Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Ten days of visitors

Life in Lyon comes and goes in waves. Some weeks not a lot happens, some weeks everything happens. Well these last two weeks have definitely been everything weeks. Beginning with Mummy's visit from 4th-8th, during which we did all the touristy things in Lyon, went to Vienne for a day, had dinner chez the Reynaud family, went ice skating on Bellecour with Victoria, and went shopping. Oh, and ate at a Bouchon, but as we left that til Sunday night all the good ones were closed. D'oh. The weather wasn't special (much rain) but we had fun all the same and were particularly bemused by Vienne, which appeared to be largely popluated by arabs, be totally tasteless as a town, and not at all the cute little touristy haven we'd imagined, despite a very modern, huge, state-of-the art museum and archaeological site. We were also bemused by the unified belief amongst the french that Epiphany is always on Sunday (so, in this case, on the 7th Jan), but did at least get to eat galette des rois and I was the epiphany queen :). On Saturday evening Raj, Steve and Lucy came to Lyon and we ate pizza together. Yum.
Monday was Max's birthday, and back to school day for the new term. Quel joie. Believe it or not, all the teachers (not just me) were mentioning the fact that there were only five weeks til the next holidays and none of them were keen to be back. Ho hum. I arrived home from school at 5 to find Max amid a grand german tea party complete with cakes and suchlike, and after a little work we then had dinner, before I went out to collect Emma from the station.
On Tuesday, Emma and I did very little, other than wander and see the town a bit, which was jolly. We also paid a visit to the post office, where a woman tried to persuade me to buy a pre-paid envelope for €6 something (of which I was having none). The letter, when I did get round to sending it, cost €1 something. So I think I was right there! In the evening we joined Claire, Chiara and Tina for a drink at the Escal'in, a tiny cosy french bar in Vieux Lyon–and so heard about their christmasses. Wednesday we tried to go to the museum of contemporary art, but alas, a metro and bus ride later, it was "shut until february". Silly. So we wandered in the park for a while saying hello to the giraffes, lions, etc, before joining the girlies for football which we played in three against one england v germany. Lots of fun (even if i was a bit rubbish). Thursday was a big day, starting with a singing lesson, then Stu arrived (having flown out of Stansted at silly o'clock) and we ate giant pain au chocolat for elevenses with the result that none of us felt like lunch (oops). I then went to school where I was annoyed to discover two out of three classes weren't there (though no one bothered telling me) while Emma and Stu explored the wonders of Fourviere and the Roman Amphitheatres. And seemed to have fun observing the French out and about (can't imagine why). Later we went out for dinner at le Mere Jean, where we ate lots of very scrummy, very piggy (in a literal sense) food. And then were so full we couldn't contemplate doing anything so collapsed back at home. On Friday I returned from work to find Emma and Stu avidly watching the world go by out of our kitchen window. Apparently it had been highly entertaining…once they'd had enough of that we toddled off to the Epicerie for a yummy lunch (we were tempted to order 4 desserts between the three of us, but in the end restrained ourselves) then decided not to go to the textile museum lest it be a bit dull, instead going to buy stripey tights for emma and penny sweets in the shop next door, and then going ice skating in even blunter, even more uncomfortable skates than the previous time. But fun. After this, we quickly made some dinner, before claire victoria and laura joined us and we went for a few drinks at Ninkasi which was very crowded but the usual fun, and especially fun for stu as they were showing flying machines doing silly acrobatics on their tv screen.
Saturday was Free Day and we spent the morning at the market (yay!) and the afternoon at the Centre de la Resistance, which was an interesting, if somewhat sobering experience. Then there was a mad rush to cook dinner before Emma had to catch the bus to the airport (oops) but we made it (just) and so off she went back to the land of home. Stu and I returned to the flat and watched Enigma on dvd, before going to bed not too late on account of…
…getting up at 5am!! Bleurgh, that is silly o'clock. Early enough to wish Gareth a good night as he came in! However, porridge juice and coffee later, we were feeling alive enough to brave the brisk walk down the road to the post office, where we awaited the departure of our (very cramped NO leg-room) bus to Alpe d'Huez. Two and three quarter hours later, feeling a little queasy from the windy road, we piled out of the bus into what was a very cold but not particularly snowy ski resort. Having located our location de matériel, eaten our second breakfast and studied the piste map to decide on the day's plan, we set off on a very long chair lift that took us (via a bit of green run) to a nice long blue run. Lesson number one of the day was that Blue was in fact everywhere else's Red, because the easiest at Alpe d'H is Green, not Blue. However, the blue was fun and got us to the right place. Or at least, I say it did. It got me to the right place, but not at the same time as Stu. I waited a while, somewhat puzzled as to how he could have taken longer than me, but not having seen him whizz past, and not finding him at the bottom of the slope. Stupidly, we had not made any "if I lose you" plans. So after a while I toddled over to the next lift we were going to take, hoping I might find him there, then went up said lift, wondering whether he'd already gone up that one. Hélas, I found him not (at this point, he was busy redoing the same piste we'd done, as I found out later–to this day we don't know what happened but somehow we must have passed each other without noticing…)So to cut a long story short, I carried on, supposing I would find him later, but never succeeded in doing so and so explored the mountains on my own. First a blue, on which I came crashing to my knees in a very ouch manner, then a long red, to take me back to a lift which went all the way up to the middle of the resort, then I took a green one back to base (a bit icy owing to excess use). The red had no artificial snow, so was a bit thin in places, but the rest were thickly covered in machine-created white stuff :) After lunch I decided to go on an adventure to the glacier. On the way up I got to look at all sorts of exciting black runs that given the conditions looked like pure suicide. Three box lifts later, I discovered that was where all the cool kids go, as dozens of people whizzed past me. The blue piste was nice, and long, but had a few flat/uphill moments which annoyed me somewhat. Two lifts down again, which I shared with another snowboarding girl about my age, who was similarly regaining her snowboarding skills after a few years of no practice, and was going to do a nice easy descent to end the day, so we both went down the Vachettes (the biggest blue) which would have been nice at the beginning of the day but by the end was rocky and lumpy and generally not all that pleasant after all. However, I had had much fun over all, and was relieved to find Stu still alive (if slightly injured) and very happy after discovering some chatty pilot types and a very tasty lunch at the altiport…and so after purchasing food and drink (highly necessary) we embarked upon the long journey home, knowing full well we'd be mightily aching by the end of it…
Anyway before I get too carried away with the fun, i'd better run off as I have much to do this week and not enough hours to do it in. A plus, as they say…oh and, for the record, the french sales began on Jan 10th. Random. The French clearly do not understand the concept "january sale".

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