Wednesday, March 15, 2006

I ain't lyin'

Hello! I was blocked from posting on this here page for the last few days, as robots* mistakenly identified my little thing as a spam blog. Oh well.


*yes, really. And yes, I'm somewhat pleased with that reason.

So! This last weekend was a rather lovely one. Catherine and I took a day trip to Lyon. Like most large cities, it was nice to wander about...but it would have been better with someone who knows the city. Through this year, though, I've gotten better at scanning the guide book and making a reasonable plan of action for seeing a city in the time allotted. It's good to have Catherine there, as she's always ready when I drop the ball - be it with directions, general stupidity, or any matter of unnecessarialy freaking out.

Lyon is the second (or third, I've heard both) largest city in France. People declare that it is the most gastronomic (a word that I've used a staggering number of times this year, working in a culinary school). There's a large student population, which nearly always means a lot of nice bars and cafes. In general, a lot of people really love Lyon - some much more so than Paris. Of course, those people are country folk, so a city of just over a million is probably a comfortably large city for them.

It IS beautiful, there is no doubt about that. The old part of the downtown is a protected UNESCO site...but, unfortunately, filled with tourist shops. On two sides of the city, there are large hills which offer spectacular views of the city. Oh, and if you're not in good shape before you come here, you'll be mad fit by the time you leave. There's a lot of stairs everywhere.

The best surprise for the day was going into the enormous basilica on the very top of the biggest hill. Now, if you spend any time in Europe, there's a tendency for big old churches to start to look the same. This one, however, was one of the most beautiful I've ever seen -- I'd say this one and St. Matthias Church in Buda (of Budapest) are my absolute favorites.

I have never, ever seen mosiacs like this. They covered nearly every surface.

This is NOT part of the church, interestingly:

Of all the pictures I have taken in France, this one is probably the most French:

And here's everything else:


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