10 March 2008



On Monday morning I was up bright and early, while it was still chilly cold outside. I grabbed my bag and my purse and jumped in my père’s car. Sunday night at dinner he had asked if I wanted a ride to the gare in the morning. It was surprisingly difficult for me to come to terms with accepting the offer. I believe it was a couple minutes before I finally agreed, mostly because I thought it would be easier for me in the morning to not have to get up and then just wait for the bus and the metro and all.

Michel started to drive me to Place St. Anne, where I had told Julia I would meet her before going to the gare together. Before we were even halfway there, Michel told me that it would be better if we all just went to the gare, so that we would have some “just in case” time. I sent Julia a text and called her, telling her his idea (since he has thirty years of plane/train travel experience, I wasn’t about to question him) but she didn’t respond. I told him that I couldn’t just head to the gare, since I’d promised Julia I’d meet her at St. Anne, so we drove there and I jumped out to try to find her. No luck…and then I called her again and she picked up. She had gotten my message and was at the gare already.

I jumped back in the car and on the way to the road we almost drove over Mark, so he got in too and Michel took us down to the station. Of course we had time to spare, and of course once again we ran into Rachel and Collin, who were having problems with their tickets. Rachel had reserved them online, but when they had gone up to the counter to redeem them, the lady at the computer typed in a number or two incorrectly and so they were told that there was only one ticket and they were pretty much screwed.

Collin ended up going back through the line and talking to someone else while we hung with Rachel and watched their stuff while she went and bought a monster maxi pain au chocolat from the tres cher boulangerie.

Our train ride there was pretty uneventful. Four hours of quiet. The two other girls fell asleep for a long bit of it, and Mark and I listened to music and watched some Invader Zim episodes on his ipod. Yes, on the ipod. He downloaded them from itunes. Beautiful thing, itunes.

Once in Lyon we decided that we wanted to walk to the hostel instead of taking the metro. Haha…go figure the first day we were there was one of the warmest. About halfway there (although not even technically halfway through our walk) we stopped at a clearing and set our bags down. I was sweating, it was nasty. On one end of the place was a giant ferris wheel. Of course while everyone was sitting I walked over and asked the guy, in French, how much it cost for one person.

He looked at me from under his eyebrows, then held up his hand, fingers spread, and said, “Five euros.” Ouch. That’s another reason why we’re afraid to speak in French here. People hear our accents/mistakes and reply to us in English. Honestly, it’s a mark of confidence and respect for us when someone keeps the conversation in French. We get respect from that person and then we’re confidence-pumped for any later occurrences. I mean, the least they could do is correct us and then move on. If we’re obviously trying in French, wouldn’t that maybe hint that we want to practice that language?

We never rode on the ferris wheel, even though we could see it from our auberge and at night with the lights of the city it looked pretty wicked sweet…

Finally we made it to the base of Fourvière Hill, where we would find the auberge (oh, that’s ‘hostel,’ by the way). Connor was sitting at a café just at the base, and we said hi to him and talked for a little bit. He was staying in the same auberge, and he told us how to get there. We walked down the road half a block, turned the corner, and found the real base of the hill. The hill is big. Big as in, steep. So we were already tired and everything, and then we get to this hill…and I was just laughing. I’m just glad that our auberge was about halfway or so up the hill, so it wasn’t so bad to do that walk once a day. But that first time, it was horrible, because man, I was still uncomfortable.

And then I got to have my second assertive opportunity of the trip, which was to check in to the hostel. It probably would have been Amanda, but I’m the one who had gotten online and made the reservations, so there I was. I said hi in French. I answered questions in French. And the desk dude replied in French! I was so excited. The only problem we had was when I had to explain that I had made two reservations because one of our people was going to be leaving after two nights. Yeah, that was fun. We dropped our stuff in the room, sat around for a while cooling off, and then set off for the top of the hill, which was home to the Roman ruins of Lyon.

I like ruins. I especially like ruins when it’s sunny and bright outside and the air is clear and probably maybe I hope somewhat clean. After the ruins, we walked around and down and ended up at the Hotel de Ville (House of the City- a plaza area). There’s this monster fountain in the middle of the plaza that’s solid lead. I don’t remember the artist’s name but whoever it was had some fun carving three horses, a chariot, and a driver out of lead. The horses’ hooves had curving talons; that was kinda creepy.

Then what…oh, Connor met up with us and we went to a kebab place for dinner. The French really love kebabs. They make fun of us and turn up their noses at all our fast food burger joints, but seriously. These things are better than a BigMac, no question, but they can’t be that much better for you. And they are delicious.

After dinner we went to two bars, St. James’ Pub and…uh…I forget the other one. It was another pub, though. Everyone else had beers. I don’t like beer. Oh, wait, that’s a lie. I don’t like dark beers. I like blond beers. Like, if you can get the blondest beer on tap, I’ll probably drink it. Maybe. So far the favorites are Grimbergen and Edelweiss, which Mark said tasted like bubblegum. Guiness tastes like coffee. Yuck. If I wanted coffee I would get a latté…or chai tea. Neither of which taste like coffee.

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