Thursday, June 30, 2011

I Need a Dump Truck Mama...

...to unload my head. Aand make it a Mercedes dump truck.



Sunday, June 26, 2011

Last Tango in... And Cars



Well, I'm home now. Great trip, but exhausting. Also, so much butter and bacon, my arteries may never recover. Anyway, some last pics from the trip highlighting more odd stuff and also some thoughts and pics on cars in Europe.

Speaking of bacon, Lyon is the sausage capital of France. So the pig is revered. Nice looking guys, they don't know they will soon be cooked in a red wine sauce and served to me sliced in delicate rounds.


I love French bathrooms. As with most modern Europe, design is important in even the most common elements. Check the chrome dual flush mechanism on the toilette and this cool showerhead.



But if you get the urge while walking along the rivers of Lyon, and you are a guy, you get to use this classic pissoirs...


If you are into fast food, I found this little shop in the big Lyon mall. I don't know if the franchise would work in this country.


Now on to cars... the small car is a necessity in Europe, for many reasons. So you see models you'd call death traps in this country (SUV bait!). But they are quite cute.

Our last night in Lyon was the Fete du Musique, which had a zillion music groups playing all over the city. A very fun idea, but unfortunately a huge rainstorm kinda washed things out, unless you were 25 and didn't mind getting soaked. Mostly Electro, and rap and reggae stuff anyway, so I wasn't too disappointed to shorten my music wanderings that night. We did catch this wonderful traditional group... 11 "accordians" with accompanying instruments. The Woody Allen character in the middle was perfect for this group preserving a bit of France's musical past. They weren't really that great, but the opportunity to hear the traditional music was very fun.


We don't see many Alfas in this country, some of the sports models are now imported in limited numbers, but how about an Alfa station wagon, and a mini Alfa?



Here's the Euro version of the new, revived, Fiat 500.


Then there's the mini Mercedes! Curious... this model, called the Avant Garde, is slightly larger than the infamous Smartcar (also a Mercedes product, I believe).Add Image

Of course the rich don't worry about car size. So squeezing down the narrow cobblestone streets of Vieux Lyon was this Mercedes SLS AMG...


The retro movement is alive and well in France. So I found these examples of the classic small cars of the past.

An old Mini...


A Renault 4 GTL...


And, of course, the classic Citroen CV... check out the striped shirt on the young babe driving... Let's go watch "Breathless"!


And, finally, to the very modern... along the Champs des Elysee is a major Toyota showroom, and displayed was this concept car. Looks like a future F1 entry, but I suspect it is battery powered.



That's it from the great European adventure. Now on to the VISA bill. I wonder if my old job is still available...

Friday, June 24, 2011

Silk and Lyon


We were offered a guided tour of the Croix-Rousse area of Lyon ("the hill that works"). This is an area famous in the past for its silk workers (canuts), and their famous workers revolts in past centuries (the silk workers were one of the first "unions"). Above is a view of Lyon from the hill. The tour took us through many passageways and open areas (traboules) surrounded by the apartments formerly used by the silk workers. Here's a historical description (click on the pick and expand if necessary to read).



Here's on of the stairwells, hard to get it all in. Also a pic of the "outdoor" toilets for the apartments, one for each floor, and, finally, a street view.




This area was also popular with the French Resistance during WWII, since it was easy to escape through the myriad passageways.

We also found another of the famous Lyon murals. Here's the building, and some detail shots.





Finally, a romantic couple... the sap does rise in the spring...

Lunch in Lyon


Our hosts in Lyon, Stephane and Patrick, were kind enough to invite us to Sunday lunch at their apartment. This was a very special treat, especially since Patrick is an incredible chef. We had a wonderful time, with courses extended over 3 hours. Nice stereo, too... Many thanks to them for the occasion (and the pics... the one of us is from a window in the 6 floor winding staircase to their apartment).


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Another Lyon River Walk

Miriam had meetings all day, so I decided to walk the Saone in another direction. I had to work off lots of calories garnered from all the butter and bacon in French cooking. No wonder the food in Lyon is so good... lots of fat! The croissants are incredible, and so light... almost like eating liquid butter. So after a typical breakfast, it was off on the walk.


I decided to climb through a sewer... an ancient pathway up through the apartment buildings to a road above Vieux Lyon. As I made my way through, I heard some great jazz coming from an open window... so I knew I was on the right path.


At the top, I found this modern house mixed in with the traditional. There are a few examples of this. The modern structures are reasonably well done and almost fit in with the older buildings.


And down the street I found lunch... Mexican food!


Finally I made the river. Much of Lyon is made up of the old, and then the older. Across the river, I found these historic battlements.



My walk took me to an area of Lyon I'd never seen before. Similar old world architecture, not quite as nice as the main part of Lyon, but just as lively. A couple building examples (I think Bukowski must have stayed in this hotel).



I found these happy sheep grazing in the middle of a major intersection.


I crossed the river at this ancient bridge.


My return gave me great views of the grand architecture of Lyon. What wonderful buildings! I want to live in each and every one of them.





After the walk, I decided I deserved a beer. While hanging out in the cafe, Les Africaines walked by. I wonder where they shop for clothes...


Tomorrow we do a walking tour of the silk district.

Vieux Lyon

Once again, we stayed at La Tour in Vieux Lyon, the same place we stayed on my last trip here. Here are some new shots of some unique areas we found on this trip. The first few are from the top of a stairwell down into Vieux Lyon.



And a stairway and wall section from this historical area...



I also took Miriam to my favorite museum in the world, the Gallo-Roman museum. While the exhibits are really neat (especially the presentation of the tiled mural of Baccus on the black panther), it's the design of the museum, external and internal, that fascinates me.



Leaving the museum, I took a shot of another communications tower, the main broadcast point overlooking Lyon.


Then we wandered through the gardens of Fouviere.



Getting back into Vieux Lyon, we took a well deserved rest near this street guitarist, who played very good classical music on his instrument. The nearby restaurant staff would bring him an occasional beer, and we chipped in a Euro or two... we got our money's worth.