Sunday, October 7, 2012
After 2-3 hours of train rides through country similar to that through which we'd walked for 19 days, we arrived in the big city of Lyon, gastronomic capital of France. As I had remembered, the Part-Dieu station was a huge, bustling, confusing place. We found no information desk, except for train travel, and a handicapped assistance office with a bank of wheel chairs, of which I wasn't desperate enough to take advantage, so with my 12-year old pages from the Rough Guide, with handy maps, although prices were still in Francs, we set out for our hotel which we estimated was about 2 km away. Along the way we came to a couple of Sunday street markets closing up. We bought 2 apples from a Tunisian vendor. When we reached the Rhone, runners were completing what must have been a marathon along the esplanade. Just before the square where they were finishing, we decided to turn down a restaurant-lined street. It was nearing 2 p.m., so I wasn't sure we could still be served, but it turned out that the place we chose, and perhaps others, were open on Sunday from from noon until 11 pm! Remarkable. We chose a place where the diners all looked happy and seemed to be having a good time, and we dined very well on salads, two heaping bowls of moules (mussels) in wine sauce, with a jam-covered crepe for dessert.
I had booked our hotel through Agoda during our first morning in Le Puy -- it was also in my old guidebook, which I thought a good sign. So, a bit groggy after our lunch, we shouldered our packs once more, and found Rue Victor Hugo and Hotel Alexandra not too many more steps away. Here we are in a starkly modern red and gray attic room, with a skylight and one window about 6 inches high by 40 inches wide, however with a couple of enormous hand hewn wooden beams supporting the sharply sloping ceiling which is perhaps 4 feet at the low end. We were whisked up to this 5th floor in a glass elevator.
It has been a day of contrasts from our room in the ancient stone house in the center of medieval Le Puy, to the ultra smooth, quiet, and fast train rides to bustling Lyon, and this room that combines old and new.
A man in the restaurant noticed my scallop shell necklace, and I am sure noticed our packs as we entered, and had to ask where we walked and tell me that he too had walked from Le Puy to Compostelle.
Tomorrow it is the fast train back to Paris. It has started to rain, and clouds and rain are predicted for the next few days, which should be fine for exploring museums in Paris, although what I'd really like to do is buy a whole new set of clothes from the inside out and shoes on up after 3 weeks in these same clothes.
It is good to have wi-fi (pronounced wee-fee here) in our room once again --it will be the last time before we get home.
Linnea and Kent
Pilgrims on the road of life