More “gang aft aglay” – and luxury in Lyon!

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Room 10 at the HO36 Hostel Lyon, sheer luxury after that “flat” in Paris, and hiking in the rain…

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The last post described my September trip to France, as far as the train from Paris down to Lyon. (Two days in each city. Then I’d join my GR 70 hiking partners in Le Puy en Velay.)

Back home, preparing for getting to Lyon, I’d planned and memorized the hike from Gare de Lyon-Perrache to the HO36 Hostel where I’d booked a room. I figured the train would get to Lyon-Perrache first, as the more direct route. But as we approached the city, the overhead speaker announced we’d get to Lyon-Part-Dieu first, much to my surprise. So, I went into a “quick-recalculating” mode, then for reasons set out in that last post, “decided to get off at Part Dieu, even though I’d paid the ticket for Lyon-Perrache.” (Mostly I didn’t want to make a special side-trip the next day, back to Part Dieu, as I’d have to if I stayed with the original plan.)

I came up with a beautiful plan to get from Lyon Part Dieu to the HO36 Hostel, at 36 Rue Montesquieu. Unfortunately, that’s when the ”gang aft aglay” thing kicked in again. (The thing that plagued me a good part of the trip so far.) “For one thing it was raining, again. For another I hadn’t memorized the pre-mapped route” back to Part Dieu “as well as I’d done the way from Lyon-Perrache.” So, as noted, the latest “aglay” started when my 9:30 train from Paris got cancelled. I’d had to change to the 2:30 train, and so got to Lyon much later than planned.

Then, once I left Part Dieu station, it started to rain. What followed was me learning yet again that under such circumstances Google Maps don’t always match reality. Put another way, those Maps can give you a route that’s hard to memorize and execute – in the rain.

Here’s what I mean. When I left the hostel Friday – in the act of leaving the city – it took a mere 22 minutes to hike back to Lyon Part Dieu. It was simple. Head out Rue Montesquieu to Rue Marseille, and take that street up to the McDonald’s where the street splits. (The McDonald’s I found on the way in Wednesday afternoon.) Then just follow Rue Paul Bert all the way to the station. You can’t miss it. But that’s not what happened that rainy Wednesday afternoon.

Aside from the rain, I re-learned that in “walking” mode, Google tends to send you through a lot of side streets and back alleys. That can seem more “direct,” but it’s hard to remember. And about that McDonald’s I found? Technically – I learned later – it’s at 6 Place Gabriel Péri, just off “Cr. Gambetta,” after it crosses Pont de la Guillotiere. That’s where I ended up  late Wednesday afternoon, after hiking around in the rain. I recalled that McDonald’s has free WiFi, so decided to stop for a bite and check my bearings. (In hindsight I could as easily stand outside and use their internet, under the eaves, without waiting in line as long as I did.)

I’d been angling west, heading generally toward the twin rivers and the Presqu’île center of the city. (Toting my 20-pound backpack, with rain gear.) I found I actually wasn’t that far from the hostel. But to get there – per Google Maps, courtesy of the Lyon McDonald’s – the best way was, again, through side streets and back alleys. (Google says walk down Rue Marseille, then take a right on Rue Bechevelin until it angles over and meets Rue Gilbert Dru, and so on.) I thought I could remember all that, and eventually did find the hostel, but the Wednesday hike from Part Dieu had totaled a lot more than a “mere 22 minutes.” I didn’t get there until 6:30.

At this point the reader may ask, “Why does he do such things? Everything seemed to go wrong! So many ‘gang aft agleys.’ This guy really had a lousy time!” But nothing could be further from the truth. About which I recall a quote about Ernest Hemingway traveling in Europe:

“One of the things about him is that he’s committed to travel. He likes, I think, more than anything to be a foreigner, a stranger in a strange land. Everything is heightened, and taste is heightened, vision is heightened, smells are heightened.”

So it is true that finding your way around a strange foreign city – “where they talk funny” in ways you can’t understand – can be a big challenge, but that’s what “heightens” the experience. And it especially heightens the taste of that first sip of icy cold beer at the end of a challenging day. Which is how things turned out that first day in Lyon.

It did take until 6:30 to find the hostel and get into my room – but, “Oh, what a room!”

Three times the size of the dump in Paris – I charitably called it a “flat” – in both the room itself and in the big luxurious bed. Plus I got a bathroom of my own. My own shower too! (No climbing half a flight of stairs to a landing between two floors, to get either.) I’d gotten hot and sweaty hiking from Part Dieu, but the Ho36 hostel made my day. And a big part of that was the bar and nice big common area I saw first thing on entering from Rue Montesquieu.

Once ensconced in my room I took a luxuriant hot shower, warming up nicely after my wet, sweaty hike. After more pure luxuriating in Room 10, I hiked – walked, sans pack – back to the McDonald’s for a late dinner. (I’d done a lot of hiking that day, mostly carrying a 20-pound pack. Remember? Five or so hours killing time, up to Notre Dame and back, between the train I expected and the one I finally took?) Last of all I got my tablet from the room, went down to the first-floor bar-slash–common-area, and enjoyed a cold draft beer – or two. All while settling in nicely among the other guests, some of them young, full of life, and/or fellow pilgrims.

And ready for more “gang aft aglay” on the morrow, should that again be necessary…

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The bar and common area at HO36 Lyon. “Sheer luxury” after Paris…

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The upper image is courtesy of HO36 Hostel Lyon – Official website – Best prices – ho36.

“Last post.” On Lyon, another Basilica and another “best laid plans…”

“I didn’t want to make a special side-trip.” When traveling, especially on foot in Europe, I like to make sure beforehand of my hiking route to a mass-transit connection, so I don’t miss the connection.

“Then take Rue Paul Bert…” All the while, hiking, thinking to myself, “Rue Paul, Rue Paul, I’ve heard that name before.”

On my 2019 trip to Jerusalem. See This time last year – in Jerusalem! (And links therein.)

On the “fun” of traveling in a strange country, see also for example 27 Surprising Benefits of Traveling Abroad, and 10 Benefits of Foreign Travel – WanderWisdom. As for the quote about Hemingway in a strange country, I copied that down from Episode 1 of the Ken Burns documentary on Hemingway, “A Writer (1899-1929),” as noted by a Professor Cushman.

The lower image is courtesy of Ho36 Hostel Lyon – Image Results.

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