Tuesday, May 1, 2007

It's a long way to Lyon...

Well, after more than 24hrs of traveling (including a sleepover in Frankfurt) i finally touch down in Lyon St. Exupery airport. In case you did not know, Lyon is the second largest city in France.
I'm here on business, to attend a technical meeting with a customer. But i arrive early coz of flight availability. So, why waste the chance to explore the city, right?

After checking into the hotel, I spend some time going thought the drudgery of clearing my emails first. Once that was done, i asked the hotel reception for a map of the city and hopped on the first shuttle bus to the city center.

My first stop? The tourist information of course. It took a bit of walking and exploring before i found it. It was in Bellecour Square. Heart of the old part of Lyon.
Other than letting me know that there is a Medieval Festival going on in old Lyon, the officers there weren't much help. I browsed around and found a small guidebook outlining historic excursions into Lyon. Having a feeling that this was to be the best guide i will ever get, i promptly bought the booklet. Costs 5 Euros.

I then crossed the bridge into the old and historic part of Lyon. (Lyon is actually a UNESCO World Heritage site). As i was crossing the bridge, lo and behold! Guess what i saw... a street artist, painting amazing portraits on the ground with nothing more than colour chalks! A curious sight, don't you think? I don't think we will ever see something like this in good 'ol M'sia. For one, the weather will be too hot for anyone to stay outdoors long enough to complete the painting. An secondly, the rain will washed it out soon enough!

The scene from the river was great as well. And looking up, i could see the Fourviere Basilica at the top of the hill. That was one of the points of interests listed in the guide booklet. Lyon. But first, off to the Medieval Festival in old Lyon
As part of the festival, there were lots of folks dressed in Medieval outfit throughout the town. There were fashion shows, street parade, etc... It was fun and a new experience for me...

And up the hill i went, in search of the famous Fourviere Basilica. And boy, was it a long and steep climb! But it was worth every step. Not only was the view from the top of the hill wonderful, the Basilica was amazing as well. In addition to the main church, there are 7 other smaller church or chapel within it as well. I only managed to explore two, but it was still great. The paintings on the walls, the stained glass windows... just great!

On the way down the hill, i stopped by an archaeological site where there were ruins of Roman coliseums, theater, etc. Felt like i was in Rome, for a moment. ;)

After spending some time there, i found my way back to the old town and just walked about, looking at the shops, street performers, cafes, etc...

It was getting late, and when i checked the pedometer on my phone, i was surprised to see that i had taken 21698 steps or walked 16.1km!!!

So, what better way to leave the old city of Lyon and head back to the hotel than with an ache in my legs, smile on my face, and an ice-cream in my hand!