French train discount tickets, the bodily ascension of Jesus to the heavens, and two of my vacation days resulted in a 5 day weekend which I spent in Dijon and Lyon. Dijon bookended around Lyon so I spent roughly two days in both cities and a lot of time on trains.
The first day of my loooong weekend was spent wandering about Dijon by myself. This was greatly aided by the fact that the city has set up an “owl walk”. Basically, the city has placed bronze owl markers in a grand loop that walks you past all the major sights and monuments in the historical old town. Although I didn’t visit the tourist office to buy the official explanation guide, I was able gain a basic understanding of what I was looking at through reading the plaques in French. An owl is selected as the marker as it is the symbol of the city due to a carving on the main cathedral which, according to legend, brings good luck to those who rub it. I don’t know if I will be lucky in my future because as I was rubbing it, someone yelled at me to use the other hand, so fingers crossed. The other event of the day was the longest, most leisurely lunch of my life which was mostly made possible from my lack of schedule and the servers lack of interest in me. After being quickly served my coffee, it took me almost 45 minutes order my lunch which was very tasty. The wait was greatly aided by my kobo, which has quickly become my favourite thing to have in my bag.
When I returned to Dijon for the last day of my trip (not counting my 6 hours of public transportation to return to my house in Luxembourg the next day) I was couchsurfing. My host was involved in a European wide youth volunteer programme and he was kind enough to show me around for a bit. We ran into another friend of his who we ended up spending most of the night with and took us to eat a region speciality, escargo! It was actually very delicious and no more strange than clams or oysters. After that it was off to enjoy the celebrations of the night of museums. This is a nationally observed day where all the museums are free to enter and many put on different concerts and shows to highlight culture. We watched a string quartet play 70’s and 80’s rock music in the museum of the city and then went to a large church to see, what can only be described, as the strangest concert I have ever heard. It sounded like noise from space. After that we were off to meet more friends to drink and party on a river barge. All in all, an interesting last day.
Another lovely couchsurfer welcomed me into her home for my stay in Lyon. Since I arrived in the evening, we had dinner together and then went to take a quick look at the city. Lyon is filled with students and since it was a public holiday the next day and the temperature cracked 30 degrees that afternoon, everyone was sitting next to the river enjoying a picnic and the sunset. I was quite a sight to see almost every square of grass taken by the relaxing Lyonaise.
I had the next day all to myself to wander around the city and the weather was perfect.
Most of the old interesting parts are situated between the two rivers that converge in Lyon, and I spent my day walking about after first making the climb to the cathedral for a spectacular view of the city. Lunch was another long affair, although this time is was more of my choice, at a famous sandwich shop. The last stop was to the Roman amphitheatres to watch the sunset. I then met up with my host to go indoor rock climbing. It had been almost two years since I had gone climbing and it was so much fun, and a very nice change from the usual tourist things.
My weather luck broke the next day and it poured off and on with a wind vicious enough to claim my umbrella. Seeing as my plans to visit the city park and zoo were dashed, I went to see the clothing and textile museum. The region surrounding Lyon became very rich on the silk trade, and the museum talk about the area as well as other great silk houses. Unfortunately, the clothing section was closed for rearranging so I mostly got to look at many different tapestries. After off to a bakery for a tea gourmet which has become my new favourite, It is tea (but mostly it is seen with coffee) and three very small desserts. After I meet up with my host for a few beers and then back to her house to make crepes.
The last day in Lyon was lovely to start but ended up being a little frustrating. My host took me for a walk along one of the rivers. The city has recently created a board-walk throughout the entire city at water level with chairs and different artwork. I also got to see the statue of the petit prince, as his author is from Lyon.That was the lovely part, the annoying part was when my carshare ride decided to cancel on me with less than 20 minutes left to the meeting. Luckily my host did not have to be at work yet and I was able to go back and find another ride. O well, it all worked out in the end.