It was not long after we left Vienne that we pulled into Lyon, with the previous night's caveat that we were beginning to enter a "big city" and it was now time to begin really watching out for pickpockets or purse snatchers. We had lunch on the boat and lots of people had made plans to attack the city with the hopes of finding silks and "tissue" (fabric), if they were quilters or collectors. Rod and I set off with our city map in hand and went off to see if we could find the L'Atelier de Soierie factory. Man, we wandered and wandered and never found the place but had a real dose of a city shopping district and large open square, which was over an underground car park. It was actually HOT and every French person that we saw had broken out the sun dresses and shorts and after such a long wet winter, were cavorting around, with their giant bottles of water. (I always grabbed one of the offered water bottles as we left the ship) Cranky and hot, I was disappointed by not finding the one thing that Lyon had always been known for, which was the silkworkers.
Some of the other shipmates took off with the chef (who was the company's executive Chef and who I called La Grande Fromage) to the Paul Bocuse chef's marketplace. Yeah...I should have done THAT...
The surprise that happened during the cocktail hour was that three people from that Atelier that we did not find, brought silks and did a lecture about their screen printing techniques. Needless to say, the scarves were devoured by all of us women, whose husbands said "go for it". One for daughter, one for daughter-in-law and one for me. Score. Now to wait for autumn, so that I can enjoy wearing mine.
Dinner that evening was a fabulous feast with lots of the special things that Madame Chef picked up. I was ready for bed, that night, believe me. I always loved how she would "sell" her menu picks, telling us how the sauces were made and telling us that the tenderness of the meat or sweetness of the dessert were like her (she enjoyed food, let's just say)
The next morning was to be our official tour of Lyon, with the local guides, who took us through the old part of the city, some 2000 years old. We got there early, before the sidewalks would begin to fill with tables and had these cobled alleyways to ourselves. Our guide was the first of a couple of guides who had a penchant for pastries and she made certain to point things out to us, as we meandered, tethered to her by our Tourist Whisperers. She spent some time having us try to guess what the red coloring in certain local pastry delicacies came from and when she said "you will never guess", I piped up Cocheneal? Yes, bugs.
One of the most fascinating parts of the ancient city is the secret passageways. We were standing in a street with our guide and out of a double door, came a family. I assumed that they lived there and were heading out for the day. Nope. We went in through that same door, into and out of a series of walled-in alleyways, which went into and through walled in courtyards and passages.
I would never have guessed that they were there and yet we did cut-throughs along streets, which made the old city kind of a warren. Fascinating, to say the least. She left us in the area, with instructions about how to get back to the bus, which took us back to the ship.
Now was our finite time to wander and shop and press our noses against the glass. I wanted something for Lorrie and was thrilled to see so many top notch artisans among the touristy shops. We went in here and if it weren't for the fact that the shoe constrution was pretty flat (sans support) I could have lost myself, in this cobbler's shop. I should have taken more time and actually tried things on but felt the time constraint, which is now making me kick myself with my non-handmade shod foot. I guess that I kept thinking that I should "wait for Paris"...bad idea!
I had to take a picture of this wine shop, because of our Kiwi friend, Maurice.
When we returned to our docking place, spritzed our hands with hand sanitizer, we were greeted by the wait staff with sparkling cider and an array of Charcuterie specialties, leading us to lunch. Fancy pantsy. Oh yes, and the Portuguese lady, whom I referred to as "Mother" left us a quite wonderful and tall swan for our towel sculpture of the day. Such fun.
The afternoon and evening was spent sailing up the Rhone, under beautiful clear skies, waving at bargemen and people on the sides of the river, as the classical music surrounded us. Yes, heavenly.
We left Viviers overnight and spent the day cruising up the Rhone River and had quite the view out of our window. We could see the steam for miles and finally came upon this massive power plant, which remarkably also included wind power.
I thought that I might give you a view of a day going through locks. It was a gorgeous cruising day and we are approaching one of the tallest ones (the tallest being 70 Meters).
Mind you, as we are cruising into this big thing, we are being serenaded by beautiful classical music.
And then there was light...this gate lowering so that we could motor on.
We had a lovely dinner that evening and were happy when the maitre brought on regional wine for those of us not sporting the fancy-pants wine list ($800 a person!). This one was quite delicioius and worthy of a photo.
We arrived in Vienne, right around midnight, going through a couple more locks and when we awoke, the bright beautiful day offered breakfast and awaiting local guides to show us the sights in the Roman city of Vienne.
They broke us up into the usual groups, trying to mix and match, so that we would meet new people. Our particular bunch loaded onto a kind of Zoo Train that took us up to the top of the promentory towering above the town to a beautiful little church, which was a Notre Dame. Very charming. Here she is!
From this hill, we had commanding views of the entire area and got to see the Roman Ampitheatre at the base of the hill, which is still being used for theatre productions, as you can see.
The view was spectacular.
We soon trundled back onto the little train and rumbled past the ancient Roman walls, down to the town, where we diembarked and got a walking tour, including being able to see this amazing relic of Roman times, which is the 1st Century Temple of Emperor Augustus & Livia.
We went into the big cathedral that you can see in the view photo and then we were set free to wander the town before lunch. I was swooning over these but they were a bit steep for my budget. I think that if I had it to do all over again...I would have gone in there, because nowhere else did I see such amazing and artistic frames! Pout.
We bid au revoir to Vienne and began our journey to Lyon!