First, I'd like to apologize that there is only one picture of Lyon on here. The week before this trip my camera underwent an unfortunate schmelting... I mean... crash and collapse accident resulting in a completely broken screen but working camera. So if any of the pictures in my next few blogs look a bit unbalanced it's due to the fact that I own a touchscreen camera and don't have a view finder... (or buttons that I can see since it's a touchscreen).
Ah but, the show must go on. My friend Annie and I decided about a week or so ago that we both wanted to go to Lyon, France for no other reason than "I heard it is nice". Our original plan had been to go to Nice, which resulted in many a joke about how "nice" it is, but after discovering it was a 6 hour drive we changed our minds. Thus, we decided on the under 2 hour drive to Lyon. So we piled into her host family's Audi turned up the heated seats and off we went in the direction of all signs pointed towards Lyon.
This was quite possibly my most unprepared trip thus far. If you're an avid reader (like there are any), or just know me personally, then you know that I'm a bit of an over-planner, pre-travel anxious mess. Well, this trip I was completely the opposite of normal and if I'm not putting anyone into a state of shock by saying this, I liked it. That's right, I, Brittany, set off on a trip, without a plan, map, or any idea of what to expect once we reached Lyon without having a panic attack!
Now that I've gotten that out of the way, I'll continue.
Annie and I started out well, in that we continued to see signs for Lyon. Then we started to see signs for Paris and Dijon but no more for Lyon. This posed a problem since we hadn't brought a map or any kind of direction device. So, we did the obvious choice and turned around. Eventually we started to see signs for Lyon again and we made sure to pay closer attention so that we wouldn't miss any exits. We continued to follow the signs all the way to the "Ville Centre" (city center for those non-french speakers) and then to find parking. Once we were parked we grabbed our bags, closed the doors and headed up to the street level.
From there we looked around and decided to walk back towards where the majority of the people seemed to be. It's a strange thing to go somewhere new because you don't know where the best sights are. We just decided to follow the crowd which lead us to a shopping street with a lack of restaurants for our growling stomachs. After discovering that most restaurants' kitchens were closed (it was around 2pm) we decided to just head back to the McDonald's and disgracefully grab a burger and fries. Yes, I know, here we are in a city known for it's food (or so I learned after the fact) and we waited 20 minutes for a burger at McDonald's. Not one of my proudest moments, but I digress.
After lunch, we walked in the direction of the river and followed it for a bit. We were beginning to get pretty bored with Lyon and started to walk back towards the car to see if there was anything of interest going on there. That's when I heard a band playing off in the distance. We followed the music and rounded an alleyway to find a band complete with distressed clothing, bass drum chairs and an overly loud trombone. We listened to it as we looked off to the right and saw it, the ville centre.
There among the gray was another McDonald's, a Starbucks and an H&M, all in the same block. This I have dubbed as the city center for most European cities. If you can find all of these near each other, you my friend, have found the hot spot for tourists. (Unless you're in Italy where there are no Starbucks). I'm pretty sure that this works on most cities, at least in Europe.
After trying to shop for a bit but getting impatient by the crowds we started to walk back towards the car. Since we didn't find anything else that we wanted to do we decided to book it back to Geneva.
Once we were in the car we decided that there was no way we were going to get lost. We paid attention as intently as we could to the signs and only had to make one U-turn!
So, as lame as that may sound, that was our trip to Lyon. Not full of as much excitement as usual, but ya know what?, I wasn't stressed out or anxious the whole day and in my world that counts as a pretty successful trip!