Lyon

10/17/2012

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Lyon is probably my favorite city I've visited so far. It was gorgeous, historic and eventful to say the least. Let me start off with the very beginning...

Actually, let me first say this. I had no idea what to expect of Lyon. To be honest, I didn't do my research beforehand and I've never heard that much about Lyon. I was pleasantly surprised though :)
Now, I'll recount my adventures .

Our train to Lyon was at 6:30am. I woke up at 4:30am. Not fun. We decided to meet at the Rotonde (big fountain) to catch the bus to the TGV station. As I was waiting for my friend, I get harassed twice by this weirdo.  Luckily, there was a big group of older adults who came to my safety. I am forever grateful to them! I think he was mentally ill but he was fucking weird. Lesson learned. 

Want to know how to say fuck off? Vas-y, casse-toi.

My friend finally arrives and we head to the TGV. We see a sign that says 6:24 Gare de Lyon and we assume that's our train which came 5 minutes early. NOPE!! Boy were we wrong. Once we're on the train, we realize it's a train to Paris and not Lyon. Merde. 3 hours later we arrive at Paris-Gare de Lyon. It was kind of funny at the moment but not after buying a ticket back to Lyon.

2 hours later we're finally in LYON!! Phew.Not gonna lie, I was kinda disappointed when I first saw the city. It was super modern, similar to a US city. Wasn't what I expected at all. I expected narrow streets, a city full of rich history, beautiful architecture, cafes and restaurants etc.  When we got to our hostel called the Cool & Bed, I was a little bummed. It wasn't the greatest area and I had no idea where the people were. It seemed deserted. The hostel itself was really nice and it was clean! The people who worked there were friendly and extremely helpful. 

Don't worry, it only gets better from here. Once we drop our stuff off, we decide to go to Old Lyon to eat. We find this cute little cafe and I order a delicious Quiche Lorraine and my friend orders a galette. We then walk through Vieux Lyon and it is gorgeous!! Take a look at my fb album. This was what I was expecting! The narrow streets, cobblestone, ancient buildings, delicious odors, quaint boutiques, lively restaurants, and an energetic atmosphere! We somehow meander uphill in a private neighborhood. There's a school, french children and private houses. There was a gorgeous view of Lyon from above. In this location I have to make 2 observations: 1) these people are skinny because they walk up this enormous hill everyday 2) these 12 yr girls look like they're 18...everyone is gorgeous, older looking and skinny. It made me feel super self-conscious. 

We then descend this enormous hill and take a long needed break along the Rhone River. It was very peaceful and relaxing. A moment I will remember for a longgg time. After that, we head back to our hostel to take a nap, unwind and get ready for the night. We had no idea what to do so I decided to ask the people at the hostel where the "hip" places were. He suggested going to Old Lyon since it has a lot of bars, pubs and restaurants. So that's what we did. We went to an Irish pub. Note to self, it's not fun when it's just the two of you and you have no other friends. I really wish we had french friends at that moment. 45 minutes later we left to go back to the hostel in order to get up early tomorrow for the next day.

Day 2 lots of funnnn
So Steph and I, decide to buy a student pass for 17€ which allowed us free entry in all museums and free transportation! Whatta dealll. We came up with a list of places we wanted to visit. We first went to the Beaux Arts museum which had amazing paintings and sculptures. It was huge but great! I recognized some impressionist artists. I can't wait for the Louvre in Paris! This museum was located in the section between the two rivers. This area was fantastic and later that night we would return to it. 

Next we went to a Cinema and miniature museum. This had real life props from Hollywood movies like Planet of the Apes, Star Wars, CSI, any space movie and any horror movie. It was really cool!! They also had these miniature real life replicas. There was a scene from the 1950s, a street scene, a barbershop, a library etc. So much detail and everything looked real except in miniature form. I give those artists a lot of credit! 

Then we attempted to find "China Town" and yes the quotations are necessary because when we finally found it, it was one lonely street. I didn't see any crazy crowds of asians. I did not see any hanging ducks in the windows. Basically, it was a complete FAIL! Such a disappointment. I was expecting something grandiose like the one in NYC or in Philly. Apparently, Lyon has the 3rd biggest Chinatown in France...that's complete bullshit.

After that, we decided to head across town to the La Musée de Lumière or in other words the museum of cinematography! In fact, cinema was started in France in the late 1880's and it originated in Lyon! How cool is that? Anyways, there was this big hype about this museum. Everyone said it was exceptional and a must see. I'm not disagreeing with them but it wasn't AS exceptional as they said. It was pretty cool but a little bland. I guess I didn't appreciate it enough, but those of you interested in Cinema should check it out sometime! 

Our last tourist place we went to was on top of The hill. When we went to Old Lyon we saw a gorgeous church on a hill and that's exactly where we went. We took the funiculaire like the one in Quebec. The church on the outside was absolutely gorgeous but not so great in the inside. They were doing construction which tainted its beauty. However, there was a really cool clock structure with all this detail and mechanical animation. It was pretty nifty. Next, we saw a great site! It was a Gallo-Roman amphitheater! It was awesome, beautiful and history filled!! The theater was almost completely preserved, there was an amazing view of Lyon from the top. I don't know how else to describe it but it was fantastic! I would definitely go back!
After that, we decided to walk down that enormous hill we came up. Took us about 15 min not too bad considering the hill was practically vertical and windy. Anyways, we went back to our hotel-a different place than the hostel. The hotel was called Hotel de Normandie and it was in this rinky dink section of town. Luckily, it was near the metro so easy access to transportation. We head back to the area by Hotel de Ville and decide to eat at this quaint cafe/restaurant right in front of the beaux art museum. It was a beautiful night but chilly. Our waiter was very fun and cute too ;). He tried to speak English with us and definitely mocked our American mannerisms. He was a lot of fun. The food was just as good too. I had this Mexican salad and it was the spiciest salad I've had in my entire life, no joke. My mouth was on fire!! My friend got penné au thon (tuna pasta) and it was scrumptious. We then decided to ask our lovely waiter a good place to go out. He suggested Ayer's Rock which is an Australian Bar. He bluntly said "you Americans will like it" and guess what, we did! It was a great atmosphere. I had some exotic colored shot and some cider. And of course I danced my butt off! Unfortunately, we had to leave early in order to catch the last train because apparently the metro in france does not run 24/7. We were not going to walk 30 min in the cold. All in all the day and night was fantastic and eventful! I would call it a grand success!

I loved Lyon and will definitely return one day. If you study abroad in France or any where in Europe, I suggest visiting this wodnerful city. It's definitely underrated compared to Paris. 
 


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