Sunday, 19 January 2014

A long weekend in Lyon

First of all, sorry for the lack of posts in the past month. My house got broken into about two weeks before Christmas and then I had a nightmare trying to sort out my insurance claim to get a replacement laptop. So yeah, that wasn't too great but I received a shiny new laptop this week and am now discovering all the magic that Windows 8 has to offer...

But onwards and upwards, in this post I'd like to tell you all about last weekend, during which I revisited Lyon in France and stayed at my lovely friend, Lucy's, flat. As many of you will know, I spent my year abroad during my undergraduate degree in Lyon and absolutely loved it. Despite having a bit of a shaky start and feeling a little homesick, within a month of living there I felt like it was home. 

Lyon is situated in the Rhône department, which is in East France, not so far from the Alps. It's a beautiful city to visit as a tourist, with a great deal of interesting history and being considerably cheaper than Paris. Not to mention the food which is absolutely divine to a meat-lover like myself (vegetarians would be hard done by to find more than one option per menu, if that).

I arrived and met Lucy late on Friday afternoon. In the evening, we headed straight to Vieux Lyon (the old town where restaurants and bars and plentiful) and went to an Indian restaurant called Le Royal Indien. They had an extremely well priced three course menu for €19 which went down an absolute treat. 

On the Saturday, we headed to the Tête d'Or park for a stroll. During my year abroad, I pretty much visited this lovely open space every weekend, mainly because of the free zoo. I have some fantastic memories in that park including picnics and visits from friends and family, and I felt surprisingly nostalgic to be back. I took several pictures of the animals and was tickled by the fact that a porcupine is called a 'porc-épic' in France (I'm still learning new words everyday)! 

Next, we took a ride on the giant ferris wheel in Place Bellecour to get a birds-eye view of the city. I'd just had a huge Starbucks vanilla latte so was feeling a little queasy but Lucy was so excited about it that I couldn't say no. Luckily, I kept the vanilla latte down and got some lovely snaps.

In the evening, we went for a night out to celebrate Lucy's flatmate' birthday. We ventured to a club called The Cavern. It's been ages since I've been on a student night out because I'm apparently now old and boring, but I had an excellent time. As was my experience of clubs in France when I lived there, the venue was a little mediocre and some of the music choices were questionable but it was great to go out with Lucy and meet all of her friends.

The Sunday morning was spent with an equal measure of sleeping and complaining until we dragged ourselves out of bed at about 2pm. Our stomachs rumbling, we set off to Hôtel de Ville to satisfy our craving for carbs. Lucy recommended 'The Best I Ever Had', an American diner, and we sat down to eat at about 4pm. I pretty much swallowed my chicken and cheese burger whole. The vanilla milkshake also didn't last long either. 

For dinner, we realised we actually hadn't eaten much traditional French food so set off to a small restaurant just outside Vieux Lyon. I went for 'raclette', which is essentially potato and cheese with some token sliced meat and salad on the side. This was absolutely delicious but by this point I felt like I was in somewhat of a food coma and had to admit defeat halfway through.

Leaving Lucy on the Monday, I was so glad that I'd made the trip back to Lyon. It was great to see her and also relaxing because I'm familiar with the city already so we didn't feel obliged to squeeze all the sights into the short visit. We basically spent most of the weekend eating but hey, in my opinion, that's a sign of a fantastic holiday.

Have you ever been to Lyon and got any recommendations of places to go? Or would you like to suggest any other European cities that are well worth a visit? Let me know!

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