European Vacation: March-April, 2010

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Monday, March 29 - On to Lyon

We took it easy in the morning. Annika went in to work late so we were all able to have breakfast together. Even though there was a light drizzle, Neil took advantage of the little time we had and walked around the neighborhood for a few minutes taking some pictures. Around 11:00, we got our stuff together and Frank took us to the airport for our Lufthansa flight to Lyon, France. Our flight was at 1:00, so getting to the airport before noon was just fine.

View Photos from March 29 in Frankfurt (30 images)

Thanks to Christopher, who works at UTA and is on sabbatical in Lyon, we knew we could take the Satobus for a 40-minute ride from the Lyon airport to the city center at Part-Dieu, then a 10-minute tram to our last stop, the Gare Perrache, a large complex which serves as a station for the SNCF railway as well as some of the city's trams and one Metro line.

Our hotel, the Mercure Lyon Centre Grand Hôtel Château Perrache, was right next to the Gare Parrache, pretty much right in the middle of the Presqu'île -- literally "almost an island" -- a peninsula that separates the Rhône and Saône rivers. Since roads and station concourses are on multiple levels and all we had was a street address, it took a good half an hour to locate and walk to the hotel.

After winding down a bit from the trip and getting a map from the hotel front desk, we called Christopher and his wife Veronica, who invited us to dinner at their house. We made the short 10-minute walk to their place, off the Presqu'île to the Vieux Lyon area, a couple streets up the hill on the north bank of the Saône. Their daughter, Sarah, immediately took us in and gave us French lessons from a picture book that included English, French, and Spanish. Their son, Adolfo, was a great help to get dinner ready and the table set. The completely-homemade dinner was veggie puree soup, avocado salad, bread and butter, veggie quiche, and for dessert, Crêpes Suzette. Everything was wonderful!

After dinner, Chris took us on a walking tour of the city to give us a lay of the land, describing points of interest along the way, including the churches of St. George and St. Paul, St. Jean Cathedral, Place Bellecour, and Rue Victor Hugo. It was pretty late when we got back to the hotel, after 10:30, so we went right to bed, anticipating a full day ahead.

View Photos from March 29 in Lyon (23 images)