Wednesday, January 14, 2009

It was a white, white day

Today was one of those days that could be quite forgettable. It was a day of white -
White sky, white cloud, white fog, white snow, white sleet, white rain (OK well almost)!

We left Strasbourg as the snow was setting in and at times quite heavy. We had planned to go to one of the museums before we left, but checkout time was 11 am and the museum did not open until 12 noon. With the weather the way it was, we decided to opt out and just hit the road.

Leaving the centre of Strasbourg, we eventually got ourselves going in the right direction for Lyon. Although Google Earth estimated the trip at 4 hrs 32 mins, it actually took us more like 6.5 hours. We only had two breaks - one for lunch and another for the loo - neither of which were very long.

The trip is slow and tiring requiring nore concentration than usual in the snow. The traffic is also heavy with a truck on the road for every car that is travelling. We Australians think that there are a lot of trucks travelling the highways? Think again, you ain't seen nothing! And Gor, they all tailgate - travelling so very close in conditions that are far from perfect!

We arrived in Lyon after dark - not the ideal situation given that we did not have accommodation booked. Parked in a parking station (cos there was absolutely no street parking) and looked through the Lonely Planet Guide for a hotel. Rang one with the now common phrase "Vous Parlez Anglaise?" - thankfully yes (Merci!) to find out they had only one room left and nothing for tomorrow night.

"Where are you now?" I explained where we were and his comment was "O, that is easy. Take a right between the Post Office and the Justice Building and come up the hill." We are still looking for the Post Office!!! And never did find the hostel.

From below, we had seen the most amazing church illuminated high on the hill - the Basilica de Notre Dame de Fourviere. Given we were now at its feet, we thought we may as well take a quick look by night.

Back through the maze of narrow, twisting streets down to Lyon Centre, we look for somewhere to stay. There are so many people around that it is hard to navigate the City streets, let alone find somewhere to park. We spy the Ibis Hotel and figure we may as well try there as it is now close to 8 pm. I have to double park as Michael races in to find out if they have something available. I am in a bus lane, keeping a sharp lookout. Non, no accommodation, but they have tried a few other hotels and the Ibis Lyon Gerland - a couple of kms away - does have a vacancy.

We pull up at the Ibis after 9 pm, thoroughly fagged. Very pleasant receptionist, for whom nothing is too much trouble. The waitress in the restaurant however is frustrated that we do not speak French very well! Our waiter however is bilingual thankfully. I settle for Steak hache de boeuf de Limousin (Minced steak burger served with French Fries) while Michael has the Slow cooked Lamb with Haricot Beans (didn't take down the french sorry). I finish with Carpaccio d'ananas et sorbet fruits de la passion (carpaccio of pineapple with passionfruit sorbet) - prettyordinary pineapple well made up for by the sorbet! Michael has 3 scoops of sorbet cafe de lait (3 scoops of coffee sorbet).

Then up to bed and a frustrating 30 minutes trying to connect to the net. I give up and will finish the blog in the morning. Michael is excited - there are roman ruins, a Gallo-Roman museum, luminaire and film set museums (cinematography) and I am looking forward to the fine arts and textiles museums.

This morning it is grey and damp. We are off to the Tourist Office to find accommodation for another night or two. We will also book the hop on, hop off bus tour that includes a boat trip on the Rhone River near where in meets the Soane River.

See you all later for tonights report on it all!

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