The sunshine proved not to be just a one-day affair. Au contraire. We were lucky to have adventure-inducing sunshine all weekend long.
I finally got to go to the Parc de Tete d'Or! It's located in the northern part of the Rive Gauche, just west of Villeurbanne (Lyon's annoying little brother, and devoid of maps). The metro stop was deceptively far from the park...after I figured out where I was going, it still took me 20 minutes to walk over there. There has got to be a better route!
The park is absolutely beautiful, and so much fun! There are acres upon acres of green grass. Again: the park is HUGE. I was so relieved to see so much green. Little did I know that not seeing trees, grass, or anything of natural origin would have so much effect on me - I was really starting to feel down last week! My mood instantly improved 100%. There is still a lot I didn't get to do at the park, like see the botanical gardens or most of the zoo, but I did get to see the deer grazing in the middle of the park (they are not wild deer of course...they wouldn't really have anywhere to go in the city...) and the birds on the lake. So I walked through the park, saw lots of happy families and cute couples, and around the lake, where there are lots of trees. Ahhh, fresh air. So good for the senses.
I'm debating about getting a very cheap secondhand bike, because a lot of people ride their bikes in the park, and it would be great exercise in the afternoons! Or if I can get a cheap pair of rollerblades that would be even better (I would just have to learn how to stop! haha!). At any rate, walking is still great exercise. I walked all around the park all afternoon and then through the Cité International (with INTERPOL...dun dun dun) and down the Quai. It took about 45-60 minutes to walk home from there.
Needless to say, I was pretty tired after my little stroll through the park. I did what I only do about 2 - 3 times a year....I went to bed at 10pm. (wHATTT???! ) Yes, folks, the impossible has been achieved. On February 11th, 2006 AD, I, Laura, went to bed, NAY, fell asleep before midnight. 12 straight hours of sleep....man it felt good.
Thus becoming quite a fan of not sleeping until 3 PM, I woke up today (Sunday) and went to the market! Nothing too noteworthy other than the previous entry's haiku. Then I went on a walking adventure of Vieux Lyon with Scottie. It's so French, it's fabulous! My favorite is the kitschy little art stores (must return for artwork...), the swanky glass sculptures, and the garishly overpriced yet mystical medieval jewelry shop. There was also a montée to ...well, monter, so there was good exercise and a view (although obstructed by a fence, thus no pictures) of the city.
We were climbing up the montee, by this wall, when we heard the strangest sound....
Yes, folks, that is a big fat pigeon hiding in the wall. It didn't even fly away when I took its picture. Well done, Monsieur Le Pigeon.
On discovery of St-Just at the top of the hill, we were mildly disappointed by the expanse of apartment complexes, but the centuries-old lycee (translation: high school), still appearing to be in use and orthodox church at least merited some curious gandering-up towards.
On another note, Vieux Lyon is really what makes Lyon a gastonomical capital! There are so many bouchons and other kinds of restaurants that are enticing me to come back, including the delicious store of warm bread, the only one that sells bread on a sunday in the late afternoon.
Earlier this week (Tuesday!) I went to Vieux Lyon to wander around myself - it was that day that I went into the 11th-17th century cathedrale St-Jean (which is the heart of the district) and the Musee International des Miniatures. The cathedrale is really spectacular! It is not ornate and marbled like the cathedrals and churches of Italy, rather, it is extremely tall and gives the sensation of ethereal lightness. Stain glassed windows form a border around the entire top of the wall, so you have this beautiful effect of coloured light streaming in from above. You'll just have to see the astronomical clock for yourself :)
This was a day of proportional contrast, you could say, as I went from the gigantesque, to the, well, miniature. Musee des Miniatures was downright fascinating. There's an exhibit on the scenes of every day life, a little somber, with a touch of hyper-realism, and another on Patrimoine Lyonnaise - I liked that the artist made models of scenes that you wouldn't ever see as a normal person - like the inside of a jail. This is a really good example of how art can really bring the unattainable into the viewer's life and make it tangible.
Upcoming adventures: Valentines Day 2006, across the ocean....Trip to London to see Whit...Trip to Normandy/Paris to see Greg....stay tuned!