Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Lunch in Lyon

Right now, I'm writing this while sitting on a five hour train ride to Paris Bercy. Unfortunately, I did not have the foresight to buy a round trip ticket, so to my surprise all the trains to Paris Gare Lyon were full. My hopes of looking around Le Louvre or the catacombs before my flight today dashed, I resigned to reading my detective novel with at least the countryside scenery outside the window to comfort me.

I accept that my pictures will never be as aesthetically pleasing as Effie's.

Backtrack to Saturday morning.

After waking up at about 6:30am in X.'s ('19) apartment, I showered, dressed, and headed out to the bus stop outside. It was a chilly early morning, and since I wanted my wet towel to dry, I wrapped it around my arms to block the cold wind. I wished for probably the fiftieth time that I had brought my MIT sweater but counted myself lucky that I was not ill.

A decorated clock in a church.
Speaking of luck, the bus arrived with only five minutes of waiting, and I was at the train station in half an hour's time. My first dilemma faced me at the ticket-buying machine. If I wanted to leave for Lyon at 9am and meet up with my friend for lunch, I'd have to spend €100, which is roughly the cost of the flight from Nice to Paris. However, there was a later option at 10am, which would save me €20. Which should I choose?

I pondered the situation for roughly 30 seconds and went for the first option, since I figured seeing my friend was worth a few euros. Thus, after buying a direct ticket to Lyon, I hiked out of the train station to find a boulangerie for breakfast.

After returning to the station slightly less exhausted (the wonders a warm apple tart can do), I slept on the 2 hour train ride to Lyon Part Dieux and met my friend in the station. With a few more hours of sleep in me and the excitement of being in a new city, I was ready for another adventure before my departure for T--.

I'd add the actual profile pic I took of my friend, 
but apparently the shadow is unsatisfactory.
Lyon is actually the second biggest city in France, surprising since it doesn't seem to possess the natural charm of a French ville like Nice or Paris. Perhaps this first impression isn't accurate, since my friend assures me that he loves Lyon and believes that the city is greatly underrated. In any case, we had two hours to explore and eat lunch before I needed to be back at the station to catch the train.

We took the metro to the river and walked to the old part of Lyon from there. The river was quite beautiful, and old Lyon had the narrow cobblestone streets that I recognized as a trademark of France in all the cities I've traveled to, lined with small local shops and restaurants.

Yummy tripe! It's not fish, but it's delicious.
My friend guided me to a restaurant that looked almost packed although it had just opened. Real French cuisine, three courses for only €15. It was a gem of a place. For an appetizer, I ate a poached egg in a soup of vinegar, bacon, and mushrooms. Then the main dish consisted of tender strips of tripe, which was quite the novelty. Finally, I finished the meal with dessert: a tarte tatin and homemade ice cream. All the while, I shared an enjoyable conversation with my friend, so lunch was lovely.

Unfortunately, we had to rush back to catch the train at 2pm. I missed it. Fortunately, I can't understand emails, so while I thought there was a train at 2pm, I only needed to be in Lyon at this time. The next train to T-- was at 3:15pm, so my friend and I just continued talking while sitting nearby a fountain in a rather large mall by the station.
A beautiful river and a beautiful bridge.

Finally, it was time for me to actually go, so we somehow found the other Course 3 people in the train station even though I had no idea what these people looked like. After confirming that the other half of the group was dismally stranded on a bus with a cluelessly lost driver, we headed on the train for our departure to T--.

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