14th of May.
Of the 14th of May I must confess I can tell you precious little. As I have mentioned in earlier I am relying heavily on my images to remind me of what I did on any particular day, but the sole image I have from this day is the one you can see and was apparently taken at 1808 hours. I cannot, to my eternal shame, even remember what that food was but I do recognise a cocktail sauce when I see one!
All I can tell the reader with any certainty is that I was still in the excellent Le Flaneur hostel, enjoying it immensely and in great danger of falling foul of the travel inertia I have mentioned before.
I suppose I might as well crack on with another couple of days here.
15th of May.
The 15th May arrived and I had apparently awarded myself a bit of a lie-in as my images don’t start until about lunchtime. My dorm in the hostel was en suite but didn’t have any windows and so it was a matter of showering and getting dressed before you opened the door to see what the weather was going to do to you. I had been heading ever Southwards in the hope of escaping the cold and rain of Northern Europe but it really wasn’t happening and so it was a very happy Fergy that walked out into a glorious Spring day which thankfully looked much more like Summer. Contrast this to the images from earlier in this entry where it was, frankly, miserable. Off and running.
Anyone who knows me or who has randomly stumbled upon this blog will know that I simply adore just bimbling about aimlessly and very often getting myself completely lost. Certainly I love to visit a museum, cathedral or monument as much as the next man but it is completely unscripted meanderings, without aid of a map and the technological ineptitude that precludes me using the one on my ‘phone, that leads to some of the best times. We return to another of my several travel mantras in that there is no right and no wrong way to travel and this is my way. I suspect the only potential wrong way would be to sign up for some form of trip when you know that it is not your preferred style.
I know Lyon is a city with a fantastic history and many fascinating sites / sights to see and yet, in the many days there I saw precisely nothing of huge note and yet I had such a good time, hung out in places that never see a tourist, brushed up my appalling French, ate some great food, met some lovely people and generally had a thoroughly enjoyable time. Again, I defy anyone to tell me that I wasted my time.
One thing that I did notice was that the traffic was absolutely horrendous, as you can see in one of the images above but I was walking and so, apart from the inevitable fumes, it did not bother me too much.
A walk on a glorious French Spring day revealed some wonderful architecture which I loved and then it was down to the river, I do love being by the water and Lyon served me perfectly. Whilst many major settlements grew up historically along rivers Lyon boasts not one but two major waterways, namely the Rhone and the Saone. I had either bumped into or would bump into both of them on this trip and I do rather love them. On this afternoon I wandered along the Rhone, which is the larger of the two rivers and marvelled at the superb wide embankment where people seemed to congregate after work. Well, it is a beautiful place to do it. They even have the municipal swimming baths located there.
Naturally, a couple of bars featured on my ramble and my images suggest that the Monopol and Ed’s Original featured amongst others.
After having revived myself suitably it was time for a walk a bit further along the river in the gathering dusk and I was rewarded with a lovely looking church which was obviously closed at that hour and yet another charming public space with some unusual modern style sculpture there.
I had decided that another quick beer was in order before I took off to the hostel after what had been a most enjoyable day and my “nose”, of which I have spoken often here, led me to the Monroe Bar named after arguably the world’s greatest sex symbol and themed accordingly. I stress once more that there was nothing to suggest it was a rough-house as it was clean and tidy, nothing raucous happening but I just knew it was “edgy” and, as so often, the nose was not wrong.
Not long after I had sat down to enjoy my well-kept beer, in walked a male and a female police officer, both in uniform and armed to the teeth as is the way here although what did surprise me was the length of his hair, he looked a right hippy. Obviously, I have no idea what French police regulations are on the matter but surely he could at least have put it in a ponytail not only in the interests of tidiness but to make it less easy to get a hold of in a ruck. I can only guess he did other work undercover but you would never see such a thing in UK. Anyway, after a bit of a conversation with the barman, the two of them went through a door behind the bar and emerged a few minutes later with a young man in handcuffs who they duly took outside and stuck in the back of a van. I have no idea what it was all about but it did liven the place up a bit and indicated to me that I had not lost my touch.
16th of May.
The 16th was another decent day, the weather definitely seemed to have cheered itself up somewhat which was a blessed relief.
Another day walking about and with very little to show in the way of images except my ridiculous breakfast to start with. OK, I am sure the medical profession probably does not recommend a bottle of wine and half a packet of cigarettes as the basis for a healthy diet but I counter with this argument. I am now 58 years of age (57 then) and have not even been registered with a Doctor for over 20 years even with my ludicrous lifestyle. I seem to be doing OK and am not putting a drain on the much over-stretched National Health Service. Suits me.
I did go out for my usual perambulation in the afternoon and about the only thing I found was the local allotments which did look to be well used and full of plants, flowers and veggies. Perhaps this is where some of the excellent produce I had seen in the “farmer’s market” in the hostel garden.
I got home in good time to catch the music evening that I had seen advertised and which was well attended, as you can see. The standard of musicianship was very good with several bands on show and the style being a mix of jazz / funk and more world music influenced pieces. As the image shows (apologies for the quality again but I am always so reticent to use flash) that it was well-attended and with the excellently stocked bar in full swing it was a most enjoyable evening. I know I have gone on about it quite a bit but this hostel really does have just about everything. I could happily spend a few months there.
I realise this is not perhaps the most riveting reading but there is plenty more to come that may be of more interest so please stay tuned and spread the word.