Lyon à 36 degrés

In July we also spent a long weekend in Lyon. I had never visited before and it’s the third biggest city with an excellent TGV connection that gets you there in 2 hours.

We arrived on Thursday and moved into a little apartment on the 5th floor. It’s in Lyon’s old town, so a really old building. The entrance had vaulted ceilings. It was a hot weekend and the host assured us that there is an air condition unit. It was one of those where you need to put the pipe out of the window, so in order to have air con on, you need to open the window, which negates the effect of the air condition. There was also a large fan so it was mostly okay.

One of the things everyone recommends to do in Lyon is visit the basilica on the hill Fourvière. There’s a funicular going up to the hill so because of the heat and my laziness and love for funiculars we rode up there. The view is beautiful and after an appropriate amount of admiring the view we had lunch in the shade of a large chestnut tree.

The walk downhill was through a park with lots of trees, so shaded enough, so we wandered down the serpentines back into town.

We had dinner in the old town as well. The landlord had prepared us: These streets are touristy, expensive and the food is nothing special. We only eat in rue de boeuf. So we basically took the first bouchon we saw and settled in. A bouchon is a traditional Beisl/tavern particular to the region and serves hearty food. I had been warned about andouillette, so even though I’m adventurous I went for quenelles instead. In my case it was quenelles made from fish with crayfish sauce and it was delicious. Gergö had poached eggs in red wine sauce and chicken liver cake. Not exactly light summer food, but I think he enjoyed it. For additional frenchness there was a musician around the corner who played “La vie en rose” on their clarinet.

Because Friday was expected to get 35 degrees Gergö had researched a lake to swim in a little outside of Lyon. There’s a large park called miribelle with several lakes and a bus from the Eastern edge of Lyon to take you there. Apparently there is one private beach with fancier infrastructure (I saw an inflatable waterslide in the lake!), but most beaches are free and even have toilets and a kiosk and life guards. We found a place in the shade and I even thought the temperature was okay. At some point in the afternoon I saw that the life guards had up a sign saying 37 degrees. My phone thought it was 36. The lake was warm as well and we spent quite some time in there. Enough time for me to get sunburned on my shoulders.

The lake.  Ahhhhhhh.

People were making fires all around us and barbecued things. I was surprised it’s allowed, but I don’t know why I’m still surprised about things. It’s not like the French don’t make fires next to the lake just because it’s not allowed.

Friday night was the night of the lunar eclipse. I had read about it, then forgotten about it again. When the subject came up again, we discussed what to do and wanted to maybe try going up the fourvière again, but we missed the last funicular. So instead we stayed in town. Which was okay, because it was too cloudy to see anything at first. We hung around the bridge where lots of tourists hung out, had fancy ice cream (grapefruit with gin tonic sauce!) and later caught a glimpse of the red moon with bits missing.

A view of the River. I think this is the Rhône, but I couldn’t swear by it.

On Saturday it started to rain. At first it didn’t really cool off that much. It was just as hot but now also damp which is the worst of both worlds. But during the day it got cooler and the rain stopped around noon. We spent the morning/early afternoon in the museum.

Lyon apparently is birthplace of Kasperl / Guignol (like Punch, but more suitable for children). There are shops selling all kinds of puppets and a museum dedicated to Guignol and I still find large dolls extremely creepy, so we didn’t visit that museum.

Instead we went to the musée de confluences. It is a very modern science and ethnology museum. It’s where the two rivers of Lyon, the Rhône and the Saône flow together, hence the name.

I quite liked their various exhibitions. There was an exhibition on the Tuareg and how the west created a myth around them. There was a large permanent exhibition on the origin of the world. I liked how they combined various creation myths (Inuit, Aboriginal) with various periods in the history of the world that can be thought of the beginning – the formation of the earth, the first vertebrates, the first humans.

There was also an exhibition on death and funerary rites and there was a Peruvian mummified body buried in foetal position.


La tête dans les nuages

Last Friday I left work early to fly to Salzburg, for my grandparents birthdays. I took the metro to get to the train, to go to the airport where I took the plane to Salzburg, the bus to the main train station, and the train to Taxenbach-Rauris. There we were picked up by car by my sister. Remind me of that journey the next time I claim I don’t need a drivers license.

