Lyon: Day 6
“O tumble-rush of days we cannot catch.” – from Solitaire by Deborah Landau
Those were the words that rang in my head as we boarded the train to Lyon. After a morning of bag-packing (what a funny twist it is on backpacking) and saying goodbye, we found ourselves on our way to the gastronomic capital of France. As always, the days had sped by so quickly and it was time to move on.
As I gazed upon the Lac du Bourget en route to Lyon, I realized we didn’t actually know anything about the city. My normal stressed-out self would have freaked out — you only have a day and a half and you know nothing?! — but my post-Annecy brain brushed the thought aside. If there’s one thing I’ve learnt so far on this trip, it’s this: the surefire way to be amazed by a city is to have little to no expectation for it. That way, you’re always bound to be in for a surprise, and surprises are what you remember. (Mont Blanc was the perfect example; I was initially a skeptic, but by the time I was actually looking upon the mountain I was utterly overwhelmed.)
In the end, we decided to settle for a slow day — it was a ‘rest day’ of sorts after the jam-packed hours in Annecy. After arriving at the train station, we navigated the metro system to our Airbnb, which was located in a quiet residential neighbourhood not too far from the city centre. I was a little disheartened that the neighbour who showed us to the door did not understand a good 80% of my French, but hey — at least I tried.
Of course, the first thing we had to do was see whether or not Lyonnaise food was worth the hype. For a while we walked the streets, searching for a good restaurant, and eventually settled on a restaurant whose name, I presume, was inspired by that of the French writer Émile Zola. Having read Thérèse Raquin for class what feels like a century ago, it was definitely amusing to be eating on a road bearing the author’s name. The food certainly did not disappoint: Joseph went so far as to claim it was ‘the best meal’ he had had ‘in months’. Even though the restaurant was about to close for the afternoon, the staff were kind enough to let us in — and offer us an English interpreter at that. We settled on the 19€ set meal and were spoilt with two vegetable-heavy starters (oh dear greens, oh dear fibre, how I have missed you) and thick cuts of fish for our main. The fish was divine, but what was even more amazing was the broccoli on the side… I know, I know, I’m a strange one. Desserts were crème brûlée (for Joseph) and a tarte au citron (for me), both of which turned out, as expected, to be great. The lemon tart had the zestiest lemon filling I’ve ever had, and at one point I swear my eyes were about to water.
Feeling full and content, we walked back to our home where we rested for a while before heading back out. Like we did in Paris, we found a bike rental station (yay!) and biked our way to the nearby Parc de la Tête d’Or, where we saw flamingoes (!), giraffes (!!) and, before being totally overwhelmed by the abundance of random things within the park, settled down on a large lawn and spent a good hour reading (for Joseph) and writing letters (for me).
We could’ve stayed there for longer, had it not begun to rain. As soon as the clouds began to linger overhead, we headed back the way we came, bought groceries along the way, went home and cooked our dinner. Being the amazing chefs we were, Joseph successfully cooked his pasta using the microwave and I once again rejected the flame and simply gave in to putting stuff together. Clearly, we are becoming more competent by the day.