal. It went as follows:

  1. Cold smoked salmon with baguette, followed by
  2. Homemade Tomato tart / pie, including anchovies, ham and olives (delicious)
  3. Cheese platter and yogurt and fresh fruit
  4. Digestive tea
  5. Digestive liqueurs

And wine, of course...

Francois and Martine are lovely hosts and were keen to help us plan our day tomorrow so out come lots of Lyon maps and walking guides.

Francois had out his old favourite map and Martine was adding ideas for us by pointing out numerous things we could see and using a highlighter.

So wonderful and helpful as hosts but we now feel we have activities to keep us going for a week, not just a few days. Lots of choice for us and of course we can always comes back (like next July).

The living room looked great. The square of Place du Marechal Lyautey is down behind the windows.

This is Addis, the house cat, named after the capital of Ethiopia. She is Lise and Greg's cat "on vacation" here and enjoying the Christmas tree tinsel and shiny balls - just too tempting. She was in trouble for a while but she is cute.

The apartment is huge at about 176 square metres and has 4 bedrooms. Lise and Antoine (Lise's brother) still have their own rooms for when they visit home.

We have the guest room at the end of the hall, where Hans is standing to take a photo of Di. Behind Di is a glass door leading to the kitchen which is about half way into the apartment. A very nice place.

A most pleasant day and evening and we were quite tired when we went to bed around midnight. Good night.


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