A full day in Lyon – and beyond?

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The Rhone River in Lyon – viewing the Ponte de l’Universite and Ponte de la Guillotière

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In the last post I finally managed to get out of Paris, onto the train at Gare de Lyon, then ride on down to Lyon. (Later than planned; my 9:30 a.m. train got switched to 2:30.) There was also a bit of a hubbub involving Lyon’s two train stations. That resulted in me wandering around in the rain awhile before finding my luxurious lodging at HO36 Hostel, at 36 Rue Montesquieu. 

First thing next morning – Thursday, September 14 – I checked Google Maps for a laundromat. (Ho36 had good WiFi.) I found one and hiked down Rue Bechevelin, then took a short left to 43 Rue Chevreul. I washed and dried the wet sweaty clothes from the day before, at Promoclean Laverie Chevreul. (Laverie is French for “laundromat.”) While waiting on that I crossed the street for a cafe creme and sweet treat at Cafe Suzette, and posted this on Facebook:

“For breakfast [I had] this flan, in the shape of a pie slice. Delish, and you [can] eat it with your hands. Along with a cafe creme, while your hot sweaty laundry from yesterday is at the lavendaria across the street.”

(My mistake. I later learned “lavendaria” means something totally different.*)

I also posted that “Tomorrow I head for Le Puy en Velay,” and that my tablet’s autocorrect had a fit with such names. “It’s going to be a long month.” Which it was, with me constantly correcting autocorrect. (Which can’t stand either “creative writing” or foreign names.) But back to Thursday morning. After dropping off my clean laundry at Ho36, I started my city tour.

I planned to head over to the twin rivers, cross the bridges and get to Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourvière. It’s atop a high hill, like the Sacré-Cœur Basilica in Paris. And like “Sacred Heart” it’s said to offer a splendid panorama of the city. But somehow, maybe still reeling from yesterday’s confused late-afternoon hike in the rain, I turned left on Rue Marseille. It was a nice walk, for a while, but by and by I got the feeling I’d made a wrong turn. “I should have gotten to the river by now!” As it turned out, Rue Marseille runs parallel to the Rhone River. (Three blocks away.) What I I should have done is stay on Rue Montesquieu and head west(ish) over to Quai Claude Bernard. From there I could head up to Pont de la Guillotière and cross over the Rhone. As it was, I ended up hiking parallel to the river and away from “Guillotière” bridge.

I ended up hikiing past Rue Raoul Servant, and thus past all those train multi-tracks that lead to a tunnel under the Rhone and on to Gare de Lyon-Perrache. (One of two train stations in the city.) And ended up hiking on to where Rue Marseille turns into Boulevard Yves Farge. By this time I’d hiked a half hour, and eventually reached “Vocational High School Louise Labé.”

Along the way I stopped at the first sidewalk wine store I saw. I’d heard so much about the Beaujolais nouveau the city is famous for, and wanted to try some. (A unique local wine and highly-prized regional specialty.) I went inside and asked if they had any. But the man just looked at me funny and said, with a deep French accent, “Noh-VAHM-brrr.” (Rolling his eyes, if only in his mind.) From the tone of his voice I gathered that was French for “dumbass!” I also gathered that Beaujolais nouveau doesn’t keep for long. Another “gang aft aglay!”

Back on the street – refreshed at least from a break in hiking – I tried a different tack. I turned right, and after a block of so saw what I’d been looking for. The heights of the city, topped by several buildings with steeples. Two blocks more and I found the Rhone River, then headed up to what looked like the highest steepled building. I kept walking toward Pont de la Guillotière, making sure to memory-mark where I’d turn to get back to Rue Montesquieu – and “home!” I crossed over to and through the Presqu’île heart of the city, which looked interesting, full of bustling young people, pilgrims and young romantics of all kinds. (“I wish I had more time.”)

I originally planned to hike all the way up the hill to the Basilica, but the route wasn’t at all clear. (No “direct way.”) And by this time I was getting tired from more hiking than I expected. Plus there was a funiculaire, and it was reasonably priced, so I took it instead. And the view just from the top of the hill was spectacular, by itself, but that was as good as it got.

Just like in Paris I’d hoped to climb to the top of the Basilica tower in Lyon. Then came another surprise. (Another “aft aglay.”) It turns out that to climb the tower you have to join a tour group. But aside from the expense, to me that meant standing around in a group of strangers, trying to feign interest in a lot of touristy questions. In other words, wasting time and money, to which I said, “No thanks!” Still, the view – even just from the top of the hill – was spectacular:

The highlight of the day today, hiking around Lyon, France. Two views of the city from high atop the hill where stands the Basilica of Notre Dame de Fourvielle. “Mission Accomplished!” I planned to climb up, but I must confess – I do not deny, but confess – that I took the funicular up. I was worn out by then, by the walking today and trials and tribulations of yesterday.