The whole family stayed at holiday apartments at a farm on 1200m elevation. We slept in downstairs, so I when I woke up I could hear the triplets running around a floor above us. In the mornings I would walk up to the other apartment through the finest drizzle. It took me a while to realise that we had been inside a cloud and the could was drifting up during the morning.

 


Le parc floral

We have been having a very nice and mild spring. In fact, this March was the warmest on record since 1900, equaled only by 1957. We have have made use of the nice weather (and the fact that we no longer have to sit on a train for half an hour to get anywhere) to explore a bit more of Paris. For the last few weeks we visited a different food market every weekend. They are all great, with excellent selections of cheeses.

cheeses

Mimolette cheese. The holes in the crust are made by tiny cheese mites living in it.

Another thing to explore are the two big parks on either end of Paris that look like two green ears on the map. The one that’s closer to us is the bois de Vincennes, and we decided to go there first. We have only visited it before to go to the zoo, but there is a lot more to see. Since Sunday’s weather forecast predicted 26 degrees and sunshine, we decided to check out the parc floral located inside the bois the Vincennes. I had read about it before; it’s a public park that also doubles as a botanical garden. There is also a big stage where concerts are sometimes held in the summer.

We packed sandwiches and beers for a picnic. The city of Paris has a detailed web sites about the rules and amenities for picnics in public parks; you are only supposed to walk or sit on lawns between April 15 and October 15 to leave the grass time to regenerate, but there are exactly 38 picnic benches available in the parc floral. When we got there it turned out that we had been the only ones to study the rules and/or to care about them. Some of the lawns were halfheartedly cordoned off, but the Parisans are a rebellious people and not that easily discouraged.

We walked around, munched on our sandwiches and beers, hunted Pokémon and were impressed by the large variety of tulips on display.

At the park’s entry we had noticed signs announcing something called “Resto Expérience”, of which we had never heard before. While we were wondering if it was the sort of food festival that seems to exist in every European city except Paris, two people came up to us to confirm that indeed it is one, and they gave us a leaflet with some information and, because we expressed interest, free tickets. It turned out afterwards that the organizers had combined an almost complete absence of marketing with the ridiculous idea of charging 13 to 17 Euro in admission to a remote location just to be allowed to spend money on food. Accordingly, there were not too many visitors at the expérience when we got there. We had some good food anyway, and we will be back next year, hoping the organizers learn from the mistakes they made on this first attempt.

After eating and drinking we were ready to head home for coffee and dessert. On the way back we passed a Quidditch match and found that yes, it really is as silly as it sounds.

 


L’automne est joli ici

We went to the ménagerie today. It’s the zoo in the Botanical garden. According to Wikipedia it’s the second oldest zoo in the world, after Schönbrunn. The architecture kind of reminds me of Schönbrunn. The ménagerie is much smaller though, and not (yet) renovated. They have fewer large animals, and apparently are very much involved in conservation efforts.

We saw orang-utans get fed and heard a bit about them. We saw a red panda, and I took a “Firefox is not responding” photo:

Firefox is not responding.

Firefox is not responding to your requests right now. Maybe at 16:15, when there’s a feeding.

We also went inside the former tortoise house. There’s an art installation now that I really liked:

art is hard 20151101_154323

We also heard a snow leopard meow. I didn’t realise large cats do that!


Un festival à Palaiseau

This weekend there was a festival in Palaiseau – aoûtside. It’s a pun of août (August) and outside.

This year’s was the 6th aoûtside festival. It was in a big sport stadium close by and admission was whatever you wanted to donate. There were two stages with music, a geodesic dome where t-shirts were sold, a lightpainting booth, two bars, a food truck selling Indian street food, a foodtruck selling barbe à papa (candy floss!), a book swapping corner, people dressed in Hippie clothes, lots of young people smoking weed, a battle rap (is that a German expression? a false friend?), lukewarm white wine in plastic cups, dry port-a-potties that use saw dust instead of water, furniture made from pallets – in short: anything you would expect from a festival ;-)

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NB: the new gallery looks nice, doesn’t it? but it only offers three albums in their free version, then you have to pay. also the first upload attempt failed halfway through, so i started it again. now some pictures are in there twice and deleting is also a premium feature…