Monday, August 9, 2010

Lovely Lyon (warning, photo heavy post)

Boy am I a procrastinator!

Well, before I completely forget what went down on our trip to Lyon almost 3 weeks ago, I'll fill you in.

We left just after lunch and arrived in Lyon by about 5:30, and thanks to our car-mates, Leah and Kyle Hamilton, most of it was quickly wasted away chatting, with the exception of an hour or so that involved pouring down rain that made talking in our little tin box of a car impossible.

We took the Hamiltons to their destination at a friend, Jonathan's apartment and decided to start our trek of Lyon from his conveniently located flat. We walked the city streets with Jonathan acting the part of our wonderful tour guide.

We climbed up lots of stairs.
 (we climbed down them too, but I missed the photo op) 

We enjoyed a beautiful sunset lit view of the Notre-Dame de Fourvière Basilica

 And a fabulous panorama of the city (with a tiny speck of a rainbow on the right).

Then we posed for pictures.

And not only did Jonathan give us a lovely mini-tour of the city, but he also made us dinner! A scrumptious dinner at that including salad, mini smoked salmon quiche, and a some sort of rice/beef/eggroll dish.

We spent the rest of the night happily chatting away in Franglish and before we knew it, it was 12:30 and we still hadn't checked into our hotel!

Saturday morning we made our way up Croix-Rousse -- the other hill in Lyon aside from the one with the Bascilica -- to see yet another beautiful view of the city.

We had yet another amazing meal at a semi-open mini-market complete with rosette de Lyon (the local saucisson), fresh, local goats milk cheese, cured ham, pesto, baguette, annnd...

When this picture was taken it had been a little under one year since the last time I had ice in a drink.

After lunch we headed back out on the streets where we took in some young break dancing 

Visited the Parc de la Tête d'Or (park of the golden head)

And the rose garden therein.

At this point it was 6:30 or so...alas, too early to eat dinner in a French city, so we headed to the shopping district where we ran into the little break dancers from earlier in the day.

Finally, it was time to eat again. After much soul-searching, map checking, and whining (on my part), we decided on Notre Maison (our place) Restaurant. We wanted the traditional [read: cheap, silk-worker, peasant food] Buchon experience and weren't gonna give up until we found it (well, I was ready to give up but Michael persevered, and we were so happy he did!).

We started off the meal with some fabulous wine coctails. The boys enjoyed a red Cotes du Rhone wine with cassis liquor while Leah and I enjoyed our own red Cotes du Rhone wine with blackberry liquor (of course, I confused the word for blackberry, so we spent half the meal thinking we had drank wine with blueberry liquor). Sorry there's no picture but the look didn't give the drink justice.

Now let's delve into the meals, shall we?

These are the Hamilton's appetizers (entrées, in French), Kyle's pigs foot (melt in your mouth, yum!) and Leah's rosette de Lyon (she's a bit obsessed with the stuff I think, but who can blame her?).

This was Michael's appetizer, a gateau de fois (liver cake) which was scrumptious. It was almost a chicken liver mousse served with a tomato sauce.

And here's my appetizer which was rich and yummy, but admittedly, a bit daunting to take in. We don't really know which is which but we know that somewhere in there is veal brain, nose, and foot.

For his main dish, Kyle got this amazing beef and honey stew

Leah had an andouillette sausage in a mustard cream sauce

Michael had sausage and lentils slow cooked in wine

And I had the famous Lyonaisse quenelle (a pike bread-ish dumpling).

And as if it were possible to eat any more at this point, we ordered dessert!

Leah and I took the easy way out ordering lemon sorbet 

While Kyle ate his red-dyed praline tart

And Michael indulged in some drunken prunes.

And at the end of the meal the waitress plopped this mysterious digestif (to aid with digestion), we tasted it but had no clue what it was, but we did think the bottle with little wooden working man (look closely) was cute.

After that, we all went to our respective beds and crashed into 10 hour food comas.

Thankfully, we emerged just in time to grab some picnic supplies from an amazing (open on Sunday) market just down the street then head to the beautiful medieval city of Pérouges

With it's beautiful old church

And it's beautiful gardens

And it's beautiful (but painful) cobblestone streets.

So painful where these streets that Leah hitched a ride to give her poor feet a rest.

We enjoyed a glorious sunny day strolling the streets and sampling the local specialty, sugar tart.

And just before heading home we ate our picnic lunch on the ramparts of the city. That's more goat cheese, more saucisson, more bread, water, and bacon flavored chips.

We trekked back to Jonathan's house where we played some dangerous games that involved grabbing that thing on Leah's head (well, we grabbed it off the table, not off her head).

Then we consumed yet another fabulous Chez Jonathan meal consisting of another salad and some amazing little flour dumplings made up to look like pizzas and we ended the meal with some butter cake from the Bittany region (pictured). Sugar tart and butter cake all in one day, boy do we have it good!

On our last day we managed to make it back up the hill from our first day (this time with the help of some incline felt just like going up Mt. Washington in Pittsburgh). We managed to see not one... 

...But two ancient Roman theaters!

It's too bad we missed Martha Wainwright the night before; we saw her accidentally, years ago when she opened for an Amos Lee concert in Pittsburgh.

And after the theaters we made our way over to get a better view of the Bascilica.

The interior of which was pretty amazing with the bottom floor ending up to be a crypt or sanctuary disguising itself as an complete second church.

But the top floor was truly incredible

With it's ornate murals,

It's gold-leafed ceilings

And it's beautifully tiled floors.

With our trip drawing to a close we made our final way down the long steps into the city

And we took a nice long stroll on our way to

Our final meal in Lyon. (baguette, turkey roulade, St Marcellin cheese, shrimp aspic, poached egg and ham aspic, lentil salad, and orangina)

We had a wonderful (and filling) time in Lyon but unfortunately, all I can think about now is going back so we can eat some more. *sigh*

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