I posted that on Facebook, with the pictures, then hiked back to my lodging at Ho36. I took a shower, did some yoga and in due course wandered down to the bar-slash-community-room for a bite of dinner and a beer or two. Before leaving home I’d downloaded the Manybooks.net version of Travels with a Donkey, as a file so I could read it anywhere. (Even without internet.) And there in that big Ho36 dining-room-slash-bar I started re-reading Travels in earnest. I wanted to know what to expect, and we’d be starting the long hike in three days.

But first I had to get to Le Puy.

Sitting among all the fellow hostelers, sipping on an ice cold beer and reading Stevenson’s account of the adventure again, I thought about tomorrow’s transportation. Back home I’d bought a ticket for a 1:30 train and bus to Le Puy, however

When I got to Part Dieu Wednesday afternoon, and before starting the hike to Ho36, I took some time to just stand and scope out the situation. (The vast station.) Mostly I wanted to familiarize myself with how to get out of Lyon and on to the train to Le Puy. I watched people boarding, and saw that they all had one of those square things with the squiggly lines inside, either on their phones or on a piece of paper. (What I later learned was a “QR Square.”) And I didn’t have either one. So I planned to get there early next morning and figure something out.

Before retiring for the night I set the alarm for 8:-00 – the train left at 1:30 – but woke up at 6:30. I went through my morning ablutions and packed up. Then, figuring I had a little time to relax, I lay down for a bit – but “danged if I didn’t fall asleep again.” (And had really weird dream to boot.) Still with some time to go I left Ho36, hiked up Rue Marseille to the McDonald’s where I’d stopped to get my bearings on Wednesday. I’d checked Google Maps for a simpler route, so from the McDonald’s I hiked straight up Rue Paul Bert and followed it all the way. I got to Part Dieu in 22 minutes, at least half the time it took on Wednesday to get to the hostel.

I got to the station and went inside. Crowded, noisy and vast, and amid all the chaos I got run into, literally, by a tall attractive brunette in a red vest. Which I really appreciated; she was one of the station’s staff. After some mumbled apologies I asked her for help. She may have thought I was one of those “angels unawares,” but at any rate she directed me to the nook off to the side of the station – out of the main drag – where I could get a paper pass. The line was short, I got my paper with the squiggly square and – with plenty of time to spare – took a hike.

Out through the exit and over the six tracks east of the station, through the Parc Jeanne Jugan and up Rue d’Avigny for a ways. Then back to the Parc where I stopped at the Hotel-Restaurant Campanile Lyon, for a leisurely brunch at one of the shaded outdoor tables. And that was that. All I had to do was get on the train for a 45-minute down to Saint-Étienne-Châteaucreux, find the bus station in 15 minutes, then ride for an hour and 20 minutes.

What could go wrong? I was on my way to Le Puy en Velay – and beyond!

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More like, “to Le Puy-en-Velay and beyond…”

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The upper image is courtesy of Lyon France Images – Image Results. It goes with a a page, “Lyon in pictures – the mysterious food capital of France.” And aside from the Ponte de l’Universite and Ponte de la Guillotière, you can see the Basilica “Fourviere” at the far upper left.

“The last post:” More “gang aft aglay” – and luxury in Lyon!

A note about clothes washing on an overseas hiking journey to Europe. Sometimes while taking my end-of-day shower – and as necessary – I can wash my sweat-damp clothes by stomping soap into them and then rinsing with the shower hose. (A quick trick I had to learn in Jerusalem, when my Piggly-Wiggly bag full of dirty clothes got lost on the bus-ride to Nazareth.) And incidentally, the French word for laundromat is “laverie,” as in the Promoclean title. “Lavanderia” is apparently something to eat. See for example French Lavanderia Recipe – Image Results.

Re: The Lyon Beaujolais. “The wine is marketed to be drunk in November, only a few months after the grapes were on the vines.”

“Angels unawares.” See Hebrews 13:2 – Bible Hub, in the KJV, “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.” (The attractive young lady in the red vest certainly got my vote for a nice berth in heaven…)

The lower image is courtesy of Infinity And Beyond – Image Results, referring to sayings by Buzz Lightyear, the “fictional main character in DisneyPixar‘s Toy Story franchise.” See also To Infinity and Beyond: A Journey of Cosmic Discovery, on the 2023 book by Tyson and Walker.

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