Thursday, October 17, 2013

Chelsea in Lyon Part I

Sunday, October 13 & Monday, October 14

Don't you love those mornings when you can sleep late, lounge around, stay in PJs for a few hours, and just relax?! Who doesn't? I haven't had one of those in quite a while, and it was a welcome respite amongst all the adventuring we have been up to the last two weeks to have a "lie in" Sunday morning.

When we finally got up around noon, we came downstairs to have lunch with our amazing hosts, who again cooked for us. We had leftover pasta, chicken, and of course: cheese and bread. I got an education on different types of cheeses from France, and tried all of them. A few of them I had to hold my breath, but I am proud to say I tried each one. Even the ones with a bit of green! (Blech!) Paired with some local wine, I had a very French education.

After lunch, we mentioned that we really needed to get to the Eurolines office, to see if we could get the bus that night (9:30pm) to Munich or Prague. Our host, Matthieu, offered to call the office for us and ask if they had any seats available on the bus, as yesterday there were only 2 and they might be taken by now. He called and what do you know? There were no seats, and bonus: the woman had lied, and the office in Lyon was actually closed on Sundays! Can you believe it?! (Actually, I can... Eurolines sucks!)

So, he saved us from a fruitless trip to the bus station and instead, we all piled in the car and went into the city center together to do a little sightseeing! We decided that we would forget about the stress of figuring out where we would go and just enjoy our day with our fantastic hosts in a cool, new city. After all, our hosts said that we could stay as long as we need in their home.

First, we went to the top of the town to an area called Fourviere. There is a big basilica atop a hill with an amazing view of the city sprawling below. On a clear day, you can even see France's highest mountain in the distance. Too bad, I had taken out my contacts (thanks to my eye problems of late), and it was a little foggy, so we couldn't see that. But the basilica itself was gorgeous. It might not be as old as some of the churches we saw in Italy, but I think it was just as beautiful, if not more so. Romeo says it was just more flashy, but I thought the grandeur was gorgeous.

After taking in the view for a while, and walking into the church (and right back out, realizing that it was Sunday mass!), we went to another area close by with an ancient amphitheater built by the Romans a while back. I don't know too much about it, or even its name, but it was cool to see.

After we had walked around for a while, the boys (Romeo and two of our hosts, Matthieu and Nicholas) decided to have a gladiator fight on the stage at the center of the amphitheater. Nicholas wore the hood of my jacket (since it was fur lined), and Romeo and Matthieu took off their shirts for a more authentic feel. Then, using continuous shooting mode on my camera, they "fought" the lion (who didn't move at all). We decided after looking at the photos later that it looked a little kinky, rather than manly and heroic. It was hilarious!

After deciding that the boys could make millions making an adult-film "The Lion from Lyon", we headed to the big park in Lyon. I'd read about this park because it boasts a free zoo. We walked around for about an hour and saw some animals, but the zoo area closed soon after we arrived because it was Sunday. However, it was nice to just walk around in a pretty park. (No, we didn't see any actual Lyon lions...)

As we were heading towards the exit, I had to pee (story of my life on this trip, it feels like), so we found the toilets. After a mental high-five seeing that you did not have to pay to use it, I started to pull on the door. Only, it wouldn't budge. Then I pushed. Nothing. Romeo, laughing, suggested I slide the door sideways. Nothing. Romeo walked over and pushed a button I had failed to see, and the door popped right open. "Doh!" Thank goodness we had the sense to steal a roll of TP from the hotel we stayed in in Nice, because beyond a metal toilet and sink, it was empty.

Finally we left the park and headed back to the house. We had some hot chocolate, then made dinner. It was Matthieu's turn to cook, and we ate a casserole of zucchini, potatoes, and onions mixed with cream and topped with cheese. Interesting, but the potatoes didn't cook all the way through. After dinner, we all found our way to bed quite quickly. When Matthieu suggested that Romeo and I cook dinner the following night, while doubting our cooking prowess, we agreed and set to planning what we could possibly make for a house full of French foodies. It was going to be "interesting"!

The next morning, we again had a nice lie in and got up quite late. It sounds like a lazy way to spend our vacation, but Lyon isn't a place we had a lot of things we wanted to do/see, plus the weather has been quite bad, so we enjoyed having a nice cosy room to hide away in. We still had to figure out what city we would go to next. I spent a few hours online trying to find either a couchsurfing host or hotel in Zurich (originally where we planned to go after Lyon), but I couldn't find anyone on CS, and all the hotels were crazy expensive. So, we started to look at other cities. After a lot of back-and-forth, we finally decided to go to Amsterdam next.

So, we took the metro to the bus station and finally booked a bus! We will be going to Amsterdam tomorrow (Tuesday) at 10pm and arriving at 2:30pm on Wednesday. We decided to relax and not worry about looking for a CS host, and we booked a BnB from Hopefully it works out well, even though its not terribly cheap (less than Zurich, though!)

And now, we are off to prepare dinner for our hosts. Since we are serving around 7 or 8 people, we decided to make chili. We'll see how it turns out!!

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